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Kansas defeats Texas, 76-67

  • 1 p.m., Jan. 23, 2016
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Veteran’s day: KU’s top four help Jayhawks sink Texas 76-67

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4), forward Jamari Traylor (31) and guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) have a laugh with the game wrapped up and seconds remaining, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4), forward Jamari Traylor (31) and guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) have a laugh with the game wrapped up and seconds remaining, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas University’s basketball upperclassmen called a players-only meeting on Wednesday — the day after the Jayhawks’ 19-point road loss at Oklahoma State.

On Friday it was Bill Self’s turn to summon the team’s four best players — Perry Ellis, Wayne Selden, Jr., Frank Mason III and Devonté Graham — to the head coach’s office prior to the final practice before his Jayhawks’ 76-67 victory over the Texas Longhorns on Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.

“Getting their opinion on a lot of different things ... making sure we’re all on the same page,” Self said of the purpose of Friday’s session.

“It’s one thing the headlines are never going to read: ‘Freshmen play bad; Kansas loses.’ It’s going to be, ‘Self this or Selden that or Ellis or Graham or Mason.’ That’s the way it should be.’ I just want them to be on the same page. They need to take ownership and tell me how they really feel about certain things and they did. I think it’ll help us moving forward,” Self added after his team improved to 16-3 overall and 5-2 in the Big 12. Texas dropped to 12-7, 4-3.

The players who attended Friday’s confab with the coach — “it was ownership on what is best. What do you think is best? How can I go better and how can he do better? An honest conversation,” Self said — wound up producing big-time.

Ellis had 26 points and four rebounds in 35 minutes; Selden 19 points and five boards in 37 minutes; Graham 14 points and six assists in 37 minutes and Mason 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 39 minutes.

“Tonight you talk about four starters playing an unbelievable number of minutes. They are all equally important. Frank in his way. Devonté in his, Wayne in his and Perry in his,” Self said. “We were fortunate. We had four starters play really well, those four and struggled to win (in a game KU trailed 17-5 early and 35-30 at halftime).”

The fifth starter, who Self said played “great,” was junior Landen Lucas, who had 10 rebounds in 23 minutes. Self used just three other players, senior Jamari Traylor (15 minutes), junior Brannen Greene (nine minutes) and freshman Carlton Bragg, Jr. (five minutes) who combined for four points and six boards.

“Landen gave us a better chance to win,” said Self, who awarded Lucas his first start of the season. “I shortened the bench. I thought it was the biggest game of the year from a momentum standpoint. I thought we were much better playing less guys. This is how we wanted to do it. Our starters really came through for us.

“We went with our veterans. This was the most important game of our season thus far because we needed to eliminate the negative momentum because we were in a rut. We were in a funk. I thought our experience gave us the best chance to do that.”

Freshman Cheick Diallo didn’t play after starting Tuesday’s loss at OSU. Senior Hunter Mickelson also was not called upon to play in the frontcourt.

“Visiting with the guys and who trusts who ... I think Cheick is happier now than he would be if he’d played three minutes and not gone back in,” Self said. “Like I said, we just wanted to win the game.”

Self said, “I don’t know,” when asked about KU’s rotation in upcoming games. “I don’t think we’re going to play 12 guys,” he added, “but I don’t know if it’s similar (to Saturday) or not. To me if you’ve got a big guy in there (like Texas’ Prince Ibeh who had a career-high seven blocks) Landen is most equipped to guard him. You got a pick and pop guy, somebody else is more equipped. It’ll probably just depend how match-ups are.”

Ellis, who hit nine of 15 shots (2-of-4 from three) and was 6-of-6 from the line, thought Friday’s meeting with Self and his three teammates was productive.

“We all have the most say on the team. And we just see everything that’s going on the court," Ellis said. "We all wanted to speak on things we felt we can do better. That was the key focus. And coach just telling us what exactly we have to do. Just be yourself and good things will happen."

Graham, who along with Selden hit two threes in an 18-4 run that erased a 42-39 deficit and provided a 57-46 advantage with 8:30 to play, thought the foursome responded well to the meeting with their head coach.

“I think we did pretty well today and the two practices we had. We’ve just been trying to be more vocal, you know pointing out little things that we thought didn’t matter but actually mattered. Just like strong help off the ball, little things like that. Boxing out, setting screens, little things that we’re calling people out on,” Graham said.

KU, which is tied for first place in the league (at 5-2) with Oklahoma, West Virginia and Baylor, next meets Iowa State (15-4, 4-3) at 8 p.m., Monday in Hilton Coliseum in Ames. The Jayhawks hope to keep building on all the issues discussed at meetings this past week.

“I have some ideas on some things. Tape doesn’t lie. We talked about a lot of things we can do better,” Self said. “I think it’s more between our ears, not in our heart though. You have a kid say, ‘If I guard it the way you say, how do I know somebody behind me is going to do what he’s supposed to do? He didn’t do it last time.’ Things like that. Guys get hesitant, not selfish play but (selfish) thoughts. You’ve got to trust,” Self added.

— See what people were saying about KU vs. Texas during KUsports.com’s live blog.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Texas




By the Numbers: Kansas 76, Texas 67

By the Numbers: Kansas 76, Texas 67

Comments

Barry Weiss 3 years, 10 months ago

well, we need to get the 5 fixed. zero points is not going to go far in the post season.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 10 months ago

Is Mason ok? Will he play on Monday? Who will sub the General if he's DNP?

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm not real sure why Self seems so happy with the way we played. The first half was less than stellar. The second half, UT gave us the game between the 17 to 11 minute marks when they missed several relatively easy shots at the rim, open 3s and several from end of 1-1s.

When will we learn what ails Mason's? Like Self says..."The tape does not lie."

Doug Cramer 3 years, 10 months ago

Hunter Mickelson came to a program that doesn't appreciate his ability to block and alter shots in the post...while providing MUCH NEEDED chemistry to the team.

Not many of us understand college basketball like Self does...so maybe I'm wrong...but I think Self is screwing up by sitting Mick. I mean...the proof is in the pudding. We simply perform better when he's on the floor.

JD Roth 3 years, 10 months ago

Do you watch the games? C'mon Self, play Hunter. It's sad when a guy looks so clumsy by the rim when he's been here as long as Lucas.

James Smith 3 years, 10 months ago

Wow JD and Lucas is so solid under there. What games are you watching.

JD Roth 3 years, 10 months ago

Rebounded well, but you must hit the two footers in crunch time.

Joe Joseph 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm with you Doug. Though I don't know if it can be easily proven that Hunter provides a big boost to team chemistry. Seems like a nice guy, but maybe he doesn't gel with the others? Could that be part of the reason he doesn't play much? I truly have no idea, because, yeah, more good things than bad seem to happen when he's in the game.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 10 months ago

I'd agree that Hunter has a lot more to offer the team, but I don't see it being chemistry, though that does seem to be what Jamari and Landon bring.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 10 months ago

Jamari and Landon bring the type of chemistry that 'self'-implodes. Time to let the best players play.

Ashwin Rao 3 years, 10 months ago

I think it is aggression. Mickelson is good, but not the "energy" type of player. I believe with us being inconsistent in that area in general in the team, he wants to put the most "energy" people on the floor... Just my thoughts.

Also, I would love to have Cheick in at least for a few minutes to keep giving him more game experience...

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 10 months ago

Diallo should start every game and Self needs to lengthen the leash. I think Self has done more to break down the 'self'-confidence of Bragg and Diallo than he has to improve their development.

Diallo's best game was his first and has seemingly regressed ever since. I watched UT's freshman, who aren't nearly as talented, play a large roll in a game that was much closer than it should have been.

We even gave another team's player his best career game w/Lammert getting a high in pts and 3s.

Tom Jones 3 years, 9 months ago

Ibeh was a bad matchup for Cheick and Bragg. This was one of those games where we were fortunate we had Lucas.

Gerry Butler 3 years, 10 months ago

Very true Doug BUT the only problem with that is by the 1st TV time out Hunter has 2 fouls. He can't help if he can't stay on the floor. Maybe we do have better chemistry, but if you can't stay out of foul trouble you do us no good

Joe Joseph 3 years, 10 months ago

Looks like "telling Self how they really feel" translates to "they don't feel very comfortable with Diallo in the game."

Or Mickelson for that matter.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 10 months ago

Joe,

I read it the same way. That is not a good sign to me. I hope we don't have a split developing between the vets and our subs. Cheick, Svi, Brannen, Hunter…..virtual no shows as far as getting minutes. Sure it probably is that the starters know each other's movement, but we will need those subs. I don't want our starters worrying too much about getting their points/minutes.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 10 months ago

After all the talk, we come out flat for 25 minutes in front of a home crowd. Not good.

JD Roth 3 years, 10 months ago

Trailed 17-5 and won by 9 against a quality Texas team..Good

Brett McCabe 3 years, 10 months ago

Texas is tied for 5th in the league. That would be the definition of average.

JD Roth 3 years, 10 months ago

Did they win at West Virginia? Big XII is tough, no easy road games as KU has fallen at West Virginia and Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State was dominated at Kansas State.

Gerry Butler 3 years, 10 months ago

Actually before the game yesterday they were tied for 2nd. Baylor had 1 loss for the lead, then you had KU , Okla , West Virginia, & Texas tied for 2nd one game behind with 2 losses

Mike Riches 3 years, 10 months ago

Game ball to the home crowd in this one. If that's an away game, I really think we would have lost by at least 20. That said, when we were clicking on all cylinders, it reminded me of how good this team can be.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 10 months ago

"You have a kid say, ‘If I guard it the way you say, how do I know somebody behind me is going to do what he’s supposed to do? He didn’t do it last time.’"

That is one of the most telling quotes - IMO.

That's the team part that so many of us miss about the game - and I most definitely include myself in that category. It's why I trust Coach so much. I am fully confident that I know a fraction of what he does about the depth of the game.

Ashwin Rao 3 years, 10 months ago

I am sorry, I couldn't click on "thumbs-up" more than once. I agree with you on your statement. It is easy for us to comment on the decisions, but hats off for Coach for consistently making it work, especially in dealing with teenage egos, attitudes and such...

Cam Shef 3 years, 10 months ago

Are you serious?? Let me be the first to say it then, Hunter Mickelson is TERRIBLE!!! His 1-3 on ill advised jump shots and one blocked shot and two altered shots per game DO NOT make up for him constantly being blown by on defense and being completely absent on the boards. This guy probably hasn't grabbed 10 rebounds all season. Do you just look at the stats? Because he absolutely DOES NOT pass the eye test whatsoever. In no way am I campaigning for Landen Lucas but to say that Hunter is the better alternative is just silly. If you're going to get ANY production out of your 5 spot the least he could do is clean the glass. It's like everyone is hung up on what he did in the world university games... THIS IS NOT THE WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES!!! Can we trust that Bill Self and the team knows what's best for themselves?? Hunter was given his opportunity and did not not make an impact at all, so let's let the Hunter Mickelson support group go PLEASE!

Jerry Walker 3 years, 10 months ago

Looking at the front court players not named Perry Ellis -- Mickelson leads in blocked shots, assists and steals despite playing a lot fewer minutes.

Cam Shef 3 years, 10 months ago

Who gives a damn if he provides a minimal edge in assists and steals over other big men, that's why we have two point guards on the floor. We have a REBOUNDING problem so the fact that he does what we can already do is irrelevant. And actually WATCHING the games it's not like Mickelson is a deterrent. Teams just stretched him out and drive straight past him time after time after time

Jerry Walker 3 years, 10 months ago

With your eye for talent and coaching acumen -- if you were coaching our opponents -- championship number 12 would be in the bag.

Cam Shef 3 years, 10 months ago

He didn't play in Arkansas and he's not playing in Kansas.. What talent?

Cam Shef 3 years, 10 months ago

What about him makes you think 'hey even though he came from a team that didn't want him that hasn't been relevant since the 90's w no McDonalds all Americans, he has a spot here in Kansas?' Sounds stupid, right?

Jared Reeves 3 years, 10 months ago

Cam,

You can disagree and remain civil. I think Lucas is doing a decent job. He is a marginally better rebounder. He sets good screens and plays good help defense. He is also our only player who can hold his own against really big guys.

However, he is deficient in several areas as well. He can't score and doesn't block shots. He isn't athletic and isn't a great passer. He also doesn't bring any emotion, which our team desperately needs at times.

Cam Shef 3 years, 10 months ago

Jared I totally agree with everything you just said. As I said before though, I'm not campaigning for Landen Lucas mostly because of the exact reasons you just named but to say that Hunter Mickelson is some sort of upgrade from Lucas or any of our bigs is simply not the truth

Barry Weiss 3 years, 10 months ago

I'd like to see Bragg and Diallo get a minimum of 15 minutes per game. Either one of them brings more offense to this team than Hunter or Landon. Granted Bragg is not a 5, but he could be out there more giving Perry more rest. This season is going to be brutal down the stretch and if we keep playing our starters 35 minutes per game, it will cost us in the dance, both in them having dead legs and our subs not getting the reps they need for our starters to become "comfortable" with them. rant over.

Tony Bandle 3 years, 10 months ago

Since my frosh year in 1966, I am now entering my 50trh year as a Jayhawk and stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I am now an expert on KU basketball. My suggestions to Bill Self:

1] Every once in a while, play a zone. It is neither a felony, a mortal sin or a fashion faux pas. Take away the middle of the court. You've got the perfect guy for it...his name is Cheick. Maybe you've heard of him?

2] Unless Landon has a dunk or is at the free throw line, kick every thing back to a guard. I don't care if he is three feet away. kick everything back to a guard!!!

3] Carlton and Cheick should play a minimum of 10 minutes a game; five minutes each with the other four players, five minutes together.

4] When in a man to man, tell Frank and Devonte to overplay their men to the middle thus forcing them to penetrate at the side of the key, not down the middle.

5] Hypnotize the team before every road game and tell them they are in Allen.

6] Read this website daily, we've got some amazingly intuitive posters who spend more time bashing each other than talking basketball. You'll chuckle and feel more relaxed.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 10 months ago

Tony --STOP it... You simply make too much sense. You did leave out Vick however who should get at least a few possessions in games when it counts..

Barry Weiss 3 years, 10 months ago

correction to number 2 above. Lucas cannot dunk. Never seen a big miss so many shots at the rim. I really think he can't get out of his own way at times. I like him as a sub, but we are doomed if he is our new 5.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 9 months ago

Diallo is the closest thing to a legit 5 we have. I thought he has played fairly well given his little experience, certainly no worse than Lucas. Oh well, Coach Self knows whats best, I just wish we could…..free Diallo!

Jared Reeves 3 years, 10 months ago

Lucas is a glass half full guy. Self uses him to match-up against other big teams, which is why he probably wont get much playing time in Ames.

I think Lucas is doing a decent job. He is a decent rebounder. He sets good screens and plays good help defense. He is also our only player who can hold his own against really big guys.

However, he is deficient in several areas as well. He can't score and doesn't block shots. He isn't athletic and isn't a great passer. He also doesn't bring any emotion, which our team desperately needs at times.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

This is the most sensible post you've ever made Jared. Nicely done.

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