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Kansas defeats Emporia State, 88-54

  • 7 p.m., Oct. 30, 2012
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

FINAL: Freshmen shine in KU's 88-54 exhibition rout over ESU

By Matt Tait

Behind 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting from freshman forward Perry Ellis, the Kansas University men’s basketball team knocked off Emporia State, 88-54, in its first exhibition game of the 2012-13 season.

Ellis added seven rebounds, two assists and a steal in 16 minutes.

"He did really well," KU coach Bill Self said. "He just naturally gets the ball in the basket."

The Jayhawks were sluggish in the game’s early minutes, falling behind 10-4 and, later, 14-12 as deep as eight minutes into the first half. But KU’s size, speed and deep bench sparked a 30-7 run to close the half and, by the break, the Jayhawks had doubled up the Hornets and were well on their way to the run-away victory.

Sophomore Naadir Tharpe was a surprise starter for the Jayhawks, taking the place of Elijah Johnson, who did not start because he was "significantly late to a class" on Tuesday, according to Self. Tharpe scored all eight of his points in the first half, but Johnson eventually got into the act, as well, finishing with 12 points and five assists on 4-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-8 shooting from three-point land.

Several Jayhawks made their unofficial Allen Fieldhouse debuts in this one: Ben McLemore (11 points and 6 rebounds in 26 minutes) and Jamari Traylor (6-4-14), two players who spent the 2011-12 season with the team as partial-qualifiers but were not eligible to play, looked strong, and Landen Lucas added six points and nine rebounds in 12 minutes.

"I thought we did some good things," Self said. "We tried hard and looked pretty athletic."

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action.

The game turned when: Kansas ripped off a 20-1 run, which included a 12-0 spurt, that turned a 14-12 lead for Emporia State into a 32-15 lead for the Jayhawks. The run featured back-to-back three-pointers from surprise starter Naadir Tharpe as well as back-to-back treys from senior Elijah Johnson and freshman Ben McLemore. KU led 42-21 at halftime and cruised home from there.

Offensive highlight: With 10:42 to play in the game, senior guard Elijah Johnson elevated for a three-pointer from the top of the key that missed to the left. The bounce, however, hung in front of the rim, allowing freshman Ben McLemore to fly down the lane for the follow-dunk that delighted the Fieldhouse crowd.

Defensive highlight: With 15:36 to play in the second half, and following a timeout, freshman forward Jamari Traylor jumped into a passing lane and picked up one of his four steals. He followed it up with a two-handed, high-flying rim-rattler that won’t do anything to quiet the comparisons to Thomas Robinson.

Key stat: As expected, the Jayhawks outrebounded the Hornets, 43-23, in this one, including a 13-7 advantage on the offensive glass.

Up next: The Jayhawks will close out their exhibition schedule Monday, Nov. 5, when they take on Washburn at 7 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse.

KU coach Bill Self postgame audio

Ben McLemore, Rio Adams and Landen Lucas postgame audio

Box score


Todd Simpson 8 years, 4 months ago

did anyone get the db reading in AFH today?

FarSideHawk 8 years, 4 months ago

Rock Chalk Jayhawk

This is going to be a good team. This can become a scarily good DEFENSIVE team!

AWIII will need some time. So will Rio. But they will both contribute.

Naadir looked fine and will get better.

McElmore with some minor adjustments will be as good as advertised.

The only problem I see is that there is not enough time to go around and a lot of people are at similar level, which means the lineups may change depending on the way the practice went during the week, leading to on-court chemistry issues.

Either way, I'm excited as always for this team evolve over the year.

Enjoy the journey!

jhawkNKC 8 years, 4 months ago

Great game overall tonight. There are obviously areas that improvement can be made in and rest assured that coach Self will address those. All together though, VERY encouraged about this team and season after tonight's game. I was just really impressed with the chemistry that everyone seemed to have this early in the season and the overall play.

I could make a small list of things I was impressed with but the one thing more than anything else that just blew my socks off was the play of Perry Ellis. The kid is just so consistent. He just seems like a player that you can always count on to get X number of points, rebounds, assists, whatever. The last freshman who I remember that were supposed to be as good as what Ellis looked like tonight were Selby and Henry. In my opinion, he looked a WHOLE lot better than both in his first game. And the scary thing is that I can't see any drop off in him...just consistency. Sure he'll have a down game here and there but more often than not, he'll be solid. God I can't wait until Frankamp Peters and he are on the floor together. Oh man, how sweet that day will be :) Rock Chalk!

David Leathers 8 years, 4 months ago

I wouldn't say that at all. More like a bunch of kids who have never played a real collegiate game trying to shake off the nerves. Plus, the Hornets came out and played hard.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 4 months ago

Finally, it's started.

Hardly anything worthwhile can be determined with such an inferior opponent.

But here are some things I'm comfortable speculating on after this game:

  1. Jamari Traylor may be fine as our 4th post guy. Again, opponent means a lot here. (As an aside, Traylor's ability to be the 4th post man may be the determining factor in whether Peters redshirts .. we'll see. Lucas isn't ready. Wesley is the same dude as last season).

  2. Andrew White will lead the team in 3 pt field goal percentage this season.

  3. Perry Ellis as freshman is better than Marcus Morris was as a freshman.

  4. Naadir Tharpe will struggle on defense all season. As jaybate said from day 1 .. short legs. Whatever it is, he'll struggle.

  5. EJ still ain't shy gunnin' it up from outside.

  6. McLemore is no Kenny Gregory. No worries there. His trajectory is skyward. He is every bit the real deal.

  7. Kevin Young will make everything look better. Ellis assumes the starting role sooner than later, KY off the bench in his natural role.

But my highlight of the evening was watching Rio Adams play defense. Terrific. Now I couldn't tell if he was adhering to proper spacing, etc. But purely in his man's jock, active, long, harassing, quick. I don't want to over do it here, but that was very impressive. I found myself just watching him when he was in the game. The guy can stick on defense, which could .. could .. give him a role. If he can dribble/handle the ball, Tharpe might be looking over his shoulder. Now the hair -- that's another thing ...

texashawk10 8 years, 4 months ago

I agree with most of these points, but I also wonder how much of it was how good these players were tonight and how much of it was playing a bad D2 school. I think it's a little too soon to pass legitimate judgement on some of these players until they play in against a better caliber of opponent.

Jayhawking_88 8 years, 4 months ago


Biggest Surprise - Landen Lucas - Great physicality for a freshman, hungry rebounder, looked very athletic tonight albeit against E State. Big upside!

Mr. Consistent - Perry Ellis - Going to be solid every game, could shape up to be the most reliable freshman in the country. Finished well after contact...

The Key Piece - Ben McLemore - Need him to penetrate more, become a more effective playmaker. Has all the athletic gifts...his development over the course of the year will be the difference between a good team and a potential Final Four team.

Baby T. Rob - Jamari Traylor - It's a fair comparison. He's got the frame and can't wait to see what a couple years w/ Andrea Hudy produces. Also had great bounce in the open court after the steal. Big upside!

Bummer Bro - Jeff Whithey - Still going to be a great defensive presence...but still appears to be Somalian weak finishing underneath.

TBD - Elijah Johnson - Has maybe the toughest adjustment...a key piece to an effective offense is a pentrating point guard. Somebody who can consitently draw others and kick. He's not a natural PG...but could be an effective hybrid...time will tell.

Da Glue - Travis Releford - Little bit of everything...appears marginally more confident in his 3 point shot. His leadership alongside EJ will be big.

Strokin' - AW 3 - In competition with EJ for best looking stroke. Confident shooter...needs to work on defensive foot speed.

Work in Progress - Naadir Tharpe - Not sure what the deal is with KU not being able to get top PG talent. Naadir showed glimpses of a better feel...I'm optimistic he'll continue to improve.

Cool Guy - Rio Adams - Has some length...could be solid defensively. His "Cool Guy" vibe might be his best asset at this point.

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