By Matt Tait — firstname.lastname@example.org —
It took a half for the Kansas University men's basketball team to gain the upper hand, but once it did there was no turning back in a 93-83 victory against previously unbeaten Toledo at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks and Rockets battled back and forth for much of the first half but a late surge by Kansas put the Jayhawks up 43-36 at halftime and the Jayhawks added to that lead throughout the second half, despite the Rockets' refusal to quit.
Perry Ellis led Kansas with 21 points and 11 rebounds on a night in which four Jayhawks reached double figures in scoring. Andrew Wiggins added 20, Naadir Tharpe 20 and Joel Embiid added 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The victory improved KU to 9-3 and dropped Toledo to 12-1.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: The Jayhawks went inside. KU out-rebounded the Rockets 25-12 in the first half and outscored Toledo 28-12 in the paint. Those numbers evened out a bit as the game went on, but the Jayhawks were clearly the superior team around the rim.
• Offensive highlight: There were a few monster dunks (an alley-oop to Wiggins and a one-handed rim-rattler by Embiid come to mind), but there wasn't a better offensive play in this game than the and-one, finger roll by Wiggins midway through the first half that put KU up for the first time. After driving hard to the rim and absorbing a foul, Wiggins flicked the fingers on his left hand and that sent the ball up to the rim, where it rolled around and fell through. After the timeout, Wiggins hit the free throw to complete the three-point play and send Kansas on its way.
• Defensive highlight: With a little more than 14 minutes left in the second half, Toledo's Julius Brown drove to the rim and saw Joel Embiid closing in on him. Rather than go up on the front side of the rim, where Embiid surely would've blocked it, Brown tucked it, slipped under the rim and tried to put it up on the other side, but Embiid blocked it there anyway. That's a move that's as old as time and still works a lot. But Embiid made sure it didn't on this one.
• Key stat: The Jayhawks may have dominated the paint but they were red hot from the outside, too, finishing 7 of 14 from three-point range for 50 percent. Had KU been just average, Toledo's 9-of-16 shooting night from three-point range might have made things a little more uncomfortable for the home team.
• Up next: The Jayhawks will wrap up their non-conference schedule at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at home against San Diego State.