Kansas defeats Kansas State, 72-63

  • 5 p.m., Feb. 20, 2016
  • Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, KS

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Avoiding the storm: Jayhawks hold off rival Wildcats

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) and the Jayhawks are all smiles as they leave the court following their 72-63 win over Kansas State, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) and the Jayhawks are all smiles as they leave the court following their 72-63 win over Kansas State, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan.


— Frank Mason III looked into the stands and screamed joyfully as Brannen Greene and Devonté Graham playfully wrestled with each other on the ground as they chased the final defensive rebound with three seconds left in Kansas University’s huge 72-63 victory over rival Kansas State on Saturday in Bramlage Coliseum.

The victory not only gave (23-4, 11-3) KU a two-game lead over West Virginia, Oklahoma and Baylor in the Big 12 race with four games to play, but marked the first-ever “W” in Bramlage for KU’s juniors, sophomores and freshmen.

“I was just happy. We never had a win here since I’ve been here at KU. I was just saying, ‘Let’s go!’ I was happy at the time,” Mason said, of his G-rated statement to the 12,528 fans issued after scoring 16 points with five assists, two steals and one turnover in 33 minutes. 

The 5-11 junior guard from Petersburg, Va., scored the final seven points of a 14-0 run that turned an early yet significant 25-21 deficit into a 10-point lead with 2:26 left in the first half.

The hard-earned victory — KU saw a 17-point second-half lead dip to three before Graham helped save the day by scoring six points (his only six of the day) in the final 1:44 — silenced a crazed KSU crowd. It was one that, urged on by pre-game comments from Justin Edwards (11 points) and Wesley Iwundu (eight points), hoped to storm the court on KU for a third straight season.

“We are tired of people storming the court on us. It’s in our minds to not let that happen,” said KU senior forward Jamari Traylor (six points including vicious drive and dunk that gave KU a 62-55 lead at4:43), “to not lose that game. There was a time we were down a couple games in the Big 12 race. We’ve hunkered down and come out swinging.

“All our juniors ... to finally come in here and win is a great feeling,” added Traylor, who fouled out with 1:19 left, joining Landen Lucas (seven points, eight boards) on the bench as the junior forward was whistled for his fifth with 2:11 remaining. Also, Perry Ellis (14 points) played just 13 minutes the final half after both suffering a cut on his head that needed 12 stitches to close, as well as a scratched eye.

“We’ve had a lot of momentum the last few games and wanted to keep it going for the next game,” Traylor stated after KU’s seventh straight victory.

KU’s 52-35 lead with 14:46 left dipped to just three points (63-60) when Edwards hit a driving layup at 2:45. Wayne Selden Jr. (12 points) scored off a Mason miss at 2:22, yet D.J. Johnson responded with two free throws at 2:11, cutting KU’s lead to 65-62.

That’s when Graham, who finished one of six from the field, hit a step-back jump shot to up KU’s margin to 67-62 at 1:44.

“Devonté, who had a goose-egg (at the time), hits the biggest shot of the game,” KU coach Bill Self said.

KSU’s Johnson, who was nine of 10 from the line, went one of two at 1:19 and KU still led by four.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self: KU motivated by desire to win, nothing else

KU coach Bill Self said KU was motivated by its desire to win and nothing else during Saturday's nine-point win at Kansas State.

Download podcast

Next came a crucial defensive play by Hunter Mickelson. The 6-11 senior, who played five minutes the final half, came from down low to guard Johnson, getting his hand on the ball 12 feet from the goal. The ball kicked off Johnson out of bounds and KU had the ball, up four at :43.1. Graham followed with a pair of charities at :30.6 and :20.1 and KU had the game in the bag.

“Hunter came in and made a great play deflecting that ball,” Traylor said. “If you do that, you’ve got to get the ball (or it’ll be dunk). Johnson was going great at the time. He was getting buckets on the low block, getting to the line. It was a great play by Hunter getting it out of his hands,” Traylor added.

Of Mickelson’s play, Self said: “We say it all the time, ‘You can’t fish and miss.’ If he missed it’s a layup or dunk. Fortunately Hunter was able to hit it off him. It may have been the biggest defensive play of the game.”

KU also received a big effort from sophomore Svi Mykhailiuk, who after playing seven minutes total in the last three games, scored nine points. He hit three of four threes in 20 minutes, making two the first half as KU led, 39-29, at intermission.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Wayne Selden, Frank Mason applaud team effort in win over K-State

KU juniors Wayne Selden, Frank Mason applaud team effort in Saturday's nine-point win over K-State.

Download podcast

Overall, KU hit 50 percent of its shots and went six of 18 from three and 18 of 30 from the free-throw line. K-State, which received 13 points from Barry Brown and Stephen Hurt, hit 37.7 percent of its shots. The (15-12, 4-10) Cats hit five of 16 threes and 18 of 22 free throws. KU won the board battle, 34-32.

“K-State could have won the game today and more games in the league,” Self said, praising the Cats.

He was asked if he considers KU-KSU a rivalry.

“With the success they’ve had against us ... they won the last two years here, certainly we look at it that way,” Self said.

KU will meet Baylor at 7 p.m., Tuesday, in Waco.

— See what people were saying about KU's rematch with rival Kansas State during's live coverage

More news and notes from the Sunflower Showdown in Manhattan

By the Numbers: Kansas 72, Kansas State 63

By the Numbers: Kansas 72, Kansas State 63


Suzi Marshall 6 years, 5 months ago

Now that we have an apparently healthy Mason back, who resembles the WUG and early season Mason, I'm having a lot of confidence in this team.

Hopefully Ellis' teammates won't knock him off the court. Lucas knocked him out last year, during the KSU game, Bragg and Selden seemed to be going after him. Might as well toss in the official who did not give him the charge, allowing play-on.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 5 months ago

My #1 worry for this team is a close game that's decided by free throws i.e. Kansas v Syracuse.

If there is a common thread running through HCBS's teams it is poor FT shooting that actually predates his time here. If we had shot 75% at the line and made at least the first FT in the one and one shots, we would have won this game earlier and decisively.

Still, we are now up by two games with four to go. I don't see how we don't win at least a share of the BIG 12 conference tournament but considering where we are, not winning it out right would be a disappointment.

Michael Johnson 6 years, 5 months ago

The free throws are a concern. The overall percentage looks good because they'll occasionally throw in a 26-30 performance. But they are not a good FT shooting team. Another worry is their careless turnovers. Stop the sloppiness and get about 7-10 more possessions a game. I don't see them winning six in a row without improvement in these 2 areas.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 5 months ago

I think we were 14 of 15 against Memphis in '08. That's above average.

While I think we started around 60% that year, we were in the 70's in conference, and 80's in March/April. Agreed though that his team is not consistent. I think Frank and Perry are the only players above 70%.

Mike Greer 6 years, 5 months ago

Although not a starter, Brannen has the best free throw percentage. Coach almost always has him out there in obvious foul situations. He's somewhere mid 80's. He needs to take his shots and quit turning over the ball and needles fouls.

Gerry Butler 6 years, 5 months ago

Dirk just a little off on players shooting over 70% on free throws.- - - -Greene 83.3%- - - -Ellis 76.2%- - - -Mason-- - - 75.2% - - - Graham 73.8% - - - Traylor- 75% - - SVI - 72% & Mickelson 75%%

Kit Duncan 6 years, 5 months ago

The game was closer than it should have been. Missed front end of one & ones leading to no second free throw. Kansas easily should have won by twelve to fifteen points or more.

A win is a win. Here's hoping Perry's injuries heal quickly with no lingering effects.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 5 months ago

They didn't storm the court but fans were seen storming the exit to the parking lot.

Reggie Flenory 6 years, 5 months ago

I really have no ill will towards kstate but all that tough talk before the game and the F-KU chants have me feeling differently now. My grandmother used to all ways tell me don't let your mouth over board your a$$. k-state needs to,meet my granny

Janet Olin 6 years, 5 months ago

The F-KU cheers have been going on 40+years (not that I'm ok with it). You know how KU fans respond when KSU does its "eat 'em up, eat 'em up KSU"--with 'eat s***' I think both these chants are tired and could go away, but I doubt if they will.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 5 months ago

Hunter Mickelson had the biggest play of the game in forcing D.J. Johnson into a turnover. Bill Self said as much in his post-game presser, as I head it on the Jayhawk Radio Network postgame show.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 5 months ago

This is just one example of Mickelson showing a quickness of action. Why he is good at blocking shots.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 5 months ago

We are not "that team" yet. But the path out of the Phog from six games ago continues. I think the legendary icon watches our teams play soft and he gets pissed.

Can we really be that team? Not talking about should be but will we?

Perry, or bust for sure.

JD Roth 6 years, 5 months ago

This team can win it all if they stay focused and play fundamentally sound basketball. It is up to them. I see them making a deep run this season what with Lucas stepping up big and Traylor also seems to have fire in his eyes. March madness is great, even greater when KU sticks around for another National Championship.

John Pritchett 6 years, 5 months ago

" Brannen Greene and Devonté Graham playfully wrestled with each other on the ground as they chased the final defensive rebound with three seconds left"

Did anyone else find that odd? "Playfully wrestled" is not how I'd put it. I wonder if Brannen wanted the ball to make some kind of statement. I wish he had made more of a statement with his play. At first I was thinking that he passed up those threes because he was afraid to shoot and miss under such intense scrutiny, but I wonder if he had it in his mind to dunk the ball during the game. Regardless, I just hope all of this nonsense is behind us now. We don't need the distraction.

Mallory Briggans 6 years, 5 months ago

I noticed that the media focus still seems to be on Oklahoma and Buddy even though the Jayhawks are poised to win the conference. Oklahoma has 5 losses 2 by the Jayhawks but ol Joe Lunardi still has them as a 1 seed . ESPN doesn't have K.U. on their radar. This summer during the WORLD UNIVERISITY GAMES I texted a friend that is an anchor at ESPN to acknowledge there was no coverage on various sportscenters telecasts....but then I figured it out we aren't DUKE or Kentucky so it wasnt important a deal I guess ....Oh well we brought home the trophy ..............doesn't that seem like that was so long ago


Rodney Pain 6 years, 5 months ago

Feels good to be here with a 2 game lead and only four games to go. Honestly, after the OSU and ISU games, I thought this was going to be the end of things. Very impressed with how this team, and Landen Lucas in particular, has turned the corner. Obviously we still have to come out and kick some more butt, but if we take care of business on Tuesday, it's basically all over. Rock Chalk!

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