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Kansas defeats Eastern Kentucky , 80-69

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

Unleashed energy: Sub Jamari Traylor’s double-double pushes Kansas to next round

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor flexes after a dunk by teammate Tarik Black against Eastern Kentucky during the second half on Friday, March 21, 2014 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor flexes after a dunk by teammate Tarik Black against Eastern Kentucky during the second half on Friday, March 21, 2014 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self, Perry Ellis and Conner Frankamp discuss KU's tourney win over Eastern Kentucky

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, sophomore forward Perry Ellis and freshman guard Conner Frankamp discuss KU's NCAA Tournament win over Eastern Kentucky on Friday in St. Louis.

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Bill Self talks about nature of NCAA Tournament

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self discusses the madness that comes along with the NCAA Tournament after the Jayhawks beat upset-minded Eastern Kentucky in St. Louis.

KANSAS 80, EASTERN KENTUCKY 69

Box score

— Kansas University senior Tarik Black was the first Jayhawk to greet his big buddy, sophomore Jamari Traylor, after the final horn sounded in KU’s 80-69 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Friday in an NCAA Tournament opener in Scottrade Center.

“I just told him, ‘Thank you for the win. Thank you for extending my senior season.’ That’s what I told him, because he was a major reason I have another game to play and my season is not over, my college career is not over,” Black said after a game in which the 6-foot-8 Traylor scored a career high 17 points and grabbed a career-best 14 rebounds in 22 minutes.

Traylor had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the second half for the No. 2-seeded Jayhawks, who survived the gritty No. 15-seeded Colonels and advanced to Sunday’s Round of 32 game against Stanford.

“Coach (Bill Self) said he couldn’t be happier for me,” said Traylor, whose previous career high in scoring was 10 points against TCU on Feb. 15 and previous career best on the boards was nine twice, last against Oklahoma State on March 13.

“Coach said, ‘Great game. Keep up the energy and everything,’’’ Traylor added.

The Chicago native, who is known for his high-octane play in coming off the bench, was even more energetic than usual on Friday.

He posted on Twitter on Thursday night how bored he was sitting in his hotel room hour after hour watching NCAA Tourney games.

“The thing about tournament time is we don’t get to do much. We just sit in the hotel all the time and watch basketball,” Traylor said. “There were good games on and everything, but I don’t like to sit around. As a little kid I liked to go outside all the time. I don’t like to be locked in my room.

“I definitely wanted to get out here and play. I was tired of being locked in my room.”

Junior point guard Naadir Tharpe — who had four points, three assists and four turnovers in 21 minutes on a day freshman guard Conner Frankamp exploded for a career-high 10 points and four assists in 25 minutes — noticed a restless Traylor on Thursday.

The two are roommates in the Hyatt Regency at the Arch Hotel this trip.

“I was resting. He kept on talking to me: ‘Naa, Naa, I can’t wait for this game. We’ve been in the room all day. I can’t wait to play.’ I kept telling him, ‘We’re going to play tomorrow. We’re going to play tomorrow.’ Now I can see why he was so excited,” Tharpe said.

“He played tremendous for us. He went out and played a game.”

Traylor’s fierce block of a Glenn Cosey shot came right after Traylor scored a basket off a drive and free throw to tie the game at 56. Following the block, Wayne Selden hit a free throw and Traylor dunked after retrieving Selden’s errant free throw toss. Andrew Wiggins (19 points, four rebounds) then hit a basket and free throw and KU led, 62-56, with 7:35 left.

“Jamari brought it for us,” said Black, who contributed 12 points, five boards and four blocks. Perry Ellis also was strong inside with 14 points and 13 boards. “Coach said he had 17 and 14. Those are big-time numbers, huge stats,” Black added.

Perhaps the only negative of the night for Traylor was a play just before halftime. He fouled Orlando Williams outside the three-point line with KU up, 32-30, and 0.4 ticks on the clock. Williams made two of three free throws to tie the game at half.

“I think that was one of the dumbest plays I ever made in my life. Coach let me know about it,” Traylor said. “That was pretty boneheaded I may say. I was upset at first, and in the locker room, but I shook it off.”

And he had the best game of his still-young career, helping save the Jayhawks on a day they were outscored from the three-point line, 36 points to none.

“Personally I’d say yeah it’s my best game, but it’s one game. It’s a long tournament. I’ve got to bring it every time,” Traylor said.

Self can only hope Traylor builds on Friday’s outing.

“Jamari came in and did such a great job. He gave us so much energy tonight there are no words to explain,” Self said. “I told our guys after, I don’t know if he’s had a better game. He had 17 and 14. He made that one boneheaded play at the end of the half, but he’ll do that time to time because he tries so hard. And he is just trying a little too hard. But he was terrific.”

He lives to play another day in this tournament. On Sunday, KU meets Stanford on a day Traylor’s mom, Tracey, is slated to be in attendance. She’s driving in from Chicago for the contest.

More motivation for KU’s energy man?

“She made it to the Big 12 tournament, Late Night in the Phog, maybe one more game besides that,” Traylor said. “My mom works at night (for Ford Motor Company). Any time she can get off work she likes to come see me play. I’ll be looking forward to that.”

Comments

Bryce Landon 8 months, 1 week ago

Had you told me before this game that Kansas would miss all their 3-point attempts while Eastern Kentucky would connect on 11 3's and yet KU would still win by 11, I'd have said you were crazy. Thank God for Jamari Traylor; he single-handedly won this game for us.

Rodney Crain 8 months, 1 week ago

I got to stick up for Conner, if he does not come in and take care of the ball and calm down our back court Jamari does not get a chance to win the game. To me they won because both players did a great job when we needed them too.

Walter Bridges 8 months ago

Really? How about the play of Ellis, Black and Wiggins. Oh wait..those are team stats. Conner did a great job of not making mistakes but we won because the other players and Jamari Traylor in particular picked up the slack.

Rodney Crain 8 months ago

LOL Walter you have lost your common sense buddy. Conner was the key guard on our team in this win. No discussion. Don't let your temper make a silly post like this. Btw to continue our other discussion, if EJ played like that in the MI game we make another final four. No discussion. Ever answer me lol?

Everyone else you named did their part but Traylor AND Conner helped us win that game. Without them we lose. Ps- if you need me to define team stats and career stats again let me know. I will help you out.

Jason Keller 8 months, 1 week ago

I hate to be that guy but please get Naadir out of the game.. I just can't watch it any longer. He simply cannot handle the pressure. He is talented and seems like a great guy but he just isn't a gamer. I'm tired of people acting like he is so much more athletic than Connor.. Tharpe can't stay in front of anyone. Connor is far and away our best option.

Ryan Houston 8 months, 1 week ago

I have said this all year long. I think bill self planned it lke that. Come on now like bill self never saw how much better the team is run with coner r at point. If I noticed. I guarantee he and his staff noticed. But why play a trump card unless you need to. Eastern Kentucky did not game plan for frankamp and it showed. Bill self was probably planning to do this all along. What I think they should do is put Coner at the 1. And play tharpe and mason at the 2. The team is just ran so much smoother with Conerat the helm. The team actually runs an offense. To many times this year have I seen the team run down the court and fire up a 3. That is a turn over in my book. The offense is not set to rebound. 9 out of 10 times they brick it and it goes the other way, stuff gets me mad. I also get the feeling he migh be saving a zone defense up his sleeve ( we all know about the triangle and 2 ) maybe one we have not seen ever in bill self 11 years at kansas

Jack Jones 8 months, 1 week ago

"I think 'bill self' (there is a 'caps' key) planned it like that." How about your sending Self a note congratulating him for also recognizing the same thing that you noticed? You also might want to be a bit more cautious with your "guarantees" as well. I will guarantee you this ~ Bill Self was not "planning to do this all along". Oh, well ~ it was probably lots of fun to pretend, wasn't it? Practice with that 'caps key' ~ and for the record, it's CONNER!!

Robert Moore 8 months, 1 week ago

Thank you professor. This is a blog for craps sake, not an English course.

Jeff Schartz 8 months, 1 week ago

Is that what you call it when you REPLY to an article. A blog? I'm sorry. I've been calling them "replies" all this time. I must get out to the internet more often.

RJ King 8 months, 1 week ago

Agree with you JD. Ironic that some fans complain in hindsight about Tharpe's lazy passes and boneheaded plays with sloppy, lazy, posts of their own.

I do realize that this is an informal conversation, but there is nothing "sizzling" about the post above, and non-nonchalance in any effort is not an attribute for which to strive.

Walter Bridges 8 months ago

Classic post Jack! I wish I had majored in telepathy. Someone should write a thesis on the difference between blogs and comment sections. And although I usually don't point out spelling mistakes, shouldn't we at least spell the names of KU players correctly?

Doug Merrill 8 months, 1 week ago

Someone will have to step up and out of the blue and have a career game every game we play in this tournament or we'll go home. It would be great if Jamari gets more chances to set career highs over the next two weeks!

Jack Jones 8 months, 1 week ago

Seriously?? You, and that voice you're "listening to" are wacko. To even suggest such a thing is despicable. Find another fantasy to believe in.

Shannon Gustafson 8 months, 1 week ago

Great to see this out of Jamari. He's always reminded me a T-Rob and I feel like his senior season will be a great one for him statistically and he'll come out of the blue like T-Rob did and get drafted. Maybe not be a lottery pick but he'll get in the league. Just look how much better he got between last year and this year. Same thing T-Rob did every year...

Steve Zimmerman 8 months, 1 week ago

Jam-merry!! I love how he played with energy till the very last. That cross-over was awesome. The putback dunks. Maaan.. He'll be tagged from now on. I hope we not only scare the Cardinals, but we will also play with the same energy & intensity with rim rattling action packs like vs EKU. I've been waiting for our team to play this high octane. HCBS saves it for last.

Here's Godspeed to the next battle! One match at a time! Rock Chalk!!!

Greg Lux 8 months, 1 week ago

Yes Conner is a very calming influence for our team and if he had hit his two open 3's he would have had an almost perfect game. His defense was good and he handles the ball with superior skill. I hope we use his talents more and more going forward. Great game.

Jeff Schartz 8 months, 1 week ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

RJ King 8 months, 1 week ago

So, you've had maybe a year or so to stop visiting the site and indulging in its articles. How much more time do you need?

Carolyn Troupe 8 months ago

Just click the 'I don't own one' or "I've never heard of it' choice and move on.

Jason Flowers 8 months, 1 week ago

I have no issue clicking a few questions to be able to enjoy the content here for free. As much as Kansas has enjoyed increased coverage from the national media, nothing beats the coverage here. Especially when you live outside the state of Kansas.

Jason Roberts 8 months, 1 week ago

Connor's performance speaks to the depth on KU's roster. Perhaps the smartest decision HCBS made at the beginning of the season was opting not to redshirt any of his highly touted freshman. This will pay dividends in a game when foul trouble could become an issue.

Walter Bridges 8 months ago

Maybe if CONNER had played more than 8 min. per game this year, I would be more inclined to agree with you. 23% from the 3 and 34% from the field, has kept him on the bench the majority of the season. Personally, I think Self did his worst job in developing his bench than in any previous year.

Only Mason, Traylor and Black saw significant minutes off the bench this year and with a possible of 3 OADS, that leaves us with an inexperienced team for next year.

http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/team/stats/_/id/2305/kansas-jayhawks

Jeff Schartz 8 months ago

So....we have to fulfill an advertisement "demand" before we can read an article? Has this Website lost its mind? Somebody in charge is shooting themselves in the foot for a dollar...

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