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Kansas defeats Texas, 77-67

  • 5 p.m., Feb. 25, 2017
  • Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Dominant Dwight: Coleby’s big first half lifts Jayhawks past Texas, 77-67

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) scores over Texas guard Eric Davis Jr. (10) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Austin, Texas.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) scores over Texas guard Eric Davis Jr. (10) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Austin, Texas.

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— Kansas forward Dwight Coleby has had moments during his short KU career when his play positively impacted a game.

But none of them were like this.

In 13 minutes off the bench for a Kansas team that followed Wednesday’s Big 12 title-sharing clincher by taking the outright hardware on Saturday in Texas, the junior from the Bahamas delivered a career-high-tying 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and added four rebounds to help lead the third-ranked Jayhawks past Texas, 77-67, at half-interested Erwin Center.

“I thought he was as good as anybody we had today in the time that he got,” said KU coach Bill Self of the effort the Jayhawks got from Coleby. “Terrific. He looks a lot more athletic than he did two months ago. Hopefully we’re gonna see that player moving forward.”

Coleby checked into Saturday’s victory for the first time with 9:40 to play in the first half. Within a minute, he delivered his first contribution of the day, a back-to-the-basket jump hook from the post. The quick, decisive and confident move proved to be a sign of things to come, but even Coleby admitted that he did not expect it.

“I had no idea it was gonna happen this game,” said Coleby with the smile that rarely seems to leave his face. “I just had to be ready.”

Ready he was, time and time again.

Less than two minutes after checking in, following a vicious alley-oop dunk by Lagerald Vick from Devonte’ Graham, Coleby found himself on the receiving end of a similar Graham pass. Although the two finishes looked slightly different from a come-fly-with-me perspective, Graham said all that mattered was that they went down.

“Dwight almost got hung on (his),” joked Graham with Coleby seated next to him. “But he finished it for me, so I think they were both pretty good dunks.”

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self on Coleby's big night, sealing outright Big 12 title

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self fields questions from the media following a big night from backup big man Dwight Coleby in a 77-67 Kansas victory that wrapped up an outright Big 12 championship for the Jayhawks.

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The high-flying flush was one of three first-half dunks for the KU big fella. His second came off of a sweet pass from freshman Josh Jackson (18 points, five assists, five rebounds in 38 minutes) and his third off of a rebound of a missed layup by senior point guard Frank Mason III. That one came just 27 seconds after Coleby checked back in for the final 2:27 of his highlight half.

The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Ole Miss transfer said playing extended minutes in Saturday’s first half made his performance feel different, perhaps even more important, than any he had experienced in his KU career thus far. Different than his 20 minutes in a win over Georgia in November. Different than the 10 minutes against Bam Adebayo and Kentucky in January. Different because he delivered.

“(I have) more confidence in playing and in the system and everything,” Coleby said. “Just keep playing and hopefully I’ll keep getting better.”

More confidence. More comfort on the court. But what about more explosion?

“Oh, yeah,” Coleby joked. “Didn’t you see it?”

Coleby’s teammates did. And, as much as they were thrilled that the reserve forward who allowed starter Landen Lucas to play just 27 minutes came through when they needed him, they hardly were shocked.

“I don’t think it was a surprise,” Graham said. “We see it every day in practice. He’s always playing hard, going at Landen, Carlton (Bragg, 3 minutes) and Mitch (Lightfoot, did not play). We see it in practice and today he got to show it.”

Added Mason, who had an off day shooting (5-of-15) but still chipped in 16 points in 39 minutes: “He got out there today and proved that he should be out there more.”

If that is the way things play out from here, if Coleby truly is able to provide meaningful minutes off the bench, it would be a much-needed boost for KU’s overall depth.

That fact was not lost on the Jayhawks after Saturday’s victory.

“The timing is perfect,” Graham said. “At this time of the season, a lot of the scouting report for other teams is gonna be focused on me, Frank, Josh, Landen, Svi (Mykhailiuk) and then we get guys like Dwight and Mitch to come off the bench with Lagerald (Vick) and give us sparks, it’ll help us and keep us moving forward in the tournament.”

After a red-hot start by Kansas during Saturday’s victory, the ball started to bounce Texas’ way more and more with each passing minute.

Never was that more evident than when Jarrett Allen (20 points, 11 rebounds in 35 minutes) got a wide-open dunk that gave the Longhorns their first lead (20-19, 10:53 first half) after Jackson deflected an entry pass intended for Allen but watched it bounce right off of Lucas and into Allen’s waiting hands for the uncontested dunk.

Unfazed, Kansas quickly grabbed the lead back on a hard drive by Mason 40 seconds later and, from there, the Jayhawks (26-3 overall, 14-2 Big 12) used a 17-3 run over the next 6:27 that extended KU’s lead back to 13 points and paved the way for a 40-31 halftime lead.

The Longhorns (10-19, 4-12) crawled as close as five points — 56-51 at 10:35 — in the second half but also trailed by 15 with 2:45 to play during a second half that did not overly impress either head coach.

“It was pretty workmanlike,” Self said of the victory. “It was a nice win, but I don’t think that either team played with unbelievable energy, but I thought both teams played hard.... (We) had just enough juice to get to the finish line.”

Next up, the Jayhawks return home for Senior Night on Monday at 8 p.m. against Oklahoma in Allen Fieldhouse.

By the Numbers: Kansas 77, Texas 67.

By the Numbers: Kansas 77, Texas 67.

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


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Texas


Comments

Rick Kalebaugh 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Rock Chalk Boys!!!!!! So proud of all of you!!!!

Steve Zimmerman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I can see Coleby's debut as a starter is coming. There's only a handful game left, but boy, get ready to see more explosiveness, courtesy of Coleby!! Next season, Coleby + Azubuike + Preston... we'll be huuuuge!!

BTW, thanks to Mr Reeder, I'm still pumped up with Coleby's performance and found this:

Eliott Reeder 1 year, 9 months ago

He can do this... https://vine.co/v/OPOP5t0IpLt

Eliott Reeder 1 year, 9 months ago

And he can also do this... http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=12281266

Eliott Reeder 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Nice! Those were hard to dig up... lol.

Mallory Briggans 1 month, 3 weeks ago

``It was great to see Coleby have a breakout game ..............but it was to the expense of Carlton Bragg. Bragg who had the best game of the season against TCU barely saw the floor which hopefully doesn't affect his mental approach and preparation for the next game against Oklahoma , Now I trust Self may be giving minutes to Coleby to get him ready if needed for the tourney . He does have fresh legs which is a plus and is more physical than Lightfoot . I also noticed Self played 2 bigs at the same time which again may be a foreshadowing for the tourney as you know it will be about matchups so if you have another capable big off the bench it wont hurt. Bragg will play I m sure and for the most part you know what you will get. Coleby may be more of a unknown but if today was any indication that's a good thing.

Marius Rowlanski 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Honestly, I have no idea what we're going to get with Bragg on the court. From a career breakout game to a game where his contributions were limited to 2 personal fouls in 3 minutes. I haven't seen Bragg put together back to back games where he played anywhere near his potential.

Steve Zimmerman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

That one game vs TCU, he looked good, though. Physically, Bragg is just as ready as Coleby. But, Coleby's defensive stance, quick leaping and explosiveness in offense, combined with his bball IQ - makes a difficult case to compare the two. Given that he is 100% healthy. Bragg's got a pass with clear lane, he doesn't do two-hand strong dribble and jam, but he's doing a freakin' lay-up instead.. Whatdaaa?

Marius Rowlanski 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Steve, which ever player is helping the most, I'm good with. I've seen a few YouTube videos of Coleby in the past which makes me think his knee is bothering him more than what's been reported. If he could put up the numbers he did at Ole Miss, I just think he would put up better numbers having better player surrounding him as he does at Kansas. I hope he just had a true breakout game..

Andy Godwin 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Bill Self is a chess master and clearly knows his pieces better than anyone else. It became evident that when the smooth Allen and burly Shaquille Cleare (275 pounder) were in the game together, Bragg was a bad matchup. Glad to see Coleby make such a significant impact, because once the NCAA games start, Self will need as much flexibility as possible. The NCAA tournament is all about match ups and the more pieces Self has at his disposal the better for KU.

Humpy Helsel 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Such a help to have Dwight available and effective this time of the year. Light Foot and Bad Hands just can't match up with the size and strength of what we are going to see moving forward. Occasionally, the game seems to move too fast around him and he is late, but should diminish with playing time. Now, we badly need Svi to emerge from this slump. In tournament play you always need unexpected production from unexpected places and players.

What was the deal with Bill Walton? Is that what they put up with on Left Coast broadcasts with him. Love you, dude, but more than Austin, I guess it is about keeping you weird. He acted like he got on the bong right before the broadcast. It was occasionally about the game, but when have you seen the split screen with the announcers and the game going on at the same time?

Len Shaffer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I'm so glad you said that, Humpy. After seeing Walton, I felt the need to apologize to Dick Vitale. As much as Vitale drives me nuts, I'd rather have to endure a whole SEASON of him than another FIVE MINUTES of Walton. I watched the entire second half on mute because I couldn't stand having to listen to that imbecile. And the split-screen stuff was driving me nuts too. Why in the world did they keep doing that??? It was like the director was as high as Walton was.

W Keith Swinehart II 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Brutal game to watch with Bill Walton and ESPN's split screen dominating the action. I forgot who was playing. Hilarious in one context, but for a game....not the best idea.

Marius Rowlanski 1 month, 3 weeks ago

It was just Wednesday night when everyone was so excited about how well Bragg had played, including myself. If he could keep up that energy and high-level play, he would be a key player going into the NCAA. Now, barely 3 days later, and he lays another egg. 3 mins. and 2 PF. If Bragg had played anywhere near as well as he did Wednesday night, Coleby would have never had his career game against Texas.

I just can't get too excited after a one game performance. I would like to think that Coleby is physically ready to go and this won't be a one game aberration but until he can prove it, I'm not going to get my hopes up.

Coleby, prove me wrong.

Dale Rogers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Maybe we've found this season's Tarik Black!

You know, one thing I really, really like about this team is how they support each other. The positive things they say that have to help boost those who have been down when they do something well. These guys are just hard not to like. A lot.

Marius Rowlanski 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Tarik Black contributed from game one, not #29

Mallory Briggans 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Marius in regards to your comment about Bragg its true he hasn't been very productive .As far as his minutes against Texas that was a coaches decision not to play him moreso than him not deserving playing time.You cant get much done in 3 minutes all fouls aside. If he played the minutes that Dwight played and wasn't productive then there should be concern. But lets remember Braggs role changed when Coach Self went to a 4 guard line-up . He went from a potential starter to a role player off the bench before the season got going .........What would be great is for Bragg to play like he did against TCU and Coleby to play like he did against Texas ....we will need them both to play well and that will also protect Lucas

Marius Rowlanski 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Of course it was the coaches decision. If Bragg had been productive, he would have remained on the court. I'm sure Self wanted to see Bragg play as well as he did in his last outing but that's not what happened.

Self went to the 4 guard offense because of the unpredictable play from his bigs. Without Azubuike, Self couldn't afford to keep 2 bigs on the floor because by halftime, he wouldn't have anyone left in the frontcourt. Lucas and Bragg fouled out in the opening game of the season.

I could be wrong but I think you believe that because Self went to a 4 guard offense that Bragg's role had changed. I'm saying that Bragg and Lucas's foul trouble is the reason Self went to a 4 guard offense. And of course, Azubuike being injured also played into that decision.

Shabaz Wasif 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Bench rotation. 1. Vick, 2. Coleby, 3. Bragg. If Kansas continues to see the type of improvement from its bench the chance for Kansas to win a national title goes up.

Mike Kendall 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Shabaz-- I was thinking the same thing. Dang, I was so happy to see Coleby have a good game off the bench. And, the timing couldn't be better. And, Landen Lucas is saying, "Thank you very much, Dwight!" Just happy we are getting production from our bench. Would love to see this group in the Final 4. Rock Chalk!

Blake Brown 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Bragg was a drag, but Dwight was a delight.

Harlan Hobbs 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Thanks, Andy, for your analysis. Your focus on matchups and Bill Self's remarkable ability to put the pieces together is the key to post season success.

Hopefully, we will be a #1 seed in the Midwest (currently predicted by Joe Lunardi) which would put us in KC for the regional finals if we take care of business in a likely friendly atmosphere in Tulsa the first weekend. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but having that road map certainly enhances our chances.

Very happy for Dwight, and if he can keep this level of performance up, he could be a huge plus for KU going forward.

David Howell 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I am hoping Bill has tired of Bragg's antics and inability to show his skill on the court on a consistent basis. Not playing at all after getting 2 quick fouls and Coleby playing so well should put Bragg as third off the bench. I've been hoping Coleby would get more playing time.

Now as for Lucas. I know he has a banged up thumb, but here he is a senior and I want to see him do so much more. Josh Jackson has such good instincts on rebounding, but Lucas has to learn to get into a better position to rebound the ball more efficiently. Time and time again he gets to far under the bucket. Never mind the fact that he loses the ball so easily in the paint .....

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