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Originally published July 8, 2015 at 01:30a.m., updated July 8, 2015 at 07:52a.m.

Notebook: Serbia zone troubles Team USA

Kansas forward Perry Ellis  (34) passes out from beneath the basket in a Team USA game against Serbia Wednesday, July 8, at the World University Games in South Korea.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) passes out from beneath the basket in a Team USA game against Serbia Wednesday, July 8, at the World University Games in South Korea.

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— In the second quarter of Team USA’s narrow 66-65 Wednesday victory, Serbia switched to a hybrid 2-3 zone that caused problems for the Jayhawks. 

For that particular 10-minute stretch, USA shot 25 percent (4-for-16) with four turnovers, and in the third quarter the Jayhawks shot 29 percent (6-for-21). 

“We were awful,” coach Bill Self said. “Everybody should play us zone because we were awful and didn’t do anything. Even though we haven’t practiced a ton, we didn’t do anything like we practiced. The ball stuck and we were very lucky today. Very lucky.” 

The Jayhawks finished strong, shooting 60 percent in the fourth quarter (9-of-15).

"It was funky," Kansas junior Wayne Selden Jr. said. "I feel like they had a little bit of trouble guarding us at times. Then they switched to that zone and we had trouble scoring against that zone because it was so wide out and they were so big. But eventually we got the ball inside and got the ball moving. Frank (Mason III) really got into the lane."

Tie-breaker revisited: With a 55-point lead against Chile on Tuesday and five minutes remaining, the United States men’s basketball team still had four of its starters on the floor. 

The Jayhawks thought they still had some ground to make up in their 106-41 victory over Chile at Muan Indoor Court. 

If two teams are tied in the pool-play standings, the head-to-head tiebreaker will be used. If a tie involves more than two teams, the tiebreaker is point differential. The top two teams from each pool advance to the top bracket. 

It was believed the point differential was from all games, but the tiebreaker involves only the point differential in games played between the tied teams.

“Unfortunately by FIBA rules, you don’t like playing this way, the object is to beat somebody as bad as you can in case there’s a tie,” Kansas coach Bill Self said after the game against Chile. “We won the first games by nine, both of them, but they should have been 15, probably. This game we told our guys we had to beat them by 50 and we ended up beating them by 65.”

The Jayhawks won Pool D with their 66-65 victory against Serbia on Wednesday. Brazil and Serbia will play Thursday with the winner advancing to the World University Games quarterfinals. 

Bragg plays without mask: Kansas freshman forward Carlton Bragg played without a face mask for the first time since breaking his nose in practice last week. 

He finished with four points, two rebounds and four fouls in 11 minutes. 

“He got on the floor on several different times,” Self said. “When you’re not physically strong, a lot of people refer to that as being soft, which isn’t really true. But to just break his nose and play without the mask and dive on the floor three or four times like he did to steal us some possessions, I think he played pretty tough.”

Mickelson plays strong: KU senior forward Hunter Mickelson finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, leading all of the USA forwards with 22 minutes. 

“Hunt was big,” Selden said. “He had scratches all over his neck. He was a grown man today, you know. He really stepped up for us.” 

“It was pretty rough,” Mickelson added. "I can’t see any of this (scratch marks on his neck), so everybody has been messing with me. It’s pretty tough. They’ve got a lot of big guys so it’s going to be really physical.”

Mickelson scored six points in the fourth quarter, blocked a shot and had an assist on Selden's game-tying three.

"At this point in time, even though it’s early," Self said, "you can certainly see that you can have confidence to play him at the five this year."

World University Games standings

Pool A

Tm … W - L … Pts … PF - PA … PD

GER … 3 - 0 … 6 … 228 - 162 … +66

KOR … 2 - 1 … 5 … 239 - 198 … +41

EST … 2 - 1 … 5 … 198 - 181 … +17

CHN … 1 - 3 … 5 … 264 - 294 … -30

MOZ … 0 - 3 … 3 … 172 - 226 … -94

Pool B

Tm … W - L … Pts … PF - PA … PD

CAN … 4 - 0 … 8 … 331 - 226 … +105

RUS … 4 - 0 … 8 … 328 - 225 … +103

SWE … 2 - 2 … 6 … 262 - 273 … -11

MNT … 1 - 3 … 5 … 276 - 239 … +37

MEX … 1 - 3 … 5 … 282 - 322 … -40

MNG … 0 - 4 … 4 … 199 - 393 … -194

Pool C

Tm … W - L … Pts … PF - PA … PD

FRA … 4 - 0 … 8 … 334 - 213 … +121

LIT … 3 - 1 … 7 … 359 - 279 … +80

AUS … 3 - 1 … 7 … 293 - 245 … +48

FIN … 1 - 3 … 5 … 259 - 326 … -67

JAP … 1 - 3 … 5 … 284 - 297 … -13

CTP … 0 - 4 … 4 … 177 - 346 … -169

Pool D

Tm … W - L … Pts … PF - PA … PD

USA … 4 - 0 … 8 … 319 - 235 … +84

BRA … 3 - 1 … 7 … 311 - 230 … +81

SER … 3 - 1 … 7 … 253 - 193 … +60

TUR … 1 - 3 … 5 … 227 - 249 … -22

SWI … 1 - 3 … 5 … 216 - 274 … -58

CHL … 0 - 4 … 4 … 165 - 310 … -145

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Comments

Adam Collins 1 year, 10 months ago

Great to see we have an improved (or just now getting the chance to shine) 5 in Mickelson. This is especially true given the fact that Lucas didn't see the floor after his shove at the end of the first half.

Here's hoping we rest Frank and Selden against Switzerland. Moore could use a confidence booster and play the point while our freshmen and Hunter could also use the added PT.

Suzi Marshall 1 year, 10 months ago

Regarding the tie-breaker...are you saying our run up v Chile was meaningless? If that's the case we should have rested all the key rotation guys instead of riding them hard to the end to run up a meaningless score. With a big game vs. Serbia in less than 24 hours, our guys looked tired. Like the uniform deal, Self is on a learning curve with regards to international play, which factors into his running to replace Coach K as the Olympic coach.

Bobby Nightengale 1 year, 10 months ago

Yep, but I don't think anyone knew at the time (including myself) that it was meaningless. Brazil has been running up scores, too. But we found a tiebreaker example from 2013 where it's just point differential between tied teams, not all teams.

Brianna Zaleski 1 year, 10 months ago

Suzi, do you really think Coach Self had anything to do with the uniform decision? I personally don't know, I just wouldn't have thought he would be involved in a decision like that, thus it not really being his fault that they weren't "USA" enough.

Thoughts:

Perry is extremely soft and will not play in the NBA because of it.

The refs tried their best to give this one to the Serbs. A TON of contact by them that was not called and ticky tack fouls called on us. This happened all 2nd half.

Hunter Mick should have replaced LL as our 1st big off the bench. If he hasn't at this point, the coaching staff must have a deep dark secret that LL holds over them. The eye test is very clear who is the better player.

Suzi Marshall 1 year, 10 months ago

Brianna - No decisions are made about Kansas basketball without Bill Self's thorough knowledge or approval. I agree with Nightengale's summary on this a couple of days ago. I'm sure Self was conflicted about the uniforms.

Glen Miller 1 year, 10 months ago

The uniforms were supposedly accepted before we left, if I am correct. I don't think it was malicious at all and was quickly taken care of. No harm, no foul....... but, I was not a fan of the Kansas across our chest to begin with. I know for recruiting purposes and brand recognition it was a big deal. However, we are representing the USA first and foremost. It should have been USA on our chest from day 1 with KU on the shorts or a Jayhawk on the back like the football unis used to do. All the other teams say their country on them that I have seen. Not sure why we tried to get away with that.

Mick Allen 1 year, 10 months ago

Brianna your comments about the officiating and Hunter are right on point. The officiating the second half was as bad as any I have ever witnessed. The contact on drives to the basket and shot attempts and over the back on offensive rebounds by the Serbs was atrocious. While I'm in favor of the fewer whistles the better, the muggings that occurred but were not called, made this resemble a rugby match. The quicker, more athletic team shooting half the free throws that the plodding Serbs' shot is ludicrous. Pot was the only Serb that took it to the rim, while the USA team that penetrates off the bounce could not get a call even after significant contact on the drive or the shot attempt. I'm still trying to figure out what Frank did to get his 5th foul. To Self's credit his post game comments did not raise this issue even though I'm sure he was frustrated by the way the game was called. Hunter runs better, jumps better, is more active, more athletic and finally much more of an offensive threat than Landon. His performance in the games has seemingly opened some eyes and one would hope, lead to significantly more playing time for Hunter during the season. He has been very patient and has not uttered a disparaging word.

Kristen Downing 1 year, 10 months ago

I sure hope Hunter is rewarded with more playing time during the actual season. Not just the top recruits. He has earned it.

John Randall 1 year, 10 months ago

Nothing about Hunter Mickelson's play last year justified his lack of playing time – especially after the Chicago freshman was eliminated by the investigation into his family's going for the quick cash ...

It has taken over a year for KU coach(es) to recognize they were rubbing their own faces in the dirt by pretending that Hunter was nothing but a stop-gap bench warmer while Jamari and Landon were kept on the floor in the hope they would magically find some kind of basketball IQ.

John Randall 1 year, 10 months ago

I certainly expect Hunter to be starting the season at the 5 until Diallo is ready for the responsibility. Landon is not worth more than about eight or ten minutes of relief per game.

Bragg should be first off the bench at the 4, with Jamari playing only spot minutes for his "every spark" value.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 10 months ago

I like you support for Hunter but unless Diallo has trouble running the offense or playing defense Hunter will not start over him. ever.

Even then Diallo's skill set is worth the risk.

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