Kansas defeats New Mexico State, 75-56

  • 11:15 a.m., March 20, 2015
  • CenturyLink Center, Omaha,

Friday, March 20, 2015

Hot to Trot: Jayhawks have fun, get hot in run-away victory over New Mexico State

KU to face WSU at 4:15 p.m. Sunday

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) passes beneath the basket in the Jayhawks second-round NCAA tournament game against New Mexico State Friday, March 20, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. .

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) passes beneath the basket in the Jayhawks second-round NCAA tournament game against New Mexico State Friday, March 20, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. .


— Kansas University’s basketball players formed a layup line, passing, dribbling and shooting invisible balls to the delight of early-arriving Jayhawk fans more than an hour before tipoff Friday morning in CenturyLink Center.

“Coach said, ‘Have fun, today,’ and that was a good way to start it off,” KU junior forward Jamari Traylor said after the Jayhawks’ 75-56 NCAA Midwest Regional Round of 64 rout of New Mexico State.

“They (fans) had a good laugh at it. We might do it some more if we are out early enough before the (next) game,” Traylor added with a smile, referring to Sunday’s Round of 32 contest against Wichita State

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self talks KU's rediscovered 3-point shooting and balanced scoring

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self saw his team make 9 of 13 three-pointers Friday in Omaha, where the Jayhawks advanced to the next round of the NCAA Tournament with a 75-56 win over New Mexico State. KU had seven players who scored seven or more points. Self discussed those topics ...

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Box score

KU and Wichita State will tip off at 4:15 p.m. Sunday. The game will be televised on CBS.

The (27-8) Jayhawks were just as successful shooting real basketballs as the make-believe balls that jump-started an impressive day.

KU experienced no first-game tournament jitters in hitting an uncanny 54 percent of its shots while busting out of a horrible three-point shooting slump. The Jayhawks went nine of 13 from three (69.2 percent) after making 16 of 83 threes (19.3 percent) during the past seven games.

“We were all loose,” said KU sophomore wing Brannen Greene. He hit two of four threes and scored eight points after making just four of his past 28 threes over nine games.

“We had to wake up at 6:45 (for 11:15 a.m., tip). Even at breakfast we were all loose, having fun. Kelly (Oubre, Jr., eight points, 2-3 from three) was running around like his normal self, being a nut. Everybody was loose and we had fun with it,” Greene added.

From start to finish, it just seemed to be a care-free day for the Jayhawks.

“We all had great attitudes in the early morning. That’s something very rare. I’m not a morning person,” Oubre said. “My teammates had me in a good mood this morning.”

Junior forward Perry Ellis, who scored nine points off 4-of-10 shooting with two rebounds in 23 minutes, said the squad’s mental frame of mind — helped in large part by the fake layup frivolity — was pivotal.

“Getting everybody’s juices flowing, just getting everybody confident. Before the game, everybody was energized. It was a good sign. We got after it and had a great game,” Ellis said.

Sophomore point guard Frank Mason III, who scored a game-high 17 points with nine rebounds and four assists, had some pre-game words of wisdom for his teammates.

“Frank came out and said, ‘I’m gonna lead you guys. I’m gonna set the tone.’ That’s what he did,” Greene stated.

Mason, Oubre and Ellis hit early threes as KU raced to a 22-12 lead. By halftime, the free-flowing Jayhawks, who had no problems with New Mexico State’s zone defense, held a 36-23 lead thanks in part to 5-of-8 three-point shooting (53.6 overall).

KU led, 49-32, following Oubre’s second three with 13:54 left, and the lead never dipped under 10 during the second half.

KU’s three-point percentage of 69.2 percent tied for the fifth-best mark in school history (since records started being kept in 1988-89). It was KU's best three-point percentage since a 71.4 mark against Virginia in 1996.

“They (fans) started laughing and smiling, going crazy,” said Greene, asked if he could sense the KU fans in attendance were pleased with the squad finally getting hot from beyond the arc.

As far as his own shooting ... “coach Howard (Jerrance, assistant) actually told me to let the next one fly no matter where it was, even if it was from the NBA line (after he hit his first three with 7:59 left). His second swished at 7:06, giving KU a 63-43 advantage.

“Coach (Bill Self) told me to shoot it if I was open. I wasn’t necessarily open. The guy was low. His hands were down. I took the shot and made it.”

Greene said pre-game helped his confidence as well.

“My shot felt good ever since warmups,” he said. “I knew even in the first half when I missed two shots, I felt good. I felt I had my old shot back. I knew I was going to keep shooting. Coach has confidence in my shooting and my teammates as well. I’m definitely looking forward to the next couple of games and getting into a groove.”

Self joked that he removed the lids from the rims to help his players.

“Going forward if you are not going to get easy baskets, somebody has to jump up and make a play,” Self said. “It should give us some confidence moving forward. I coach from a negative standpoint this way — we’ve got to figure a way to win when you don’t make shots. It makes it so much easier if you can step up and run average offense and come up with three points.”

The Jayhawks outrebounded New Mexico State 36-29, and held the Aggies (23-11) to 35.7 percent shooting, 5-of-15 from three.

“The eight that played a lot of minutes ... they all did well,” Self said. “Kelly made two big shots off the bat. Wayne (Selden, Jr., six points) never got in rhythm because of fouls. Frank was great. Landen (Lucas, nine boards, seven points) was terrific in the post defensively. Jamari (eight points, five boards) was good. When you shoot the ball like that ... Brannen making three jumpers should give us confidence moving forward.

“Defensively we’ve not trapped the post a lot this year. We did a good job on post traps. They turned it over some (11 times to KU’s 14). We made them play poorly. Whenever a team shoots 35 percent and you out-rebound them, you have a chance to do well,” Self noted.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. New Mexico State in the NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers: Kansas beats New Mexico State, 75-56

By the Numbers: Kansas beats New Mexico State, 75-56


Bryce Landon 6 years, 6 months ago

Kudos to Coach Self for keeping the team loose and telling them to "have fun". Right call. No one expects them to do anything significant since they are in UK's bracket, so he is doing well to have they playing like they have nothing to lose.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 6 months ago

Watched the WSU/IU game. This is the team that's going to beat the crap out of us???? Not impressed, no inside game with Van Fleet, a one man offense.

Keep having fun, pound it inside and pop for more threes. Sunday we win by 15!!

Something tells me Bill is sick and tired of hearing about how he is constantly "ducking" WSU. When Bill is mad he and his teams are almost always very, very dangerous!!!

Brad Farha 6 years, 6 months ago

Baker had an uncharacteristically off night shooting the ball. Don't think that'll happen again. The Omaha pod had been fun, but sorry to see the 'Pokes lose.

Brian Conrad 6 years, 6 months ago

baker and Van Fleet have not gone against Seldon and Mason yet.. Mason will be tough to stay up with and still play offense .. good luck to his defender and Seldon will be much taller and much better than either have seen on defense ... ready for Sunday lets ROCK CHALK ! and WSU has not played a big man rotation including Ellis , Traylor , Lucas , Hunter and do not forget Greene shooting and Oubre dunking ...

Bryce Landon 6 years, 6 months ago

Think he can get his Jayhawks to "play angry" on Sunday?

Rodney Crain 6 years, 6 months ago

Good points, I hope we play well and beat them. It would quiet the discussion for a while.

I will take a one point win. Anything else is gravy!

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 6 months ago

If we play our game, we will beat WSU and ND. I've been itching for us to get another shot at KY. If we continue to play our game vs. KY, we can collect some very sweet justice. However, for now, I'd be over the moon with a Sweet 16 appearance.

Len Shaffer 6 years, 6 months ago

So THAT's what it's like to have a point guard in the tournament! Amazing what a difference it makes to have someone in charge who's got his act together.

Mason was even better than he has been for most of the season. To borrow the old Reggie Jackson quote, he's "the straw that stirs the drink."

Micky Baker 6 years, 6 months ago

In one of my ESPN brackets, I went 25-7. I was so close to being 30-2 for the round of 64. Four teams that I picked lost by 1 point: Iowa State, Baylor, SMU and Purdue. The other, VCU, lost by 3 to Ohio State. The other games that I missed is where I chose St. Johns over San Diego State and Providence over Dayton.

Micky Baker 6 years, 6 months ago

It was a nice game for the Jayhawks. If we play with that kind of efficiency against Wichita State, we're going to win it. BUT, Wichita State is going to be up for the game. If we punch them in the mouth first and clog the lane so they can't drive or dish it on the interior, then we should beat them. That is easier said than done.

JD Roth 6 years, 6 months ago

Bill Self is extra pumped for Sunday. He will have KU ready to go. Perry wants this one bad! Seth Davis seems to think Self is afraid of this game. Sometimes those "experts" should really keep their mouths shut. No, not sometimes, most times.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 6 months ago

I am just glad Conner is not playing.. Tongue --->>> Cheek

Lots of chatter about our fear, our ducking them. The NCAA got exactly what they hoped for in this match up, a little drama for TV in a local match up. David vs Goliath, the Blue Blood vs. the up and coming poor team fighting for respect. Its a made for TV movie almost.

JD Roth 6 years, 6 months ago

Yes good point Rodney, this was premeditated. NCAA definitely wanted this matchup. Time for the Jayhawks to shut the Wheatshockers up. Especially Gregg Marshall. Let's go Jayhawks!!!

Chad Lee 6 years, 6 months ago

They should have a good scouting report.. for around Christmas anyway. maybe just a tad unfair

Arthur Ankeney 6 years, 6 months ago

I am so tired of hearing people talk about KU ducking WSU. Self has commented on the matter numerous times and he is right. KU already has the Kansas recruiting (as seen with Ellis and Frankamp). By playing in bigger profile games in big cities in the non-conference, it puts the KU brand on display and acts as another tool for bringing in top recruits. I completely agree with the mentality.

Gerry Butler 6 years, 6 months ago

I have heard the same comments as much as everyone else, and t don't get it. WHY would we be afraid of playing WSU? answer WERE NOT. that just doesn't make any sense. we play the toughest schedule year in year out in the nation, and yet we are afraid of them? don't think so. bottom line is we have nothing to gain from playing them, will agree definitely going to be some great matchups mason-van-fleet, seldon-baker probably Ellis-Cotton but if we bring it play solid we can do this ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY GO HAWKS

Margaret Schadler 6 years, 6 months ago

There is no payoff for playing WSU: no recruiting benefit, no winning benefit, no RPI benefit. Lose to San Diego State, at least there is recruiting exposure. Lose to WSU is lose, lose, lose. At least this game is n't of our making.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 6 months ago

I agree with you.

Some would point out that we should play them because of the fan interest, and this is all that matters. I am not sure how that translates. Our fan base is pretty invested as it is. I support our coach and our scheduling team. If they see no reason to play them, who am I to question that?

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