Take your pick of favorite moments from a spectacular second-half display of high-speed basketball Tuesday night in Allen Fieldhouse, where Kansas University ran Loyola-Maryland ragged, 94-61.
From a historic standpoint, Cheick Diallo’s first points, an uncontested dunk off a beauty of a wrap-around pass from emerging star Wayne Selden Jr. has to enter the discussion. Considering the feel-good aspect of a player who was an unwitting pawn in the NCAA’s grudge against a school, a player who clearly had butterflies in the first half, Diallo getting on the board certainly ranks up there.
From a shocking, exciting, even humorous standpoint, Diallo, a 6-foot-9, late-to-basketball former soccer player, dribbling more than half the court, putting his left hand behind his head and dunking with his right, ranked as the No. 1 topic of conversation as 16,300 emptied the building.
Images from the Jayhawks' Tuesday night game against the Greyhounds at Allen Fieldhouse
Yet, from a sheer degree-of-difficulty, did-I-just-see-what-I-think-I-saw aspect, Frank Mason III threading a bounce pass from near mid-court to at the hoop for an easy fast-break bucket won the prize.
It was an amazing display of style and substance from a bunch of basketball players who appear to enjoy playing with each other and even watching teammates play from the bench.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self points out the positives and negatives from freshman big man Cheick Diallo, who came off the bench to provide 13 points and six rebounds in his first collegiate game, against Loyola Maryland.
Jamari Traylor’s relentless defensive pressure at the start of the second half rattled Loyola into retreat mode and once the barrage started, it never stopped.
The 54-point half ensured that Kansas hit the 90-point barrier for the fourth time in six games.
Kansas basketball players Wayne Selden Jr. and Perry Ellis join freshman Cheick Diallo in discussing his KU debut against Loyola Maryland, a 94-61 rout that featured plenty of Diallo highlights.
“Jamari came out and made some plays at the beginning of the half to set the intensity defensively and got the rest of us going,” Perry Ellis said of KU taking control of the game after intermission.
Traylor (six rebounds) has embraced his role as defensive disruptor and overall energizer, something he did in spurts the first three seasons of his career, but not with the consistency he’s showing so far. He’s quick enough to hound guards full-court and strong enough to pester post players in the paint.
Traylor’s strong early play is one of many reasons that the strength of the team Diallo has joined is just as encouraging as the enthusiastic Mali native’s promising debut.
Once senior Ellis rounds into top form, Kansas becomes tougher. Ellis has missed too many shots at point-blank range.
“I think it’s just a mental thing,” Ellis said of too many misses at the hoop. “We aren’t focused enough on it and taking it for granted.”
Ellis totaled 15 points and six rebounds.
“For Perry, 15 points is not acceptable,” said Selden, who led Kansas with 18 points. “He’s in a little bit of a funk right now. Nothing big. His hip is bothering him a bit and slowing him down.”
Slow is not a word that came to mind often with Kansas on a night the Jayhawks made the Greyhounds look like plow horses by comparison.
— See what people were saying about the game (and Cheick Diallo) during KUsports.com’s live coverage