Courtesy: KU Athletics
LAWRENCE – No. 4/5 Kansas men’s basketball concluded exhibition play with a 95-59 victory over Fort Hays State on Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks shot 60 percent from the field with five players reaching double-figure points. KU, 2-0 in exhibition play, drained 10 3-point baskets en route to the 10th straight victory over Fort Hays State.
“Svi for three!” was announced five times over the Allen Fieldhouse public-address speakers as the sophomore guard, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, finished with 15 points all from 3-point field goals.
Senior forward Perry Ellis led the Jayhawks in scoring for the second time during exhibition play with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting in 24 minutes. Junior guard Frank Mason III dished out six assists with no turnovers while adding 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 23 minutes.
Fort Hays State (0-2 exhibition) was led by Dom Samac’s 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting in 22 minutes.
Kansas begins the 2015-16 regular-season against Northern Colorado on Friday (7 p.m.) at Allen Fieldhouse in the opening round of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. The contest will be on the Jayhawk IMG Television Network and ESPN3 outside the state of Kansas.
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): G Frank Mason, III; G Devonte’ Graham; G Wayne Selden, Jr.; F Perry Ellis; F Jamari Traylor
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 9-0 (6-0 in exhibition games)
Made Kansas 77-9 in exhibition games.
Extended KU’s home exhibition winning streak to 44 games, dating back to the 1994 season.
Upped Kansas’ all-time record against Fort Hays State to 9-0, including a 6-0 mark in exhibition games.
Improved head coach Bill Self to a 45-2 record in exhibition games at Kansas, including 26-0 in home exhibition contests.
Made KU 58-4 in exhibition games inside Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks led for the majority of the first half – 19:48 to be exact after both teams were tied for the game’s first 12 seconds – and entered the break with a 45-29 advantage. KU pushed its lead to as many as 39 with 3:02 left in the game, and was never tied nor trailed for the rest of the contest.
Kansas shot 55.6 percent in the first half, continuing the scorching pace it shot in the second half of the Pittsburg State exhibition game (55.9 percent), but turned up the heat even more in the second half by shooting 65.4 percent.
KU matched its previous game total with four three-pointers in the first half alone on just nine shot attempts. Kansas needed 19 attempts from long range to sink four triples against Pittsburg State, but drained 10 of 21 against the Tigers. Six different Jayhawks made a triple.
The Jayhawks were shooting just 40 percent from the free-throw line with just under 11 minutes left in the first half but shot 19-of-24 from the stripe the rest of the way to finish with a respectable 72.4 percent for the game.
Kansas made its first three shot attempts and scored six points before Fort Hays State got its first shot off. Selden scored the first two buckets of the game, a pair of jumpers in the game’s first 35 seconds.
Kansas opened the game on a 10-0 run before FHSU’s Nicholson knocked down a triple to momentarily halt the surge at the 16:23 mark.
An Ellis three-pointer at 17:31 delighted the crowd, his second make on two attempts during exhibition play. Although missing on another try in the second half, KU’s front court leader has shown great range throughout his career with a 42.4 percent mark from beyond the arc entering the regular season.
For the second consecutive game F Perry Ellis led all scorers, this time with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
G Frank Mason III joined Ellis as one of five Jayhawks in double figures, adding 14 points for the second straight exhibition contest. Mason has 13 double figure games in 16 career exhibitions.
Mason III dished out six of KU’s 27 total assists and didn’t commit a turnover.
G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk scored an exhibition career-high 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, all from beyond the three-point arc. He scored 12 of the 15 in the second half. On his own, Mykhailiuk eclipsed the Jayhawks’ team three-point total (4) from the exhibition opener. The sophomore has twice reached 11 points in a game, his regular season career-high and has tallied a career-best three triples in games that count.
G Devonte’ Graham and G Wayne Selden Jr. each tallied 11 points.
F Carlton Bragg Jr. led all players with nine rebounds.
“We were a lot better and we got out to a great start. I think when we subbed they went on a 10-0 run. I think it was 16-4 and they cut it down but other than that little stretch we were pretty good. One thing I would say from a negative standpoint, without watching the tape, would be we should be better offensive rebounders than what we are. We missed 21 shots and we get six back. I don’t know what that percentage is but it’s got to be 27 percent or whatever, but you should be getting 40 percent of them back, so that’s a situation we can be better in. We can certainly shoot free throws better for the most part. We’re playing fast so we’re turning over too much and I think the young kids had seven of those turnovers. There’s some good things taking place at least with where we were better, but we still need to take another big step before Friday and obviously before the big week next week.”
On Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s performance:
“He was good. He almost got a loose ball too. We would’ve been really excited about that. I thought he was good, he was aggressive. He’s a ball mover and a shooter and he can put it down and stuff, but if he is focused on ball moving and shooting and lets those other guys get him some shots in transition and stuff like that, then certainly he would be better. He got more minutes because Brannen didn’t play.”
On Brannen Greene:
“Brannen’s being really good. He had a great shoot around today, a ton of energy. He had a great pregame shoot around and then he comes in after warm-ups and says he can’t move. His hip was bothering him so the doctors looked at it and they don’t think it’s anything major but he’s going to go through phases where he’s up and down. We don’t think it’s anything but he didn’t feel like he could be close to 100 percent and we weren’t going to put him out there. It’s disappointing because I would love to see him in a game like that where he can get off five or seven threes himself, but certainly we decided to hold him. I think that was a wise decision because I don’t think he could have played effectively.
On tonight’s key players:
“Frank didn’t play well at all against Pitt State, and the whole backcourt in general didn’t, and a lot of it was just nonchalant, careless, just standing around and, without watching the tape, he was better tonight in a lot of ways and our ball movement was a little better. I think Devonte’ was a little better. Wayne was certainly a lot better. Wayne played with a lot of energy without question. We were better tonight, and we had balance, and we tried to play a lot of different combinations and that’ll slow down, obviously, as we get in games. We weren’t that deep of a team tonight. I feel like if you play Perry at the three some and we have five perimeter players that we can really throw out there, maybe six sometimes and that left four big guys so everyone was able to play and I didn’t feel like we were trying to find guys, I think it naturally came to them. ”
On Danny Manning being in attendance tonight:
“He was arguably the best player to ever play here with the exception of, well he is the best, other than Wilt. I saw Danny in the stands but I haven’t seen him since. Danny’s got a unique way that he can be amongst the crowd and then when everybody turns their head he disappears and he’s gone. He’s kind of like Casper in that way because when the game was over I looked up to him and he was nowhere to be found. Hopefully he’s back here in these hallowed halls and we’ll get a chance to see him before he and Julie fly back. I think they’re going to fly back after they get a chance to visit with Evan.”
Kansas junior guard Frank Mason III
On the key to tonight’s start versus last week’s:
“It was just coming out and playing with a lot of effort, playing up on the floor, getting help and just being a lot more active on the defensive end.”
On how unselfish the team is:
“Coach (Self) tells us a lot just to be unselfish, share the ball, make the extra pass and it will always come back to you. So that’s what we tried to do tonight.”
On Svi’s (Mykhailiuk) performance tonight:
“He shot the ball great and kept his confidence. I see him shoot the ball a lot and tonight was one of those nights where he shot the ball great. Like I said, he just kept his confidence (up) and that’s what we need him to do.”
Kansas sophomore guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
On how he felt about his shooting tonight:
“It was a pretty fast game and a good game, so I just got in a rhythm and kept shooting the ball.”
On Coach Self giving him the green light to keep shooting:
“Yeah, he was like, ‘Keep shooting and making shots.'”
On working harder on his shot after the first exhibition game of the year:
“I just try to get open shots and I felt like it was easier this game because Frank (Mason III), Devonte’ (Graham) and Wayne (Selden) were all driving the ball.”
Kansas junior guard Wayne Selden Jr.
On the play where he went flying into the stands:
“I just reacted to the ball and just tried to save it; that was the biggest thing. I feel like if people sit there, they really want to be that close and that’s what happens when you’re that close sometimes.”
On the regular season coming up:
“I’m excited, we improved tonight and we are looking to improve tomorrow and the next day and get ready for Friday.”
On the team’s play tonight versus last week’s game:
“It was all about energy tonight. We had the energy and movement; that’s the biggest thing on our team because if we move, we are really hard to guard.”
Fort Hays State head coach Mark Johnson
“We came out a little nervous the first five or six minutes and then finally settled in and played some pretty good basketball there for a while. And, then again, they bring so many bodies at you, the size differential, athleticism, strength, just kind of wears on you and you have such a small margin of error anytime you have a bad couple minutes or stretches of basketball. They just get away from you so quickly and I think that probably happened a little bit there at the end of the half and then second half we just had a hard time on both ends of the floor.”
On the toughest thing to stop defensively:
“I thought they really got out in the passing lanes against us and the next pass was difficult for us. They moved past a lot of our screens, we didn’t do a great job screening, but they really got after us and it was hard for us to really get into anything. If you look at our first two games, we’ve shot the ball from the three really poor. We feel like we’re a good shooting team, but when you’re not able to run really good offense that leads to making a shot you wouldn’t take and you end up missing them. I give them a lot of credit. I thought they came out and really played hard and really played focused, and you can kind of tell they’re getting close to the start of the regular season. I thought they were pretty fine-tuned and ready to go.”
On falling behind 10-0 then going on a run of their own:
“Again, I always think one of the hardest things to do, and I know this sounds simple, but one of the hardest things to do is to get your first made basket any time that you’re here. And, when it gets 10-0, it can easily get to 16 and 20 and 22, so I was really just happy when the first one when in and I think that relaxes your whole team. That’s what happened, we just settled in and started playing and had a really nice stretch of basketball for maybe about seven or eight minutes. Really that’s what you’re trying to do, how many minutes can you put together of solid basketball against talent like this. Its not going to happen for 40, but try to get as many quality minutes of basketball as you can. I thought that part of the game we did well.”
On Craig (Nicholson’s) progress:
“He’s making improvements; he’s still obviously not there where he was, but still he’s playing a lot better than I anticipated this early. Hopefully by January he’ll come off that major injury and be back to being an All-American-type player because I think that’s what we need. I think we have enough solid players–we need that all-conference kind of player and he’s the guy that can do that.”
On his team’s three-point shooting difficulties over Kansas’ size:
“We really have done it twice in a row (played Big 12 teams) so maybe I’m foolish, but at practice we make them pretty good, we’re not a very big Division II team, let alone trying to play against Big 12 (Conference) schools, so I’d like to contribute a lot of that just to their length–it’s hard when you’re shooting over 6’5″ perimeter defender instead of 6’1″ perimeter defenders. Honestly though, I felt that we had some open looks that we just missed. There are a lot of freshmen out there playing, a lot of these guys were playing Kansas high school basketball last March and now they’re put in Allen Fieldhouse, so that’s a pretty big moment for them.”
On what the team will take away from this game:
“When you play against this level of competition, it’s kind of nice to get back to our level of competition a little bit. To me, these games are more about the experiences and what your team gets out of it. I’m sure we get some things out of it that makes us better, but at the end of the day, we’ve got a lot of Kansas kids that got to play against KU and go up against their jersey and get to play in their arena, and that’s probably the most I can say that we get out of it. In games like these, when Division II teams come in and shoot the ball well from the perimeter, they look pretty good, and if you don’t shoot well from the perimeter, you look pretty bad because you’re not going to get a whole lot at the basket. We’ve got some big guys who we feel like can score at the rim, but when you come here that’s not going to happen. So sometimes it can be a false sense even when you come here and play well, and don’t hit the panic button if you don’t necessarily play well because it’s not a indicator of what kind of season you’re going to have.”
On the end of exhibition play and evaluating his team as the regular season opens:
“Hopefully the thing we do get out of this is how we open up our season this weekend – we won’t be quite as shocked after we’ve had this two times, so hopefully it’ll be easier for them in their first game.”
Fort Hays State senior forward Dom Samac
On playing Kansas:
“They’re really long. They’re really athletic and they have a bunch of old guys too – juniors and seniors. It was their length and athleticism.”
On the nerves from playing in Allen Fieldhouse
“When you come into a big arena with this many people, it’s always the nerves that get to you. You have to play through the first few minutes until you break a sweat and then you can get into it.”
On playing against Kansas:
“When we’re playing a big team like KU tonight, it’s always an honor and a privilege to be part of.”
Fort Hays State senior guard Craig Nicholson
On going on a run to trail by two midway through the first half after surrendering a 10-0 lead to start the game:
“I think it was that we got stops and we were able to run in transition. We actually got some movement on the offensive end. That’s what got us on that little run.”
On Kansas’ length and shooting over it:
“It was a little bit of both. We (normally) shoot a lot better than that. We’re not used to that, in practice we don’t face guys that long and athletic so that threw us off a lot too.”
On playing against Kansas senior forward Perry Ellis in high school and what it was like playing again tonight:
“It’s always good playing against Perry and seeing him in person. I know he’s doing good things and I hope he has the best time in his last year here at KU.”
On playing against Kansas:
“When we came in we were talking about just staying together and playing as hard as we can on the defensive and offensive ends. We were going to face adversity of course, so we just tried to stick together through the whole 40 minutes of play.”
On playing against both Kansas and Kansas State in exhibition games this season:
“Being from Wichita, I always look forward to playing against K-State and KU. It’s a great opportunity to play against them and see what my abilities are playing against a Big 12 school like them.”