San Diego Since most of you don’t have access to the cable network that covered Tuesday night’s Kansas University basketball game against San Diego State in Viejas Arena, I thought I would do something a little different. I’ll share what I saw and heard in chronological order, breaking the game down into the eight segments that stretch from one TV timeout to the next.
By the way, Kansas won the game that ended Tuesday night Pacific time, early this morning Central time, 70-57. Perry Ellis scored a game-high 20 points on a night second-ranked Kansas improved its record to 10-1.
Wayne Selden Jr.’s eight points during an 11-0 stretch midway through the second half, which increased the KU lead from four points to 15, were the biggest of the night.
The crowd had heated up but Selden put them back in their seats.
Images from the Jayhawks' game against the Aztecs at Viejas Arena in San Diego, California.
Several minutes before tipoff, all 12,414 seats filled, fans whipped white towels while chanting, “I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!”
The lights dimmed, a highlight video played on the video board, bad music with way too much bass blaring out the loudspeakers, fans held their iPhones above their heads, their flashlight features engaged.
Kansas took an 11-6 lead at the first TV timeout, thanks to Ellis getting hot, Hunter Mickelson playing well at both ends and in transition, and guards Frank Mason III and Devonté Graham applying defensive pressure. Selden picked up two fouls in the opening two minutes of the game, checked out, and didn’t play again until the second half.
Ellis scored on a put-back, an 18-footer from the top of the key, and a three-pointer from the top of the key.
When the second TV timeout arrived, Kansas led 19-11 after having taken a 17-6 lead with back-to-back three-pointers from Mason. Naturally, Mason’s expression never changed. Neither did Ellis’. Graham and Carlton Bragg looked really, really happy about the shots. Then again, maybe that’s just because they always look really happy when they’re playing basketball.
During the media timeout, former San Diego State phenom Stephen Strasburg was introduced to the crowd, triggering a roar.
The next TV timeout came with 7:55 left in the half and Kansas leading, 26-16. Ellis stayed hot and had 14 of KU’s points, his three from the top of the key making the score 26-13. Kansas moved the ball so well that Bragg was rewarded with a wide-open shot under the hoop. He probably should have dunked it but opted to lay it off the glass.
The next four-minute segment featured Cheick Diallo and Jamari Traylor filling the two post spots while Ellis caught a breather. Traylor brought hustle, swiping the ball right out of the hands of Aztecs forward Winston Shepard, and Diallo hit a pair of mid-range jumpers.
Diallo doesn’t always appear to know what to do, such as when he failed to provide help after Ellis blocked a shot and was out of position. But the freshman does have a nice touch.
Kansas came out of the final TV timeout of the half wth a 37-23 lead with 2:05 on the clock in part because Mason had little trouble working his way to uncontested jumpers and putting the ball into the hands of teammates for easy shots.
The Jayhawks moved the ball well throughout the half. Aside from a couple of Diallo defensive lapses and the KU guards losing track of the Aztecs’ three-point shooters from time to time, the Jayhawks defended well.
The half ended with Kansas leading, 39-27, and the basketball stuck where the back of the rim meets the glass, where Mason landed it on a buzzer-beating runner.
Kansas came out of intermission in a fog.
The Jayhawks had as many turnovers in the opening two-and-a-half minutes (two) as they did the entire first half, the second coming on Ellis’ pass to the wing to Mason. One problem: Mason had cut and the pass landed in the stands.
The Aztecs (7-6) drew within 41-35, the closest the game had been since 13 minutes remained in the first half. Ellis’ driving shot pushed the lead back to eight heading into the first TV timeout of the second half. (At this point, the scoreboard flashed that the last time Kansas played SDSU in San Diego, late baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn scored 12 points).
The Aztecs didn’t disappear though and their suddenly energized crowd fed them fuel. Skylar Spencer’s uncontested dunk pumped up the volume and turned the lead down to 45-41.
Early in the shot clock and well behind the top of the key, Selden took the wide-open three and made it for the biggest hoop of the game to that point. Selden then pushed the lead to 50-41 with a strong drive from the left corner that he punctuated by laying the ball in the cup, scoop style, heading into the second TV timeout of the half.
Brannen Greene came out of that break by nailing a three and Selden built the lead to 15 points with an and-one drive so tough that a possible relative in the nose-bleed seats near mine couldn’t help but boast: “Yeah!” a man in KU gear said, pumping the air. “That’s my cousin!”
Selden’s eight points during an 11-0 run left the hosts facing long odds the rest of the night, down 15 points with two segments left to catch up.
Kansas closed the game well, enabling Selden’s scoring splurge to stand up as the one that put San Diego State away for good. The pre-Christmas letdown game did not resurface.
— See what people were saying about Kansas at San Diego State during KUsports.com’s live blog