Granted the competition was not the stiffest, but the Kansas University men’s basketball team got a much-needed positive outcome on the road on Saturday, in the form of a 75-56 rout of TCU in Fort Worth, Texas.
The victory snapped KU’s three-game road losing streak that dated back to the beginning of January.
The Jayhawks, behind 11 first-half points from Perry Ellis and 8 more from Devonté Graham, led TCU 38-20 at halftime, after shooting 56 percent and limiting the Horned Frogs to just 25-percent shooting. TCU’s 20 points were the fewest allowed by the Kansas defense in the first half this season.
Had it not been for TCU’s 12 trips to the free-throw line (where the Frogs made seven attempts), the point total likely would have been even lower.
View a gallery of images from the Jayhawks game against the Horned Frogs at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.
Ten of Ellis’ 11 points in the opening 20 minutes came in the paint, where KU shot 11-of-14 in the first half and got whatever it wanted.
KU, though not as impressive in the second half, opened the final 20 minutes with more points in the paint, knocked down a couple of three-pointers and salted this one away at the free-throw line, where the Jayhawks shot 85 percent, 11-of-13.
Ellis led KU with a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds. Graham finished with 15 and Jamari Traylor added six points and seven boards off the bench.
Frank Mason III also added a dozen points and six assists but shot just 3-of-11 from the floor and turned it over 3 times in 38 minutes.
In a game that appeared to be a golden opportunity for KU coach Bill Self to get freshmen Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg some extended playing time, the two forwards played 10 minutes apiece and combined for 2 points on 2 shots, 10 rebounds and 5 fouls.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: Kansas took complete control of the game in the first half with a 17-1 run that turned a 21-14 Kansas lead into a 38-15 run-away.
• Offensive highlight: For the most part, the Jayhawks got whatever they wanted offensively in the first half but few buckets were as pretty or as easy as the alley-oop from Wayne Selden Jr. to Ellis that put Kansas up 19-10 in the early going. The ’oop was the result of good ball movement, solid screens and a lot of patience by the Jayhawks. It helped, of course, that TCU’s defense fell asleep completely and allowed an easy lane for the pass and dunk.
• Defensive highlight: To pick one highlight here would be unfair to the overall team effort that Kansas put in on defense in this one. The Frogs looked helpless against KU’s turned-up defense and really struggled to score, especially in the first half, when they made just 6 of 24 field goals and 7 free throws. KU looked as if it knew that the game could be won on the defensive end. Not surprisingly, that confidence carried over to the offensive end, as well.
• Key stat: Points in the paint. KU dominated inside, outscoring the Horned Frogs 46-14 in the paint and out-rebounding TCU 46-25.
• Up next: With the latest road test out of the way, the Jayhawks will jump into what figures to be their toughest week of the 2015-16 season. KU will play host to West Virginia at 6 p.m. Tuesday night and then will travel to Oklahoma for a1:30 p.m. tip-off next Saturday in Norman. Both teams entered Saturday ahead of KU in the Big 12 standings and both games will go a long way toward determining whether KU can keep its streak of consecutive Big 12 regular season titles alive. It was announced Saturday that next weekend’s KU-Oklahoma game will be the host site for ESPN’s College Gameday.
— See what people were saying about Kansas at TCU during KUsports.com’s live coverage.