Monday, February 6, 2017

Sunflower sweep: Kansas wins at K-State on Big Monday

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) heads in for a bucket between Kansas State guard Kamau Stokes (3) and Kansas State forward Dean Wade (32) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) heads in for a bucket between Kansas State guard Kamau Stokes (3) and Kansas State forward Dean Wade (32) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 at Bramlage Coliseum.


— Playing on its rival’s home floor at Bramlage Coliseum Monday night, the Kansas basketball team, coming off a rare home loss two days earlier, withstood a valiant second-half rally from Kansas State for a 74-71 victory.

The Wildcats, who trailed by nine early in the second half, came back to take a one-point lead with less than five minutes remaining. But Jayhawks senior point guard Frank Mason III wasn’t interested in losing on his final visit to K-State. Mason scored seven of his 21 points in the final four and a half minutes — a stretch in which he also went Hollywood stuntman to dive for a loose ball, only to return to the court and steal it.

Devonte’ Graham closed out the bounce-back win with four free throws in the final 30 seconds, and finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and a game-high six assists.

Freshman Josh Jackson, who scored 11 in the first half, finished with 18 after going through some foul trouble as the Jayhawks (21-3 overall, 9-2 Big 12) completed a season sweep of the Wildcats.

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

• The game turned when: The Jayhawks opened the second half with a strong offensive push, reminiscent of what they showed late in the first, following a slow start to the Big Monday clash and a 12-point deficit.

Kansas only led 37-35 at intermission. But that changed in a hurry with the help of Jackson. The dynamic 6-foot-8 freshman, who entered his first trip to Manhattan having made 11 of 21 3-pointers in KU’s past five games, showed off his touch from downtown yet again. Jackson drained back-to-back 3-pointers, from the same spot on the left wing, in the opening minute after halftime.

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Bill Self on Frank Mason's hustle, Jayhawks feeding off K-State crowd

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self speaks with the media following the Jayhawks' 74-71 Big Monday victory at Kansas State.

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A Landen Lucas dunk and a Mason jumper — after the senior guard struggled to score in the first half, shooting 3-for-11 — followed soon after, as KU made a 10-3 run out of the break.

K-State did what a solid team should on its home court and clawed its way back, but the Jayhawks wouldn’t have stood a chance without their productive start to the second.

• Offensive highlight: KU’s two-man bench connected in the first half for a crisp sequence in the midst of KU’s offensive resurgence.

Carlton Bragg worked his way to a post up on the left block with K-State strong man D.J. Johnson checking him. Unable to put a move on the Wildcats’ most physical interior presence to create his own shot, Bragg didn’t panic or force a bad shot.

Instead, the sophomore forward saw fellow backup Lagerald Vick cutting from up top and hit the sophomore wing with a perfect dish for a jam.

The interior teamwork from an unexpected combination cut the K-State lead to 27-24, as the Jayhawks started rolling toward a strong close to the half.

• Defensive highlight: KU went for almost 28 minutes on K-State’s home court without blocking a shot attempt. Then Dwight Coleby checked in for the first time.

Replacing Kansas starting center Lucas after he picked up his second foul, Bill Self turned to the seldom-used big from the Bahamas shortly after Bragg suffered a minor injury to his left ankle and was unavailable.

Five seconds after shedding his warmup suit, Coleby had a chance to make an impact. As Kamau Stokes drove in looking for a layup with his team trailing by seven in the second half, Coleby, who didn’t play Saturday versus Iowa State, leapt up and at the K-State guard and smacked the floater out of the air.

Coleby returned to the bench after playing just one minute, but his cameo wasn’t a waste.

• Key stat: Offensive rebounds. The Jayhawks struggled to finish half-court stops with defensive boards, and that allowed K-State to stick around once KU recovered from its bad start.

The Wildcats scored 21 points on 20 offensive boards. The Jayhawks could’ve made things much easier for themselves by matching their rivals’ work on the glass.

• Up next: The Jayhawks remain on the road, and have a much longer trip ahead of them this weekend. KU plays at Texas Tech Saturday (1 p.m., ESPN or ESPN 2).

By the Numbers: Kansas 74, Kansas State 71.

By the Numbers: Kansas 74, Kansas State 71.

— See what people were saying about the game during's live coverage.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Kansas State


Barry Weiss 3 years, 9 months ago

gutsy, refuse to lose, type of big time win for the Jayhawks! Great game by all of the kids, sure helped having Bragg back!

Brett McCabe 3 years, 9 months ago

Great rebound in a tough from a tough loss. The guys have a lot to be proud of. Of course, had we rebounded, the rebound would have been easier.

Brian Mellor 3 years, 9 months ago

Got punched in the nose early, settled down, and fought until the end for the win. Can't ask for much more than that. Except better FT shooting, of course.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

Good win. Great to have #15 back.

Imagine if Bill Self gave Carlton Bragg the role Dean Wade has.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 9 months ago

true, I think Coach wants to, Carlton just seemed to struggle early and it snowballed. I believe in him and Coach and think Devonte, Svi, Carlton and Dok will all be back next year and be the nucleus of another championship type team.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure about Svi coming back. Bragg will if he gets minutes this season. If not he transfers.

Tom Jones 3 years, 9 months ago

Unfortunately, Devonte and especially Svi coming back next year are not givens. Next year's roster is pretty nebulous at this point.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 9 months ago

Would also like to see Vick come back next year. His confidence or lack of has certainly affected his game. If Vick and Bragg can substantially boost their output then perhaps we can negate the loss of Udoka. I've been checking out the NBA mock drafts and Svi was only projected in the first round once and more often, late 2nd round. I'm not sure if one more year will make that much difference.

Tom Jones 3 years, 9 months ago

Come back? Are you hearing Vick transfer rumors or something?

Tony Bandle 3 years, 9 months ago

To be perfectly FRANK and I don't want to BRAGG but the Hawks VICKtorywas thrilling, as I watched eating GRAHAM cracker s'mores. as shot after shot LANDON in the hoop for the Hawks. I am not JOSHing you, Go Hawks and I'll SVI you all later, DWIGHT after a get a goods night sleep.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 9 months ago

You are working really hard on this one, Tony. Maybe a little too hard...

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 9 months ago

You gotta work with the material at hand. Tony deserves and A.

RJ King 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks Tony. Very nice. Probably just as well you didn't have to work in Udoka Azubuike.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 9 months ago this is what retirement looks like?

Daniel Kennamore 3 years, 9 months ago

Absolute must-win and they played with guts despite the officiating.

Have to go get the win in Lubbock now.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 9 months ago

How the hell does John Higgins get so many officiating assignments? He clearly had it in for KU tonight!

Adam Bengtson 3 years, 9 months ago

I've watched Higgins closely for years. No secrets surround him. He is dirty and shady. Just look at Vegas lines per game he officiates, and if in last 2-3 minutes within, just watch what he calls and doesn't call. He is dirty.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 9 months ago

I have to admit I launched a few things at the TV over some of those calls, or rather non calls when a KU player was sprawled on the floor after being trucked from behind after a K-State player climbed their back for a put back. But, you have to be able to beat 8 sometimes.

Doug Clark 3 years, 9 months ago

I am glad Bragg is back as much as anyone, he made some good contributions tonight but it amazes me how some people disrespect coach Self so much, they act like he doesn't know what he is doing, how on earth can he put Bragg in the same role as Dean wade when he has been suspended twice this year and clearly hasn't been focused on basketball all year, amazing.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

Wade got minutes from the beginning of his freshman year. Bragg didn't.. Was Bragg suspended in November? It amazes me how someone wouldn't recognize the upside of playing at a school hungrier for talent and willing to let them use their skills.... Bragg clearly has much more than Wade.

Mike Greer 3 years, 9 months ago

I know, "His numbers per minute compare well with Perry Ellis... " Jay Scott

Coach started with his typical line up 3 guards and 2 guys inside for the first 5 games and Bragg had plenty of opportunity, unfortunately in the first two games his minutes were limited by foul trouble. He played 27 minutes vs Siena with only 1 PF and scored 11 pts. But with 22 minutes vs UAB he had 3 fouls and only 5 points. That was followed with a 10 minute, 3 PF, 3 pt. performance vs UG before Coach changed the line up. I wouldn't say he didn't have opportunity in November. After that, he and Lucas split time with Dok because the "small" lineup was more productive. Then all kinds of crap happened and some of that's on Carlton.

Given his freshman year he was subbing for Perry Ellis, who averaged 16.9 pts per game and 5.9 rebounds, 53.3% from the field and 44.4 from behind the arc. Just how many minutes can you expect behind that? He did get way more playing time than just about anyone coming off the bench.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

"Imagine if Bill Self gave Carlton Bragg the role Dean Wade has." - Jay Scott

"It amazes me how someone wouldn't recognize the upside of playing at a school hungrier for talent and willing to let them use their skills.... " - Jay Scott

Mike, are you arguing with me or trying to make my point?

Bragg needs more minutes and more chance to play his game. He's not a 5. He's an NBA caliber stretch 4. He's benched when he takes a jumper or puts the ball on the floor. Wade is encouraged. Bragg shot .571 from 3 last year and was scolded. Wade shot .292.

Mike Greer 3 years, 9 months ago

Jay, I thought I was clear, he can't play after he has fouled out. In the first two games he had a foul about every 2 minutes of playing time, that's not the coaches fault. For the first 5 games of the season he was a starter with ample opportunity and he was playing as a 4 during the first 5 games.

To your Dean Wade point, and you are correct, it's a whole lot easier to play for KSU than it is KU. Hell, the guys that never get off the bench could play for a lesser team, maybe even KSU. But if you want to play for KU you need to step up your game when you get the opportunity and Bragg didn't do that in his 22 minutes vs UAB or games thereafter. He had a good game vs KSU, but right now with Dok out for the season, Colby still not 100%, and Lightfoot being a bit light, the team needs Bragg at the 5 to help out Lucas.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

He's fouled out once. He's had 4 fouls....4 times. Compare that to Lucas (3/9) who is actually playing his position.

There's no reason Bragg doesn't play 20-25 mins per game. Most of it at the 4. His kind of 4.. He and Coleby could also split the backup 5 minutes. That would give Svi, Jackson, Mason and Graham more rest. Having Vick fail at guarding Wade while Bragg sits is among the most puzzling things I've ever seen.

Tom Jones 3 years, 9 months ago

He's not currently better at basketball than Wade. He has the potential to be much better, and he will be, but at this point, it's still just potential.

Hopefully the light will turn on soon and he can make us a complete team.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

His per 40 min numbers are better, as the 5th option playing limited minutes. 16.4 PPG/12.9 RPG vs 14.3/7 . Not really close.

Not one NBA scout would say that Wade has close to the skills or talent that Bragg has.

Tom Jones 3 years, 9 months ago

No one here said that either. Read closer next time.

Bragg has been a disappointment thus far and Wade has eaten his lunch twice in their head to head matchup. Bragg also gets the least amount of attention from the opposing team and still struggles, despite his talent.

He'll get it.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

How has Wade "eaten his lunch" when Bragg has better per minute stats and they haven't played each other man to man?

Bragg gets the least amount of attention? They don't guard him in the post? That's comically stupid.

Sorry Tom. Bad fail.

Tom Jones 3 years, 9 months ago

The teams have played twice and Wade has outplayed him twice. It's not rocket surgery.

Bragg and Wade's stats are remarkably similar, actually, even though Bragg was a much more highly touted recruit. Bragg averages a few more points and plays inside much more than Wade so naturally averages more rebounds. But...this just in...there's are things involved with playing basketball. Wade averages more assists and Bragg turns it over three times as often...and Wade has been playing with foot injury for several weeks. In other words, it's a wash at this point in their careers and what I said is a real, not "alternative" fact.

But again, when you play the strawman game, like saying "Not one NBA scout would say that Wade has close to the skills or talent that Bragg has" (when no one has claimed otherwise, you see how that works?), you can't lose. It's straight out of the Troll Playbook. Nicely done.

And yes, Bragg gets the least attention of anyone that plays major minutes for KU because he hasn't shown he's earned anything more (and because he's surrounded by better players than is Wade, of course).

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 9 months ago

Wade averages 10 points per game with 5 rebounds while playing close to 28 minutes. His three-point percentage has increased dramatically this year but he only averages 2.7 shot per game and making 1.1 shot.

I'll agree that Wade makes contributions not seen in the stat line but those numbers are hardly overwhelming.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 9 months ago

This doesn't entirely heal the sting of Saturday's stinker for me - perhaps because I'd rather lose to anyone but Iowa State - but nonetheless I'm glad we won. We can't count on Oklahoma State to do us a favor against Baylor on Wednesday, and I have a feeling we're going to lose at least two more Big 12 games, probably at Baylor and at Oklahoma State. So if we want to win a share of a 13th straight league title, this was a game we had to have, and we won it.

Oh, and after giving Bill Self a ton of crap on Saturday for god-awful coaching - which he deserved - I gotta give him a ton of credit for tonight for solid coaching. Whatever he said in the timeout after K-State went up 20-8 lit a fire under the team's collective ass and got them to play defense like we haven't seen from KU in several games. The last ten minutes of the first half was a display of defensive brilliance by Kansas, and the second half was ugly, grind-it-out, tough Bill Self style basketball.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

It's puzzling to me that 6'5 175 Vick would be asked to guard 6'10 230 Dean Wade, with predictable results. Worse, Vick was unable to exploit his quickness advantage offensively. Worse yet, Kansas has a 6'10 240 superior version of Wade sitting on the bench.

If attitude and off court behavior are the difference, let's remember we're talking about Lagerald Vick.....

Mike Greer 3 years, 9 months ago

I understand your point Jay, but, if Bragg is guarding Wade as a 4 (the position that is more suited to him) then who does Coach have when Bragg and Lucas are in foul trouble. Right now, at this point in the season, Coach needs Bragg where he played last night. Colby is still not 100% and Lightfoot just doesn't have the mass yet to play the 5 and Dok is out for the season.

If Dok was still in the lineup, I think we would see a lot more of Bragg at the 4, taking minutes from Vick and Svi. Right now, Jackson is playing the 4, and that's not his NBA position either. The team's short handed at the 5 and that's caused people to have to play out of position for now.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

Assuming Coleby really isn't 100% that's a very logical argument. Do we know for sure? It's been 16 months.

Mike Greer 3 years, 9 months ago

If I recall correctly, I believe I read here that Coach was surprised, or concerned, or pick your adjective, that Coleby wasn't further along at this point. Self doesn't elaborate much on the condition of players, so from that small tidbit surmise what you will.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

20 mins vs Georgia gave me the impression he was OK.

Mike Greer 3 years, 9 months ago

Kentucky was the only game since then where he logged much time, anybody's guess is as good as mine. Recovered or not, Coach seems reluctant to put him on the floor very much at this point.

Nick Kramer 3 years, 9 months ago

I'll take a win against an in-state rival who just beat Baylor at Baylor any day. That being said, KSU rebounded 20 of 44 of their own misses against us, which gave them so many more chances at hoops or drawing fouls. Would love to see Lucas stronger with the ball inside and Svi better at guarding his man. Give Wade credit for a fine evening's work. He abused Lagerald when Josh had to sit.

Doug Clark 3 years, 9 months ago

Good points Mike Greer and Tom Jones, I have been saying the same things about Bragg all year. He has played soft, he has struggled hanging on to the ball whether it be trying to grab a rebound or a pass. He doesn't miss as many bunnies as Lucas but he has missed more than he should. It shouldn't matter if he has to play the 5, he would have to be tougher than he has been if he was at the 4 as well. It is a privilege to play at KU and he hasn't lived up to the standards coach expects. I am sure he would get more minutes at k-state or some other lower level team but he chose KU and KU chose him, hopefully he will start focusing on basketball instead of off the court bs. Josh Jackson is playing out of position too, you don't see him using that as an excuse, instead he comes out and competes his butt off and does whatever he can to help the team be successful because he came to KU and wants the high expectations and pressure, he adapted to playing out of position because that's what great players do, Bragg would do well to learn something from Josh and not take the easy way out and transfer like some people have mentioned.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

Great point.... Jackson has challenges defending larger players at the 4. Conversely, he has a quickness advantage when he takes them out on the perimeter and can shoot over them when they back off. Bragg has all those same advantages offensively..... But isn't permitted to exploit them.....

Mike Greer 3 years, 9 months ago

We would all like to have Bragg at the 4 and have Dok back at the 5 to split time with Lucas. That ship sailed when Dok hurt his wrist after the Davidson game. Prior to that, Bragg had five starts with Lucas, where he was undoubtedly playing the 4. There were another five games before Dok went out, where Bragg would have also played most of his time at the 4. He had a couple of really good games during that span, Indiana, Duke, & Siena. After those first 3 games, he scored: 5, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, & 7 against less than stellar opposition. He's had just as good of games (scoring at least) against K-State, Texas, and ISU playing at the 5 since Dok went out for the season.

In this case Coach has to look at what makes the team better. Is the team better with Lucas at the 5, backed up by 90% Coleby and <50 lbs Lightfoot, with Bragg playing the 4, sometimes backed up by Jackson or Lightfoot, Jackson at the 3, backed up by Svi and Vick. Or is the team better with Lucas at the 5, backed up by 6'10" 240 lb Bragg, Jackson at the 4 with maybe a little Bragg at the 4, and Svi at the 3, backed up by Vick? It's a short bench any way you look at it. But unless Coleby suddenly shows Coach he's fully recovered or Lightfoot puts on 50 lbs of mussel, I think Bragg and Jackson are going to have to play out of position.

Doug Clark 3 years, 9 months ago

Totally agree Mike, couldn't have said it better myself.

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