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Kansas defeats UNLV, 76-61

  • 3:30 p.m., Jan. 4, 2015
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hustle and flow: Jayhawks work for final non-conference win

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) smiles at UNLV guard Rashad Vaughn (1) after a bucket during the first half on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) smiles at UNLV guard Rashad Vaughn (1) after a bucket during the first half on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Self: Outside shooting, aggressive takes in second half changed game

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self discusses his team's recovery from a four-point halftime deficit at home, against UNLV. Self says the Jayhawks' second-half shooting from three-point range (5-for-8) and aggressive takes to the rim changed the game in KU's favor.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Mason, Selden, Alexander on KU's late recovery vs. UNLV

Kansas basketball players Frank Mason III, Wayne Selden Jr. and Cliff Alexander discuss the Jayhawks' second-half recovery Sunday afternoon versus UNLV, which led to a 15-point KU win in the team's non-conference finale.

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KANSAS 76, UNLV 61

Box score

Kelly Oubre Jr. remembers watching Wayne Selden Jr. disappear from the TV screen a year ago as the Kansas University guard tumbled into the Allen Fieldhouse stands to save a loose ball in a thrilling ESPN Big Monday victory over Baylor.

On Sunday, KU freshman Oubre witnessed an encore from Selden up close and personal. 

Selden left his feet to retrieve a ball that appeared headed out of bounds near the scorer’s table in the backcourt, with KU nursing a one-point early-second half lead versus UNLV’s Runnin’ Rebels. While sliding, the 6-foot-5 soph from Roxbury, Massachusetts batted it hard with his right hand over to Perry Ellis, who pitched to point guard Frank Mason III for a driving layup that proved infectious in the Jayhawks’ 76-61 victory in Allen.

“Coach stresses that’s what wins championship, plays like that,” said Oubre, who scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on a day the (11-2) Jayhawks out-boarded the (9-5) Rebels, 45-31. Oubre also played great defense on former Las Vegas Findlay Prep teammate Rashad Vaughn, who scored 10 points off 4-of-10 shooting, with just two points the final half.

“When we do things like that, it boosts our confidence and gets us going a little bit,” Oubre added of Selden’s heroics.

Selden — he hit three early threes that propelled KU to a 13-4 lead and cashed another during a 23-6 run that turned a 51-49 deficit into a 72-57 lead — was asked to rate this year’s highlight-reel play with the one versus Baylor.

“I don’t know. It was probably pretty equal, seeing we scored off both of them,” Selden said with a smile. 

Indeed, last year’s play resulted in a bucket by Joel Embiid.

“We need more of that,” added Selden, who finished with 16 points and three boards in 37 minutes. “We didn’t have much of that last year. This year not too much. We’re trying to get more hustle plays, get on the ground as a team. That will spark energy.”

Selden’s hustle play came shortly after a dandy drive and dunk by Jamari Traylor (nine boards, four points, three blocks) that tied the game at 33 early in the second half. UNLV had led by four at the break, Traylor waking up the team and the crowd a bit with the vicious slam.

“That was a huge energy boost. I think that helped us out a lot, got the guys going, got the bench more into it,” said point guard Mason, who had 18 points, seven assists, four steals and two turnovers in 38 minutes.

Coach Bill Self said the play by Traylor “changed the whole game from an energy standpoint. Jamari is actually the fastest (player) we have in transition.”

Of Selden’s dive and resulting bucket on the other end, Self noted: “That’s the kind of play that should give your team confidence to not only win games, but develop an identity for yourself. We’ve not had many plays like that this year. That was great.”

Selden drilled a three to open a 9-0 run that stretched a 63-57 lead to 15 points at 3:39. Selden also hit two free throws, while Cliff Alexander scored four points in the surge. Alexander scored 10 points off 5-of-12 shooting and had five boards in 21 minutes. Ellis had 16 points, nine boards and three assists.

“We treated this game like a conference game since everybody else was playing (conference games),” said Self, whose Jayhawks lost a home game to San Diego State on the first Sunday of January last season, heading into Big 12 action on a low note. “UNLV is good enough, talented enough to do well in our league. They’ve got real guys — two real, real guys,” Self added of Vaughn and Christian Wood (12 points off 5-of-12 shooting, eight boards, 37 minutes).”

KU outscored UNLV, 47-28, the final half. The Jayhawks hit 60 percent of their second-half shots after struggling to 32.4 percent the first half. KU hit 44.8 overall to UNLV’s 40.7 percent mark.

“Defensively we got into rhythm and rebounded the heck out of the ball,” Self said. “We did a good job pushing it. I thought all our guys played well. Jamari was great. He set the whole tone the second half. Perry was Perry, rock solid. Kelly did a terrific job on Vaughn. Wayne was great and Frank ... he was awesome, awesome.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever leaned on a player as we’ve leaned on Frank, maybe Thomas (Robinson) or Tyshawn (Taylor), maybe Wayne (Simien). He’s done a little bit of everything for us. The kid does play. He played great,” Self gushed.

KU will open the Big 12 season against Baylor at 8 p.m., Wednesday, in Waco, Texas.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. UNLV


By the Numbers: Kansas beats UNLV, 76-61

By the Numbers: Kansas beats UNLV, 76-61

Comments

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 9 months ago

Mason keeps getting better and better each game. If he continues this rate of improvement and we keep winning, Mason will be considered one of the top PG in the Big 12 and nation.

The Hawks seem to be developing a tendency of being a "one good half team." We will need play full game performances and to hit a high rate of FT (about 80%) to win the Big 12.

We are all looking forward to seeing our guys play in person for the first time this season in Waco!!!

Erich Hartmann 5 years, 9 months ago

Self left out one historic Jayhawk we leaned pretty heavily on: Sherron Collins. As I posted under another thread, Mason is indeed filling the stat sheet in all aspects, as Sherron did.

All 4 KU MickeyDs in double figures...and Mason drops 18pts, 7asst, 2 t.o., and 4 steals. Amazing.

Jeremy Wilhelm 5 years, 9 months ago

Given that 2008-2009 was the year after the NC, when the next best player KU had was Cole Aldrich and had graduated (or lost to the draft): Chalmers, Rush, Shady, Jackson, Kaun, Robinson, and a bunch of glue-guy seniors in exchange for some good but very developmental freshman and Mario Little, plus very young dudes in Tyrel and Brady... to take that team to an Elite 8 match-up and hang tough against MSU that year; well, I just can't think of a bigger load than what Sherron carried for KU in that season.

Tom Jones 5 years, 9 months ago

It was Sweet 16, but the point is valid.

Jeremy Wilhelm 5 years, 9 months ago

Yep, wishful thinking on my part, maybe :)

Bill John 5 years, 9 months ago

10 boards for Kelly is huge, his rebounding the last few games has been critical for KU. Greene just doesn't get it or have the determination to hit the boards.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 9 months ago

In yesterday's game, and especially in the second half, I saw glimpses of the kind of teams Bill Self has had in the past - the kind of team that would scrap, fight, and claw for the ball, make the hustle plays, and not lay down and die at the first sign of adversity. I saw very little of that last season, and I hope to see more of it as this season progresses.

Mike Riches 5 years, 9 months ago

I'll say what I said after the Florida game...this team is not dominant right now, but they are not afraid of a fight. I would rather have a tough team, that can get punched and punch right back, that can find ways to score when shots aren't falling, than can play lock down defense when they need to, and that can scrap with the best and win 50/50 balls -- I would rather have that team than a "dominant" team that falls apart when they meet some real adversity. In March, we will have droughts, we'll take everyone's best shot, and teams won't be afraid of the name on the front of our jerseys, and we will have to respond. The 11/12 team is the best example of this that I can think of in recent history. The way this year's team is finding ways to win games reminds me a lot of the tournament run we had that year.

Jeremy Wilhelm 5 years, 9 months ago

I agree completely with the one exception that it's hard for me to compare this team favorably to the 2011-2012 team given the two horrid losses we have witnessed... there are some positive signs there though.

Tom Jones 5 years, 9 months ago

That team was tough and had a starting lineup of only upperclassmen. This team doesn't have that second luxury. It's a talented group, but there's no Tyshawn, no T-Rob, no Travis, no Withey. And thus no horrible losses.

They are playing smarter of late, which is going to be a big determiner of how far they can go.

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