Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tom Keegan: KU fails to get Perry Ellis enough shots in first loss

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) pulls up for a three against Michigan State forward Deyonta Davis (23) during the first half, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 at United Center in Chicago.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) pulls up for a three against Michigan State forward Deyonta Davis (23) during the first half, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 at United Center in Chicago.


Chicago — In victory or in loss, whether Perry Ellis has a big scoring game or a quiet one, a high-volume shooting night or a low-volume one, I always seem to find myself thinking the same thing driving out of the parking lot: They should have fed the ball more often to Ellis.

Tuesday night in the United Center, where Michigan State stormed from behind to defeat Kansas University, 79-73, was no exception, except that I didn’t have to wait until I made it to the parking lot this time. It was painfully obvious throughout a second half in which others clanked shots before Ellis touched the ball. That can’t happen again.

Not that Ellis is perfect. Nobody is. He missed some shots close to the basket, faked when not needed once or twice, and missed a wide-open jumper from the left elbow that would have given KU a two-point lead with a minute-and-change left. If teammates had fed him more patiently earlier in the half, the game would have been in the bag well before that miss.

Good things generally happen when the ball finds its way into Ellis’ hands. Ellis put up 11 shots in the first half Tuesday and scored 14 points in 16 first-half minutes, leading the Jayhawks to a 41-35 advantage at intermission. He hit a three from the top of the key, scored on a drive and made a bundle of easy buckets on post-ups, using his fancy footwork to make the guys guarding him look as if their two sneakers were tied together.

Sure, Ellis missed a number of easy shots and attempted 18 field goals. That might sound like a lot, but it didn’t look like enough. He made half of them. The rest of the team shot 14 of 48 from the field, a 29-percent accuracy rate. Again, Ellis isn't perfect. The Jayhawks (1-1) needed more than six rebounds from him on a night that Michigan State won the battle of the boards, 45-35, but that doesn't have anything to do with teammates not doing a better job of making him the focal point of the offense for 40 minutes, not just 20.

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The lack of shot-distribution wisdom extended beyond not feeding Ellis. Kansas attempted 15 shots from beyond the three-point semi-circle and made just three. None of those attempts flew off the hands of the Jayhawks' two top long-range shooters, Brannen Greene and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, who in 21 minutes combined to go 8-for-8 from the line and 0-for-0 from three.

Frank Mason III, Devonté Graham and Wayne Selden Jr. combined to shoot 9 for 36 from the field (25 percent) and 2 for 13 from three (15 percent).

Selden could have detailed an X-and-O reason based on a defensive adjustment to explain why the team didn't feature Ellis as much in the second half as the first and nobody would have been the wiser. He didn't take that escape hatch from blame. Good sign.

"It's our guard play," Selden said. "We weren't aggressive enough and we weren't throwing it in there. That's on me, Devonté and Frank. We've got to get the ball in there and we didn't do that."

Kansas coach Bill Self's critique wasn't as harsh as Selden's self-critique.

"That wasn't a strategy or anything," Self said of going away from Ellis. "We went to Perry early a lot and he delivered. But there were some shots Perry had the ball down tight several times too and we didn't come away with as much as we had hoped. We played to Landen a few times and got the ball down tight. He's our best sealer, but really, they did such a good job of jamming it up and then when you don't make shots it puts pressure on you to drive and they're a hard team to drive against."

Lucas, who played 14 minutes to Hunter Mickelson's three, made 1 of 5 shots.

By the Numbers: Michigan State 79, Kansas 73

By the Numbers: Michigan State 79, Kansas 73


David Kemp 5 years, 7 months ago

Another year of mediocre play for selden if he doesn't come around. I would agree that mason and graham driving 1 on 3 ain't working. Our offense needs to find a way to get shots for Greene and svi

Edward Daub 5 years, 7 months ago

If two people agree on everything , one of them isn't needed. Keegan and I are both needed.

Ellis had plenty of shots (18) and made 9 including 1 of 2 from "Three". That was three more shots than Mason (15), six more than Selden (12), and nine more than Graham (9).

Ellis also shot only 2 of 5 from the free throw line.

You have to develop at least one other consistent inside post scorer to be successful. Ellis is our only consistent scoring option down on the blocks.

I have to grimace when I read articles about Perry moving to the "3" spot. It's not ever going to happen at KU! Why? Because he is our best (and only) low post scorer.

Greene attempted zero shots from the field in 9 minutes, but did go 6-6 from the FT line. He almost got a shot off at the end of the first half (shot clock violation). Vitale stated Greene is Self''s best shooter, I conclude he is still fighting the hip surgery.

Brian Skelly 5 years, 6 months ago

 The 'problem' isnt new.    We cant score inside.    I love Perry Ellis,  but as '4' he's undersized,   and as a '3' he's under skilled.     And with all that,  he's still our real only option down low.    So thats what we have now.   The guards running around like crazy and jacking up 3's,  with some form of post play from Ellis.     I'd also argue our permiter defense last night was awful,  and not just because we were getting lit up by one guy.    THAT will be the biggest indicator of how good this team is.    If we dont defend better, we're not playing far into the tournament,  and likely wont win the conference.

Jay Scott 5 years, 6 months ago

Perry wasn't the problem and he did fine inside.

James Smith 5 years, 6 months ago

Keegan...Call out Bill Self for another poor coaching job!

Michael Leiker 5 years, 6 months ago

SALY - too much Lucas, ceiling is just too low with that guy in the game. Traylor a shell of his former self, how this staff has killed this guy's game is a tragedy, two years ago he won games for KU. Self continues to dislike guys who can shoot it, or top put it better, just value them less than bigger stronger guards, yeah they ran a play or two for Greene and MSU did a nice job defending him, but he has to be in there to be able to get a shot up.

In all, it's early but same as it's been for 3 years, the rule changes have made Bill's style of ball obsolete and he has not adjusted. The philosophy has to be that you have to score more than the other team, not that you have to keep the other team from scoring as much as you...we'll keep seeing the same struggles against good competition as long as Self keeps sacrificing offense for defense. And it's sad because the players are there to get it done for him.

Who else is really scared of being in AFH for UK??? Does not sound like much fun right now!!

Rob Bedford III 5 years, 6 months ago

The bigs for Kentucky will have an easy time with the bigs for KU.

Zeik Montellioso 5 years, 6 months ago

I agree. Self's lack of offensive adjustments based on a current roster is really starting to show itself. He seems to have only 2 strategies:

  1. Run the High-Low
  2. Give the ball to a slashing guard and let him drive.

The whole offense falls apart against strong well coached teams when both are not working.

Currently we don't have multiple tall athletic reliable post players to run the High-Low. Parry is talented, but he isn't tall enough, and has no reliable partner. Yet, Self still forces the High-Low.

We do have good guards that can slash, but if the High-Low isn't posing a threat, then the defense just clamps down on the slashing guards.

Further, we have great 3 point shooters, but don't effectively play to get them open. The strategy(High-Low) seems to be throw the ball inside, and if there's no shot kick it back out to the perimeter and hope for an open 3. If there's no angle to throw inside, then just toss the ball around the perimeter, or run the weave (which does nothing....ever). If you watch other teams with good shooters, the shooters are sprinting around half court slicing by screens with passes hitting their hands as soon as they come around the screen. I rarely see a screen set for a shooter. Screens are normally just set by the big, for each other or a lob. Instead we have our shooters just sitting in a corner.

It really is getting old. Bill is a good coach, no question....but he doesn't have the roster to hammer down the same old system. Other coaches have his number, and KU isn't athletic enough in the post to enforce the High-Low when people knows it's coming.

Kenneth Johnson 5 years, 6 months ago

Why play Landen Lucas so much? He was mostly ineffective, and in my estimation, Hunter Mikelson is a better player.

We really need to get the NCAA off the dime on their bogus investigation of Chieck Diallo.

Ken Johnson (KU '70 MS) Author of Kansas University Basketball Legends, 2013, and More University of Kansas Basketball Legends, 2014, both published by The History Press, Charleston, SC.

Jim Pendleton 5 years, 6 months ago

Once again, everyone needs to get off singling out one or two players for another loss. Everyone made some mistakes at key times, but the biggest problem of the night - missed layups and short shots! I lost count after about 12-15 of them, and it wasn't just one or two people. You must take care of business around the rim when you have the opportunity for a fairly easy finish. If those shots are made, we can overlook some of the other issues and this is close to a double digit win.

Valentine was obviously a problem most of the night, but perhaps the two biggest MSU baskets of the night were three's by McQuaid, both after an offensive rebound. Actually thought we were doing a decent job in this area for about 3/4 of the game, but you have to finish the game strong in this area. Having Diallo would no doubt help in this area, so we can all hope he gets cleared, sooner rather than later.

Steve Zimmerman 5 years, 6 months ago

Perry's got enough ball touches. Any stats that proved this number? He should've taken the shot like Bragg, instead of passing back & forth to others. He had his chances. What we need to look back and learn is: We've got 3 guards that are capable to feed while running the play, instead they shot blank, forced to penetrate and challenged 3-4 opponents. Like they're in a hurry or something.. Can't blame them for missing treys... but geee.. we've got bigs that can (or can't?) catch ball in the air. We've got size advantage but not enough plays drawn for them. MSU is far better in execution due to 1 very good guard with excellent court vision. We've got 3 guards that has mind and eyes on the basket or 'reset' the offense...

How hard is it for Hudy to coach those bigs to leap higher and with explosiveness? This is basketball, isnt' it? Oh, i just wish Svi would've dunked the ball in that 1st half.

Layne Pierce 5 years, 6 months ago

I think Perry had enough shots. This game unfortunately reminded me of the Iowa St game the B12 tournament.

If we are going to do high-low, then Hunter has to go in. He deserves a shot. Lucas seems so slow. The people who did not get enough shots were Brannen and Svi. Part of our problem is that we are programmed to lose. At the end of the game, defenses take Perry away. Frank is tired, his defense declines, his drives diminish. At that point, other people have to be able to score. Lucas can't. Selden hs yet to figure out how to get the game to come to him. He is always forcing it. Perhaps we need to feed him the ball for short jump shots. From just inside the .key. He then skhoots, or feeds to Svi or Brannen or Frank. This team looked so much like the team that lost to Iowa St. Frankly, where is the improvement. A twelfth championship looks doubtful, if we go on like this

Dirk Medema 5 years, 6 months ago

Was Brannen even in the game at the end when we needed a 3?

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