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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Moving on: Jayhawks get back to Sweet 16 with win over UConn

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1), Jamari Traylor (31), Landen Lucas and assistant coach Jerrance Howard celebrate a three from teammate Perry Ellis during the first half against UConn on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1), Jamari Traylor (31), Landen Lucas and assistant coach Jerrance Howard celebrate a three from teammate Perry Ellis during the first half against UConn on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

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— Kansas is back in the Sweet 16, exorcising the demons of the past two seasons of Round of 32 failures by rolling past No. 9 seed UConn, 73-61, at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday night.

Behind some hot shooting and tenacious defense, the Jayhawks raced out to huge leads of 18-5 and 40-16, bringing back memories of the 2008 title team’s whipping of North Carolina in the Final Four during which Bill Self’s squad jumped all over the Roy Williams-led Tar Heels, 40-12, en route to the ’08 national championship.

There was very little that didn’t go right for the Jayhawks in that first half. Kansas shot 56 percent from the floor and held UConn to a 26-percent shooting clip. The Jayhawks (32-4) also out-rebounded the Huskies (25-11) 25-11 and hit 6 of 11 from three-point range.

What may have been the most amazing thing about that first half was the fact that UConn actually hit 50 percent from three-point range (5-of-10) and only turned it over four times.

Kansas was just that efficient on offense — and that tenacious on defense — that most of what UConn did simply did not matter.

The second half was a much different story, as Kansas struggled to play with the large lead and looked sped up and rattled at times by the Huskies’ defensive pressure.

The sluggish second half kept up with the theme of the day around the NCAA Tournament (albeit in different cities), where both Wichita State and Yale came back from huge deficits to make battles of their second-round games only to lose to Miami and Duke the way UConn lost to Kansas.

UConn’s scrappy play and fight kept Kansas from completely cruising into the second weekend, but each time the Jayhawks appeared to slip, someone bailed them out. Never was that more true than in the final two minutes when Wayne Selden Jr. hammered a one-handed flush on a lob from Devonté Graham to put KU up 15. The slam that inspired a huge reaction from fans of both teams even had broadcaster and former Duke great Grant Hill signaling for a timeout court-side.

Selden led the Jayhawks with 22 points and 7 rebounds and Ellis added 21 points and 8 rebounds. Landen Lucas came up big all night, as well, finishing with 6 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists.

Here’s a quick look back at some of Saturday’s action:

• The game turned when: The Jayhawks, who raced out to a fast 18-5 lead, responded to an 8-1 UConn run by turning a 19-13 lead into a 40-16 lead with a 21-3 run. Selden scored seven points during the run and Ellis, who momentarily left the game with a knee injury in the early going, added five.

• Offensive highlight: Graham threw an under-handed lob on the run for a nasty Selden fast-break dunk. Before that, there was plenty more of Selden. They weren’t dunks that would make Uncle Anthony jump out of his seat, but you can bet Selden’s uncle was feeling just as good about his nephew’s back-to-back buckets midway through the second half that helped stop a serious UConn charge. The first came on a drive to the rim from the top of the key. And the second was a soft little floater in the paint after a drive from the right wing. Both times, Selden’s buckets helped KU maintain a double-digit lead heading into the final eight minutes. On the very next possession after Selden’s huge buckets, he drove the lane again and kicked to Lucas, who fired a perfect pass to Ellis on the block. Ellis did the rest, going up with a little extra mustard to finish the uncontested slam and KU’s lead was back up to 15.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Self, Ellis and Selden discuss KU's second-round victory over UConn

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, as well as Jayhawks Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden Jr., answer questions from media members following the Jayhawks' 73-61 victory over Connecticut, which advanced KU to its first Sweet 16 since 2013.

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• Defensive highlight: On UConn’s first possession of the game, Sterling Gibbs got by Frank Mason III with the dribble, but there to make up for it was Landen Lucas, who rose vertically and swatted Gibbs’ floater out of bounds with authority. It was, without question, one of the best blocks of the season for Lucas and it helped lead to Kansas forcing a shot clock violation on UConn’s first offensive possession. In keeping with the Block Party theme, senior Jamari Traylor delivered a couple of blocks that might very well end up on SportsCenter, later in the first half. Both came on shots by UConn guard Jalen Adams and both were nasty. The first was on help “D” as Traylor came across the lane to help on the drive and volleyball-spiked Adams’ floater out of bounds toward the KU bench. One minute later, Traylor chased Adams down from behind on a fast break and swatted the ball off the backboard to prevent a layup. As he exited the floor a few minutes later for a much-deserved rest, Traylor received a huge ovation from the KU fans in Des Moines.

• Key stat: Kansas absolutely controlled the paint, particularly on the defensive end. The Jayhawks out-rebounded UConn 44-24 and also finished with 7 blocks. 

• Up next: The Jayhawks will move on to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2013. Next week, they will head to Louisville, where they will take on the winner of the Sunday match-up between No. 5 seed Maryland vs. No. 13 seed Hawaii (6:10 p.m. Sunday) in the regional semifinals next Thursday. 

— See what people were saying about Kansas vs. UConn during KUsports.com's live coverage


More news and notes from KU’s win over UConn




By the Numbers: Kansas 73, UConn 61

By the Numbers: Kansas 73, UConn 61

Comments

Steve Macy 3 years, 8 months ago

12 rebounds, 4 ASSISTS, 3 blocks and 1 steal, yeoman work by Lucas. He fits. He is Darnell Jackson, games might be slightly different, but they both fit on their teams.

Al Martin 3 years, 8 months ago

A lot of those rebounds were against the seven footer. Landen was a MAN out there tonight.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 8 months ago

Rebounding is much more about position than height.

Al Martin 3 years, 8 months ago

Believe me, I know. That was kind of my point, though perhaps not well worded. Rebounding was about all I provided in my short and deservingly unheralded playing "career", so I pay attention to it.

It's all about effort, especially against taller players. Landen worked hard and boxed out with discipline. It's hard physical work, and not always noticed.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Excellent point Dirk. Look at how many rebounds Mason gets as an under 6 foot point guard. Mason has the uncanny ability to judge where a missed shot is headed. Position and timing trump height just about every time.

Titus Canby 3 years, 8 months ago

Landen Lucas won this game for us. Always in perfect position. And his two handed block in the 2nd half was the best one of the game.

Matt Gauntt 3 years, 8 months ago

Great win. The Hawks were totally dominating in the first half.

After this win I went back and looked at the comments after our loss to Michigan State at the beginning of the season. All the nimrods calling for Self to be fired, we couldn't recruit, Selden disappears in the big games, blah, blah, blah.

I wish the KU "fans" that were saying that at the beginning of the season would go back and eat their words.

We have a fantastic coach, a great team, the best school in the country and one of the greatest basketball traditions ever. RCJH!!!

Bryce Landon 3 years, 8 months ago

I was one of those nimrods. Yeah, I said it. I was a nimrod. And I have never been so happy to be so wrong.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Let it go Matt! Seriously, we are ALL KU fans who want us to win... I believe there was some justification in recent streak of early exits. You should be happy, not caring who eats crow. I just don't get some people.

2nd weekend coming up! Rock Chalk Mother F***ers - go KU!!

Dirk Medema 3 years, 8 months ago

You apparently need to keep chewing and swallow. Either that, or get fitted for glasses so you can see past your nose and the past couple tourneys to see the excellence of this team, program and coach. Rather than eating their words now, it's a shame more people didn't have the sense to eat their words before they came out of their mouths.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Was this comment directed at me? I thought it was time to let the early doubters stop eating crow.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

I would really like to know who this was directed towards.

Matt Gauntt 3 years, 8 months ago

Two games yes, but also #1 ranked team in the country and the top seed in the tournament.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

And Michigan State was the #2 ranked team in the country before being screwed by the selection committee.

Tom Jones 3 years, 8 months ago

And coming out casually like KU did against VCU a few years ago.

Not the committee's fault they lost just like it wasn't their fault we lost to an underseeded WSU team.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 8 months ago

I didn't see Mason react to that arm-shoving down his throat by Gibbs(?). Mason just kept coming after him. That's toughness. Pitbull mentality. This team is special. Traylor's nasty blocks are just so regular in the tourney now. Other teams will just have to get used to them. Lucas is smoking hot on the glass, even though he has yet to dunk in the tourney. Ellis is still unstoppable. Graham, well, he becomes the opera's fat lady alright.

Next game is tougher, but I think we've dejected Rodriguez enough. I will enjoy another one. Let's go Hawks!!

Dirk Medema 3 years, 8 months ago

"Next game is tougher, but I think we've dejected Rodriguez enough."

We don't know who the next opponent will be until tomorrow (MD or HI).

We might face Rodriguez of Miami in the elite 8, but they'd need to get past the winner of Iowa & Villanova.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 8 months ago

Oh, what am I thinking!! Thanks for the correction. I was looking waaay ahead in my bracket!!

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Steve, I'm actually more worried about Hawaii then Maryland. Hawaii is coming upon a postseason ban and you know that they will put everything on the line to continue this season. Also looking at Maryland's roster and this is a team led by underclassmen and they have struggled in the latter part of the season.

Depending on who stays or goes, Turgeon could either have a top rated preseason team or will need to start from scratch.

Andrew Dunlap 3 years, 8 months ago

Perry Ellis is a better Wayne Simien and will go down as one of the best ever at KU. he has gotten better each year and is what we need to get us another banner. Wayne Selden is better then Xavier, MacLemore and other one and dones, we've had recently. He should come back if he isn't a sure 1st round pick. Devante Graham is a better Sherron Collins and Mason is a rock. We can have all these kids back except for Ellis. We don't need one and done players.

Shannon Gustafson 3 years, 8 months ago

Ellis and Selden were possible OAD players coming in (you could argue any McDonalds All-American has a shot at being OAD) and Mclemore wasn't projected to be OAD but ended up being one (after sitting a year). So you can't really say we don't need OAD talent just because the OAD guys on this team didn't develop quite as quickly as some people though. Take Perry and Wayne off this team and you'd be wishing we had recruited more talented guys...

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Maybe it's just me.. But I find it hard to call BMac a one and done after spending two years at Kansas. Granted, he couldn't play his first year but I guarantee he learned a lot by being able to practice with the team during the season.

Not a major point.. Just how I feel about it.

Also, look at the starting five. How many McDonald's all Americans make up our starting team? HCBS has managed to mold Mason, Graham and Lucas into dominating players. When I saw Kentucky go out early, it brought to mind that Cal has only a single NCAA title to his name and that Kentucky once played in the NIT after having brought in one of the nation's top recruiting classes.

Jaxson Freeman 3 years, 8 months ago

Devante has had a heck of a season but is NOT a better Sherron. To gain that status he is going to have to stay all four and play at an all american level these next two. Sherron in my opinion was the best player of the self era. Still great game by the guys today. If we see maryland next, it is going to be the battle of the big boys. Lucas vs Layman and Stone. Should be fun!

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Not sure how you can compare Graham and Sherron. Graham isn't even our primary ball handler and plays a different style..both of which works.

Joe Joseph 3 years, 8 months ago

Hard to compare Perry and Wayne. Two very different players.

IMHO the Big Dub is the best college player to have played under Bill Self while the coach of Kansas.

Timothy Rake 3 years, 8 months ago

Coolest thing about today's win – Kentucky's loss. With the end of UK's season, the 'Hawks have already gained +7 wins against the Cats, with a chance to close the gap by 4 more games if they take this all the way to the NC. A couple more seasons like this and we catch 'em

Garry Wright 3 years, 8 months ago

I believe that's +5 wins at this point. We gained four during the regular season and have gained one more during the tourney so far. Yes, a potential to gain another four for a total of nine this year.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 8 months ago

I was unable to watch this game due to work, but I got text updates. I thought the game would be closer, so I was surprised that KU led by 20 at the half. But with the memory of UConn's comeback against Colorado, I was worried if Kansas could maintain the lead. After all, we've had a bad habit in recent years of letting other teams back in. Sounds like KU did just enough to hold them off, and we are back in the Sweet 16!

BILL SELF FOREVER!

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

LOL... Only a$$holes still care. Just about everyone has shown doubts in HCBS at one time or another.

Michael Lorraine 3 years, 8 months ago

Do we get to take the backboards home because we owned the boards tonight.

Scott MacWilliams 3 years, 8 months ago

I don't think we get to keep them, but there might be some Jayhawk stickers permanently welded on the back side somewhere... Definitely some skid marks from balls being swatted off of there.

Rock Chalk and March on to Houston!!!

Dave Miller 3 years, 8 months ago

'Mari definitely left an impression in that one backboard for sure!!

Rodney Pain 3 years, 8 months ago

After euthanizing the Huskies and crushing the Terps, Bill Self is gonna be on the wrong end of a PETA hate campaign. Rock Chalk!

Jeff Soisson 3 years, 8 months ago

Frank Mason looks hurt to me, worn out, he is such a bulldog and competitor. We need you Frank! Rest up!!!

Best guard in the Big 12, just look at your team's record!

RCJH

JD Roth 3 years, 8 months ago

That was Frank's worst game of the season. I agree that he just didn't look right. Hope he is ok.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

I just thought he stunk it up. Saw no apparent injuries. It happens and w/a well balanced team, it's something we can overcome.

Edward Daub 3 years, 8 months ago

And the votes are in for MVF - Most Valuable Fan!

And the Winner is Uncle Anthony!

Craig Alexander 3 years, 8 months ago

Almost got the predictions right. I said Perry would have 25 pts and 8 boards and that we would win by 12. Rock Chalk boys to Louisville. Can't wait for these boys to have multiple days of prep time for our next opponent.

Yonatan Negash 3 years, 8 months ago

Hawaii vs Maryland will be a game to watch today.

I'm high on Hawaii, highly think we'll see an upset here today.

Hawaii is the worst match up for the Terps.

Would love to see KU vs Hawaii for the right to go the elite eight.

Michael Lorraine 3 years, 8 months ago

I used to be high on Hawaii too but that was quite a few years ago.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Easy to get high on Hawaiian! If I remember correctly.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Yes Sir! 12 years of active duty US Coast Guard and several more in the active reserves pretty much ended any of that BUT now that I have completed all my obligations, I am very much looking forward to visiting Colorado :-)

Truth is... I would probably freak out. lol

JD Roth 3 years, 8 months ago

Yep I wouldn't have much fun having a chance to knock Turgeon out of the Dance. Go Rainbow Warriors.

Michael Lorraine 3 years, 8 months ago

Either KU alum Tad Boyle, KU alum Mark Turgeon or cross state rival Wichita State. Pretty sure not of them are coincidence.

Tony Bandle 3 years, 8 months ago

Observations from Oakville:

1] Rainbow Warriors versus the Terrapins. Sounds like a kids breakfast cereal taking on some exotic aquarium fish. I think KU bounces either of them.

2] I think Perry broke into the top ten in KU career scoring, Isn't he really close to doing the same in career Rebounding?

3] Did Addidas design the cheerleader outfits? They're awful!

4] Wayne is playing like he doesn't want to come back next year!!!

5] I don't care if the spirit of Phog Allen came to life and was coachiong the other team. Beat their brains out then shake hands afterwards...without hesitation

6] I heard that if Wayne leaves, we are a cinch for #1 Josh Jackson.

7] Just a thought, is the Sweet Sixteen enough or is this season a bust if we don't make the Final Four??

Kent Richardson 3 years, 8 months ago

Think he needed about 80 boards prior to the postseason.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Maybe I lack a sense of high-fashion but I personally like Adidas when compared to Nike. Hope that doesn't affect us in any personal way :-)

6] I heard that if Wayne leaves, we are a cinch for #1 Josh Jackson. No such thing plus I prefer to see Vick stay at Kansas for three more years than a single year from Jackson.

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