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Embiid's big night lands versatile big man on top of ratings

1 - Joel Embiid: Score when he played: Kansas 52, New Mexico 39. Score when he watched: Kansas 28, New Mexico 24. Embiid watched most of the first half after two easily avoidable fouls — one 30 feet from the hoop, the other when climbing the back trying to pick up an offensive rebound. He completely changed the game at the start of the second half. His quick feet enabled him to show up in a blink trapping the post, which led to turnovers and closed the door on potential shots. He swatted shots, rocked the ball behind his head on dunks that whipped the crowd into a frenzy and displayed remarkable smoothness and coordination on baseline drives.

2 - Perry Ellis: Couldn’t slow down New Mexico’s Cameron Bairstow, an Australian national team player, but answered the best way he could, by playing a terrific game offensively and on the boards. Had 21 points and nine rebounds, both team highs, and made 9 of 14 shots from the field.

3 - Wayne Selden: Played aggressively, driving to pass and score, in that order. Totaled 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

4 - Naadir Tharpe: Made some terrific plays, such as the no-look post feed to Ellis from the lane, and some sloppy ones. Did a better job of playing at a quick pace and keeping the ball moving. Finished with eight points, nine assists and four turnovers in 37 minutes.

5 - Andrew Wiggins: Had a tough time staying in front of New Mexico guard Kendall Williams and was limited to 28 minutes by foul trouble. Continues to do a nice job of drawing fouls. He made 5 of 6 free throws and scored 11 points on an off shooting night.

6 - Brannen Greene: Again hustled and fought his nature to want to shoot the ball, first, answer questions later. Had two terrific passes early in the game and played well enough to be on the floor for 16 minutes. Made 2 of 5 shots, 1 of 3 three-point shots. Mixed in two assists and a steal. Once he gets more comfortable, his threes will start dropping and he’ll develop into a key reserve for KU. “Brannen and I just need to get on the same page, but Brannen’s a good player," KU coach Bill Self said. "He’s starting to value things that we think are important. He’s just a freshman trying to figure things out but he certainly, I thought, gave us some good minutes.”

7 - Jamari Traylor: Had just one rebound, but scored two buckets and looked good attacking from the lane for one of the better moves of his career. Also picked up three assists. Looked more like a basketball player than just a strong, explosive athlete.

8 - Landen Lucas: Hustled his way to five rebounds and scored two points in 10 minutes.

9 - Frank Mason: Limited to six scoreless minutes, he missed his only shot, a three, but didn’t turn it over once and had an assist and a rebound.

10 - Justin Wesley: Picked up a rebound, a point and a foul in two minutes on the floor. Students called him "Wilt" during his time on the floor, a nod to his role as Wilt Chamberlain in Kevin Willmott's upcoming film.

11 - Tarik Black: Played two minutes, committed two turnovers and one foul. Nine games into the season, Black has 28 points, 22 rebounds and 24 fouls in 91 minutes.

SEASON STANDINGS

Joel Embiid 97

Andrew Wiggins 95

Perry Ellis 93

Frank Mason 72

Wayne Selden Jr. 72

Naadir Tharpe 61

Jamari Traylor 50

Andrew White III 46

Tarik Black 39

Brannen Greene 28

Landen Lucas 23

Conner Frankamp 20

Comments

Bob Forer 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Everyone wanted Wiggins. But Emiid? If KU makes it to the Final Four, Wiggins will be the key, but Emiid will be the ncessary complement. Like love and marriage, you can't have one without the other.

Dirk Medema 10 months, 2 weeks ago

EmBiid. Once is a typo, twice is a blunder.

If we make it to the FF, it will be because Naadir stepped up to be the leader. PG is crucial in college.

Dirk Medema 10 months, 2 weeks ago

It was certainly nice to see Jamari use his athleticism to attack the zone. We need more of that. People seem to focus way too much on the 3 ball, which are far too fickle for even a good shooting team. Attacking from the top of the lane and the short corners are the real key to breaking the zone. Much better this game, though UNM was not nearly as aggressive as UF.

It also seemed that Wiggins got lost on too many of the screens for Williams, and got little help from the bigs in turning him back to the D.

It is good to see Brannen learning how to play on the team, but there are still times when he doesn't understand the team needs, like help-side D, which leads to fouls on more valuable teammates.

They will all learn so much by March.

Suzi Marshall 10 months, 2 weeks ago

You should give Tharpe more credit for his contribution to the outcome tonight. He moved the ball and made the guys around him better. If you review his 9 dimes, you will find most were big time plays. If he does not make those plays, the game is tight to the end. He should hold atleast the number 3 spot.

Joe Joseph 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Tharpe's play, as point guard, is clearly critical to KU's success. But the key will continue to be the activity of Perry Ellis.

In KU's three losses (all against top-25 RPI teams), Perry averaged just under 6 field goal attempts and just over 8 points per game.

In KU's three best RPI victories (Duke, UTEP, UNM), Perry averaged 13 field goal attempts and just over 21 points per game.

Let The Designer design!!

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