Saturday, February 21, 2015

No. 8 Jayhawks hold off Horned Frogs

Kansas guard Devonte Graham (4) gets to the bucket against TCU center Karviar Shepherd (14) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. At right is Kansas forward Jamari Traylor.

Kansas guard Devonte Graham (4) gets to the bucket against TCU center Karviar Shepherd (14) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. At right is Kansas forward Jamari Traylor.


Devonté Graham, by nature, is a pretty quiet, laid-back dude. But there was nothing quiet about his play on Saturday, during KU's 81-72 victory over TCU at Allen Fieldhouse.

Graham, whose birthday is Sunday, scored a career-high 20 points in leading the Jayhawks to the hard-fought victory that improved KU to 22-5 overall and 11-3 in Big 12 play, and kept the Jayhawks one game up on Iowa State in the conference standings with four games to play.

Graham's contributions — 7-of-7 from the floor, 3 assists, 3 rebounds — came on a day when KU's offense had very little flow and chemistry. The freshman guard had combined to score just 15 points in the past seven games and blew that total out of the water on Saturday, just a couple of days after publicly sharing his disappointment in his recent “soft” play.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self on standout performances of Devonté Graham, Perry Ellis

Following his Kansas basketball team's 81-72 home win over TCU, coach Bill Self discusses the standout performances of backup point guard Devonté Graham and starting forward Perry Ellis, as well as numerous other topics.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Ellis, Graham, Traylor discuss beating TCU, manager's contributions

Kansas basketball players Perry Ellis, Devonté Graham and Jamari Traylor discuss the Jayhawks' 81-72 home win over TCU, and the contributions of manager-turned-walk-on Chris Huey, who got to play in the final minute.

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Box score

While Graham did his thing in spurts, junior forward Perry Ellis delivered all day. Ellis finished with 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting and, at times, looked unstoppable in the post.

When KU finally decided to consistently give it to him down there, the offense ran much smoother and the Horned Frogs (16-11, 3-11) had no answer for Ellis or the offense he created when he passed out of double- and triple-teams.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: The Jayhawks turned a tie game (24-all) into a seven-point lead by forcing a few TCU turnovers and finding more efficiency on offense. Ellis scored inside and also at the free throw line and Frank Mason III picked up a tough bucket after a steal. Brannen Greene also knocked down his only three-pointer of the day during the spurt that helped give Kansas a six-point halftime advantage.

• Offensive highlight: It came early, but it sure was pretty. Just a couple of minutes into the game, during one of the few times in the first half when KU's offense had good flow and rhythm, Ellis caught a pass at the elbow, drove down the left side of the lane and then floated a soft pass to the edge of the rim that Cliff Alexander deposited with a two-handed flush. Later in the game, Ellis was on the other end of an alley-oop, this one from Mason. Ellis, who ran the floor like only Ellis can, got ahead of the defense, rose to catch the pass and hammered it with one-hand while being fouled. Even the mild-mannered Ellis was smiling and high-fiving Mason after the feel-good play.

• Defensive highlight: It was subtle, but it was big. After missing a pair of free throws with KU leading just 47-42, Jamari Traylor got it back on the defensive end with a one-handed block that forced a TCU miss and led to a Greene rebound. Greene was fouled on the rebound and went down to knock in two free throws to push Kansas' lead back to seven. Subtle, but it helped keep TCU from pulling to within a possession.

• Key stat: Points in the paint. After owning a 16-12 advantage in this category at halftime, the Jayhawks dominated the territory near the rim in the second half, outscoring TCU 28-18 in the second half, with many of TCU's buckets coming late with KU playing a more passive style and choosing not to challenge the close chances.

• Up next: The Jayhawks head west for a Big Monday match-up with Kansas State at 8 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan. KU knocked off K-State 68-57 Jan. 31 in Lawrence, in a game that KU led 20-5 and never looked back.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU

By the Numbers: Kansas beats TCU 81-72

By the Numbers: Kansas beats TCU 81-72


Reggie Flenory 5 years, 4 months ago

decent win not great I think the good thing about this team is that we have proven that anyone who touches the floor is liable to go off for 20 points or so but I am still worried about cliff not being able to score with his back to the basket and getting himself into early foul trouble you could see it on his face that he was totally mentally out of the game after that second file you can see him thinking which is slowing down his athleticism if we have any chance to go deep in March he must be a factor and right now he's not a consistent factor

Yonatan Negash 5 years, 4 months ago

Monday's game is crucial.

We beat K State we get at least a share of the Big 12 title

We lose against K State, strong possibility the streak ends.

Nonetheless, it's been a great ride.

Rob Bedford III 5 years, 4 months ago

There are three games following the K-St game and KU only leads by one game at this point.

Don Papst 5 years, 4 months ago

Beating K-state does not assure us of at least a tie. Assuming ISU does not lose again, we can not lose more that one of our last four games to assure a tie. Hopefully someone will beat them at least once more to give us a little more breathing room. Best scenario is for us to win the next four and win it out right, regardless of what everyone else does. ROCK CHALK!!!

Don Papst 5 years, 4 months ago

Not only Cliff, but KO and Wayne have got to be more consistent. Seven points between all three of them just is not going to cut it. Thankfully our bench pulled thru today, or this could have been ugly. Great job from Perry!!!! Hope he keeps the aggressive attitude he showed today. Somewhat concerned about allowing 70+ points in our house, especially to a team with only 3 league wins. When we got up 66-50 and the crowd really roaring, I thought sure the walk ons would get to finish the game. But once again, we lost all focus and let them get back into it. We have got to develop a killer attitude and put teams away. Especially less talented teams. Hope it is not too late for that to happen. ROCK CHALK!!!!

Micky Baker 5 years, 4 months ago

It is actually not a bad thing that when we only get 7 points from Alexander, Selden, and Oubre that we still win. That means that we have guys who are stepping up like Graham did today.

Greene has done it. Traylor has done it. Lucas has done it at times. But it has also been Oubre, Selden, and Alexander at times.

I remember one game in particular. We were down by 18 or 19 to Florida. Selden stepped up big, and we came back to win. Sometimes the other defense is just good and we do play in the toughest league in the country. Kansas has played the toughest schedule of any team since the Big 12 started and its toughest schedule in 35 years. And we're in first place and have only 5 losses to 22 wins. Not too shabby...

Gerry Butler 5 years, 4 months ago

first we didn't give up 70 plus points in our field house to a team that has won only 3 league games to refresh your memory its was 71-62, and secondly we didn't let them back TCU had a part of taking it also. I agree we have a tendency to lose focus and agree we have no killer instinct that goes hand in hand with the losing focus. Bottom line on our team this year is and I think most KU fans fully realize this and understand is that this years team is NOT a team that is going to make a deep run in the NCAA'S, and probably the biggest reason for that is pretty simple we just lack that interior presence this year on BOTH ends of the floor. we miss a big on the offensive end for scoring, rebounding, and on the defensive end to be that inside help defensive stopper-rim protector. I can't begin to count how many times this year we have gotten beaten off the dribble and open drive to the basket and no inside help to be able to stop the drive and that has killed us, where as in years past we have had for as long as I can remember. I just feel that THAT will probably be our undoing this year. I will say I'm still proud of the guys they have done a good job I mean even without our big, our lack of focus at times, once again we sit at the top and have a great chance of our 11th straight championship. plus who knows we get on a run play well we still could make that deep run but no matter I love my hawks, frustrated at times yes, PO'ED at times yes, yell at times yes, but still love my hawks they have done just fine by me GO HAWKS

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't think that Yonatan was saying that a win at Manhattan guarantees at least a tie. He was simply stating an opinion. I'm pretty sure he realizes that there are several games left. However, if KU can beat KSU and then hold serve at home (which is probable), then KU could do no worse than tie for the title.

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