Kansas University freshman forward Perry Ellis scored 15 points in the Jayhawks’ 74-55 victory over SE Missouri State on Friday night in Allen Fieldhouse. It marked the most points scored in a debut by a Jayhawk newcomer since Josh Selby’s 21 points versus USC on Dec. 18, 2010.
Southeast Missouri State neutralized Kansas University center Jeff Withey in the second half and made a game of it with Jayhawks in a 74-55 loss on opening night Friday at Allen Fieldhouse.
KU coach Bill Self talks after his team's 74-55 win over Southeast Missouri on Nov. 9, 2012.
Kansas players Jeff Withey, Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe talk after KU's 74-55 victory over Southeast Missouri on Nov. 9, 2012.
Though he didn't receiver a perfect grade from his coach, Kansas sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe passed the test with the game on the line, Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan says.
The Kansas men's basketball team held Southeast Missouri to 29-percent shooting in a season-opening 74-55 victory on Friday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
KU's defense was especially stifling in the first half, as SEMO made just 6 of 29 shots (21 percent) as the Jayhawks took a 32-17 halftime advantage.
SEMO closed KU's lead to 43-37 with 11:43 left in the game, but KU answered with a 21-10 run to take control.
The Jayhawks won despite making just 2 of 21 three-pointers (9.5 percent).
"I thought we did some good things considering they only shot 29 percent and we out-rebounded them (49-37)," KU coach Bill Self said. "We only turned it over 13 times and we go 24-of-28 from the free-throw line. That (typically) is going to be a 40-point game.
"There is no way you can't win that game by 30 or 40 unless you go 2-for-21 from three."
Jeff Withey led KU with 17 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Perry Ellis added 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting with eight rebounds, while Naadir Tharpe also had double figures with 10 points.
Ben McLemore had a balanced line, posting in nine points, 12 rebounds, five assists and three blocks to go with a turnover.
"It blows my mind that we are not an aggressive group," Self said. "We are a passive group right now, and we have to pick it up. I'll keep saying it, and I'm not going to back off of it."
KU (1-0) will play Michigan State at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Champions Classic in Atlanta.