Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mason propels Jayhawks past Oklahoma, 81-70

Oklahoma guard Kameron McGusty (20) puts a shot up against Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Oklahoma guard Kameron McGusty (20) puts a shot up against Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.


— Though a winning streak dating back to the second week of November appeared in jeopardy, No. 2-ranked Kansas basketball redeemed itself after a shaky first half at Oklahoma Tuesday night, securing 14th-year head coach Bill Self his 400th victory with the Jayhawks, in an 81-70 comeback win.

Fittingly, a tough veteran whom Self respects and has argued should be in the conversation for national player of the year, senior Frank Mason III, made sure KU — which trailed by nine at the break — didn’t fall flat on the road, against the Big 12’s worst team, OU (6-9 overall, 0-4 Big 12).

Mason scored 19 of his game-high 28 points in the second half, delivering Kansas its 15th consecutive win and keeping his team unbeaten in the Big 12 on the same night the nation’s new No. 1, Baylor, lost at West Virginia — making Kansas (15-4, 4-0) the only unblemished team in conference play.

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

• The game turned when:The Jayhawks left the visitors’ locker room at halftime.

The energy and attention to detail Self expects from his players all showed up when play resumed following intermission.

And with that renewed effort came easy and much-needed baskets for Kansas. The Jayhawks scored the first 13 points of the second half, erasing their nine-point halftime deficit and taking a lead before Oklahoma made a shot.

After KU shot just 3-for-11 on 3-pointers in the first half, Svi Mykhailiuk opened the second by draining one from deep. It was a sign of things to come, as well. Kansas went on to make nine of 16 3-pointers over the course of the game’s final 20 minutes, with Mykhailiuk and Mason delivering many of the damaging bombs — 7-for-10 combined.

In the first eight minutes of the half, the two combined to connect on six of eight from beyond the arc. When Mason made his third 3 of the second with 12:09 to play, KU had put OU in a nine-point hole.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self discusses KU's comeback win at Oklahoma

After Kansas erased a nine-point halftime deficit at Oklahoma to win 81-70, head coach Bill Self discusses the improved effort, the importance of senior guard Frank Mason III and much more.

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• Offensive highlight: There weren’t many for the Jayhawks in the first half, when they missed eight of their final 10 shot attempts, leading to a 34-percent mark in the first 20 minutes and a 36-27 deficit entering the second half.

That trend faded down the stretch, though, and freshman Josh Jackson (16 points) teamed up with veteran Devonte’ Graham on one of the smoothest plays of a strong finish on the road.

Out of a timeout, Graham lobbed a pass high for Jackson on the right side, and the supremely athletic wing from Detroit threw down a smooth two-handed slam, giving Kansas a 64-54 advantage and its first double-digit cushion of the night.

• Defensive highlight: Behind in the opening minutes at home versus heavy favorite Kansas, the Sooners tried to get an easy basket in transition off a defensive stop.

Freshman Jordan Shepherd pushed the ball quickly up the sideline, eying a driving lane to the rim. He saw one, for sure, but when he elevated for the finish, sophomore backup forward Carlton Bragg Jr. proved just as fast as the OU guard, and much longer.

Bragg flew upward after catching up with Shepherd and extended his arms high in the air for a blocked shot.

Just more than a minute later, Bragg was back at it, defending the rim on a baseline out of bounds set, and swatting away a layup attempt by Oklahoma veteran guard Jordan Woodard, who had just entered the game.

In Bragg’s previous 14 games this season, he had only blocked five shots, but showed within minutes his ability to play a factor defensively on this particular night, at least, before finishing with three blocks.

• Key stat: Three-point defense. KU couldn’t have pulled off the win without connecting from deep, but defending OU’s 3-point tries well proved key, too.

The Sooners shot just 5-for-19 in the loss, and only made two of nine in the second half.

• Up next: The Jayhawks will be back in Allen Fieldhouse Saturday to take on Oklahoma State (1 p.m., ESPN2).

By the Numbers: Kansas 81, Oklahoma 70.

By the Numbers: Kansas 81, Oklahoma 70.

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

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Oklahoma


Dee Shaw 4 years, 1 month ago

Good win. Thank goodness they play two halfs. Nice adjustments at half to get a road win.

I get your praise towards Carlton Braggs three blocks but I think Carlton has taken two steps back from his performance last year as a freshman. I don't see the drive and attitude needed to bang down low with the big boys. He doesn't seem to have that type of bad ass attitude. He to me is soft. I had high expectations for Carlton this year. He seems lost and scared out there. Stop thinking and start playing. He obviously can do it I just hope he figures it out soon.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 1 month ago

Agree D as my comments below will show that.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 1 month ago

Mason is amazing. He can just about do it all. Rebounds, defense, driving, floaters, midrange jumpers and an amazing 54% from the three-point line. If he isn't in the top 5 national players of the year, then I absolutely have no idea what the committee is looking for.

On the other end of the spectrum is Carlton Bragg. 10 minutes of play with 2 fouls, 1 turnover and a whopping ZERO points. Last year, I thought his development was hindered by playing behind Perry Ellis although in practice sessions, he still should have learned more of what was expected of him.

Maybe he is salvageable but if I was asked to give my appraisal at the expectations of him coming in and the results 4 games into his 2nd season of conference play and my one-word answer would be: BUST

I know that's pretty severe and believe me when I say I wish there was something/anything to give me hope and that he will develop into a solid player but I see nothing. He smiles a lot and honestly seems like a good guy on campus but that just isn't going to cut it. We absolutely need another post presence next year as Lightfoot and Coleby both average more fouls than points.

Seeing Udoka go down to a freak injury shows just how fragile relying on a freshman player can be. If we were to get Trae Young next year... Great but what is more important is that we get another low post rim protector. Billy Preston is not that player. He is a fantastic get and should make a huge difference on the offense but his skills are not on defense. Sure he will improve. Everything I've heard about this kid is his willingness to do whatever is needed to help his team win.

The bass player still not committed in the draft is Sandro Mamukelashvili but we aren't on his list and neither is he being sought after by Kansas. The drop off in talent after that is on a straight precipice. Maybe Coach Self has a junior-college transfer lined up but if not, it looks like we will once again pushing players through the post in order to limit fouls. I think we've been lucky so far

Anyways, that's just my 2 bits and I'm sure many will say my comment was worth only a single bit.

Larry Ralston 4 years, 1 month ago

Marius Rowlanski, at this point in the season, I wouldn't give you a plug nickle for your comment. You have given up on Bragg and the team and you are already looking to next year, what a fool you must be. Do you not remember the remarkable turn around from Landon Lucas last year? Do you not have faith in Bill Self and the rest of the coaching staff? Holy smokes man, give them a chance to get their feet wet. You seem to forget the incident that Bragg went through a few weeks ago. That just didn't "go away" you know. I am sure he has been questioned more than once. He will also have to testify in court when the time comes. Hey, here is a thought, throw in the fact he is what, 19 years old? Hey, maybe you can also add that this young guy, away from home, family and most things familiar to him is trying to grow as a person, complete his classes in a manner that allows him to continue to play ball, toss in the recent incident and then add the coaching staff riding you hard through practice and games. It kind of reminds me of my military boot camp, where guys had to handle so many things in "life" AND deal with being home sick for the first time in their lives. Guess what though? Every damned one of those "boys" made it through boot camp and also became "men" who were able to deal with the mental issues as well as all of the physical demands that were given to them. It is a learning process and for Bragg, there was an added "learning" situation. Some learn faster than others. All you need to do is trust in the coaching staff, (I wish we had the half time speech from tonight's game, it would show you that a few guys "learned" something at half time and it gives me faith in coach Self and his staff), they are teachers and that is what they do best.

Give it a little time. We are the only team in the big 12 without a loss in league right now. We lead the big 12 and could soon be the #1 team in the nation and yet you seem to have given up on this team and are looking to next year. Are you spoiled much?

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 1 month ago

Hey Larrrry... Don't give me your crap about boot camp dipsh**. I've paid for my right to express myself anytime and anyway I want.

You're a sniveling little punk. I'm sorry you wet yourself in boot camp but you needed to stop suckeling your mommy's milk at some point.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 1 month ago

And Larrrry, I'm honored that you used your first post of the year just for me. Pretty funny that you need to hide behind one of your aliases but it just goes to prove what a chicken sh** you are.

I think the only boot camp you went through was Exodus International. Guess it didn't work.

Steve Zimmerman 4 years, 1 month ago

No doubt, Frank 'da Brick' Mason is our MVP tonight. Great 2nd half - thanks to 3s Svi who's not shy draining 'em in the opening minutes. Playing these 5 starters for 30s minutes will hopefully keep them in-shape and more comfortable with each other. Right now, we don't look too good on high-low/post offense. So many times have we seen:

  1. The passer throws the ball too deep,
  2. the post catches it but he either gets sandwitched and loses the ball, or he fails to score through jump-hook.

Marius, I feel your frustration over Bragg. Check out: Looking at that video, and watching him playing now, do you see the difference? 1. He's gaining some pounds (not sure why some think it's a good thing) 2. He is not as explosive as he used to (how many fastbreak does he finish?) 3. With him being used in high-low, overtime his quickness to the basket diminishes

Just my 2c, he should've gone to UK or UCLA, some schools that could use him in faster, motion offense kind of system. But, there's always a hope, if he can turn things around by looking at his playing position from positive angle. By going to the basket hard, dunk hard, instead of freakin' dropping the ball to the basket!! He can also improve his ways to the basket by lowering his shoulder more, faking more, jumping higher!!! I still think Bragg can improve.. Let's give him a chance..

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 1 month ago

I see a guy with so much potential and watch him trip over himself time after time. I'm not sure if he is playing too fast or thinking too far ahead.

Thank you for your comment. I absolutely have no problem when someone disagrees with me but why the ad hominem attacks? It's not necessary and nor is it very constructive.

Steve Zimmerman 4 years, 1 month ago

My apology, I didn't mean to attack anyone. I meant words of encouragement, instead they came out too strong.

Justin Kruse 4 years, 1 month ago

I think we were all hoping for a bit more from Carlton this season so far, but I think he'll still be a factor. He's got a nice mid-range game and can pull the defense out a bit. Honestly, I think he just needs to be more aggressive and have the confidence that he can be a difference maker on this team. Come on Carlton, it's time to Bragg!

Jay Scott 4 years, 1 month ago

Bragg has more talent than almost anyone on the roster. Coach Self needs to figure out how to unleash it if the Jayhawks want to play in April.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 1 month ago

I bet that is a tough one for Self to work through. We desperately need Bragg to man-up inside and play big but he has a stretch game.

Jay Scott 4 years, 1 month ago

He has a game. His game. He needs to play that game. He's more Morris than Aldrich. Let him be what he is. He isn't a center. Let Coleby back up Lucas and set Bragg's game free!

Jerry Walker 4 years, 1 month ago

Despite the results so far and lack of playing time, I still believe that Coleby and Lightfoot will be able to provide 10-15mpg backing up Lucas...and not kill us. They might have gotten more time last night if they hadn't committed silly screening fouls.

I'm still holding the rope with Bragg. He's too talented to continue to languish in his current role and effort level.

So says Pollyanna.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 1 month ago

I'd agree with more potential but not with more talent. If you were going to go down the roster, which players would you put in the last talent column?

Barry Weiss 4 years, 1 month ago

Bragg looks to be a full 4 year project which is ok. I know the hype had him breaking out this year with his added weight, but in reality, I think the Ellis effect has left him out of sorts with his new role. Coach needs him down low, so that is what I think he needs to learn, even if it means this year is a wash out as far as him putting up big numbers. Thankfully Landon is back to last year's late season form, but he's only two quick fouls from the bench and then coach feels like Bragg is a better sub than Colby or Lightfoot. I agree with coach, even though Bragg often looks lost, frustrated, shuffles his feet down low and misses bunnies. Hey, he's all we got right now. The loss of Dok was mega hugh. But in the end....we are 15-1, undefeated in conference play, and potentially 1 in the nation next week. Let the angels dance on a razor blade.

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