Advertisement

Advertisement

The Day After: TCU at AFH

Kansas forward Perry Ellis, center, smiles as he is congratulated by his teammates Naadir Tharpe, left, and Tarik Black after leaving the game following a 32-point effort against TCU  on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis, center, smiles as he is congratulated by his teammates Naadir Tharpe, left, and Tarik Black after leaving the game following a 32-point effort against TCU on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Perry Ellis was sensational and the Kansas University offense hung a season-best 95 points on an overmatched TCU squad in a 30-point victory at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday.

It was exactly the kind of game the Jayhawks needed to bounce back from a tough, overtime road loss at Kansas State five days earlier, but did not always look as easy and as pretty as the final score might indicate.

Ellis did, though. The Wichita sophomore had one of his best all-around games in a Kansas uniform, finishing with 32 points on 13-of-15 shooting and adding 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals to his stat line. Ellis' big day came in 31 minutes and featured a 4-for-4 performance from the free throw line and a career-best three-point mark of 2-for-2 from downtown.

Quick takeaway:

There's no question that TCU entered this game overmatched, but they sure didn't look like it in the first half. Thanks to bad energy and sloppy defense, the Horned Frogs were able to score with the Jayhawks during the game's first 20 minutes, but, even with that being the case, there was no point when it looked like KU was in trouble. Bill Self's squad made sure that was the case with a fast start to the second half that made the final 15 minutes or so merely a formality. The Jayhawks were incredibly efficient offensively in the second half, as they shot 61.3 percent (61.5 percent for the game) from the floor, 90 percent from the free throw line and scored 34 of their 48 second-half points in the paint.

Three reasons to smile:

1 – After a sluggish start that had those in the Allen Fieldhouse stands grumbling with disapproval, the Jayhawks woke up at halftime and came out with much better energy and intensity in the second half. That showed on TCU's opening possession of the final 20 minutes, when KU made life miserable for the TCU player throwing the ball inbounds and then forced the Horned Frogs into a timeout five seconds after they got the ball in. The same five that started the game — Naadir Tharpe, Wayne Selden, Andrew Wiggins, Perry Ellis and Tarik Black — started the second half, so they deserve credit for setting the tone for KU's improved effort on the defensive end. Those who checked in from there quickly followed that lead, as KU held the Horned Frogs to just 33 percent shooting and 25 points in the second half after giving up marks of 56.5 and 40 in the first.

Kansas defenders Perry Ellis, left, Frank Mason and Jamari Traylor get after TCU guard Kyan Anderson during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas defenders Perry Ellis, left, Frank Mason and Jamari Traylor get after TCU guard Kyan Anderson during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

2 – Wayne Selden was as aggressive as I can ever remember seeing him and he flipped the switch at go. On the game's opening possession, after KU won the tip, Selden took a quick pass from Naadir Tharpe and exploded to the rim in an attempt to begin the game with a rim-rattler. He came up short thanks to a foul, but the aggressive play paved the way for a strong afternoon from Selden, who finished with 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting, numbers that included 11 points and 4 assists on 5-of-9 shooting in the first half. It wasn't just Selden's desire to attack the rim that showed his attack-mode mindset. The freshman guard aggressively looked for his shot in KU's half-court offense, went after his own misses with reckless abandon and really appeared to assert himself during the portions of the game when he was one of the top scoring options on the floor.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden is fouled by TCU center Karviar Shepherd as he pulls back for a dunk during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden is fouled by TCU center Karviar Shepherd as he pulls back for a dunk during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

3 – Selden said there was no issue with adjusting to a new rotation with Joel Embiid (injury) and Brannen Greene (discipline) on the bench in street clothes — “Everybody on the team knows how to do their job and the job is going to get done no matter who is on the court,” he said. — but I still think KU deserves credit for showing no signs of weakness, offensively, with two potentially high-minute, regular-rotation guys on the bench. The ball movement was crisp and quick, guys played unselfishly and really looked to be playing for each other, consistently passing up potential shots for easier shots for teammates. Four Kansas players finished with four or more assists, with the man who poured in 32 points leading the way with five dimes.

Injured Kansas center Joel Embiid celebrates a dunk by forward Tarik Black during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Injured Kansas center Joel Embiid celebrates a dunk by forward Tarik Black during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Three reasons to sigh:

1 – It may be merely a coincidence, but Saturday's game was the second in a row in which Kansas took the floor with very little energy and bounce against a team it had drubbed by 20-plus points just a few weeks earlier. It makes sense on the road, but it was weird to see in Allen Fieldhouse. The Big 12 Conference schedule is a grind — particularly this season — and it's human nature to overlook a team you had no trouble with the first time you played them. This only becomes an issue if the slow starts continue. Self talked after the game about not really knowing why his team can't or doesn't play with the same intensity in the opening minutes as it does in the final minutes, and you can bet finding a way to fix that is high on his list of priorities.

2 – It hardly mattered in the grand scheme of things, but KU's free throw shooting matched its lack of energy in the early going. The Jayhawks missed their first six free throws and made just 1 of 8 attempts from the foul line in the first half. Those missed opportunities allowed TCU to hang closer than they should've and they came from four different players. The home team's struggle at the free throw line in the early going was so noticeable that when Landen Lucas finally ended the drought by making the second of two free-throw attempts at the 11:34 mark of the first half, the Allen Fieldhouse faithful let out a wail of a Bronx cheer. KU cleaned things up in this area in the second half to the tune of a 9-of-10 mark from the foul line. But many of their second-half free throws had absolutely no pressure attached to them and, for the game, KU still shot just 58.8 percent. On the season, Kansas is now shooting 69.5 percent from the free throw line, just slightly better than the 66.7 percent mark turned in by KU's opponents.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor rejects a shot from TCU guard Christian Gore during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor rejects a shot from TCU guard Christian Gore during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

3 – For the second game in a row, a key member of KU's roster was benched for disciplinary reasons, as freshman forward Brannen Greene did not suit up because of a “pattern of irresponsible behavior.” There's no telling what Greene did to draw Self's wrath, but the timing couldn't be worse. The versatile freshman who fought hard to get into the rotation last Monday at K-State played just his second game of 15-plus minutes and was a huge reason KU forced overtime in that one. Given that Greene's one-game suspension came right after Jamari Traylor suffered a similar fate, it's worth noting that, with the most critical part of the season right around the corner, it's time for these guys to tighten things up so their actions don't have a negative impact on what the team is trying to accomplish.

One thought for the road:

Saturday's home-court beatdown of TCU:

• Improved KU to 19-6 on the season, against the nation’s most difficult strength of schedule.

• Made Kansas 10-2 in Big 12 play, the 20th-straight year the Jayhawks have won 10 or more conference games (beginning in 1994-95).

• Gave the Jayhawks their third-straight win against TCU and pushed the all-time series to 7-1 in favor of KU.

• Handed Kansas its 112th-consecutive win against unranked opponents inside Allen Fieldhouse.

• Made Bill Self 11-4 all-time against TCU (5-1 at KU), 319-65 while at Kansas and 526-170 overall.

• Made KU 2,120-818 all-time.

Next up:

The Jayhawks will travel to Texas Tech on Tuesday night for their first match-up with the Red Raiders this season. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis puts up a shot over TCU forward Amric Fields during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis puts up a shot over TCU forward Amric Fields during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Comments

Erich Hartmann 9 months, 1 week ago

Biggest sign of hope is the same lackluster starting 5 were able to come out in the 2nd half with a totally different intensity level. That fact is also pretty perplexing. Man, how fun would it be to get a team down by double-digits in the first 5min?

Do the kids really need the "halftime lecture" from Self to get going? Man, we dont want him getting wore out at this job, now... :)

Ed Brown 9 months, 1 week ago

Matt, I have to point out to you that you make yourself look silly at times

You should give at least some credit to TCU for the first half, taking KU out of the game instead of saying it was all "bad energy and sloppy defense". Yes, we played bad but if it were just a practice, I could understand saying it was just a bad day.

You then talk about how well we shot in the second half but you reference 61.3% in the second half, 61.5% for the game. Mathematically, that means percentage wise we made a higher number of the shots we took in the first half. We wore them down and as we usually rely on that to happen, we then got their stars in foul trouble and took more shots.

The biggest differences in the second half were the free throws we made and the more aggressive defense along with taking it to the basket like a Kansas team. Other than that, we played a very inconsistent game at times and we need to instill more discipline and respect for the jersey than we are seeing on a consistent basis. In the Big Dance we will not go far with the ongoing lapses our team goes through this year. When we are running on all cylinders I truly believe we can beat any team. If we are not, well we just may squeak through like we have done a few times this year.

If we can get this young team healthy and playing like HCBS wants, there will be some net cutting in Dallas. Rock Chalk Jayhawk Go KU!!!!

Dirk Medema 9 months, 1 week ago

The first quarter of the game was bad energy (focus, FT's) and bad defense, and you make yourself look silly for calling out Matt, and then reinforcing his point. We started out shooting 57% from the field, and the difference in score a quarter of the way in was a reasonable FT% (4-6 = focus). For the game, the difference was D, especially pick & roll and ball screen D, which also killed us in the little apple (also loved the multiple 5 sec violations we caused or they called time to avoid).

The good news is that this young team does seem to be learning. This is also evident in our play against zone D (TCU foul trouble), which killed us early in the year. Our zone O is much, much improved since then.

Matt Tait 9 months, 1 week ago

Silly or not, even TCU coach Trent Johnson seemed to think the first half was KU playing down to its competition, not necessarily TCU playing lights out.

Either way, they snapped out of it in a big way in the second half and that was all that mattered.

Robert Brock 9 months, 1 week ago

Question: since the players have "Jayhawks" on the front of their jerseys - why don't they want to play hard all the time? Strange...

Aaron Paisley 9 months, 1 week ago

Simple, this is still a very young team this is the first time most of them are having to play full games or give maximum effort to beat "bad" teams. In HS, these kids were so dominant that they could still beat 95% of the teams they played giving 50% effort. Since KU whooped TCU in Ft. Worth a few weeks ago, these kids assumed it would be just as easy and weren't giving full effort. We like to think that these kids give max effort all the time without it being prompted out of them, but the reality is that college is the first time these kids have to do so and it's a learned skill when to give max effort and when to get rest in games.

Erich Hartmann 9 months, 1 week ago

Aaron is exactly right...new set of kids, they have to learn first-hand what happens if they dont play 100%...which means they have to taste a loss, then hear Self's full-blast (red-faced version), run some stairs, ride some exercise bikes...and then they get the picture. Hearing the fans grinch and moan also helps them learn the expectation level at Kansas...Learning process...

Rodney Crain 9 months, 1 week ago

It was nice to see how we responded in the 2nd half, but Benton reminded me this is TCU. I do not expect this team to be consistent, to play with good energy or defense each half anymore. They just have not put together a solid game all year. I keep waiting for it but even against smaller, or less talented teams they do not. I love the winning, but am always left wanting more. It is just frustrating to see us struggle with the same issues over and over.

I will be happy if we can get that 10th big12 title but I truthfully do not see much more beyond that.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.