Kansas defeats Oklahoma, 76-72

  • 1:30 p.m., Feb. 13, 2016
  • Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, OK

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Devonté Graham does it all as KU wins at Oklahoma

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) drills a huge three over Oklahoma forward Khadeem Lattin (12) late in the second half, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) drills a huge three over Oklahoma forward Khadeem Lattin (12) late in the second half, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.


— Bill Self playfully fired a left jab at Devonté Graham’s upper chest before Kansas University’s sophomore guard — the man who dealt a knockout blow to Oklahoma on Saturday in Lloyd Noble Center — began his post-game interview with ESPN’s Shannon Spake.

“He said, ‘Good game, way to play,’’’ Graham, a 6-foot-2, 175-pounder from Raleigh, N.C., said of praise showered upon him by KU coach Self after Graham’s career-high 27-point effort and lockdown performance on Buddy Hield led to a 76-72 victory over the Sooners.

Self tossed more compliments Graham’s way during a post-game news conference held after the Jayhawks improved to 21-4 overall and 9-3 in the Big 12 (good for first-place tie with West Virginia); OU dropped to 20-4, 8-4.

“What Devonté did to control the game the second half was a joke,” Self said of Graham, who scored 17 points the final 20 minutes, including three threes. “Perry (Ellis, 10 points total) didn’t score the second half (so) he (Graham) just puts us on his shoulders. He was so confident. I think he gives other guys confidence. 

“I think he grew up a little bit today,” Self added of Graham, who hit eight of 13 shots, including six of nine from three, plus five of six from the line. Drawing the day’s most difficult defensive assignment, he helped hold Hield to 24 points off 5-of-15 shooting. Hield missed his first seven shots, scoring just six the first half, as KU led, 38-33, at the break.

Graham basically saved the day after Frank Mason III (14 points, five rebounds, three assists) fouled out on a four-point play (three by Jordan Woodard and foul shot) with 3:18 left — KU trailed after the four-point flurry, 69-66.

First, Graham tied the score at 69 on a deep three at 3:08. 

He hit another three from the corner at 2:06 — one that erased a 71-70 deficit and put the Jayhawks up to stay, 73-71.

“We huddled up and he (Mason) told us he fouled out. After that I went up to him,” Graham said. “I told him, ‘I got you. I’ve got to put the team on my back now, because it’s usually both of us.’ I told him I got him and that was it.”

The Jayhawks followed Graham’s lead on to victory.

“All the stuff he did was big-time. He was the man today. He carried the team,” said KU junior forward Landen Lucas, who took a charge from Hield with 1:10 left and KU up, 73-71.

“We all just tried to do our part. He finished it for  us,” Lucas added.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self on Devonte' Graham: I don't know how he didn't get tired

Bill Self marvels at Devonte' Graham's ability to put up 27 points and hold down OU guard Buddy Hield, saying, "I don't know how he didn't get tired."

Download podcast

After Hield hit one of two free throws at :25.3, to cut KU’s lead to 73-72, Graham cashed a pair of charities at 19.9 seconds to up the margin to 75-72. 

Isaiah Cousins (21 points) missed a game-tying three with 12 seconds left. Jamari Traylor, who rebounded and was fouled, cashed one of two charities at 10.6 seconds to give KU the insurmountable four-point advantage.

“I wasn’t really holding him (on the foul call that sent Hield to the line), but it was the call so you’ve got to move on,” Graham said.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Devonte' Graham and Landen Lucas on how KU picked up a huge road win at Oklahoma

Devonte' Graham and Landen Lucas on how KU picked up a huge road win at Oklahoma

Download podcast

“Thankfully he missed one (free throw with OU down two) because no telling, we’d probably have gone to another three overtimes (as in KU’s 109-106 win over OU on Jan. 4 in Lawrence) if he made both,” Graham said, smiling.

Graham admittedly was fired up for the defensive assignment on Hield. 

“I definitely took it as a challenge and he still got 24,” Graham said. “I was trying to make every shot a contested shot and try to run him off the three-point line. A lot of his shots and threes find him in transition. I tried to stay on top of him and hound him the best I could.”

Self did say the initial plan was to have Mason take over the assignment on Hield with 10 minutes left if nobody was in foul trouble. Mason’s foul problems took care of that.

“Devonté wanted the challenge,” Self said of the Graham, who played 39 minutes.

“I don’t know if our team is well conditioned or not. He is unbelievably well conditioned,” Self said of Graham. “He didn’t get tired. It doesn’t seem possible to me. His defense was excellent. He still put his head down (and drove the ball). The last five minutes of the game he splits ball screens. He was doing everything that requires energy.”

Graham wasn’t too tired to have some fun, posing after his last three from the corner.

“It’s big,” he said of the victory, “just enjoying it. Our coaches tell us we’ve got to enjoy every moment. When you are on this stage you just try to have fun. I was just out there having fun.”

And helping make a national name for KU’s backcourt.

“I think our guys have been on the outside looking in as far as being thought of having a premier tandem nationally,” Self said. “I think this will probably do some things to garner them a little more attention. There’s a lot of players out there really good but do not have the ‘it factor.’ He has that factor walking around campus every day. They talk about Buddy’s personality, energy. Hey, Devonté doesn’t have any bad days, either. I think that rubs off on everybody,” Self added.

KU will next meet Oklahoma State at 8 p.m., Monday, in Allen.

— See what people were saying about the KU-OU rematch during’s live coverage

More news and notes from KU’s win at Oklahoma

By the Numbers: Kansas 76, Oklahoma 72

By the Numbers: Kansas 76, Oklahoma 72


Joe Ross 6 years, 7 months ago

If someone had told me Devonte would have held Hield scoreless from the floor in the first half and be the games highest scorer, Id have said they were crazy. Devonte's eruption makes it possible for Kansas to continue it's string of consecutive victories, but dont count out WV and even OU just yet. Still, surviving Hell Week with victories against both of them--including OU on their floor--will vault Kansas in the polls and in consideration for seeding.

Let's just avoid another post-OU victory hangover. Hopefully Kansas is hitting its stride at the right time.

Mike Riches 6 years, 7 months ago

If someone had told me we would win this game with Selden and Ellis only scoring a combined 16 points, I would have wondered if Wilt was suiting up again...I love that guys like Graham seem to thrive on making the seemingly impossible become a reality.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

My biggest question was why Greene logged so many minutes and Svi never played. Greene's defense was awful and let at least two wide open threes when he left his man to help inside. His scoring helped but it was negated by TOs and fouls.

Hard to question HCBS after such an overall solid game and I'm sure he had his reasons but I still don't understand it.

Scott Lippoldt 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree, Marius. It is hard to question Coach after such a great game, but I was thinking the same thing. Actually, my son made the statement that he thinks Greene is the worst defender he has ever seen in a KU uniform. I wonder if the wide-open airballed three in the West Virginia put Svi in the doghouse?

Doug Clark 6 years, 7 months ago

Good win, Graham was a stud, somebody needed to step up because Ellis and Selden didn't have good games, great job Devonte.

Janet Olin 6 years, 7 months ago

Ellis did fine, was the main offense in the first half. He also rebounded and did some good defensive things. Selden's one timely trey doesn't excuse his poor defense or dogging it back on D instead of running hard. We definitely need more from him, especially effort and driving to the basket.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

Not sure I remember anyone named Selden in that game.

Jay Scott 6 years, 7 months ago

Graham should be benched. We desperately need a point guard. - The Chicken Littles.

John Randall 6 years, 7 months ago

He gets benched almost every game – for a minute or two, at least.

Noah Oone 6 years, 7 months ago

What everyone needs to realize is all teams and players go through slumps. Slumps can happen to anyone even in non sporting events. We all need to be patient and enjoy the ride.

Joe Ross 6 years, 7 months ago

All players go through slumps, yes. But this is potentially an oversimplification. If a player is in a slump, it may be because he is experiencing what all players experience like you suggest, but it also may be something else.

It is very unusual, for example, for all players to go on a slump at once, and for multiple games within a short stretch of time. It could be that other teams are adjusting. It could be that the coach's philosophy is not working. It could be that players feel too good about what they have accomplished and lose their edge. It could be any number of things that interrupt team chemisty, confidence, etc.

I actually believe there are moments with this team where it's been something systemic leading to slumps rather than individualistic problems. It looks like we might be coming together more of late, but let's not assume without evidence that poor performances this season are due to normal things which are not attributable to any other cause.

If a whole team goes through a slump that is a coaching issue in terms of where it needs to be corrected. When and if a team goes on frequent slumps (especially the kind that last of any duration), there are only three possible reasons. ONLY THREE. Either it's a talent issue, the coach is not making appropriate adjustments, or a combination of both of these.

Janet Olin 6 years, 7 months ago

Ellis was solid on offense in the first half and Lucas did a good job defensively. Selden hit one huge trey at an impactful moment but otherwise was average--still doggin it getting back and not running hard. That bothers me''we need more from him.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

Agree Janet. I thought our overall defense was solid with the exception of defensive rebounding. Oklahoma had far too many second and third opportunities.

Jack Hoff 6 years, 7 months ago

Lol anybody remember when Devonte shouldn't be starting for KU because he was a mid-major point guard at best. Haha me too. Good times.

Steve Zimmerman 6 years, 7 months ago

Huge win by KU. Devonte completed his assignment with a grade of A+ !! He's becoming KU's lethal weapon, quietly. A better 3pt and jumpshooter than Frank. Unfortunately, our PGs could've done a bit better distributing the ball offensively. They failed to involve other players offensively in this game.

Greene provided a spark off the bench. Unleashed!

Barry Weiss 6 years, 7 months ago

awesome defense yet again (third straight game). The zebras made that game a challenge in my opinion. We did it, two big wins over the top teams, lets keep it up Jayhawks. Smothering defense has me psyched!

Jesse Johnson 6 years, 7 months ago

The 3pt percentages on the By The Numbers infographic are backwards. KU was 42% and OU was 31%.

Mike Riches 6 years, 7 months ago

I think Graham just had the best game of any of our players all year. His offense was great, but considering how he controlled Hield...that was simply spectacular. Wow.

Now let's take care of business and win games we should win. If we do, it's possible we could lock up #12 as early as two weeks from now against Texas Tech at home.

Sports is all about getting hot at the right time...I'm hoping that's what we're beginning to see...

Bryce Landon 6 years, 7 months ago

This is the biggest win of the season for Kansas to date. That's really all I can say.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 7 months ago

If they can play with the type of intensity we've seen in the two match ups with OU I like their chances in the tournament. For some reason the Sooners bring out the best in this team.

Tim Fields 6 years, 7 months ago

KU played really well, and I am astonished they were able to beat OU today, I did not expect that. OU is great offensively but was off today. What they struggle with is defense because they played about 5 minutes in the second half of decent defense. It is going to be fun to watch all the big 12 games from here on and there will probably be Co-Champions again this year, this game gave KU a good chance to be one of them.

F Steven Blazer 6 years, 7 months ago

Was I the only one hoping Greene would foul out? He makes me a nervous wreck every time he handles the ball. Scary that we don't have any ball handling behind Graham and Mason.

Jerry Walker 6 years, 7 months ago

Yep, I'd say that you were the only one hoping Greene would foul out.

Colby Hebert 6 years, 7 months ago

Someone called Graham a mid major guard. He just outplayed a lottery pick man to man and he is a SOPHOMORE

Kerby Rice 6 years, 7 months ago

The Appalachain State coach has to be cringing, shaking his head, and saying what if after seeing today's performance

Mike Barnhart 6 years, 7 months ago

Life just got harder for Devonte Graham. THAT energy and THAT defense are now his new standard. I'm glad he can do it... now, do it every time!

BTW, the 27 points are further proof of Coach Self's theory that good defense creates confidence on offense.

Yonatan Negash 6 years, 7 months ago

Great win, we finally got the big road win we needed.

Hoping we continue playing well, as we approach a crucial week specifically for WV and Oklahoma.

Great possibility both WV and OU drop games this week, which could help KU establish a lead.

As most of you know, WV has three tough games coming up against, at Texas, than back to back home games against OU and ISU.

Nonetheless, KU still needs to go down to Manhattan and take care of business.

As I see it, the KSU game is a must win for us.

Ashwin Rao 6 years, 7 months ago

From now onwards, every game is a must-win. We can't take a chance!

Jared Reeves 6 years, 7 months ago

RCJH! Best individual performance of the year by a Jayhawk! It's great to see the team playing good again.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 7 months ago

As for slumps, I do believe that every team seems to go through them, unless of course you are like Kentucky last year. Perhaps they wish now that they would have had one during the season since their "slump" lasted one game when they were ousted by Wisconsin.

Confidence can be a fragile thing, especially when you are in a strong conference like the Big 12. The formula of winning your home games and taking a few on the road has served KU well over the years.

Given that KU is now the only team in the conference that hasn't lost at home, they appear to be on track. However, I wouldn't count on even a tie for the regular season title if KU doesn't win a couple more road games. We usually play fairly well at Waco, and we should win at KSU. However, they knocked off OU, so who knows. Lastly, we go to Austin, where we typically have very little success.

As others have said, though, the win yesterday should be a significant boost to KU's confidence which is not coming any too soon.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 7 months ago

We were more than 4 points better than OU but so many of their offensive rebounds were the result of missing so badly and the ball bouncing over the defense.

Woodard gets the flop du jour award on Frank’s fifth foul. It was a foul but his fall to the floor was way over the top.

I like Jay Bilas as an announcer. He is easily 100 times more knowledge than Vitale and way more tolerable.

Barry Weiss 6 years, 7 months ago

I liked his comment at half time about they may need to re-sand and finish the floor at the OU FT line...

Scott Lippoldt 6 years, 7 months ago

I also enjoy Bilas's commentary. He brings a ton of knowledge to the table, and he calls it as he sees it.

Jerry Walker 6 years, 7 months ago

"Lastly, we go to Austin, where we typically have very little success." -- Harlan

The Hawks are 4-1 in the last 5 games played at Austin. Granted, some of the wins were pretty tough.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 7 months ago

I think Harlan might have Austin confused with Stillwater.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 7 months ago

Couple of things we need to work on.

Refine the DeVonte Diallo cross court lob thingy.

Landon we need you to take advantage of your offensive rebounding and go up strong. You hit some free throws but make them ''and ones" by jamming it instead of what you did at OU.

We got through hell week but it will be tough to win in Austin and Mudhutten.

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