Saturday, December 15, 2012

Notebook: KU keeps Belmont bombers in check


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self on KU's big win over Belmont

KU coach Bill Self talks about what went right during Saturday night's convincing victory over Belmont.

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Box score


Eleven Belmont University basketball bombers combined for 38 three-point attempts in Saturday’s 89-60 loss to Kansas University in Allen Fieldhouse.

The barrage of threes tied for second-most attempts versus KU in school history. Kentucky hoisted 40 threes in a 150-95 loss to KU on Dec. 9, 1989, in Allen. Emporia State launched 38 threes in a 113-61 loss to KU on Dec. 14, 2002, also in Allen.

“Coach told us they were going to shoot 35-plus threes, so we had to come out ready and stay tuned-in on defense,” KU senior forward Travis Releford said.

Trevor Noack hit three of eight threes, while five Bruins each hit one three apiece. Overall, Belmont hit just 34.4 percent of its shots and eight of 10 free throws. Belmont’s 21 percent shooting from three was the lowest percentage by a KU foe so far this season. The Bruins missed eight of their first nine.

“They are the second-best three-point shooting team in the country, and they got off 38. So that means they missed some open looks, too,” KU coach Bill Self said.

“I’m not going to be too excited about that. What they exposed us on and played to was Jeff’s (Withey) man playing behind the arc. That’s going to be a struggle for us no matter what. I thought Jeff for the most part did a good job (guarding the 6-foot-7 Noack, who had 19 points and eight boards),” Self noted.

Good point guard play: KU senior Elijah Johnson had nine assists, one turnover, five rebounds and seven points in 30 minutes. He was 3-for-6 from the field, 1-for-4 from three-point range.

“Elijah was the best player in the game tonight,” Self said. “He only takes seven shots, but he totally controlled the game. He guarded the other team’s most dangerous player, Johnson (Kerron, nine points 3-of-8 shooting), and did a good job on him. He got us easy baskets. Some of the plays he made were really, really (good). That left-handed back-door pass (to Travis Releford, who fed to Jeff Withey for a dunk early in second half) ... those are pretty special plays. He’s getting better all the time.”

It took Johnson just five seconds to get the ball all the way down the floor to feed it to Ben McLemore, who dunked and was fouled right before the first-half buzzer.

“That was a terrific play to end the half. That was a big-time guard play right there,” Self said.

McLemore hit the free throw with players from both teams already headed to the locker room. Just KU’s coaches watched McLemore swish the half-ending free throw.

“It was kind of weird,” McLemore said. “I felt there was a lot of pressure on me, but I took my time, took a deep breath and just shot the free throw.”

This, that: KU has won 60 straight games against nonconference teams in Allen Fieldhouse. ... KU has won 27 straight games in Allen. ... KU is 2-0 against Belmont and 21-0 vs. the current members of the Ohio Valley Conference. ... KU is 150-7 in Allen in the Self era. ... Leading 27-21, KU used a 9-2 run to take a 36-22 lead over a 3:44 stretch. ... KU led for the entire game. The Jayhawks have held the lead for their last 253 minutes and 17 seconds on the court spanning six games. ... KU started the second half by sinking five of its first six three-point tries. ... KU outrebounded Belmont, 41-34, and has outrebounded seven of nine opponents. ... Seven of KU’s eight victories have been by 13 points or more this season. ... The Jayhawks had a season-best 25 assists. ... Withey had five blocks, increasing his total to 50. Withey also finished with 14 points, marking his sixth double-digit scoring game of the season and his fourth in the last five games. He now has 24 double-figure games in his career. ... Andrew White III had his picture on KU’s ticket and media passes Saturday. He wound up with 15 points.


lawerencejayhawk 6 years, 11 months ago


X-Factor. Efficient and versatile. Can sub for 2 3 or 4. Great looking jump shot.

Go Jayhawks!

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

Great! Self used a defensive assignment on Belmont's best guy to build up EJ's confidence.

And EJ responded with lock down plus a great floor game. And Self acknowledges by implication more and more how really banged up EJ's been.

1-4 from trey means the hitch isn't totally out of his get along yet, but more and more the team is being strung for scoring to be optional.

Marcia Parsons 6 years, 11 months ago

You still think coach sent them out flat to play this game?

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

It seems obvious to me.

KU is waaaaay longer and waaaaaay more talented than Belmont. Belmont's tallest guy was 6-7. Our perimeter guys were almost as big as their front line. Tell me you're not serious about this, oldalum. :-)

If Self had sent them out with a bunch of wrinkles and sky high, KU would have jumped off to a 15-20 point 5-8 minutes in.

Instead, Self sent the team out without much edge, played Jamari and Perry and AW3 a bunch, and didn't play through his footer, or his lottery pick hardly at all.

C'mon, Ben Mac only took 7 shots, fer gosh sakes. Of course Self tried to make it close game. His team just shot the lights out--48% from trey and 81% from the line and 50% from the field. How the heck could they not blow the game wide open eventually doing that?!!!!

The game was close much of the first half, which it probably wouldn't have been had Self amped them, played through Ben and Jeff, and given them a full compliment of wrinkles in strategy.

Without the 48% trey shooting it would almost certainly have been KU laboring for a win.

Not sure what you're trying to say here.

Curtis Stutz 6 years, 11 months ago

I can understand why you might think that jaybate, but the team was fired up. The fact that Belmont only grabbed 4 offensive boards on all those misses, most of which were from 3pt range, tells you the Jayhawks were focused. Had 3's not fallen, KU would have grabbed more offensive boards themselves. Plus the final score doesn't tell the story, Belmont probably cut the lead a good 12 pts once the starters called it a night, it was a dominant performance with or without the 3 ball falling. KU shoots 6-21 from 3, still would have been a 30 pt game. It was 87-46 I think with about 5.5 mins to go when the starters were pulled for good. Belmont hit a couple tough shots early, but it was still 21-9 after 9.5 minutes. 15-20 pt lead on what Sagarin still considers to be the 36th best team in 5 minutes of game is a bit much to ask. How often do Bill Self teams actually have 20 pts total in the first 5 minutes of a game on pace for 160? 20-5 leads at the 5 min mark are rare even against a D2 opponent.

Self did let Ellis labor through it, focusing the offense through him after KU jumped to a big lead. Ellis was struggling, but Self just kept going back to him again and again with Withey and Young out of the game. After struggling for a while he had a nice assist, scored a few points, had a solid kick out of a double team, but in general he didn't enjoy himself out there. The big disappointment to me with Ellis is still rebounding. In his defense in this game, being in there and being made the focus of the offense didn't give him the offensive rebounding opportunities I hoped to see him capitalize on against a smaller lineup. Self went straight at him, sink or swim.

Gary Wirsig 6 years, 11 months ago

Jaybate, for an apparent (at least armchair) expert in strategic warfare, you sure put yourself on ground that's hard to defend sometimes.

Kevin Studer 6 years, 11 months ago

Not to pick nits, but KU could not possibly have led for the last 253 minutes of court time; it is a statistical impossibility.

PSM 6 years, 11 months ago

maybe you would like them to say KU has not trailed for the last 253 minutes of court time? Other than the 0-0 tie thing, KU leading for the last 253 minutes over 6.5 games makes sense to me...

Steve Quatrocky 6 years, 11 months ago

Well, two games in a row show that the practice heavy last couple have weeks have corrected this teams biggest weakness, three point defense, and second biggest weakness, offensive efficiency. EJ was big on both of those with the lockdown D and NINE freaking to ONE Assist to TO ratio!

The freshmen all took a big jump too, as evidenced by AWIII, and McLemore's emergence as the most deadly weapon. Perry's youth and nice guy personality are still intefering and keeping him behind the rest and his facial expression and body language suggest he is starting to mope too. Hopefully with finals out of the way....the light will turn on and his talent gets unleashed before conference play begins. Right now, Traylor's D still contributes more in the competition for precious minutes even though Perry is a much more natural scorer. Traylor really benefitted from going against TRob last year in practice.

yates33333 6 years, 11 months ago

Traylor is a good role player, but KU's future depends more on Perry. He can be more the all around 4 and part time 5, scoring, passing, and in time rebounding.

Marcia Parsons 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't think you can put too much stock in Perry's expression, kugrad1983. He's pretty stoic all through the game whether he's playing or not.

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