Brannen Greene is no longer perfect from the free-throw line.
So is Greene, Kansas University’s sophomore guard from Juliette, Georgia, devastated by the free throw he missed with 27.8 seconds left in Monday’s 85-78 victory over Oklahoma in Allen Fieldhouse?
“A little bit,” Greene said with a smile.
He stepped to the line— with KU leading, 82-78 — 17-for-17 on the season.
“I smiled at the free-throw line. I would have liked to have kept it going, but it’s fine. I would have liked to make it in that situation, obviously. It’s all right, though,” added Greene, who did hit his second toss, putting the Jayhawks ahead by five down the stretch.
Greene connected on what was referred to as the biggest shot of the game — a three with 3:25 left that turned a 71-70 deficit into a two-point lead.
“It’s up there,” Greene said, asked to rate the importance of the shot with others he’s taken in his life. “I’d say top two or three while I’ve been here. We needed that.”
Greene, who played nine minutes the second half and 15 minutes total, had logged just five minutes in a loss at Iowa State and three in a win versus Oklahoma State in KU’s prior two games.
“I need to improve on defense. I know that,” Greene said. “I’m not making excuses for myself. I’m trying to improve.”
He said “of course” three times when asked if he’d had any meetings with coach Bill Self lately.
“Got to have ’em,” Greene said, smiling. “We’ve talked. We’re both on the same page. I’ve got improvements I need to make to get on the court, but I just want to help this team. I feel I can. But I’ve got to do what coach wants out of me.”
Greene, who talked some trash with OU’s Isaiah Cousins after three made threes (in four attempts) and had the trash talk returned by Cousins (3-for-8 from three), said the woofing was not personal.
“It was fun. In the heat of the game, we were having a good time. He was having fun. I was having fun. It was competitive talk,” Greene said.
He listened intently during a batch of timeouts taken as KU saw a 20-point lead turn into a four-point deficit versus the Sooners.
“Just how you’ve got to make plays ... that’s what coach was saying in the huddle — get stops and make plays on the other end,” Greene said. “Going to your best players. Getting the ball inside to ‘P’ (Perry Ellis), forcing help, getting the ball to Frank (Mason III), letting him dribble drive. Getting the ball to Kelly (Oubre Jr.), making plays.”
Greene said, looking back, it was not that difficult playing Iowa State in an 8 p.m. game Saturday in Ames and then facing OU on Monday night in Allen.
“Their offensive sets are pretty simple,” Greene said of the Sooners. “Just a bunch of dribble weaves: Take the guy, take the guy. It’s not so much knowing their sets. It’s guarding their players.
“That’s the hardest part, guarding (Buddy) Hield, Cousins, (Ryan) Spangler and (TaShawn) Thomas. They’ve got a really good team, better than last year.”
KU (15-3, 4-1) will meet Texas (14-4, 3-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Austin, Texas.
Hoops fan destined to meet Jayhawks?: President Barack Obama, a huge basketball fan whose brother-in-law is former Oregon State hoops coach Craig Robinson, will be speaking at 11:20 a.m. today in Anschutz Pavilion, which is next to historic Allen Fieldhouse.
“Hopefully we are going to get lucky and have a chance to run into him, just like I’m sure everybody else is hoping they can, too,” Self said Wednesday.
President Obama told Topeka mayor Larry Wolgast upon arriving Wednesday at Forbes Field that he planned on “seeing the Jayhawks” today.
Pursuit of Ingram: KU’s coaches this week attended a game of Brandon Ingram, a 6-foot-8 senior forward from Kinston (North Carolina) High who is ranked No. 18 nationally by Rivals.com. He has a final list of KU, Kentucky, UCLA, Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State.
Ingram said KU’s landing No. 14-rated power forward Carlton Bragg helps the Jayhawks’ cause.
“Of course it is appealing. That’s my guy and I love the way he plays and I love Kansas. My Kansas visit was great. When I went out there (for Late Night in Phog) I developed a good relationship with Norm Roberts and Bill Self,” Ingram told Rivals.com. “After the season stops I want to take a few unofficials again and then narrow it down and see who is leaving after March Madness.”
Pursuit of Rabb: Ivan Rabb, a 6-9 senior power forward from Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland, who is ranked No. 7 by Rivals.com, is working to schedule visits to KU, UCLA and California, his mom told Zagsblog.com. Rabb, who has visited Arizona and Kentucky, may visit KU for the KU-Kansas State game on Jan. 31.