Friday, December 30, 2016

Veterans key Kansas road win to open Big 12 play

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) pulls a rebound from TCU forward Vladimir Brodziansky (10) during the first half, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) pulls a rebound from TCU forward Vladimir Brodziansky (10) during the first half, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas


Winning conference games on the road can be difficult in college basketball without some veterans to lead the way. No. 3-ranked Kansas couldn’t have opened Big 12 play Friday night at TCU without seniors Frank Mason III and Landen Lucas.

With Mason running the offense and Lucas controlling the glass, Kansas held off a spirited group of Horned Frogs, 86-80, at Schollmaier Arena.

For the 10th time this season, Mason finished a game as KU’s leading scorer, this time putting up 22 points on 6-for-13 shooting, while dishing a team-leading seven assists, too.

Lucas, meanwhile, accounted for a career-high 17 of the Jayhawks’ 39 rebounds in the victory, while producing a double-double, with 15 points.

Juniors Svi Mykhailiuk (12 points, 3-for-5 on 3-pointers) and Devonte’ Graham (11 points, six assists) provided Kansas (12-1 overall, 1-0 Big 12) with more than enough support to offset a 28-point performance from TCU forward Vlad Brodziansky in what played out as a tight game down the stretch, with Kansas hovering around a four-point advantage most of the second half.

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

• The game turned when: The Jayhawks worked their way out of an ugly early rut. Playing just their second road game of the season, the visitors missed their first seven field-goal attempts and trailed by double figures a little more than seven minutes in against the Horned Frogs (11-2, 0-1).

TCU led 17-7 before Kansas started to look comfortable and rattled off eight straight makes, cutting off the Frogs’ confidence before they had a chance to feel even better about their upset bid.

Senior big man Lucas used his trademark smarts and footwork to score a layup that began the run of offensive success with 12:11 left before halftime. Next came a 3-pointer from sophomore Lagerald Vick (17 points off the bench), followed by a Josh Jackson dunk, a Graham jumper, and back-to-back buckets for Vick — with four Mason free throws and no Kansas turnovers mixed in between.

When junior wing Mykhailiuk nailed a step-back 3-pointer in the left corner, KU took its first lead of the game, 29-28.

The run, of course, didn’t seal a win, but the Jayhawks didn’t allow a bad start to ruin their night. They led 48-44 at the half, thanks in large part to how they responded to some legit adversity, and set themselves up to open conference play with a victory.

• Offensive highlight: Early on, half-court sets weren’t giving Kansas much production. The Jayhawks were shooting 5-for-18 when KU used a baseline out-of-bounds play to get its easiest look of the opening 10 minutes.

Mason watched the action develop in front of him from his spot out of bounds before lofting a pass up high, above the rim, where Jackson quickly hammered it home, cutting TCU’s lead, which already had reached 10 points at one juncture, down to six.

It was the kind of slam that gives a team momentum and it keyed KU’s offensive recovery, which allowed the 12-time defending Big 12 champs to shoot 50 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes.

• Defensive highlight: He may not have blocked a single shot against TCU, but Lucas gave KU ideal defense in the paint and around the rim.

Back in the starting lineup, where he finished his junior season, Lucas altered shots inside, played smart defense to stay in the game and grabbed 10 defensive boards to help Kansas have a big interior presence, even without injured 7-foot freshman Udoka Azubuike.

• Key stat: Free throws. During their 12 non-conference games, the Jayhawks shot just 59.2 percent at the foul line, fueled by five sub-50 percent outings. But Kansas got the right guys to the charity stripe at TCU and shot 80 percent on free throws, led by Mason’s 9-for-10 night. As a team, KU went 20-for-25.

• Up next: The Jayhawks will be back in Allen Fieldhouse Tuesday for their first home game in more than three weeks. KU hasn’t played on campus since its Dec. 10 win over Nebraska, but will be back on James Naismith Court to face rival Kansas State.

By the Numbers: Kansas 86, TCU 80.

By the Numbers: Kansas 86, TCU 80.

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

More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU


Jay Scott 5 years, 6 months ago

TCU will keep getting better. It's nice to get out of Ft. Worth with a W. Most Big12 teams won't.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 6 months ago

I agree. Jamie Dixon is the right man for that job. He proved himself a solid coach at Pittsburgh. Plus, he's an alumnus of TCU, so he has a love for a place like that that most other coaches who might go there wouldn't have. He probably won't get the Frogs to this year's NCAA Tournament - most likely they'll be in the NIT - but I bet they'll be part of March Madness in 2018.

By the way, here's Dixon helping his 1985-86 Horned Frogs upset the Texas Longhorns in Schollmaier Arena (back when it was called Daniel-Meyer Colisuem) with a miracle halfcourt shot to take a share of the Southwest Conference title.

Jay Scott 5 years, 6 months ago

I didn't realize that TCU won back to back SWC titles when Dixon played. Pretty cool!

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 6 months ago

Really cool link! Dixon is an incredible hire for TCU. Really happy for them and for the Big 12 to have him.

Steve Macy 5 years, 6 months ago

A W is a W, but that wasn't pretty. TCU fired up, and KU not at their best. The only that made be yell, Svi's lackadasical pass that was picked near the end of the game. Frustrating. Welcome back Lucas, that was some extreme board work.

Barry Weiss 5 years, 6 months ago

awesome game. good to have a tough road test. we got slugged in the mouth to start the game, but rebounded nicely. with foul trouble, we basically won a tough road game without our young star. we all talked about FT's, well, if we shoot our normal 50 something, I think we lose that game, so yes FT's matter.

Props to Dixon, he's got TCU back on the map in B-12 BB

Oh, shout out to Lucas, monster game. Frank, monster game.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 6 months ago

The game turned....on the alley oop to Josh.

Landen....we are not worthy.

Devonte...defense is a thing...windmill arms...not so much.

Really a lot to like tonight. Good plays from a lot of players.

Perfect so far in conference play. RCJHK!

Jay Scott 5 years, 6 months ago

The gamed turned on a 2 point in bounds play with more than 30 minutes to go? Graham didn't play D? Fisher had 4 points. That's some pretty funny stuff right there...You said the same thing last year after UCLA when Bryce Alford had 6....

I'm sure you'll rant now about how you feel "stalked".

I'll make you a deal. If you don't make asinine comments in 2017, I won't mock them.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 6 months ago

You've identified your problem, now you just have to work on fixing it.

Have you heard of a "switch"? Did you listen to the Coach's comments?

And yes dtgrabee, did you notice where we were in the game when that play happened and, then, what happened afterwards? Do you understand the concept of a game "turning"? Maybe you thought that game turned when were leading?

I've always wondered what kind of a sub-human thinks that mocking people is some sort of strength. Here's a tip, go to a local high school bball game, maybe 45-minutes early, then wander into the girl's locker room - just like your idol. P.o.S.

Jay Scott 5 years, 6 months ago

Thanks Brett. Even though it's not challenging, part of the reason it's so fun to mock your stupidity is to see how idiotic and deranged your reply will be. You didn't never do.

Aren't you the one who cries like a baby when people invoke politics? What makes you crazier? Having your moronic comments mocked or the countdown to Jan 20?

Hopefully some change in your wife's employer benefit plan will allow you more access to better mental health providers in 2017.

Jeff Soisson 5 years, 6 months ago

Lucas haters can be quiet now, he's delivering. I think 5 losses can still win with this most difficult Big 12 ever.

This won't be easy, WV and Baylor will be tough! Every game will not be a cake walk for us.

Frank might be our best guard ever, he is a machine, Collins would be proud!

Brett McCabe 5 years, 6 months ago

Nobody hates Lucas, except in your imagination. If, on the other hand, you want to pretend that he was playing well early in the season, then no one can stop you.

All these imaginary it because you can't handle real ones?

Bryce Landon 5 years, 6 months ago

TCU may have lost to us tonight, but they are for real. Jamie Dixon has them heading in the right direction after Trent Johnson left them stuck in neutral.

Those technical fouls on Jackson and Self were B.S. The refs who called them should be suspended from officiating Big 12 games for the rest of the season!

Also, what is up with LaGerald Vick wearing the waistband of his shorts inside out? It looks dorky to me, especially when he's the only guy on the team doing it.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 6 months ago

The "T" was ridiculous. He reacted emotionally, but he checked that reaction, brought it under control. Maybe a warning from the ref, but definitely no foul. In fact, I liked how he caught himself. It showed great awareness. Self was right to light-up the ref.

Mike Riches 5 years, 6 months ago

I don't know, I don't think Self gave the ref much of a choice but to call his tech. Self knew what he was doing and what it would lead to (though I don't know if it was "pre-meditated" like some of his in the past have seemed to be.) The one on Josh felt like a knee-jerk, but the ref waited quite awhile before calling Self's.

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 6 months ago

Coach Self made up for the technical fouls with the 3 dunks he designed on inbound plays.

Lots of contributors for KU in this game, as all of you have described quite well.

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