Tharpe tops ratings (again) in KU win over Oklahoma State
1 - Naadir Tharpe: His strong competitiveness showed when Marcus Smart picked him clean and Tharpe immediately did the same thing to him. He and Smart both did a strong job of running their teams, the biggest difference in their games being that Tharpe couldn’t miss a shot and Smart couldn’t make one, and Smart took better care of the basketball. Tharpe consistently turned back runs by hitting three-point shots and he did a good job of feeding center Joel Embiid, for whom the Cowboys had no solution. Tharpe made 7 of 8 field goals, 3 of 4 three-pointers and 4 of 4 free throws. He finished with 21 points, six assists, six turnovers and three steals in 39 minutes. He scored six of KU’s final seven points and hit a huge 18-footer that put his team up six with 36 seconds left, which at the time seemed like a dagger.
2 - Joel Embiid: Picked up a technical for the third game in a row when he, after the whistle, planted his palm on Le’Bryan Nash’s forehead and gave him a little shove. It didn’t hurt Kansas because the foul for which he was whistled on that play was his only of the game, other than the technical. He knows how to block shots without fouling because he’s keeping his arms straight up. Broke his own freshman record (seven, UTEP) when he blocked eight shots. His terrific hands and ability to get so high above the rim also make him a threat scoring against the zone, no matter how tightly guarded, because nobody can get their arms as high as he can. His conversion of Wayne Selden’s alley-oop pass when covered closely was yet another remarkable highlight for the 7-footer from Cameroon.
3 - Jamari Traylor: He has come a long way in a lot of ways. Always a terrific athlete, he now is using that to make strong basketball plays. He hit a free-throw line jumper, a new weapon, made 3 of 3 free throws and 3 of 3 field goals, had a huge blocked shot and again showed he can put the ball on the floor. Played 19 minutes and produced nine points and three rebounds.
4 - Tarik Black: KU’s best player on the court in the first half, when he scored eight points and made 4 of 5 shots, including a two-handed dunk he rocked to the back of his head. Also had a huge blocked shot and two rebounds. Never got off the bench in the second half, thanks to Embiid’s dominant performance.
5 - Frank Mason: He made just 1 of 3 free throws in the final 23 seconds but made up for it with the game-saving play, knocking the ball loose from Le’Bryan Nash before he could get up a shot. Had another big deflection earlier and hit a three that expanded a four-point lead to seven with 9:36 left. Mason, an amazing leaper who embraces contact, used those qualities to snare four rebounds.
6 - Brannen Greene: Made good use of his seven minutes on the floor, scoring five points and hitting 2 of 3 shots, including 1 of 2 three-pointers. Good size and skills aren’t always accompanied by confidence, but they were in this one.
7 - Wayne Selden: Consistently long on his shot (1 for 7) in first half, Selden compensated with strong defense, accurate free-throw shooting and three beautiful passes in a seven-point, three-assist, no-turnover half. As for the second half, he made several poor plays and turned it over four times.
8 - Perry Ellis: Physical games don’t always bring out the best in Ellis and this was an example of that. He didn’t always go up strong and finished 3 of 8 from the field and totaled six points and four rebounds in 18 minutes.
9 - Andrew Wiggins: Played so far below his standard that he sat most of the latter half of the second half and played just 23 minutes on the night. He contributed just three points and two rebounds and made just 1 of 5 shots in his worse game as a Jayhawk. That’s unfortunate timing for Baylor, Monday’s opponent.
10 - Conner Frankamp: Played just one minute and missed a three-pointer.
Joel Embiid 159
Andrew Wiggins 145
Perry Ellis 144
Naadir Tharpe 125
Wayne Selden Jr. 124
Frank Mason 114
Jamari Traylor 94
Tarik Black 77
Andrew White III 50
Brannen Greene 42
Conner Frankamp 38
Landen Lucas 31
Justin Wesley 8