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Kansas defeats West Virginia, 75-65

  • 6 p.m., Feb. 9, 2016
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Program guy: Veteran Landen Lucas helps KU topple WVU

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) gets up for a lob dunk against West Virginia forward Nathan Adrian (11) during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) gets up for a lob dunk against West Virginia forward Nathan Adrian (11) during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Landen Lucas’ career-high 16 rebounds helped Kansas University beat West Virginia, 75-65, and grab a share of first place in the Big 12 Conference standings with the Mountaineers and Oklahoma Sooners on Tuesday night.

The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Portland junior’s performance on the glass — which was KU’s best since Andrew Wiggins pulled down 19 boards on Jan. 13, 2014 at Iowa State — also earned him an audience with ESPN’s Dick Vitale on press row after KU’s 20th win in 24 tries and eighth league victory in 11 outings.

“It was awesome. You grow up watching him. There I am taking a selfie with him at the end of the interview. He’s all into selfies now,” said Lucas, who also chipped in nine points and had four blocked shots while helping slow down West Virginia’s Devin Williams (14 points, 4-of-10 shooting, nine boards).

“It’s something as a kid you dream of, so that’s pretty cool,” Lucas added of being summoned to a star-of-the-game interview with Vitale.

Another thing “cool” for Lucas was the fact his coach, Bill Self, made sure to shake Lucas’ hand before sending him over to the ESPN crew.

“He said, ‘Good job.’ He’s happy for me, which is nice,” Lucas said after his 29-minute effort.

Lucas helped KU to a 33-28 advantage on the boards against a (19-5, 8-3) Mountaineer team that whipped KU, 74-63, on Jan. 12 in Morgantown.

“If you told me before the game Landen and Perry (Ellis, 21 points, three assists) would combine for 17 rebounds, I’d say that would be a heck of an effort. I didn’t think one of them would get 16 of ’em though,” Self said jokingly. “He (Lucas) was the best player in the game. He did a great job on Devin. He has five blocks on the year and got four tonight and nine points and 16 rebounds and played just fabulous. I know one possession early in the game he caught the ball under the basket, he hesitated and they blocked his shot. That’s about the only faux pas he made. He played to scouting report and really was a primary reason we won the game,” Self added.

Lucas barely missed his second double-double of the season. He had 13 points and 12 boards against Chaminade in the Maui Invitational.

“It was the free throw (he made one of two). I did it to myself. That’s on me,” Lucas said. “My dad will probably give me some crap about that. I’ll work on it. Hopefully I’ll get one down at Oklahoma (1:30 p.m., Saturday).”

Lucas’ four blocks kind of came out of nowhere, considering he entered with just the five all season.

“He (Self) challenged me to go after more shots. He doesn’t want to say, ‘Get more blocks,’ because then you might go for stuff you can’t get,” Lucas said. “Just to challenge shots. It’s something Cheick (Diallo) ... I watch him do in practice all the time. He’s great. Every time a shot was going up I wanted to at least go jump and challenge it. I got my hand on a couple. I’ll continue to do that. I know it’s something he’s looking for from us.”

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self on Big 12 race, need to win on road

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self meets media members after the Jayhawks' home win over West Virginia and discusses, among many other topics, KU tying West Virginia and Oklahoma for first place in the Big 12, and the need to win road games going forward.

Download podcast

Self said, simply: “We have been trying to create more activity defensively.”

Lucas’ effort — he also had 10 boards and no points in a win over Texas — in such a big game made some reminisce about his recruitment. 

Remember, Lucas was not ranked in the Class of 2012 by Rivals.com.

“When we recruited Landen,” Self said, “we recruited him as a backup. We recruited him as a program guy. I remember talking to his dad (Richard, former Oregon player). He asked, ‘Do you think he’s going to be good enough to play here?’ I said, ‘Not as a freshman. Maybe some as a sophomore. By the time he’s a junior, he’s going to be a major contributor.’ Everybody wants it to be immediate,” Self added.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jayhawks talk Landen Lucas' big night, Big 12 race

Kansas basketball players Landen Lucas, Perry Ellis and Frank Mason III discuss the Jayhawks' home victory over West Virginia, the impact of junior forward Lucas (16 rebounds) and the tight Big 12 race.

Download podcast

“Cheick and Carlton (Bragg) are better prospects coming in here. You guys saw tonight that (Lucas) is a kid that’s been through the wars, been in the weight room four years (including red-shirt year). He was going against a man (in Williams). He knows how to help you win a game. Those other kids will, too,” Self said. “They’re just a little young.”

Of forwards Diallo and Bragg, who played two and one minute Tuesday, Lucas said: “They deserve it (publicity). They had great high school careers and were highly recruited. They are going to come in and do their thing and it’s just our job as older guys to help them get prepared for times we will need them.”

As far as specifics of Tuesday’s victory ... KU used a 14-6 run to up a narrow 56-52 lead with 7:22 left to 70-58. Ellis had seven points in that surge. KU had five players finish in double figures. Ellis had 21, Frank Mason III 14, Wayne Selden, Jr., 11, Devonté Graham and Brannen Greene 10.

“It’s nice being at home. The home crowd always helps,” Lucas assessed. “We knew we had to win this game. Every time they went on a little run and cut it down, we’d get together, talk amongst each other, just say, ‘Come out and get a stop.’ It was a good win, especially after what happened there.”

Indeed ... “we got punked in Morgantown,” Self said. “Tonight I thought we were much more competitive. We made many, many more competitive plays. We played more like men than when we went to Morgantown.”

— See what people were saying about No. 6 KU vs. No. 10 WVU during KUsports.com’s live coverage


More news and notes from KU’s home win over West Virginia




By the Numbers: Kansas 75, West Virginia 65

By the Numbers: Kansas 75, West Virginia 65

Comments

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 9 months ago

Great job Lucas! Way to go after those shots.With that many blocks, he was still in the game - that proves himself as a lethal rim protector, thanks to Diallo. I hope Lucas will only get better from this point on. If he keeps playing like this at each game, we will be hard to beat. He can rack up double double easily. It's time for him to show up - we've been waiting for so long. :)

Jared Reeves 3 years, 9 months ago

Great game. Great win. Great job by Lucas. Lucas has been solid recently, but wasn't getting points or blocks. If he can turn in this kind of performance consistently, there will be a lot fewer people begging to put in Diallo.

This is the best KU has played since we last played OU. Let's see if we can keep it going in Norman. RCJH!

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 9 months ago

Lucas is performing at a higher level because he is getting the minutes needed in real game time. Absolutely no doubt that he has vastly improved and will be a force next year. Lucas doesn't make many mistakes. He is not a real threat on offense but if you leave him free, you will pay.

If Diallo had as much real game experience then I also believe that he would be playing at a much higher level with a higher ceiling but he is still making too many mistakes. Missing those early games back in November really set him back. I hope he doesn't decide to leave as he is still projected a first round draft pick.

Next year's team could be even better than this year's depending on who stays or leaves. If only the graduating class leaves and we can recruit another tall guard or small forward then we could be a dominant team but this year's team still has the opportunity to be something special.

Anyways, I was wrong about Lucas. If this is what Self had foreseen as being possible then Lucas and Self deserves a lot of credit. Keep it up Lucas and keep proving me wrong.

Chris Shaw 3 years, 9 months ago

If everybody comes back, this team will be better next year. Still not convinced anybody is leaving.

I agree about Lucas. I also agree about the Frosh in Diallo and Bragg had they been given the opportunity to go through their "Growing Pains" properly.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 9 months ago

Ever since Self called out his players for being soft in their lackluster win over K$U and challenged them to play like men, they've responded positively.

Maybe Self's system still has life in it after all!

Don't Fire Bill Self (yet)!

Benjamin Clay Jones 3 years, 9 months ago

Great game for Landen, but we have a guy every bit as good as him whiling away his evenings on the bench. His name is Hunter Mickelson.

Janet Olin 3 years, 9 months ago

Hunter has been out with an ankle injury. Coach said before the game he would be 'available' but was not '100%'. The way Landen was playing, it's easy to see why Hunter didn't play in this game.

RJ King 3 years, 9 months ago

Janet is right. And with ankle sprains, rest is usually the best fix. Save Hunter for when we really need him.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 9 months ago

Hunter being injured and Lucas playing as well as he has over the last couple of weeks might make it hard for Mickelson to ever see any PT with the game on the line. Before Hunter was injured, I still believe that for whatever reason, he was underused. I feel bad for the young man. His best play in his time here at Kansas was in South Korea but Self NEVER promises PT and nor should he.

Mike Tackett 3 years, 9 months ago

Lucas, Ellis great game. On to Norman. Take no prisoners.

Scott Lippoldt 3 years, 9 months ago

I was excited to read that, too, as it is one of my middle schoolers' vocab words. They keep getting that and 'gauche' muddled up...

Danny Hernandez 3 years, 9 months ago

Where are all the Landen Haters? Great Job Landen plus this could be the boost to his confidence he needed to play this way the rest of the season.

I still was pizzed off we gave the ball away in the second half 4 consecutive trips,

Scott Lippoldt 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm not a Landen hater, but I definitely had not been impressed with what he had been doing on the court up until the last couple games. It's awesome to see him throw down dunks with authority. Just wish he had been doing that, along with dominating the boards, in the previous games. If he plays like he did last night, I have no issues with him getting that much playing time. Hope he keeps this up!

Sam Burns 3 years, 9 months ago

Danny, Do you really think anyone on here really hates Landen? Only you, Harlan, and Jay would believe that! A lot of us thought he was getting too many minutes and not producing. But this game was different. If he produces like this from here on, you won't read many negative comments on here. That "Landen Haters" comment was right down there with Jay's "Chicken Little" comments.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

Sammy! There are plenty of Landen Haters. There are comments from after nearly every game about how he should be benched etc etc. It's one thing to be uninformed, and another to be intentionally dishonest. Which are you?

And yes, there are also plenty of Chicken Littles...

Sam Burns 3 years, 9 months ago

So, you think it's the same thing to think he should be benched and hating him? I'm glad you saw this, your comments about Chicken Little wasn't funny the first time, and it's sooooooooo old now/, Have another drink and attack someone else.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks Sam. Intentionally dishonest it is.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 9 months ago

I have to eat my crow pie on this one. Jay knows I have been one of the promoters of Cheick for more minutes over Landon. Landon was a man tonight and had multiple jams. Great game brodie!

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 9 months ago

Danny, do you have any previous comments that you would like to share where you back Lucas over the other bigs?

JD Roth 3 years, 9 months ago

Hey Landen, way to dominate the boards! Take this same mental approach to Norman and dominate Saturday. Your hard work is paying off. I am happy for you. KUSPORTS.COM we are in February, please check your work. Otherwise great article.

Kerby Rice 3 years, 9 months ago

Lucas plays like that were still playing come April.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 9 months ago

Right on, Danny. Lucas has been a punching bag for some all year. He's a solid player, whether or not he scores like he did last night. Also, he is most articulate and a class act. His star is getting brighter, and he deserves it.

Also, Perry seems to be taking on the role of "alpha dog" just fine.

Lot of tough road trips coming up, but am confident that the players will give it their best shot. Don't know if it will be good enough, but will support them, win or lose.

Mike Nicco 3 years, 9 months ago

Best play of the game: Lucas seals his man in the low post, takes an entry pass with his right hand, pivots right, almost puts the ball on the deck, but doesn’t and ends up with an easy layup. Love the maturation you’re showing Landon.

Chris Shaw 3 years, 9 months ago

Great Game Landen Lucas. Standing ovation my man! I've never been a big fan of Landen Lucas in the starting lineup, but it's working so I'm good with it. What I've always been a big fan of and what I always thought (As the article states) was that Lucas would be a great program guy and someone that could give 12-16 minutes as a "Role" Bench guy his junior and senior season. This season isn't exactly how it was suppose to play out, but kudos for Luas to adapting. It's not ideal but it's working.

On the season Lucas is averaging 15 minutes a game, but I think going forward you can pretty much expect him to get 17-23 minutes a game as long as he can stay out of foul trouble. With the right lineups he's turning into a really good defensive post. He's not gonna block many shots, but he's using that body of his to keep his opponents from getting to their spots. That's huge.

With all that said, I went back over the last 20 years or so and I looked up all the NCAA Champions to try to find some correlations between this 2015-2016 Kansas basketball team and some NCAA Champions. There are 2 or 3 that stick out. Nothing concrete but some similarities.

1999 UConn: This team had Richard Hamilton (Their go to guy and scorer), Khalid El Amin (Their Floor general who could score and dish and wasn't an NBA talent), and Kevin Freeman (Do it all Small forward who scored, rebounded, and did all the little things). Freeman reminds me of Wayne Selden if Selden attacked the boards more often and impacted the game more from a non scoring perspective. "Impact" the game in other ways. I think Selden is getting better in this department.

One other key factor in all this is a guy named Jake Voskuhl (Serviceable NBA Journeyman frontman). Yes, Voskuhl played in the NBA, but he only averaged 5.5 points 6.4 points a game in 21 minutes for UConn. I'm not saying Lucas is an NBA talent, but what I am saying is that Lucas's and Voskuil's "Roles" are/were similar. As long as Mason, Graham, Selden, and Ellis do their part and can step up...Lucas can do his part and maybe just maybe provide what is needed to get to a Final 4.

cont'd

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

Chris. Your post is longer than Bedore's article.

If you really think people want to read ten paragraph essays of yours, a blog is the proper venue.

Chris Shaw 3 years, 9 months ago

Freedom of speech. Read it, don't read it! It talks about NCAA Champions. You might like it? Or not? I don't care. And I can argue this is the proper venue. Don't be a Richard.

Chris Shaw 3 years, 9 months ago

cont'd

2010 Duke: This team had Singler, Scheyer, and Nolan Smith and that's pretty much it as their 3 headed monster. Kansas has a 4 headed Monster. What I found interesting is that this Duke roster wasn't overly great, but their "Team" was pretty damn good. They had Zoubek at center who averaged 5.6 points, and 7.7 rebounds, Miles Plumlee who averaged 5.2 and 4.9, and Lance Thomas who averaged 4.8 and 4.9. Add in Andre Dawkins as a their guard bench guy and Duke only went 7 deep. Scheyer, Singler, and Nolan Smith averaged right at 36 minutes a game for the season.

Like Duke, Kansas doesn't have a great Big Man (Depends what you call Ellis), but Kansas has a lot of serviceable big men that can rotate in like Thomas, Zoubek, and Plumlee. Lucas is in that category if he keeps improving and playing like he is.

2013 Louisville: Now this may be a stretch because of Louisville's style with pressing, but take a look at their roster that year. They had 6'0 guard russ smith which imo can cast a similarity with Frank Mason. You had Peyton Siva which is similar to Devonte Graham. Wayne Selden is combination of Charlie Branahan and Luke Hancock and Georges Dieng (Kansas doesn't have one of him) averaged basically a double/double in 10 and 10. Dieng definitely stuffed the post for them, but I think Kansas has different ways to stop the middle with a guy like Lucas and Big Man by Committee with everyone else.

The interesting thing about Louisville that year is Luke Hancock went nuts. He played above anything he ever did during the season. Selden, Greene, and or Svi IMO would have to do something like that for KU to make a Final 4 or win the title. With that said, I started looking at that Louisville squad...and there are so many similarities between (Roster wise IMO) them and this year's Kansas squad.

RJ King 3 years, 9 months ago

Nah, BigManU was around when we still had Jaybate. I'm liking the post(s). It's a throw back to the way this site used to be. I miss Dagger, HEM and the others.

Humpy Helsel 3 years, 9 months ago

Man I wish I had my post I made about Landen during the Korea trip which some folks jumped on with negative comments about his play and his 'lack of skills." True. The missing piece is more consistency from Landen, but that could be said of most of this year's team. Happy for this kid. and happy he is on our team.

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