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E. Kentucky at Kansas coverage

Kansas defeats Eastern Kentucky , 80-69

  • 3:10 p.m., March 21, 2014
  • Scottrade Center, St. Loius, MO

FINAL: Kansas 80, Eastern Kentucky 69

By Matt Tait --- mtait@ljworld.com

St. Louis — Conner Frankamp and Perry Ellis kept the Jayhawks in it in the first half and Jamari Traylor had a heck of a lot to do with making sure his team survived in the second, during KU's 80-69 victory over 15th-seeded Eastern Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Scottrade Center.

In 13 first-half minutes in place of ineffective starter Naadir Tharpe, Frankamp scored six points and dished two assists. More importantly, he did not turn the ball over, which was what sent Tharpe to the bench in the first place.

KU committed 13 turnovers — compared to just five for EKU — but got steady enough play from Frankamp and Ellis to head into the locker room tied at 32.

In the second half, KU's size wore down the Colonels (24-10), who kept throwing up three-pointers all afternoon and watched 39 percent of them go in (12-of-31).

Tarik Black came up with some big blocks and dunks and Traylor's ability to attack the rim and rip rebounds out of the air was huge toward KU hanging on in this one.

Traylor contributed a double-double (17 points, 14 rebounds) and Black (12), Andrew Wiggins (19) and Ellis (14) also reached double figures for KU, which improved to 25-9 and will move on to Sunday.

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

• The game turned when: The Jayhawks ripped off an 8-1 run after finding themselves tied at 56 with around 8 minutes to play. Traylor and Wiggins were huge in the run, finishing buckets right at the rim to give Kansas just enough of a cushion to survive.

• Offensive highlight: With 6:05 left in the first half and the Jayhawks needing a spark, Andrew Wiggins came up with a block on one end and then raced down the floor to catch a lob from Frank Mason that pulled the Jayhawks within 23-18. A few minutes later, Mason and Wiggins connected on another alley-oop play that helped bring the KU fans in the building to life. In the second half, Tarik Black had a string of three power dunks in six or seven possessions to help the Jayhawks hang tough.

• Defensive highlight: With the game tied at 56, and on the heels of a three-point play on the other end, Jamari Traylor came up with a nasty block of EKU's Glenn Cosey that led to a free throw from Wayne Selden on the other end for the Jayhawks. Selden missed the second free throw but Traylor slipped in for the rebound and flushed it to put Kansas up three with 7:55 to play. In all, Kansas used its size advantage to the tune of 7 blocks. EKU finished with 1.

• Key stat: KU's field goal percentage (59.6) helped them survive in this one, which played perfectly into EKU's hands for much of the day, with the Colonels forcing turnovers and knocking in three-pointers.

Box score

• Up next: With their victory today over Eastern Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the second-seeded Jayhawks (25-9) will face No. 10 seed Stanford at a yet to be determined time on Sunday.

Stanford advanced to the third round with a 58-53 over New Mexico in the first game of the day in St. Louis.

6-foot-2 junior guard Chasson Randle led the Cardinal (22-12) with 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Anthony Brown and Stefan Nastic added 10 points apiece for Stanford, which jumped out to a huge lead early in the game, led by five at halftime and held on for the victory.

KU is 8-2 all-time against Stanford. The Jayhawks last faced the Cardinal in December of 2003 in Anaheim and lost, 64-58. Before that, KU played Stanford in the second round of the 2002 NCAA tourney (also in St. Louis) and won 86-83 en route to reaching the Final Four.

The Cardinal feature four players who averaged double figures in scoring this season and are led by all-Pac-12 first team selections Randle and 6-10, 240-pound forward Dwight Powell.

In addition, senior forward Josh Huestis was named to the all-Pac-12 defensive team and junior wing player Anthony Brown earned the Pac-12's most improved player of the year award.

Stanford is coached by Johnny Dawkins, the former Duke assistant, who is now in his sixth year in Palo Alton, Calif.

Comments

Alan Mills 7 years ago

The Jayhawks are fortunate to advance. After showing such promise earlier in the year, there can be no doubt that Naadir Tharpe is easily the worst point guard in college basketball...perhaps in the entire history of basketball. In the first half, it really seemed that he was dead set on establishing a new individual record for turnovers in a half. Added to his complete unwillingness to play any defense at all, and it is truly deplorable that he was on the court at the end of the game. While I, personally, feel Mason is no better, there is no question Tharpe has worked his way into the "terrible" class of player. Am I the only one who notices that he constantly looks to the bench? That is the sign of a small mind, and a small player. I have the utmost respect for Coach Self and what he has accomplished, but easily the worst job of coaching tonight. Tharpe should have been sent to the end of the bench for the duration. If Frankamp doesn't start on Sunday, I will honestly lose some of that respect for Coach Self. No chance of winning another game if Tharpe plays, I feel.

Enough negative...man, Selden and Wiggins and Black and Ellis and Frankamp and even Traylor were pretty darned good down the stretch. With 4+ minute timeouts every 4 minutes, I might not play anyone else until Embiid is ready to go! Rock Chalk...another game Sunday against Stanford!

Jeremy Wilhelm 7 years ago

This is almost the worst comment I have read all season, saved only by your second paragraph. Tharpe was bad today, but you're way off base. I do agree that Conner should get more time, but Tharpe can get the job done as well as any guard on the roster, and better when he is on. If he can replicate some of the 9 AST, 0 TO games he has had this year, I like our chances.

Rodney Crain 7 years ago

Jeremy if Self leaves Tharpe in that game we lose it. Tharpe has been bad often, his few good games cannot over shadow how much he hurts this team with his poor defense, and turn overs. Thank heavens Conner stepped up today, he saved that game, along with Traylor and Black.

It baffles me that people keep thinking Tharpe is something he is not. He is not a leader, he is not a starting PG and he certainly is not a ball handler.

We will need a starting PG for next year, Tharpe is not it. I have no idea where Self finds one, but we will need one.

Mark Lindrud 7 years ago

As Tharpe is getting worse, Frankamp is getting better and more confident. Tharpe dribbles into trouble and does a horrible job of driving or setting up teammates and even his passing has regressed. After reading the article where he plans to be a leader this March he has become anything besides a leader.. More turnovers than assists in a game is horrible. Either he fixes it or like today, he rides the pine.

Sam Constance 7 years ago

To say that Tharpe is terrible, overall, is either hyperbole or displays a severe ignorance of the history of basketball.

He was very bad today. He has also been the difference that prevented us from losing games on multiple occasions this season. He struggles to defend and he is inconsistent, but he has had an overall very good season, with a fantastic A/TO ratio and shooting very well from three.

I'm so tired of KU fans throwing our PGs under the bus.

Mark Lindrud 7 years ago

A/TO ratio of 5/2 is not fantastic, it is very average for a guy who is supposed to be setting up his teammates. In his last 5 games he has 24 assists to 9 turnovers and is 8/23 on 3 pointers. Not fantastic.

Alex Cole 7 years ago

Figured this would be a great time for my first post; long time reader. How about that Jamari Traylor? Shades of T-Rob were shown! and Perry and Tarik were outstanding in their own right. Also, the Frankamp factor was huge in this one. He was cool, calm, collected, as his number was called; while Tharpe was having one of "those games". It's either very good or very bad with Naa, today was very bad. So does that mean Sunday..?

Rock Chalk. On to the next one.

Rodney Crain 7 years ago

I Like what Self did today, if it is BAD Tharpe day pull him and go with someone else and try to win the game without him. You have to start him but pull him early if he does not have it, which is more often then not recently, and give yourself a chance with someone who takes care of the ball and at least tries to defend his position.

Tharpe is the most inconsistent player on the roster, if he is off don't let him hurt us anymore. How a player can come out with such poor energy game after game is just beyond reason. It just shows you he does not have what it takes to lead a team.

We have to find a starting PG for next year, Tharpe is not it. We have decent backups on the roster now but we need a starting PG on what should be a great team next year.

Survive and advance.

I like our chances against Stanford.

Sam Constance 7 years ago

I agree 100% with this post. You can't abandon Tharpe completely because he can help us a lot when he's playing with focus. And you can't toss a freshman who has played more than 17 minutes twice this season into a starting role at the NCAA tournament.

But pulling Tharpe when he's sloppy accomplishes two things: it gets the offender out of the game to prevent him from hurting us any longer, and it also sends a wake-up call to possibly re-focus him when he comes back into the game, sort of like yesterday.

I like the idea of Frankamp as a starting PG next year.

Shannon Gustafson 7 years ago

Tharpe is often good against teams that don't play aggressive trapping/pressing defense, and is always bad against teams that trap/press. Depending on the matchup, this should determine ahead of time how many minutes he's likely to plan IF Self does what he did today and pulls him on those "bad" nights.

Mark Lindrud 7 years ago

I agree, but your starting point guard should not have to play according to match ups . He should be up for anything. Guess that's why Frankamp and Mason came in to pick up the slack of our starting point guard.

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