Saturday, March 7, 2015

Jayhawks look to regain shooting touch

Kansas guard Devonte Graham (4) puts up a shot over TCU guard Trey Zeigler (32) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte Graham (4) puts up a shot over TCU guard Trey Zeigler (32) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.


— Kansas University’s basketball team would certainly love today’s 3 p.m. rematch against Oklahoma to be a replay of KU’s first meeting against the Sooners.

The Jayhawks, who have connected on just three of their last 36 three-pointers over the last three games, tied a school record by making nine threes in the first half — and finished 10-of-19 from beyond the arc — in an 85-78 victory over OU on Jan. 19 in Allen Fieldhouse.

“I don’t think we’re worried about it. Shots are going to fall,” KU freshman point guard Devonté Graham said of KU’s three-point shooting slump entering today’s Big 12 regular-season finale in Noble Center.

He was 0-for-1 and his teammates 0-for-14 from three in Tuesday’s 76-69 overtime win over West Virginia. The win gave KU (24-6, 13-4) the undisputed conference title and rendered today’s game against the Sooners (20-9, 11-6) somewhat meaningless.

“On that night (Tuesday), they just didn’t fall for us, but we found a way to win. We’ll be good moving forward,” Graham added.

KU enters today’s game tied with Baylor as the most accurate three-point-shooting team in the conference (38.5 percent mark). In league games only, KU ranks second at 37.9 percent to Baylor’s 40 percent mark.

“We’re not going down there hopeful to make that many or wishing to make that many (as in first meeting in Allen), but I would say this, without an inside post scorer like Perry (Ellis, knee sprain), without his ability to score in tight, I would say it would probably behoove us to make a couple of perimeter shots Saturday,” coach Bill Self said.

“I won’t even talk about it (to players). I never talk about missing shots. All I talk about is taking good ones,” Self added. “To me it’s a good or bad shot when it leaves your hand, not if it goes in or not. ... I do get it, teams that make shots have the best chance to win. And we’re playing against … Iowa State and OU would be the two best shot-making teams in our league. Certainly we have to play great defense, because we don’t want to go down there, get in a H-O-R-S-E contest, because that probably wouldn’t be good for us.”

Sophomore wing Brannen Greene, who has made two of 19 threes the last six games, is 42.9 percent from three this season. He has made 43.1 percent of his treys in Big 12 games.

“It would be great for all our guys (to start hitting),” Self said. “Brannen and Wayne (Selden Jr., 38.5 percent on season, 39.7 in Big 12 games) have shot it so well for a period of time. But since that period of time, they haven’t shot it as well. That’s OK, too.

“I told Tyshawn (Taylor, former KU guard), when he was here working out with our guys, I said, ‘It took you six games to make one shot in the (2012) NCAA Tournament. And we go all the way to the Finals. He makes his first three with three minutes left in the game. The thing about it is, we beat N.C. State that same year (60-57 in Sweet 16). We made three shots outside of two feet for the entire game, but we beat that the other night (vs. WVU) because I was told we made zero the other night outside of three feet.

“But you’ve got to make shots. You’ve got to have some shotmakers. We need to get good shots. If you get good shots, they’ll fall. I’m confident in that,” Self added.

There is one thing about the first KU-OU meeting the Jayhawks would like to avoid today. KU led that first contest by 19 points at halftime only to trail by four in the second half.

“They got it going the second half. They are a great offensive team,” KU’s Greene said of the Sooners.

OU is led by Big 12 Player of the Year candidate Buddy Hield, who leads the league in scoring at 17.3 ppg. The junior guard also contributes 5.4 boards. He scored 26 points off 7-of-19 shooting vs. KU in January. He was 4-of-13 from three and 8-of-9 from the line. Junior guard Isaiah Cousins (12.0 ppg average) scored 18 vs. KU off 7-of-15 shooting. Junior forward Ryan Spangler had 13 points and 10 boards.

Selden questionable: Wayne Selden Jr., who sprained an ankle in Tuesday’s win over West Virginia, practiced on a limited basis on Friday and is listed as questionable for today’s game, Self said Friday. Ellis (sprained knee) is definitely out today, and Cliff Alexander (eligibility issue) figures to miss his third straight game, meaning KU could be without three starters.

This, that: Lon Kruger is 78-47 in his fourth season at OU and 557-351 in his 29th season overall. ... OU is 13-1 at Noble Center this season. ... OU averages 72.3 points per game and has a plus-9.6 scoring margin. ... Senior transfer TaShawn Thomas averages 11.0 ppg and has 42 blocks. ... KU leads the all-time series, 142-65. KU has won 13 of the last 14 meetings. ... Self is 14-4 vs. OU, including a 14-2 mark at KU. Kruger is 6-16 vs. KU, 1-6 while at OU. ... Self is shooting for win No. 350 at KU. He’s 349-75 in 12 seasons.

Possible Starters

KANSAS (24-6, 13-4)

F — Jamari Traylor (6-8, Jr.)

F — Landen Lucas (6-10, Soph.)

G — Frank Mason III (5-11, Soph.)

G — Wayne Selden Jr. (6-5, Soph.)

G — Kelly Oubre Jr. (6-7, Fr.)

OKLAHOMA (20-9, 11-6)

F — Ryan Spangler (6-8, Jr.)

F — TaShawn Thomas (6-8, Sr.)

G — Jordan Woodard (6-0, Soph.)

G — Isaiah Cousins (6-5, Jr.)

G — Buddy Hield (6-4, Jr.)


Dirk Medema 6 years, 6 months ago

The game is meaningless for KU but makes a big difference for OU.

Even so I'd still rest Wayne and give Svi in particular a chance to get some minutes and make a difference.

Bob Bailey 6 years, 6 months ago

They should worry about threes. After all the fuss about pot, did it ever occur to you that perhaps the worst thing about pot is it terribly distorts spacial judgments. And how much of it lingers over as a 'hangover'? Off 3 1/2 inches destroys a shot from 17 ft. and a few times they threw an air ball.

Twice I have been endangered by pot drivers. About 45 years ago, driving from White Plains, NY on a super highway to Rye, NY, Some guy driving well over the speed limit was coming up behind me. His spatial ability was way off! I slowed down and got out of his way and let him disappear over the horizon. Both my family and I were seriously endangered. The other time was about 25 years ago, on Hwy 40 to Topeka. About 60 years before that I was driving to a Big Band concert with a carful of HS kids. The steering went out completely on a curve about 4-5 miles west of the city limit. Been careful about that curve ever since. Eastbound , a pair of cars came down both lanes around that curve. They showed up in time for me to get clear off the road. My passenger and I were lucky, he would have killed us, and himself and passenger, and the driver in the car he was passing. Nothing good has, in my opinion, ever happened in the wake of pot.

So how long would your spatial decisions be off 3-4 inches as an aftermath of pot. Surely from Sunday to Monday night. Not accusing anyone of anything, but our team should be advised against pot. (We had two drafted BB players take a hit over pot when they were in NY for introductory meetings).

LJ Gee 6 years, 6 months ago

This entire rant is ridiculous. First of all, why did you even bring up pot? Have I missed something? Have our players been tested positive for pot during the season? Or, are you just making assumptions? Im leaning with the latter b/c nowhere in your stories about "having your life endangered by pot" did you say anything that would logically lead anyone to believe the other drivers were high. Based on your stories, its pure conjecture on your part. Could they have been drunk? Could they have simply been bad drivers? In your eyes, no. They MUST have been high based solely on the fact that you felt endangered.

You should really be more careful to not accuse people - our players or anyone for that matter - of doing drugs just b/c you think something is 'off'. This is wildly irresponsible and uninformed. Moreover, you seem to have absolutely zero clue about the actual effects of pot. Do you know how many players in sports - MLB, NFL, and NBA - smoke pot regularly and are still great players? Probably not b/c you seem extremely naive. Im not endorsing drugs but I am condemning ignorant accusations or insinuations.

Who knows why our guys' shots havent been falling lately. Maybe, water finds it level sometimes - we could have just been shooting above our average for a while so at some point the law of averages will set it. Perhaps its because coach started putting extra emphasis on scoring in the paint in practice. You may recall that right before this slump started he made a point in several articles to say that we could not continue to rely on hot shooting and expect to keep winning games. To make the leap that our guys are doing drugs is just absurd, uninformed and offensive. I find your post ignorant and irresponsible.

Shannon Gustafson 6 years, 6 months ago

Lets not ignore the fact that this person appears to be well over 100 years old based on these sentences:

The other time was about 25 years ago, on Hwy 40 to Topeka. About 60 years before that I was driving to a Big Band concert with a carful of HS kids.

So 85 years ago, this person was driving HS kids to a concert which means he was either in HS at that time (making him 102-104 years old) or was an adult guardian for these HS kids and is therefore 110-150 years old).

John Randall 6 years, 6 months ago

The only reason to use pot is the same as for alcohol – as an excuse to be irresponsible.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 6 months ago

I doubt KU wins this game as badly short-handed as they're going to be, and away from AFH. I ask only that those Jayhawks who are able to suit up and do play give a full 40 minutes and keep the deficit under 15.

Dale Rogers 6 years, 6 months ago

"This, that: Lon Kruger is 78-47 in his fourth season at OU"

Wow! Even the NBA teams don't play that many games in one season!

Kurt Eskilson 6 years, 6 months ago

I believe he means that is Kruger's total record through all four seasons … which with 29 games done this season leaves an average of 32 games per season for the previous three.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 6 months ago

Now if only HCBS had a better idea then to let the opposing team drive unmolested to the rim with under 6 seconds to end the game.

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