Kansas defeats Wake Forest, 87-78

  • 2:30 p.m., Nov. 28, 2013
  • Nassau, Bahamas,

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The right guys: Kansas bench keys win vs. Wake

Kansas guard Frank Mason fights for a loose ball with Wake Forest defenders Codi Miller-McIntyre (0) and Coron Williams during the first half of the Battle 4 Atlantis opening round on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Kansas guard Frank Mason fights for a loose ball with Wake Forest defenders Codi Miller-McIntyre (0) and Coron Williams during the first half of the Battle 4 Atlantis opening round on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self, Jamari Traylor and Frank Mason discuss beating Wake Forest

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, and bench players Jamari Traylor and Frank Mason, discuss how the Jayhawks' bench helped them beat Wake Forest, 87-78, in an ugly Battle 4 Atlantis win.

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Kansas 87, Wake Forest 78

Box score

— Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self was brutally honest with his star-studded starting five during his postgame speech following an 87-78 first-round Battle 4 Atlantis victory over Wake Forest on Thursday in Imperial Arena.

“I said, ‘Maybe we’re playing the wrong guys.’ That’s what I told them,” said Self, who banished Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden, Perry Ellis, Naadir Tharpe and Tarik Black to the pine after Wake sliced a 14-point halftime deficit to 46-42 with 14:11 to play.

The group of Frank Mason (13 points), Andrew White III, Conner Frankamp, Joel Embiid (10 points, six boards, three blocks) and Jamari Traylor (eight points, five boards) brought it back to double digits before resting at 6:28, KU up 10.

“Andrew’s sick. He has the flu. It’s hard to be critical (of him),” Self said of freshman guard Wiggins, who finished with a team-leading 17 points off 6-of-13 shooting, including nine points in the final five minutes.

“Naadir (five points off 1-5 shooting, two assists) and Wayne (Selden, eight points) didn’t have their normal games. Perry’s been great and he labored today (nine points, seven boards). So I hope it sends a message.

“On the flip side, I also asked the guys after the game, ‘What can we hang our hat on today?’ The common answer was, ‘Well coach, we’ve got depth.’ I hope we don’t have to play like this all the time. It’s fine if we have to.”

He wound up playing 10 players nine or more minutes (nobody played more than Tharpe’s 27) and it had nothing to do with conserving energy for the three-day tourney.

“I thought our bench was better than our starters,” Self said. “I wasn’t trying to prove a point. I was trying to win the game. We never got stops. We didn’t stop them ever (with starters in game).

“I thought ‘Mari and Andrew White and Joel all played very well. Conner usually doesn’t ever miss a free throw but he missed a couple (also hit three of four after a double technical on Devin Thomas cost the player a game ejection). I thought he (Frankamp) did fine and of course Frank was terrific.

“I thought that (playing the bench) was our best chance to play well or stunt their momentum because we did a poor job letting them get some momentum the second half. Even though we didn’t play unbelievably well, we didn’t allow them (5-1 Deacons) to continue to run.”

Mason hit a three and one of two free throws to up a 46-42 lead to 50-42 at 12:53.

After two Wake Free throws, Traylor drove for a bucket, giving KU a 52-44 advantage.

Embiid dunked and White hit a shot and KU led, 56-45, at 10:59, energizing a pro-KU crowd. KU appeared to have all but a handful of the fans in the 3,900-seat, sold-out arena.

“I think the bench gave great energy and competed,” said Mason, who played 12 minutes the final half; Traylor played a team-high 13 the second stanza.

“We knew the starters weren’t doing so well. We tried to come off the bench and make plays,” Mason added.

“I think we came in and gave the team some energy. I think we competed hard,” Traylor said. “We stepped up a little bit and helped the team get the win.”

KU’s starters, who were not available for comment, did help preserve the victory late and propel (5-0) KU into tonight’s 8:30 p.m., semifinals against (5-0) Villanova.

Wiggins hit a three, giving KU a 68-57 lead at 5:51. Selden scored off a strong drive to up a 77-72 lead to seven-points at 1:25. Wiggins hit a free throw and Tharpe two charities to stretch a 79-74 lead to 82-74 at :30. Then reserve Mason converted two free throws to make it 84-76 at :21.8. Wiggins finished the scoring with a hoop and free throw at 3.0 seconds.

“We’re happy we won,” Self said. “I thought Wake Forest really outplayed us the second half. Fortunately we got a little bit of a cushion. Our bench was good and did a good job of holding it together for us, especially the second half.”


Aaron Paisley 4 months, 3 weeks ago

We're now getting deep enough into the season where we are seeing roles get defined on this team. Naadir Tharpe will be the starter going forward and Frank Mason will come off the bench to provide a spark. There are plenty of examples of teams having a 6th man who is arguably better than one of the starters, but the chemistry of the team just works better with that player coming off the bench. Tharpe and Mason both are capable players and we'll see both on the floor together very regularly this year and Self will also likely mix it up on who finishes games based on how the individual game is going. Naadir Tharpe didn't have his best game against Wake, most of the team had bad games as well, it happens. I can guarantee that Frank Mason will have some games where he plays like he's never seen a basketball before. I've read that on average, in a 40 game season, players and teams will have about 5 games where they play way above their norm, about 5 games where you wonder what's wrong and will they ever recover, and the other 75% of games will be pretty close to average and it's this 75% that is the appropriate way to judge a player or team's ability.


Jack Wilson 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Scut: I'm certainly a Tharpe fan, but for you to imply that Mason may not be a true point guard is perhaps the most misplaced item I've seen here in a long time (please correct me if you did not mean that). You mention penetration with Mason as if that's not the essence of a true point guard .. which it is, of course, if it's used the right way.

All Mason is lacking right now, actually, to be the perfect point guard is a 40+% three point shot. Did you see the drive yesterday and the dish near the bucket? My brother, who I was watching the game with, said "Tyshawn would have clanked that one off the back board instead of passing." Exactly right. Tyshawn is non-perfect, shoot first point guard. Mason seems to blend the dish and the shot quite nicely when he penetrates.

Mason is nowhere near that. Mason has the makings of the perfect point guard. He is even more "perfect" because we'll have him for four years. Would you rather have the #1 guy, Andrew Harrison, or Mason right now? I know my choice.

Brett/kingfisher and Benz/twocoach44 are pushing Mason as the starter now. With that, I'd simply ask them to see everything good that Tharpe does bring to this team. To advocate a shift to Mason, in this case, is really a choice between two excellent options.

But it seems pretty apparent to me that we are better when Mason is on the floor right now. That's not a slam on Tharpe, His 10 assists the other night went kind of unnoticed. The argument right now is who gets the bulk of the minutes, really. Again, Tharpe isn't playing bad now at all. Mason is just playing better.

Right now, last five minutes of the game, down by 5, who do you want on the court? This is the lineup I want on the court:

  1. Mason

  2. Selden

  3. Wiggins

  4. Ellis

  5. Embiid

In that scenario, I'd also be fine with Tharpe in for Selden.

This is what I posted on another site about Mason and Tharpe last weekend -- my humble suggestion on where Self might go with this:

Self should not close his mind to starting Mason. I know, I’m a Tharpe guy. I’ve been referred to as being “in love with Tharpe.” I am a Tharpe guy. But I am also now a Mason guy. If coach Self thinks this team is better with Mason, which he has hinted at, then do not shy away from the choice. Self has mentioned how we play faster with Mason. That is obvious. Self may view the tandem as just that, and no reason to favor Mason over Tharpe. But if that’s his gut, then he should do it and do it as soon as possible.

And I think that's the key. If Self truly believes that we are better with Mason, he should start Mason now, and play Mason the bulk of the point guard minutes.

But we see that Self is sticking with Black as the starter over Embiid; and so far, that battle is a blow-out. It's not even close.

Self is just being a good coach. Thoughtful. Fair. He isn't yanking anyone's job on such a small sample. But the sample size is continuing to increase ...


Steve Corder 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Reserves were the right guys? When Wake closed the gap in the final minutes then why did Self put the starters back in? How many points did Wiggins get in those minutes?


Scut Farkus 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Tharpe is a true point guard. I think he sees the floor better, has a better feel for the offense, gets everyone involved, and is a better defender. Mason is a penetrater, decent passer and extremely quick. Neither one needs to be great offensively. From a team standpoint, having Mason come off the bench is the best strategy.


Brett McCabe 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Each player on this team should put a picture of Marcus Smart as the background on their cell phones. It might hep them focus on improving their defense before Smart and company light them up like the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.


Ethan Berger 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Funny how just in March we were angry at Self for not sticking with Tharpe in the sweet 16 game and here we stand before December and want him Benched for Mason. Love Mason and what he can do, gets in and scores. But if one thing I have seen is Tharpe outside tonight has done a better job getting the other 4 in positions to succeed. Let's give it some time before we are willing to job from Tharpe to Mason.


Tommy Glenn 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Greene is a concern,I love that kid, he got in last game, why not this one, her is instant offense. PLUS screw the rankings, Frank Mason is a beast #imissjaybate


Brian Conrad 4 months, 3 weeks ago

where is Greene ???? please JW staff update us on his situation . if our bench was not as deep this would be Major story.


Paul Rupp 4 months, 3 weeks ago

2nd team in the nation benched. 7th best team in the nation took over. I can be stubborn when it comes to teaching moments, but I would have left the 7th best team in to finish the game. Still, I'm not the coach, which is probably for the best. RCJH. This season is going to be so fun!


Bryce Landon 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Missed most of the game. What happened where Wake got three technicals and one player ejected?


Brett McCabe 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Didn't get to watch the game but just read the box score. I'll ask again: when will Mason be named the starter?


Kye Clark 4 months, 3 weeks ago

HEM I hope you see this (as I think my hatred for Misery is rivaled only by yours)! Even without them to kick around in the conference their buffoonery is still a constant source of amusement. So much to laugh at with this link!


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