Kansas defeats Serbia, 66-65

  • 10 p.m., July 7, 2015
  • Dongkang Gymnasium, Gwangju, South Korea,

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Survive and advance: USA secures quarterfinals berth by edging Serbia

Team USA players acknowledge the crowd after a 66-65 win against Serbia Wednesday, July 8, at the World University Games in South Korea.

Team USA players acknowledge the crowd after a 66-65 win against Serbia Wednesday, July 8, at the World University Games in South Korea.


— Kansas University junior guard Wayne Selden Jr. has led all scorers at the World University Games.

His biggest shot helped the United States men’s basketball team earn a spot in the quarterfinals after the U.S. beat Serbia, 66-65, on Wednesday at DongKang College Gymnasium. 

Down three points after Serbia’s Nikola Pesakovic drilled a three-pointer with 43 seconds remaining, Selden caught a pass from KU senior forward Hunter Mickelson on the left wing and swished a triple with 35 seconds left, tying the game 65-all.  

“To be honest, I knew I was shooting it,” Selden said, finishing with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting. “I wanted to try to find a good shot and I knew time was running down, so I knew I wanted to shoot the ball.”

Serbia missed a shot on the next possession, KU senior forward Perry Ellis grabbed a defensive rebound and Selden was fouled with 12 seconds left in the tie game. He missed the first but made the second free throw. 

Serbia had three shots at a game-winner, one attempt in the final second after Selden punched an air-ball attempt down the court, thinking time would expire. 

“There was no play,” Kansas coach Bill Self said of Selden’s three. “We didn’t do anything. Wayne just made a shot. … Wayne’s probably had the best tournament here of anybody playing in the tournament so far. He stepped up and made a huge shot. After we had the game and gave it away, then he came back and won it for us.” 

Mickelson added: “That’s a testament to (Selden). He’s been working on that all year long. It’s definitely great that he hit it.” 

The Jayhawks trailed by seven, 52-45, with six minutes remaining, before Selden and Mickelson went on a personal 6-0 run. Mickelson, who finished with 14 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes, made two layups in the stretch. 

“This has been the Hunter Mickelson coming out party over here,” Self said. “Wayne has obviously been our best player, but Hunter has been our most pleasant surprise. I’ve said all along, he probably needed this as much as our freshmen did because he hadn’t had a chance to play in two years. God, he’s playing great.” 

After both teams traded buckets and sets of free throws, Selden made an acrobatic layup, catching an errant lob pass from SMU senior guard Nic Moore and banking it off the glass for a 59-57 lead. 

After another stop — Serbia missed four straight shots after taking a seven-point lead — Moore broke out of a 0-for-9 shooting slump to drill a three. 

“He’s not a good shooter, he’s a great shooter,” Self said. “He just hasn’t made any shots in this building. He made shots in the other building. … He’s got to be a threat and keep shooting.” 

After taking a five-point lead, the Jayhawks missed two threes and Serbia scored on three straight possessions with three free throws and a jumper from point guard Stefan Pot to tie the game, 62-62, with 1:18 left. 

The Jayhawks struggled against Serbia’s zone defense, shooting 37 percent (26-for-71) from the floor, including 5-for-21 from three. 

“When we did move the ball, we actually got a good look,” Self said of USA’s offense against the zone. “But no zone offense is going to look great if you shoot the ball as poorly as what we shot it. Fortunately we made enough shots to win. We need to definitely talk about how to attack it a little bit better moving forward.”

“Our shots weren’t falling today,” Selden added. “As shooters you have to keep shooting the ball. They went in when it mattered.”

The Jayhawks were without KU junior point guard Frank Mason III for the final two minutes, who was out with five fouls. He finished with 12 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals in 32 minutes. Ellis added nine rebounds and seven points. 

USA is guaranteed a spot in the quarterfinals, as the top seed from Pool D, with the victory. Serbia and Brazil both have one loss and will play each other on Thursday. 

“There was chatter that we had no chance,” Selden said. “We were baffled because we’re 3-0, just like them. We really wanted to go out and compete against these guys. That’s a really tough team. They’re grown men. We’re still getting there, you know. We’re still trying to get to their level of maturity. We really got stops down the stretch and made big buckets down the stretch.” 

The Jayhawks will face Switzerland in their final pool-play game at 10 a.m. Thursday (8 p.m. Wednesday CDT). In the quarterfinals, they will play the second-seeded team from Pool C.

More from USA-Serbia


Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 1 month ago

Wow that was a back and forth game for sure!

Selden started off slow and I was worried about who we'd go to late but fortunately by the 4th quarter, it was clear Selden was feeling it and would be the go to guy down the stretch.

Mickelson certainly had his best game as a Jayhawk and we needed it because Lucas, Traylor, and even Perry were struggling. Hunter was killing Serbia with hustle plays, tip backs, blocks, etc. in the second half. Hopefully we get more of that out of Hunter in the future.

Couldn't believe they intentionally fouled Selden with 11 seconds left. I'm betting the coach is regretting that bone-headed decision!

I'll be rooting for Brazil against Serbia. Would love to see Serbia (who's got a medal the last for WUG's) to get knocked out of the medal round. Would like to avoid having to play them again if possible.

Survive and advance!

Joe Ross 7 years, 1 month ago

Has anyone seen a source for pool results and a bracket based on pool finish?

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 1 month ago

I've looked for one and haven't found it. I just wait until they post the pool D standings in one of the post game articles on here. From the info above about playing the #2 from Pool C, you can formulate the bracket (A1 plays B2, A2 plays B1, C1 plays D2, D1 plays C2).

Bobby Nightengale 7 years, 1 month ago

Teams are still playing today (KU played at noon), so it'll be a little bit before standings are up on the site. France (3-0), Lithuania (2-1) and Australia (2-1) are the top three teams in Pool C. Australia and Lithuania play each other on Thursday. France beat them both.

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 1 month ago

Looks like it will most likely be Lithuania that we end up playing since they went to OT against France while Australia lost to France by 26. You never know though.

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 1 month ago

Never noticed Hunter's crooked nose before. Did he break his nose tonight or has it been crooked for years? It's off center to his right by a LONG ways in the video above.

Mike Riches 7 years, 1 month ago

What a fantastic July!! That was a clutch three by Selden late. I'm still baffled as to why they would intentionally foul him with 12 seconds left...the only thing I can figure is someone didn't realize the game was tied? Fantastic coverage so far, thanks guys!

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

At the time I thought it was a understandable and good call for a international pool game. It made sense.

At that point of the game it is time the Serbia coach needs, it does not matter whether he is tied or behind, 1,2 or 3 points. He wants the last shot no matter what. If we waste the rest of the time on the clock and end up tied he gets OT, if we waste the clock below 2 seconds though and still get 1-3 points, he has to take a long range shot anyway, he would rather have 10+ seconds to set up the shot than take a high risk long range bomb with no time. It worked out great for him even though he was behind he had two decent chances for his team to win the game. I do not think he was second guessing himself at all. In fact I bet he would do it again. Its a pool game not an elimination game, its worth the risk. He still has his destiny in his teams hands. Win their last game and they are still in the medal round. Low risk High reward.

Mike Riches 7 years, 1 month ago

Rodney, I see what you and Aaron are saying...but I also see why Self called it a "bonehead play". To put it on your offense to have to score when you have struggled to score at times throughout the game, instead of playing defense and going into overtime, especially when Mason is already fouled me that's questionable. But, it's water under the bridge now. Of course, if their player hits that three at the end, this is a whole different conversation, and their coach is a genius.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

Its an international pool game play, it is only a boneheaded play in an elimitation game. Look what their coach got, two solid looks to win the game. If he plays for the tie, getting the ball back with no time, he stands a very real chance to lose the game without a legit chance to win it. The ball was in our best players hands with 10-12 seconds left. If he drives the lane and gets fouled or makes the shot with a couple of seconds, its game over anyway. At least he gave his team 2 chances to win it, which he would not have gotten by letting it play out. Its a 50-50 play for a international team.

The key is its a pool game, he gets another bite at the apple regardless. I dont think Self would take that risk. He would put it on his defense and play for the tie and try to win it in OT. We are on a different court, playing a variant of the game we play, more phyiscal, no elimination, you have to think differently. I wonder if given some time to think it over Self does not see the Serb coach's reason for going for it.

By the way OT did not favor us we were losing guys right and left, especially without Frank it would have been a tall order for us to win, but OT was not given.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 1 month ago

Selden isn't a good FT shooter and the Serbian coach figured it'd be better to put him on the FT line than let Selden shoot from the floor.

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 1 month ago

Replay is Saturday at 10am Central on ESPNU, hopefully the first quarter that we missed is available on the replay.

Mike Riches 7 years, 1 month ago

By the way, I'm curious how many people are watching these games on TV? I haven't been able to find Nielsen ratings for them, but I would have to think it's been worth it to ESPN to broadcast them. I'm sure there are more people watching this year (KU fans) than would have in years past...

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

Its worth ESPN to broadcast them since they are costing them almost nothing to produce.

Not sure how you rate a live event against the knife show or buying a Shark vacuum cleaner or WEN hair product. Not a lot of folks are up after midnight across the country and the college basketball crowd is thin at 6:30am CT on the weekend.

Its nice we get to watch them live but no one at ESPN is making their bonus on these telecasts.

Mike Riches 7 years, 1 month ago

ESPN definitely has a cost of producing these events (they're paying to have broadcasters and a crew in South Korea for a couple weeks.) I'm just curious how many people are tuning in because that will determine what kind of revenue they'll get from advertisers. I would guess it's been a successful venture for ESPN and USA Basketball, and that they will continue to use this system of choosing a college team to represent the country in these games, because of the all the benefits, including the financial advantages.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

Mike those are contractors calling those games, you seriously think they have the quality of a typical ESPN team? Come on, are you even listening those guys can barely call a high school game. Espn is taking the WUG games feed, not just BB, and streaming it. The FISU is doing the same thing in the EURO Zone, and they have better time slots. For ESPN its low production cost. Its a smart play really.

Crew? When has ESPN ever broadcast any event and not have their banners all over the arena? This is a piggy back broadcast, which they are paying for. They might have a few techs there to make the connections but this is a feed rebroadcast for the USA.

They are not losing money, but they are not raking it in with a 10pm-7am broadcast zone in the USA. Its low risk for them, nice live programing during a dead time and I bet their overnight advertisers are happy its not repeats of repeats. But they did announced this late in the process, and did not sell any spots for this content.

Mercy. If there are 250,000 homes watching this they will be thrilled.

Mike Riches 7 years, 1 month ago

If there are 250,000 households viewing this, they have hit the jackpot! I'm definitely not an expert on this, but from what I can tell, a good cable program may get 2-3000 viewers. I'm not sure why you're saying that ESPN didn't sell any spots for this content. You probably know more than I do about TV advertising, but since I've seen several University of Kansas commercials during these games, I concluded they did sell some specific spots.

In any event, the point I was trying to make is that this arrangement (USA Basketball choosing a college team to represent the country) has been a good move for all involved.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 1 month ago

Bobby, with the quarterfinals clinched, can I assume we can show mercy on Switzerland and not have to win 110 to 6??

Those may be the tightest rims I have ever seen. It has looked like "clang central" the entire tourney.

I can only imagine what the scores would be if our "walking wounded" and "internationals" were allowed to play. Mercy!!

Bobby Nightengale 7 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, top spot in Pool D is clinched, no matter what happens. And I wrote about it here (, but the point differential tiebreaker was different than what everyone assumed. It's only point differential between the tied teams.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

Tony Bobby is spot on the PD only mattered if there was a 3 way or more tie. Like Serbia, USA and Brazil all having the same record in pool play.

Humpy Helsel 7 years, 1 month ago

That Pot was good! Is Pot available to be recruited? If so, we need to try to score that guy. Maybe one of our assistants could reach out to Serbia and try to see if Pot is available. When Pot had it going we just stood there like we were in a trance and watched him do his thing as he drove past us to score. I know he mesmerized me. I told my wife several times while watching the game, "that Pot is really good!"

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 1 month ago

Maybe one of our assistants could reach out to Serbia and try to see if Pot is available. Why go to Serbia, Pot is available in Colorado.

When Pot had it going we just stood there like we were in a trance Almost as though we were under the influence?

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

Pot is illegal in every state from a federal perspective.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 1 month ago

Jerrance Howard was suspended for two weeks for doing that.

Adam Collins 7 years, 1 month ago

Related to fouling Selden at the end of the game with the score tied, Ken Pomeroy wrote on Twitter that, "Given Selden's sketchy FT%, it was a decent idea if Serbia was heavy underdog (<30%) in OT." I still don't think I would send a guy to the line for free shots if he shoots over 50% (odds are he makes at least one) and it definitely doesn't take into account Selden being clutch.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 1 month ago

Shot clock was off and as bad a FT shooter as Selden is, I think I would've rather taken a chance on him making 2 FT's instead of sinking a 3 the way he shot the ball at the end of the game.

Beate Williams 7 years, 1 month ago

I was puzzled by the foul on Selden but moreso as to why we were not given the ball as a result of an intentional foul. Did I miss the explanation for that? When Selden made the intentional, the shooter was given two shots and Serbia was given the ball. What was the difference...because it was in the last minute or what?

Russ McCaig 7 years, 1 month ago

From what I gathered, Selden's foul on the Serbian player was deemed a 'Break Away Foul"...if not fouled the player would have had an unimpeded path to the basket; however, on the replay, it appeared that Mason was in position to get back to make a play on the ball...

Forrest Ranjer 7 years, 1 month ago

That was one of the roughest games I think these Hawks have ever played. Like another poster, I don't want to play the Serbs again, if possible. The larger lane really helps zone defense.

What happened to Landen the second half? I'd like to hear what happened between him and the Serbian he tossed to the floor at the end of the half.

Jaston Archie 7 years, 1 month ago

I just have to get this off my chest: Bill Self needs to let go of some of his ways. He is bent on only playing experienced players in tight situations and keeping his freshmen on the bench. That is pathetic. Vick should have been in the game for sure, maybe even Bragg, although I admit his defense and lack of strength is a liability but he surely could not have done any worse than Perry or Jamari. But as for Vick, once Self was forced to put him in bc of foul trouble, what does he do, makes a 3 pointer which really opens the lid for Selden right after that. Vick is a good clutch athletic player who shoots really well, he was much needed against that zone last night. Self needs to trust his freshmen to produce in tight situations and stop coaching scared. He is sending a message to the freshmen that he doesn't have confidence in them to produce under pressure, which is wrong. These 5 star players have been producing under pressure for their entire lives, that's why they're All-Americans. These are not 3 year projects, they are one and done, maybe two, throw them into the fire and let them play.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 1 month ago

I can respect what you are saying. I have felt most of these World Games that Nic Moore has been nearly awful, but he keeps getting a bunch of minutes. Half the time he looks like a little kid out there dribbling into trouble or take bad shots, but instead of taking him out, he stays in and keeps shooting. I know that he is our only other point guard, but it is ridiculous that he has such free reign. As long as Mason isn't in foul trouble etc, I would take out Moore, and put in Vick, or Debose when Moore does something infuriating.

Len Shaffer 7 years, 1 month ago

Mark, I assume you mean Duboise? It irritates the hell out of me that the analyst can't pronounce his name correctly, even though the play-by-play guy is pronouncing it the right way. Why doesn't someone correct the idiot?

And of course we also get to hear "Kansas University" over and over -- talk about nails on a chalkboard!

Len Shaffer 7 years, 1 month ago

You missed my point, Mark. I knew who you meant; I was referring to the fact that the analyst seems to be incapable of pronouncing his name correctly.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 1 month ago

Definitely! All those championships and 80+% wins are absurd, tho that could also be blamed on his inability to recruit. Dr Z needs to give him an ultimatum, or they should both be fired.

Either that or he should continue to teach his 4* recruit freshmen how to play the game, while also sending them off to be Hudy-ized. It is good that Lagerald has started shooting the ball better, but that wasn't the case just a few games ago when he was still blinded by the headlights.

Scared? LOL

Darwin Dandy 7 years, 1 month ago

Definitely agree with you with Vick should have been playing just because of the way he knocks the 3 ball down and from what I see he has been playing solid defense which is all we needed last night

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

Solid is not the word I would use for Vicks defense. I don't think he would use that word either, since he states its his biggest weakness right now.

Darwin Dandy 7 years, 1 month ago

I did see anybody blow by him last night so I think Self should have let him keep play until the time came around

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

rewatch the game happened three times. Happened in every game he has played. His guy gets past him on a shot fake every game. Bobby Knight is smiling somewhere. He will get there but he hasn't got there yet, freshman what are you going to do? Vick himself says he needs to work on his defense. He knows it too.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

Jaston watch Vick play defense, one shot fake he is in the air flying past the shooter and now its 5 on 4 with the ball heading toward the basket. Zones are also not something Freshman see a lot of either. They are hard enough to break when you know what you are doing let alone somone who has practiced with us for less than a month. It is our defense that is putting us in position to win these games, not our offense.

Self pulls Perry, and Landen just as much as he does any of our freshman. The bench gets short for any coach as they try to find a rotation that defends as well as one that can score.

Frank, Hunter, and Wayne are the only players I have seen in Korea he can count on every game on both sides of the ball.

Allin Herring 7 years, 1 month ago

I am not sure either one (Vick & Bragg) are OAD's. Right now Bragg is a foul machine, and he will get man handled this year in the Big 12. He needs to get allot stronger.

Michael Uphaus 7 years, 1 month ago

I get what you are saying Jaston, some good points but by the end of that game, I wanted KU to win and if Self feels like the guys he had in were the best then that is what I believe as well. He can find other times to get those guys minutes in the tourney, this just wasnt the time. IMO

Andrew Holmes 7 years, 1 month ago

Here is the updated standings as of today, according to my calculations:

Pool A

Germany 3-0 (+66); Korea 2-1(+41); Estonia 2-1 (+17); China 1-3 (-30); Mozambique 0-3 (-94)

Pool B

Canada 4-0 (+105); Russia 4-0 (+103); Sweden 2-2 (-11); Montenegro 1-3 (+37); Mexico 1-3 (-40); Mongolia 0-4 (-194)

Pool C

France 4-0 (+121); Lithuania 3-1 (+78); Australia 3-1 (+48); Japan 1-3 (-13); Finland 1-3 (-67); Chinese Taipei 0-4 (-167)

Pool D

USA 4-0 (+84); Brazil 3-1 (+81); Serbia 3-1 (+60); Turkey 1-3 (-22); Switzerland 1-3 (-56); Chile 0-4 (-145)

Andrew Holmes 7 years, 1 month ago

Lithuania and Australia play tonight. We will play the winner of that game. If a medal is expected the guys are going to have to figure out a way to shoot on these rims that are rock hard. We might be able to get past Lithuania or Australia, but having a poor shooting night the further we advance will spell doom.

Rich Hetherington 7 years, 1 month ago

Will it? I mean look who the other top teams are... Canada, who we already topped twice, albeit in fairly competitive games. Outside of that you have Germany, France and Russia, and I'm not sure any of those teams are going to have what it takes to beat us. While I do agree that we need more consistent shooting, I have a really good feeling about this tournament! *One last note, if Russia destroys Canada, then maybe we'll have reason for concern from them, but that's about the only team that I'm worried about, and if Canada beats them, it will erase that worry real quick.

Brianna Zaleski 7 years, 1 month ago

Thoughts: Perry is extremely soft and will not play in the NBA because of it.

The refs tried their best to give this one to the Serbs. A TON of contact by them that was not called and ticky tack fouls called on us. This happened all 2nd half.

Hunter Mick should have replaced LL as our 1st big off the bench. If he hasn't at this point, the coaching staff must have a deep dark secret that LL holds over them. The eye test is very clear who is the better player.

Humpy Helsel 7 years, 1 month ago

Perry reminds me of a quarterback who instead of focusing downfield to find open receivers, gets jumpy and has his eye on the rushers because he isn't comfortable being hit. He misses inside shots because I think he is watching the defender and taking his eye off of his target. If I am scouting Kansas, my report says be physical with Perry Ellis because he doesn't like contact which knocks him off balance. Don't get me wrong, I love Perry and he is a great player. But he must embrace physical contact with that chiseled body of his.

Harlan Hobbs 7 years, 1 month ago

Haven't taken the time to read all of the posts, so I apologize if my thoughts are repetitive.

What a gutsy performance. Should bode well for the college season.

Are the refs ever going to give Nic Moore some respect? The guy gets pushed, elbowed, knocked to the ground, etc. and nothing is called. I guess when you are as short as he is, maybe they don't see you.

What is it about European teams? Are they trying to win a "Most Whining" award? They beg for calls almost all the time, and some of their players may have an "acting" career in their future if they want to go to Hollywood.

I suppose there have been a few instances where the USA team has noticeably questioned some calls, but by and large, they seem pretty stoic. I have yet to see Bill Self get into a discussion with the refs like the Serbian coach did.

Would love to know what triggered Landon Lucas to shove the Serbian player at the end of the first half. As the announcers said, we always see the reaction but never the provocation. Will admit that Landon was lucky to not get a technical foul though.

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