Kansas City, Mo. It was the play that tipped the momentum fully in favor of Kansas during Friday night’s 70-66 victory over Baylor in the Big 12 semifinals at Sprint Center.
And BU junior Ishmail Wainright had no problem talking about it.
In fact, not only was Wainright willing to break down exactly what happened on the transition dunk by KU junior Wayne Selden Jr. that sent nearly everyone inside the Sprint Center into a frenzy, he also had a few words for Selden after the game about the climb-the-ladder slam.
“I told him, ‘I’ll be watching SportsCenter later on today,’” Wainright said with a shrug. “It was just respect. If you haven’t been dunked on, you’re not a basketball player. It wasn’t the first time. It won’t be the last time. I’ll probably get dunked on in the (NCAA) tournament.”
View a gallery of images from the Jayhawks' semifinal game against Baylor on Friday at Sprint Center.
Of the play, which actually came after a missed jumper by Wainright, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Baylor forward said he was trying to back-pedal fast enough to get in position to take a charge. But Selden was moving so fast and took off with such force that it never happened. Instead of making a play that might have given the Bears some momentum, Wainright became part of KU’s 2015-16 highlight video and put Selden on the free-throw line, where the KU junior calmly pushed the Jayhawks’ lead to 46-33 with 10:52 to play. If the Kansas City, Mo., native regretted anything about giving up the dunk to Selden, it’s that the contact came too late.
“I should’ve fouled him in the first place and not let him leave his feet,” Wainright said.
Watching the Jayhawks fly was a common theme throughout the night for Baylor. KU’s weapon of choice against the Bears’ active zone on Friday was the lob. KU guard Devonté Graham threw three and finished one and Selden rewarded Graham with a two-on-one lob pass of his own late in the first half.
“I knew he was gonna dunk it,” Selden said. “Maybe nobody else in the Sprint Center knew he was gonna dunk it, but I saw him cut and I just knew I was gonna throw it up. And if Frank was on that side, I would’ve thrown it up to Frank, too, because we’ve got athletes on this team.”
The Baylor players were not surprised by KU’s desire to attack the zone with the lob. But the Bears were disappointed in how they defended it.
KU senior Perry Ellis snagged four of his game-high 20 points off of lob passes from Graham on back-to-back KU possessions in the first half. The first was the product of Graham attacking the paint, collapsing the defense and flipping it up to Ellis at the rim. The second came when Graham threw over the top of the BU zone from the wing.
“We were expecting it,” said BU sophomore Johnathan Motley. “There were just some little things we didn’t do. You just can’t let people throw lobs like that, especially to the same person.”
Added Waingright: “We weren’t disappointed. They’re athletes. They got dunks, we got dunks. Some of us got dunked on.”
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