Kansas defeats Kentucky, 90-84

  • 6 p.m., Jan. 30, 2016
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Extra incentive: Wayne Selden Jr. helps KU win battle of blue bloods

Jayhawks beat Kentucky in OT

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) dunks over Kentucky forward Skal Labissiere (1) during overtime, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) dunks over Kentucky forward Skal Labissiere (1) during overtime, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Wayne Selden, Jr.’s grandfather, who introduced the Kansas University junior guard to the sport of basketball when he was 5, hadn’t seen Wayne play a game for the Jayhawks ... until Saturday night, that is.

“It was big incentive for me to play well tonight. I knew I was going to because he was here. That’s my best friend growing up. We’re really, really close,” Selden said after scoring a career-high 33 points while playing 44 minutes in KU’s 90-84 overtime victory over Kentucky in Allen Fieldhouse.

“He was a referee and I always went to basketball games with him. He’s the reason I’m here today,” added Selden, whose vicious drive down the lane and dunk with 3:10 left in OT put KU ahead to stay.

Selden figured he owed it to his grandpa, Anthony Pitts, Sr., to play well, considering the lengths it took Pitts get to the Big 12/SEC Challenge game.

A native of Boston who doesn’t like to fly, Pitts convinced a buddy to hop in the car with him at 7 p.m., Thursday, to make the long drive to Lawrence. The two arrived at 9 p.m., Friday, well in advance of Saturday’s 6 p.m. tip.

“He told me today Wayne better play well. He drove a long way to watch this,” KU coach Bill Self said.

Selden, who like his teammates hadn’t played particularly well the past five league games (in which KU won just two), had a heart-to-heart talk with Anthony before Saturday’s contest.

“Right when I came down I had a talk with him. It kind of helped his motivation. He felt so good me being here. He felt comfortable,” Pitts said. “I told him, ‘Have confidence. I know what you can do. Play like you played in high school and middle school and dominate. Right now you are settling. You shouldn’t settle. You should play hard and go to the basket.’ He went to the basket tonight, then he settled for three points. It (strong driving) opened it up.”

Roxbury, Mass., native Selden hit a huge three from the corner in regulation that erased a 74-72 deficit with 49 seconds left. However, Jamal Murray hit a short shot in the lane and Perry Ellis one of two free throws, sending the game to overtime at 76.

Selden took off down the lane and rifled home a slam dunk, busting a 78-78 tie in the extra session. It wound up being the game winner as the Jayhawks did not trail again, outscoring UK, 14-8, in an OT in which Selden also hit two free throws at 2:11 (to up the lead to 83-78) and one of two at :39 to give KU an 86-79 advantage.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self: Jayhawks labored at times, but got job done vs. UK

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self rehashes the Jayhawks' overtime victory against fellow blue blood Kentucky, and says while KU labored offensively much of the night, the players got KU the needed result.

Download podcast

“It was an unbelievable dunk. I kind of jumped out of my seat with that dunk,” grandfather Pitts said. “When he got that head of steam I knew he was going to dunk it. That dunk was great (but) I thought that three prior to it was more important at the time,” Pitts added.

Of the dunk, KU coach Self said: “I thought there was a chance to do it. It was a real aggressive play. Skal (Labissiere) would have probably blocked the shot if he didn’t go strong.”

That’s what Selden was thinking as he put home the dunk that helped KU improve to 17-4 and dropped Kentucky to 16-5.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Selden, Mason and Graham on how KU beat Kentucky in OT

Kansas guards Wayne Selden Jr., Frank Mason III and Devonté Graham describe how the Jayhawks battled back to defeat Kentucky in overtime at Allen Fieldhouse.

Download podcast

“I knew I had to (dunk). I went in a few times and it didn’t work out. They were punching at shots. They kept blocking shots (six to KU’s one),” Selden said. “I knew I had to do something different. I wasn’t getting there and not getting fouls called. I knew I had to take off.”

The dunk certainly inspired Selden’s teammates.

“It was a big momentum swing,” sophomore guard Devonté Graham said. “He was going in a couple times and getting it blocked. He decided to go and turn it over on somebody’s head that time. It brought energy in the building and helped us out.”

Selden, who hit 12 of 20 shots (3-5 from three and six of eight from the foul line on a night KU hit 30 free throws and bricked 17) pretty much saved the day, scoring 10 points in a 14-7 run that turned a 57-49 deficit with 13:57 left into a 64-63 deficit at 8:11.

“When it got to the teeth of the game, Wayne took over,” Self said. “Wayne today was as smart offensively as he’s maybe been all year because he didn’t settle. He drove it. What won the game was timely threes he made. Him driving it and being a factor getting to the rim early was huge for us.

“It’s as well as he’s played or as good a game as he’s played since he’s been here,” Self added.

And it was timed perfectly, being grandpa’s first chance to see his beloved grandson in action in college.

“It was 1,400 miles,” Pitts said of the drive. “I might have to come back Wednesday (for 8 p.m., game against Kansas State). No, I can’t do that,” he added, smiling.

The bottom line is gramps is “really proud of him without a doubt, not only as a basketball player but young man. He’s grown so much since he’s come to Kansas. He has a great attitude and is a great human being.”

— See what people were saying about Kansas vs. Kentucky during’s live coverage.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Kentucky

By the Numbers: Kansas 90, Kentucky 84 (OT)

By the Numbers: Kansas 90, Kentucky 84 (OT)


Humpy Helsel 6 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Pitts? Do us all a big favor. Head home to Boston some time around April 10. In the meantime, I think we can find someone to drive you around the Big 12 to the various cities when we go on the road.

Jay Scott 6 years, 10 months ago

I'll even volunteer to take him back to Boston.

Michael Bratisax 6 years, 10 months ago

Selden should do what Buddy Hield did and stick around another year.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 10 months ago

Humpy - I agree. I've replied twice with an extremely witty comment and both times it has evaporated, and I'm too tired to try and recreate the magic. But, I'd be happy to drive Mr. Pitts anywhere except for the city of the purple plague.

Mike Riches 6 years, 10 months ago

Good win against a good team. Any win against Kentucky is a good win. It amazes me how sometimes our guys look as if they've been playing together for ten years, and other times it looks like they've been playing together for ten minutes. But College Basketball is all about getting hot at the right time, and who knows, maybe this game starts a streak for us. This upcoming week is a softer one with "our rival" coming to town and then a visit to AFH South Saturday, where I'll join thousands of other Jayhawk fans and a few hundred TCU fans. Ticket prices in Fort Worth keep going up but it's still cheaper than Lawrence. :)

Steve Zimmerman 6 years, 10 months ago

I'm glad - really glad we pulled this one off, too, Mike. Not sure about the ten years, we're still more like ten minutes and 13/15 is not good number. Not trying to be nitpicking here - after all we won the hard fight - but, I expect Mason & Graham, who are both capable PGs, distribute and dish more assists per game. They play together on the floor. I have yet to see Mason throw a hi-lo pass correctly to Diallo. 3 times in 3 different games - at least - all failed. Go figure. You don't want to see Diallo and Bragg pulling jumpers from 10-12 feet away from the basket in each game. That's not utilizing their capabilities at all. Sure the stats will look as if they contribute in offense but that's going to kill their inside post instincts.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 10 months ago

Huge pre and post game party at Bar Louie.

Dave Miller 6 years, 10 months ago

I was glad to see the bench contributing points tonight and not standing around looking lost. Those 20 points from the bench were huge.

Steve Zimmerman 6 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Pitts, we really appreciate you driving 1000 miles to see Selden. Thank you for making this a memorable night of KU-UK rivalry history. A great show from your great grandson!

Chris Shaw 6 years, 10 months ago

Standing Ovation Mr. Selden! Great Game! You definitely put Kansas on your back.

Some Food For Thought Mr. Selden:

I would love to see Self utilize Selden in the half post to take advantage of those "Melo" moves. I don't think you can do it all the time, but if Bragg and Ellis are in the game together and Bragg can stretch the D at the Free Throw line extended and Ellis is opposite block...I think that could create "Space" for Wayne Selden.

The reason I mention this is because Selden isn't the quickest player out there. His foot speed is methodical and slow (He's like Paul Pierce without the technical footwork). I would love to see Selden get more involved in the offense and get more involved in the game. Selden only had 3 rebounds and 0 assists in 44 minutes of play. 0 assists? I love the scoring, but he needs to impact the game in other ways as well.

If Selden could work that half post when the "Space" allows it I think Selden could be a better distributor by kicking to Bragg up top at the FT Line or Ellis down low or skipping to Graham, Mason, or Greene opposite wing for open jumper.

Because of Selden's efficiency shooting the basketball this season, his shooting would open up his game in the half post despite his lack of foot speed. I think Selden would flourish in this role and it would prevent him from trying to create with the dribble. It allows him to create a little bit closer to the basket. I wish Self would have utilized this with Wiggins and Oubre as well, but I think Selden would benefit the most from this opportunity. I think Kansas would benefit greatly by utilizing Selden in this manner.

Paul Pierce, please take a 3 week sabbatical and come back to Kansas and teach Selden your footwork.

Jay Scott 6 years, 10 months ago

That's an interesting theoretical ride. You might be on to something.

You sure have a creative mind Chris. Sometimes I wonder if you're really a Chicken Little or if you just have so many ideas going that Bill Self, Roy Williams and Larry Brown couldn't implement them all.... and it frustrates you.

Chris Shaw 6 years, 10 months ago

I'm a firm believer that you have a philosophy but you have to mix and match that philosophy to the personnel you have on your roster. You can't just run a system the same every year and just expect everyone to adapt to it. I think a coach has to adapt to his personnel. Even though Self went back to the small quick 2 guard lineup (A change that had to happen) Ive still been disappointed the last 3 years over Self's inability to adapt to his players especially with Wiggins, Oubre, and now Selden.

You can't run a Hi-Lo offense if you have no freaking center who isn't capable or talented enough to create the "Spacing" the Hi-Lo offense needs.

As much as I hate to say it, this offense needs to run through Wayne Selden 1st and that means getting him in spots that are successful and allowing him to make decisions to distribute properly (It would increase Selden's game but it would maximize KU's potential) I think at times when Mickelson or Bragg in the lineup (Because they can knock down the FT jumper) that's putting him in the half post and allowing Selden to create without having to use his dribble.

I mean, it's essentially what Boheim did with Melo against Kansas in the 2003 Championship game and it's basically the triangle version for the college game. You just can't do it as often in college because there just isn't enough "spacing" allowed in the college game. And, you have to have the right "big's" to create that spacking. I think Bragg/Ellis and Mickelson/Ellis would do that for Selden.

I think Ellis is a great second option and I think Selden can create opportunities (not by driving), but working that block all the way out to about 17-18 feet where Selden can work his "Melo" moves. I really do believe Selden would flourish in this role if it was just talked about or put in the game plan to give a "Look" the defense has never seen before.

Jay Scott 6 years, 10 months ago

'Cept Melo is 6'8, is a different player and draws an entirely different defender......

Chris Shaw 6 years, 10 months ago

Height doesn't matter. It may be a little disruptive at times and I'm sure the defense will some battle, but Selden's efficiency as a shooter would allow him more opportunities to work if he can properly utilize his footwork create scoring opportunities for himself or create opportunities for his teammates.

Would you rather have Selden with the basketball creating in this position having this opportunity or Mason driving to the basket and not giving it up or looking for his teammates? I would rather expand the offense in this manner and allow Selden more decision making and more opportunities to flourish.

Chris Shaw 6 years, 10 months ago

in the NBA melo draws a completely type of defender but when he was in college he was drawing 6'3"/6'4" Keith Langford types. Sure, Selden is smaller, but his shooting ability still allows him to have the space he needs.

Jay Scott 6 years, 10 months ago

C'mon Chris. Melo wasn't guarded by shooting guards in college.

James Miller 6 years, 10 months ago

Chris..I think Selden has already demonstrated an effective jab step. I also believe he could thrive in that area of the court.

Doug Cramer 6 years, 10 months ago

For the love - keep Lucas on the bench. This team is going no where in March if we have to depend on him at center.

Richard Hernandez 6 years, 10 months ago

All I know is Kentucky PAYED HEED as they ENTERED THEY PHOG!


Chris Bailey 6 years, 10 months ago

Where is Hunter? Why is he not playing??? I don't get it!!!!!! He is much better than Lucas. Hunter can play D and is a shot blocker. Did Hunter get in trouble? Is he injured? What???

Glen Darge 6 years, 10 months ago

KU won yesterday because of a total team effort and extra effort by Selden and Gramm. Otherwise they have a lot of work to do shooting beyond the line and at the free theow line. They still are not playing up to what I have seen them play in the recent past. When they score from three point range, they are very hard to beat when their "D" is in sync. Com-on Jayhawks. Let's go for it.

Benjamin Clay Jones 6 years, 10 months ago

Gary Bedore, I have harped on this before, to no apparent effect. I'll try one more time: Would you PLEASE learn the difference between a "game-winner" and a "go-ahead basket"? This is not too much to ask of a sportswriter. A game-winner is the basket that ensures victory--in other words, a basket that produces a point total that the opponent's final score falls short of. A go-ahead basket is a basket made, after which the winning team never trails again. You called Selden's overtime dunk "the game winner" although it made the score 80-78, and if the Jayhawks had not budged from that point total they would have lost, 84-80. How clear does this have to be?

Here is a link from SB Nation, at the bottom of which the author conducts a poll on the two definitions of "game winner," yours and mine. 94 percent of respondents (15 of 16) say that "game winner" does NOT mean a basket or goal producing a point total that the other team eventually surpasses.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 10 months ago

Given the unnecessary trash talk against Landon Lucas and Jamari Traylor, I guess I am just happy that they are as dedicated to the program as they are. Listened to Landon being interviewed on the post game show, and he is possibly the most articulate player on the team. Hunter Mickelson is right there with him on that front.

In the case of Jamari Traylor, he is one of the best success stories in the history of KU basketball. He definitely has traveled a long and winding road.

Jay Scott 6 years, 10 months ago

Traylor brings a rare mix of ability to bang inside with quickness to defend guards on switches and on the perimeter. He's among the best in college basketball and far and away the best Kansas has. Couple that with his respectable free throw shooting and any team in America would gladly have him. He's a valuable asset.

Tom Jones 6 years, 10 months ago

He has no game on offense and while he's quick, he's also, even after 17 years on the team, not a good post defender.

He does try hard (which is the only reason he plays at all), but he wouldn't start for most good college teams. Any team in America that needs someone to come in and hustle and pick up fouls instead of their starters would gladly have him.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 10 months ago

Anthony Pitts should be at every KU game from now until Selden leaves. He just became to this team what bus driver Jimmy Dunlap was to the 1988 team.

Doug Clark 6 years, 10 months ago

Interesting ideas Chris Shaw, I totally agree that in some instances coach should adapt some things to fit the players better and put them in situations that maximize their potential to achieve success. He is a great coach, I don't want anyone else, I just wish he was a little more willing to change things when the way they are doing it isn't successful. Bragg has weapons that can make him a tough match up, his ability to stretch defenses is exciting, he was pretty open on his jumpers last night because I don't think the defense extended out to him like they should, he's got a nice looking shot, wish he could get some more time on the court.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.