Advertisement

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Notebook: Jayhawks thrilled with rare win at Gallagher-Iba Arena

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) and Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) get airborne to celebrate the Jayhawks' 90-85 win, Saturday, March 4, 2017 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) and Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) get airborne to celebrate the Jayhawks' 90-85 win, Saturday, March 4, 2017 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Advertisement

— Snake-bitten in his home state by his alma mater more times than he’d care to remember, Kansas coach Bill Self walked out of Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday with his first victory there since 2013, 90-85 over Oklahoma State.

“Frank hadn’t won here,” said Self of senior Frank Mason III, who led No. 1 Kansas with 27 points. “And, (seniors) Landen (Lucas) and Tyler (Self), (former KU point guard) Naadir (Tharpe) made a shot their freshman year to win, but we haven’t played very well down here at all and it was nice to come down here and play better.”

In addition to smiling about ending a three-game losing streak at Gallagher-Iba Arena, Self, who now is 4-6 at OSU during his 14 seasons in charge of the Jayhawks, marveled about his team’s ability to win its 13th consecutive Big 12 title by a whopping four games.

“I thought this year would be as tough a year as we’ve had to try to win the league, and it was,” Self said. “Fortunately, we’ve won several games just like this game that came down to the last couple of minutes. The guys have been pretty good finishers. That’s the biggest difference in it being anyone’s league race or us winning the league by a few games.... We could’ve lost the league and still not played poorly because we played several close games. It was a grind. We got tested every game and I thought, for the most part, we played pretty good in late-game situations.”

Self said the distance between his playing and coaching days at OSU and today have taken some of the intensity off of his return trips to Stillwater.

“I used to be emotional,” he said. “But I’m not emotional anymore. I’ve been gone a long time. What’s it been, 24 years? I still see some of the same places that I saw (24 years ago). A lot of new buildings but a lot of some of the same old places. I actually enjoy it.”

KU to face TCU-OU winner

After a wild weekend in the Big 12, we now know the final standings for the 2016-17 conference season and the pairings for next week’s Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self on KU closing regular season with win at Oklahoma State

Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self discusses with media members the Jayhawks' 90-85 victory to close the regular season. KU won its 13th regular-season title by 4 games.

Download podcast

Kansas, which locked up the No. 1 seed last week, will play the winner of Wednesday’s 8-9 match-up between TCU (17-14, 6-12) and Oklahoma (11-19, 5-13) at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Big 12 quarterfinals.

A win there would put Kansas in the semifinals, where the Jayhawks would face the winner of Thursday’s 4-5 game between Iowa State and Oklahoma State, at 6 p.m. Friday.

Magnificent Mason

After Saturday’s victory, which may have featured the best game of Mason’s career, Self was asked where he thought the KU point guard and strong candidate for national player of the year ranked in terms of all-time Big 12 players.

“You’re getting into a whole different category when you’ve got T.J. Ford and LaMarcus Aldridge and Kirk (Hinrich) and Nick (Collison) and Kevin (Durant), Blake (Griffin) and (Michael) Beasley,” Self said. “But I don’t know, other than maybe Griffin, Beasley and obviously Kevin, I don’t know if anybody’s had a better year than what Frank’s had.”

Best pure passer?

In talking about freshman Josh Jackson’s big day — 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists — Self praised Jackson’s ability to set up teammates.

“He’s a good passer,” Self said. “He’s probably our best passer on the team. He’s got great vision.”

KU junior Devonte’ Graham, who finished with 13 points and four assists in 39 minutes begged to differ.

“Nah, he doesn’t pass better than me and Frank,” Graham said. “No chance. He’s a good passer, though.”

A beautiful blunder

With the Jayhawks leading by three with 20 seconds to play and Oklahoma State desperately needing a stop, Jackson fired a perfectly thrown full-court pass to a streaking Lagerald Vick, who caught the pass in stride and converted a tough layup with 16 seconds to play.

The play must have been executed exactly as Self drew it up then, right?

“No,” Self said. “Lagerald didn’t do what he was supposed to do, but fortunately for us he didn’t listen very well. We’re good at that, too. But it was a good play by Josh and a good finish by Lagerald.”

Wooden finalists

A few days after being named semifinalists for this year’s Naismith Award, given annually to college basketball’s most outstanding player, KU senior Mason and freshman Jackson landed on the official 15-player John R. Wooden Award ballot.

Mason and Jackson make Kansas the only school in the country with two semifinalists on either list.

Voting will take place from March 13-20, and fans may vote at www.woodenawardvote.com.

This and that...

KU now leads the all-time series with Oklahoma State, 113-57, including a 36-34 edge in games played in Stillwater.... KU now has won 28 games in back-to-back seasons and eight times total in Self’s 14 years at Kansas.... KU finished the regular season 10-1 in true road games.... Graham became the 59th Kansas player of all-time to reach 1,000 career points.

By the Numbers: Kansas 90, Oklahoma State 85

By the Numbers: Kansas 90, Oklahoma State 85

Comments

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 2 weeks ago

OK, that lead in photo officially wins, in my book, as the 'Best Picture of the Year' so far. Hopefully we will have a few more candidates a few more games down the road. The picture dramatically shows one of two things, 1) the elation of winning in a tough environment or 2) the guys are tired of all the female problems this year and the two are getting ready to ....

If the 'Hawks do well in the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments, Mason will have a chance to pass Collins and finish in the top 5 all time scorers.

It would be tons of fun and excitement to get Graham back next year with similar hopes he can climb the all-time ladder. Graham can finish the year with over 1100 points, meaning he'd need about 600-700 points his senior season to get into the top 10. Assuming we play 40 games next year and win a National Championship in San Antonio and Graham played all the game, he'd need to average over 15 ppg to get it done.

It would be super cool if Graham could pull off a huge senior year to finish right next to Mason on the all-time scoring list!!!!

Kurt Eskilson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Mason has now played in 140 games, with potentially 9 more to go. Danny Manning holds KU's current record with 147. So if the Hawks play in the Big 12 Tourney finals and go deep into the NCAAs, Frank has a shot at setting another KU record.

Steve Zimmerman 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I think it's time to reactivate Vick as a starter. He makes us look better. He looks more solid than Svi out there. Vick seems to play more consistently this past few games..

BTW.. I voted!!

Bryce Landon 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree. Play the hot hand. Vick has the hot hand, Svi does not. And Svi's head is up his @$$ these days.

RJ King 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Disagree. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Marius Rowlanski 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I've got to agree with RJ. Vick may very well have earned his spot back but going in to the BIG 12 Tournament and then the NCAA, I'm more inclined not to change things. The better player will get the majority of the minutes.

Andy Godwin 9 months, 2 weeks ago

As Self indicates "it does not matters who starts but who finishes a game" and Vick is finishing. It has become apparent that Self is protecting Vick in the first half regarding fouls. Most players who get their second foul in the first half, sit the rest of the way, but not Svi. I have noticed when Vick and Svi both have two fouls in the 1st half, Vick sits and Svi plays. Clearly Self is looking towards who he wants to finish.

And now to the POY. No player has been more consistent game in and game out as Mason. Other players have had off nights, but not really Mason (even when sick he gave his all). Pencil in 20 points, 5 assists (TOs are a bit high), 4 to 5 rebounds, and 38 minutes of gutsy throw your body around play and you have Frank Mason. No player has lead his team game every single game. I am clearly biased, but Mason and the most versatile freshman in the country, Josh Jackson, should pick up some national hardware. Here is hoping the entire team is wearing more than just Big 12 championship rings when all is said and done. Go, fight, win.

Mike Kendall 9 months, 2 weeks ago

The bench is definitely better. Vick and Bragg are athletic as anyone out there. That is a good sign going into the Big 12 Tourney.

Bryce Landon 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm thrilled with this victory too, because (A) I didn't expect us to win in GIA in lieu of Bill Self's track record there, (B) OSU is so hot and so much better than the 20-loss team that blew us out in Stillwater last year, and (C) we already had our conference title and the Big 12 Tournament #1 seed locked up. So to see KU play like it had something to play for was awesome!

Steve Corder 9 months, 2 weeks ago

This is a remarkable team. Intangibles are off the charts, which is evident by how they finish. Gritty, tough, intense with a seemingly new twist: the "flash press" . Great team chemistry, unselfish. These qualities are rare on any team, and I'd hate to be an opposing coach in the coming NCAA tournament.

While upsets are common in the tourney, this team has what it takes to win it all.

Regardless, what a special season!

Harlan Hobbs 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Totally agree, Andy. Right now, Svi is more expendable than Vick if you want to have your best performers on the court at crunch time. I thought that when Svi hit an early 3, his fortunes might be changing, but his foul trouble took care of that.

Vick currently is the better player in almost all facets of the game, and he has more potential. Since he seems comfortable coming off the bench, I see no compelling reason to change the lineup at this time. Svi clearly lacks confidence, but the only solution is to try to play his way out of it.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.