1 - Tarik Black: The team didn’t need him just to supply energy and a physical presence. His scoring was needed as well and he responded in a huge way. Black made 9 of 9 field goals, two on dunks, blocked two shots, one a real crowd-pleaser, had an assist and a steal and didn’t turn the ball over on a near perfect night. His 19 points were a season-high and three of his six rebounds came off the offensive glass.
2 - Naadir Tharpe: Had 16 points, five assists, two steals and no turnovers in 18 minutes of action. Made half of his six three-point attempts and all five free throws.
3 - Perry Ellis: Made all four field-goal attempts and totaled 13 points and five rebounds in 18 minutes.
4 - Andrew Wiggins: Jaye Crockett, Tech’s leading scorer, had two points next to his name with five minutes remaining. Wiggins took him out of the game. Crockett finished with nine points, but Wiggins wasn’t on him for his final seven.
5 - Brannen Greene: Hustled his way to six points, two rebounds and an assist in 10 minutes. Made all four free-throw attempts and turned a great pass thrown off the dribble on the break from Frank Mason into a breakaway dunk.
6 - Wayne Selden: Shots weren’t dropping (2 for 7) but played well otherwise. Threw a beauty of a cross-court pass to Conner Frankamp on the break, but didn’t get rewarded with an assist. Four points, four rebounds two assists and two steals in 23 minutes.
7 - Jamari Traylor: Six points, a block and a rebound in 14 minutes. Showed a nice spin move for one of his buckets. His blocked shot of Dusty Hannahs at the hoop on the break was so effortless Traylor almost looked as if he felt guilty for picking on the guy.
8 - Frank Mason: Had three assists and three rebounds and looked good running the break.
9 - Conner Frankamp: Made 1 of 3 three-pointers and picked up a rebound and two blocked shots in 14 minutes. Inch-for-inch, he might have been the nation’s best shot-blocker Wednesday night.
10 - Landen Lucas: Had four boards and one point in 11 minutes, but his steps were off. Whistled for two turnovers.
11 - Justin Wesley: Started, played nine minutes, blocked a shot and missed all three field-goal attempts, two of them three-pointers.
12 - Andrew White: Fired up a guarded three from on top of the arc and it missed. Did mix in an assist in seven minutes.’
Andrew Wiggins 260
Joel Embiid 246
Perry Ellis 241
Wayne Selden Jr. 224
Naadir Tharpe 209
Frank Mason 182
Jamari Traylor 164
Tarik Black 154
Brannen Greene 81
Conner Frankamp 66
Andrew White III 64
Landen Lucas 51
Justin Wesley 17
1 - Naadir Tharpe: In the decisive final 6:01, the score was Tharpe 12, Oklahoma 12, Tharpe’s teammates 7. He scored 10 of his 19 points in the final 3:15. The lane opened up because of the special attention the Sooners were paying to wings Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Selden and to Joel Embiid in the post. Also mixed in five assists and two steals.
2 - Joel Embiid: Looked to be headed to big offensive night but team stopped going to him. He was so active defensively that he made potential shooters anywhere in his neighborhood decide to pass. Finished with a stat-stuffing 12 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots and four steals to go with four turnovers. He never blends into the background, forever is in the middle of the action.
3 - Wayne Selden: Built like a bull, he attacks when he sees (Oklahoma) red. He scored a career-high 24 points in Norman and was on pace to exceed that with 13 first-half points. Scored just two in the second half but had such a positive impact in all areas that coach Bill Self kept him on the floor for 35 minutes.
4 - Andrew Wiggins: Stopped shooting and started driving and when that happened, there was no stopping him. The defense dropped off him and he hit a huge three-pointer late. He’s playing with much more confidence than early in the season and is embracing contact. Contributed 15 points and five rebounds.
5 - Jamari Traylor: Hit two huge buckets in the second half and made a bigger contribution than his four points and four rebounds in 13 minutes would suggest.
6 - Tarik Black: Note to zebras: Sit down over lunch with the guy and you’ll find he’s not the guy you think he is. Stop picking on him and when he plays great defense in the lane against a guard, don’t blow your whistle because he breathed on the guy. Back’s three points and five rebounds made a difference.
7 - Perry Ellis: Made a three-pointer, improving his season totals to 6 of 12. Scored 11 points, but Kansas needed more than four rebounds in 24 minutes from him.
8 - Brannen Greene: Energized the team with two offensive rebounds, didn’t turn the ball over in nine minutes of action and had two assists.
9 - Frank Mason: Attacked relentlessly on the dribble and had just one turnover in 16 minutes, but couldn’t get anything to drop (1 of 6 overall, 1 of 4 from three).
10 - Conner Frankamp: Missed a three-pointer, which kept him from pulling the trigger on an open shot he should have taken. Committed three fouls in five minutes.
Andrew Wiggins 245
Joel Embiid 237
Perry Ellis 224
Wayne Selden Jr. 209
Naadir Tharpe 196
Frank Mason 174
Jamari Traylor 154
Tarik Black 137
Brannen Greene 73
Andrew White III 63
Conner Frankamp 61
Landen Lucas 48
Justin Wesley 15
1 - Naadir Tharpe: Teammates were missing easy shots, but Tharpe never let the droughts last too long, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot on pull-up jumpers, drives to the hoop, tear-drops and four three-pointers. He scored a game-high 22 points, but even that doesn’t capture to what extent he led Kansas to victory.
2 - Perry Ellis: Totaled 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots, playing a physical game. Showed nice sweeping drives across the lane.
3 - Tarik Black: On a night Joel Embiid didn’t bring his best, offensively or defensively, and battled foul trouble, Black rode to the rescue with a strong physical presence. In 23 minutes, Black produced six points, nine rebounds and two assists.
4 - Andrew Wiggins: Scoreless until he hit a half-court shot to beat the buzzer at the half after stealing the ball under Baylor’s hoop, Wiggins scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half. He had five assists, three steals, two blocked shots and did not commit a turnover. During a 93-second span a couple of minutes past the midway point of the second half, Wiggins scored seven points, turning a five-point game into a 12-point lead. He hit a three and had two dunks during that span, dropping jaws all over the building.
5 - Wayne Selden: Brady Heslip hit four three-pointers in the first half, two when guarded by Selden, two with Mason on him. Heslip did not score from the 6:38 mark of the first half to the end of the game and Selden’s terrific defense was the main reason for that. Selden also had five assists and one turnover to go with four points.
6 - Jamari Traylor: Again worked well in tandem with Black and had four points and three rebounds to show for his 10 minutes of hustle.
7 - Frank Mason: Coach Bill Self took the blame for the two-three pointers Heslip hit on him, saying he told his players the wrong way to guard him. After telling them the right way, they held him scoreless. Mason still wasn't as good against a zone as against man-to-man defense, which can be said of most freshmen.
8 - Joel Embiid: He said the knee that he sprained is fine, but he hasn’t moved as well since injuring hit. Lack of lower-body strength showed down low in this game and foul troubled limited him to 17 minutes, during which he had five points, seven boards, two blocks, two assists and three turnovers.
9 - Brannen Greene: Had a rebound and a turnover in two minutes.
Joel Embiid 196
Andrew Wiggins 186
Perry Ellis 185
Wayne Selden Jr. 160
Naadir Tharpe 157
Frank Mason 147
Jamari Traylor 121
Tarik Black 95
Brannen Greene 57
Andrew White III 53
Conner Frankamp 42
Landen Lucas 42
Justin Wesley 11
1 - Andrew Wiggins: Confidence plus talent plus aggressiveness equates to 29 points and seven rebounds. Made 10 of 16 shots, 4 of 6 three-pointers and 5 of 6 free throws. Shooting .779 from the line.
2 - Naadir Tharpe: Needed just four more rebounds for a triple double. Instead, he settled for a double-dozen with 12 points and 12 assists. Had just one turnover and in the past three games has 17 assists and one turnover in 85 minutes. Has made 10 of 15 three-pointers in past five games. “His leadership role is through the roof,” Wiggins said.
3 - Perry Ellis: Had a monster half in which he made 7 of 8 shots, had all but one of his six rebounds and scored 15 of his 20 points.
4 - Joel Embiid: Quietly had another productive game with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Iowa State’s Georges Niang had a crafty game against him, pulling him away from the hoop and driving past him.
5 - Wayne Selden: Made some terrific defensive plays, including stealing a lob in mid-air. Also showcased serious athleticism on a drive to the hoop in which he coiled up like an accordion a kissed it off the glass. Makes some nice passes then makes some that leave everyone scratching their heads and asking, “Why did he just throw a bounce pass into a lane jam-packed with defenders.” Also took an ill-advised three-pointer during the second half. Helped Kansas jumped to 30-14 lead with strong play but had up-and-down night after that.
6 - Frank Mason: Not his best night overall, but hit a huge three-pointer that expanded KU’s lead to 71-63 with 7:24 left. Noticed his defender step behind a screen instead of over it and knew he had an uncontested three. Measure the shot and hit. Couldn’t convert an open layup after a nice drive down the lane and finished 1 for 5 from the field. Always plays with strong confidence.
7 - Jamari Traylor: Had an assist, a steal and six rebounds in 15 minutes.
8 - Brannen Greene: Made just 1 of 4 shots and 1 of 3 three-pointers in six minutes.
9 - Landen Lucas: Could have sworn I saw him block a shot but my memory must be playing tricks on me again because he was not credited with one.
Joel Embiid 183
Andrew Wiggins 174
Perry Ellis 170
Wayne Selden Jr. 143
Naadir Tharpe 143
Frank Mason 135
Jamari Traylor 107
Tarik Black 80
Brannen Greene 53
Andrew White III 51
Conner Frankamp 42
Landen Lucas 38
Justin Wesley 10
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
1 - Naadir Tharpe: Came out on fire and never cooled off. Made 7 of 9 shots form the field, 3 of 4 from three, 6 of 7 free throws and had 23 points, six rebounds and four assists to go with four turnovers. Played with big-time aggressiveness from start to finish.
2 - Andrew Wiggins: His father, former NBA guard Mitchell Wiggins, told him to concentrate on rebounding in one of their daily phone chats, and realizing that father knows best, he did that. When the freshman trains his mind on something, he can reach unbelievable heights. He had a stunning 19 rebounds to go with 17 points.
3 - Joel Embiid: After his down-low dominance at both ends in the second half, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg called him, "the best player in the country." Finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, five blocked shots, two assists, two steals and for the second game in a row, one technical. Showed phenomenal footwork.
4 - Wayne Selden: Didn't have his shot working (2 for 7, 1 for 5 from three), but had another impressive passing night and had six assists and just one turnover.
5 - Perry Ellis: Couldn't get his shot to drop (4 of 13) and wasn't at his best against the physical Cyclones. Totaled eight points and six rebounds.
6 - Jamari Traylor: Had rough stretch when he telegraphed a lazy pass that was intercepted and then didn't see the ball when it was passed to the man standing next to him, an easy bucket that could have been prevented with more alert play. But he battled well on the boards, picking up five rebounds.
7 - Tarik Black: Two points, one rebound and five fouls in five minutes. On this night, the fouls were excusable because Kansas needed a player who could show Iowa State wasn't the only team with physical bigs.
8 - Frank Mason: Played aggressively, scored on strong drive to the hoop, missed an open three, defended aggressively and had two points and two fouls to show for nine minutes.
9 - Brannen Greene: The first man off the bench, he went scoreless in four minutes.
10 - Conner Frankamp: Missed a three-pointer one minute into his time on the floor and was sent to bench for rest of night.
11 - Justin Wesley: Played less than a minute.
Joel Embiid 150
Andrew Wiggins 143
Perry Ellis 141
Wayne Selden Jr. 120
Naadir Tharpe 115
Frank Mason 108
Jamari Traylor 86
Tarik Black 70
Andrew White III 50
Conner Frankamp 37
Brannen Greene 37
Landen Lucas 31
Justin Wesley 8