Sunday, January 4, 2015

Kansas recovers in second half to beat UNLV

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) strips the ball from UNLV guard Cody Doolin (45) during the first half on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) strips the ball from UNLV guard Cody Doolin (45) during the first half on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Self: Outside shooting, aggressive takes in second half changed game

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self discusses his team's recovery from a four-point halftime deficit at home, against UNLV. Self says the Jayhawks' second-half shooting from three-point range (5-for-8) and aggressive takes to the rim changed the game in KU's favor.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Mason, Selden, Alexander on KU's late recovery vs. UNLV

Kansas basketball players Frank Mason III, Wayne Selden Jr. and Cliff Alexander discuss the Jayhawks' second-half recovery Sunday afternoon versus UNLV, which led to a 15-point KU win in the team's non-conference finale.

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Box score

With big-time athletes on both sides of the floor and highlight-worthy plays coming on both ends, the Kansas University men's basketball team closed out the non-conference portion of its 2014-15 schedule with a 76-61 victory over UNLV at Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday afternoon.

For what seemed like the 100th straight game, sophomore point guard Frank Mason III again proved to be this team's most valuable player, leading the Jayhawks when they needed to be led, scoring when scoring was needed and playing tough from start to finish to pace KU to its 11th victory of the season.

Mason, in 38 minutes, scored 18 points, and added 7 assists and 4 rebounds.

KU, of course, got contributions from others — most notably Wayne Selden Jr.’s hot shooting from three-point range (4-of-8, 16 points) — but without Mason things may very well have turned out differently in this one.

Perry Ellis (16 points) mixed good moments with bad, Cliff Alexander (10) put together a second consecutive strong second half and Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) added a couple of big-time shots when the Jayhawks needed them.

The game went back-and-forth for a while in the second half, with UNLV (9-5) refusing to go away. But KU (11-2) broke a 51-all tie with a 23-8 run.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: KU opened the second half with seven straight points to reclaim the lead and control. After jumping out to a 13-4 lead, the Jayhawks were outplayed for most of the first half and trailed 33-29 at the break. But Ellis, Traylor and Oubre all scored in the opening minutes of the second half and KU looked like the more hungry, more aggressive team again.

• Offensive highlight: It was a pretty simple play but it illustrated perfectly how little details can be a big deal. After a missed jump shot by UNLV on one end, KU pushed the ball up the floor and got Ellis a quick shot from the block on the other. The shot missed but Alexander, who had raced down from the paint on the other end, slipped right past UNLV's Christian Wood, who never saw him coming, and stood no chance of holding him off. After Alexander got position, he ripped the ball out of the air, shoved the thinner Wood aside and then threw down a nasty, one-handed dunk to put Kansas up 19-12. Honorable mention here goes Jamari Traylor for going coast-to-coast for a vicious slam early in the second half, and to UNLV forward Goodluck Okonoboh, who flushed a reverse slam after going under the rim in the first half.

• Defensive highlight: With just under 16 minutes to play in the game, Mason knocked the ball loose from UNLV's Wood and that started a wild series in which bodies were all over the floor and the fans turned more fevered by the second. Traylor, on his back near the UNLV free throw line, wound up with the ball but quickly tried to flip it to a teammate.

• Key stat: Rebounding. No question. UNLV knocked off Arizona in large part because of its work on the glass. But Kansas got the best of the Rebels on the boards in this one, out-rebounding them 45-31, including 16 offensive boards.

• Up next: The Jayhawks will hit the road on Wednesday for their Big 12 Conference opener, 8 p.m. against Baylor in Waco, Texas. The game will be shown on ESPNU. 

— See what people were saying about the game during's live blog.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. UNLV

By the Numbers: Kansas beats UNLV, 76-61

By the Numbers: Kansas beats UNLV, 76-61


Tony Bandle 7 years, 8 months ago

Oakville Oddities:

1] Doug "Pants On Backwards" Gottlieb is still the biggest deusch on TV Sports.

2] The first half showed why this team will not repeat as conference champs...however, the second half did!!

3] Maybe the winning formula this year is not to drive the middle of the lane and get the ball blocked but drive then kick out for the three while always pushing the ball up to avoid our half court offense as much as possible.

4] If Selden can play like this the rest of the season and Frank can get about 3-4 minutes of rest plus commercial breaks a half, we may go a long way.

5] Gosh that Woods kid reminded me of Jo Jo....if only he had stayed another year!

6] Bragg committing on Thursday indicates to me Kentucky so he can be first to jump on the Calipari gravy train...hope I'm wrong.

7] Starting line up for the first round oif the NCAA in March...Ellis, Mason, Oubre, Alexander, Selden.....just wait.

David Kemp 7 years, 8 months ago

Traylor played with much better energy today. Like the way they responded at half. Looks like Lucas is done unless somebody is in foul trouble. Need Graham back to give Mason a blow. Team looked like a NCAA team.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 8 months ago

Agree 1,2,3, 4,6, and 7. 5 Joel has much better footwork, better inside touch, pro body type, Wood has a great shot from 3. I think Wood needs 25-30lbs. If not he will be like T. Prince an outside skinny big in the NBA.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 8 months ago

Great game, nice win against a tough team with length. Nice confidence builder going into conference play. Lots of positives to take into the second part of the season. Mason was the stud of the game!

Walter Bridges 7 years, 8 months ago

Nice to see a player grow w/experience.. It's what Self does best.

kellerman411 7 years, 8 months ago

The fans are just going to have to realize that the personnel on this team are going to force us into an inconsistent style of basketball. It doesn't mean we can't be good it just means that when we play with anything less than 100% intensity and/or perimeter shots don't fall, anyone, and I mean anyone, can beat this team.

We will be very, very fortunate if we're able to protect the conference winning streak this year. We will have to string together a whole bunch of good games. If Frank Mason goes down we are D-O-N-E, done. This team struggles to make the tournament without Frank Mason, I really believe that.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 8 months ago

Jason I agree with you, but you are risking some backlash from the homer crowd. Good Luck!

Micky Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

There you go again. Nobody is giving him backlash. Your strawman arguments are getting old. You don't even realize you're doing it, which is sad.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 8 months ago

PLEASE NOTE - this reply is due to your post to me please do not mistake it again for being obsessed with you like you commonly do.

Micky do you have "anything" to add on Jason's post, the game, our basketball team, its coaches, Mason's great game, the win, our great second half, or the article? No? Didn't think so.

Thanks Micky for joining the discussion. See what Steve and Brianna did they commented to Jason. They made very good points. Try, I know its very hard, but try to stay on point buddy.

Steve Zimmerman 7 years, 8 months ago

This is a great win with a great performance from KU players. The best of the season so far. You're right about Mason. Every time he's limping or holding his leg, my first reaction is like "that's it.. we're doomed..". But every time, he came back up and proved that he's a warrior. May the force always be with him. 33-35 minutes per game is a lot. Especially the way he plays like each game as if it's his last one. Let's just pray he is always fit. We should recruit more from Military Academy.

Brianna Zaleski 7 years, 8 months ago

Jason, I don't think we miss the tourney if he gets injured, maybe a 5-8 seed, but we'd be out of the conference race for sure. We MUST remain healthy and continue to get better in order to have a shot at 11 this year. I think if we maintain some upward momentum and avoid injury, we have just as good a shot as anyone. NO ONE is going to run away with this league. It's going to be a dog fight. I'll take Self any day and his ability to rally the troops on the road.

Bryce Landon 7 years, 8 months ago

I give KU a C+ for the first half in that they played with a lot of energy but could not sustain a 9-point lead and wound up trailing at halftime.

I give KU an A- for the second half in that they were much more aggressive, grabbed the rebounds, made the hustle plays and gradually wore down the Runnin' Rebels. The only knock against them in the second half was when they blew a 6-point lead and trailed 53-51 midway through.

KU is now 5-3 in CBS games on Wild Card Sunday in the Bill Self era.

Tracy Atherton 7 years, 8 months ago

I have held the stance that Oubre is the key piece for this years Jayhawks. However, seeing Frank Mason operate today breaking down the defense at will with presence to either pass or shoot, gives me great hope for this year's team. If Graham comes back, this team may have enough power at the perimeter to get that 11th Big 12 championship, and make a deep run in March. But our wins will have to come from the perimeter, rather than inside presence; not a typical Bill Self team.

Joe Joseph 7 years, 8 months ago

I've been a critic of Traylor, but his coast-to-coast slam was definitely the highlight of the game!

Dale Kroening 7 years, 8 months ago

Good win going into the conference season. This team is still figuring it out , but today showed what kind of team we need to be if we want number 11 . I agree we don't have the inside presence we normally have , but I think it will get better as the season moves along. Frank is a stud and reminds me more of Sherron every day . Kelly and Cliff are starting to get it and by the middle of the conference season this will be a deserving top 7 team . We definitely need Devonte back to give Frank some rest because eventually he is going to wear down at this rate . I also think we are starting to see the good Jamari from last year and hopefully he can control his emotions/frustration because when he doesn't you can definitely see it effects his play. Now lets keep it going and go down to Waco and kick some ass . Rock Chalk !!!

Micky Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

Everyone was hustling today. We got the overwhelming majority of the 50/50 balls as we caught UNLV in some positions where we had them out numbered because the guys played with intensity and chased down the loose balls. We didn't play as well as we need to play in games against Texas, ISU, and a couple of other teams but the style we played is the right style. We showed some things that we teams haven't seen all year such as the way our defense played. Some teams are going to notice and have to adjust to it when they play us if we keep this up. We did a nice job on the ball screens at the top of the arc and our interior defense was better, especially in the second half. Our guys were able to alter some of UNLV's shots and we were able to score on the block much better in the second half. Even Svi, with is limited minutes, played with some intensity and two big steals that really thwarted what could have been a momentum changer in favor of UNLV.

With that said, we're going to have to start getting better shots throughout the first half against some of the upper tier teams in the league in the half court offense. This means that we're going to have to get Selden, Oubre and Mason to drive the ball more and recognize when help is coming so they can dish the ball off and get the defense out of position. There were a few times our guys got stripped and that can be prevented with better recognition and communication among the players.

One of the things nobody has really talked about is how our quickness in both the back court and front court proved to be an advantage today when we were on defense. We had seven steals, and in the last ten minutes of the game we had either zero or just one turnover. Oubre had a double a double, and that was sort of under the radar in this game. Mason led all players with 18 points. We left some points out there today though with some misses up close. We missed 5 or 6 shots that we should make 2/3rds of the time. We also got to hit our free throws. We could have ran them out of the place if we hit the free throws early and finished the first half much stronger than we did. There are plenty of opportunities to improve and they are recognizable. Our mental toughness is improving,but we still need to be more physical in the half court sets on offense and make the opponents work harder.

Wednesday is going to be interesting.

Harlan Hobbs 7 years, 8 months ago

Lot of great analysis today. I really enjoy your Oakville Oddities, Tony.

In his post game comments Coach said that he thought they played reasonably well in the first half but that UNLV was just very good. That contrasts with the first words of Doug Gottlieb in the half time show. He said that KU's half court offense is totally lacking and that they would have a hard time running with UNLV. So much for his expert analysis.

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