Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Notebook: Jackson ‘sparked’ Jayhawks in second half; KU-Stanford create series

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) soars in to the bucket for a jam during the second half of the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) soars in to the bucket for a jam during the second half of the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York.


— Foul trouble again tried to steal Kansas freshman Josh Jackson from the spotlight on Tuesday night.

But after a slow and uncertain start to the Champions Classic clash with No. 1 Duke at Madison Square Garden, Jackson refused to allow that to happen.

During a second-half stretch that included Kansas taking control of the game and Jackson emerging as the player everyone said he was, the 6-foot-8 freshman from Detroit scored nine of his 15 points in silky smooth fashion to push Kansas to a huge, 77-75, bounce-back victory over the Blue Devils.

The victory was the second at the Champions Classic for Kansas — both against Duke — but it could go down as something much bigger than that. It could become the night that Josh Jackson became a college basketball player. And what better place to do it than the Big Apple, with NBA stars John Wall, Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson sitting courtside.

“Super proud of him,” junior Devonte’ Graham said of Jackson. “He was frustrated all night with fouls that were called on him, but he came in and sparked us with I don’t know how many points in a row. He did a great job tonight.”

Added KU coach Bill Self: “I thought Josh was great. He was by far the best player in the game there to start the second half.”

As he tends to be, Frank Mason (21 points, including the game-winner) was the Jayhawks’ closer. And Graham (13 points on 6-of-12 shooting in 40 minutes) did what you’d expect the junior wing man to do. But it was the contribution from Jackson that gave Kansas (1-1) control. And he knew it.

After burying a jumper from the top of the key with 12 minutes to play, the this-game’s-too-easy smirk on his face said it all.

Jackson’s night — 7-of-9 from the floor, two rebounds, a steal and an assist in 18 minutes — ended with 5:08 to play after he was whistled for his fifth foul while sliding his feet on defense. Whether the contact warranted a call was up for debate, but Jackson, clearly feeling that this was, or at least could have been, his night, slammed his hand onto the bench as he took his seat.

Both KU coach Bill Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend went over to talk to him after the display of emotion, with the message focusing on the silly technical early in the game putting him in foul trouble in the first place.

“For a young kid, playing Indiana on that stage and Duke on this stage is probably not the best two best teams for somebody with the expectations and the hype around Josh because you want to go do it yourself as opposed to leaning on the others to do it," Self said. "I wish we had a game where he could get the rust off and go through this rather than high-profile games, but he’ll do that. He wants to win.”

Good ending, long trip

Asked what he thought Tuesday’s bounce-back victory could do for his team, Self pointed to the confidence it might bring and also acknowledged that he was OK with the Hawaii-to-New-York-in-four-days portion of the schedule now being behind him and the Jayhawks having come out with a split.

“This has been a pretty long trip,” Self said. “If you’re gonna travel 11,000 miles you might as well win at least one game.”

Self continued, praising his team for closing a tough game after Duke stormed back: “To see how they fought and kind of played out of an adverse situation, it probably doesn’t mean much in the big picture, but I do think it gives our guys some momentum and some confidence going forward.”

Wooden Watch

The early-season accolades keep rolling in for the Jayhawks, who landed three players on the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50, tying for the most of any school in the country.

Senior Frank Mason III, junior Devonte’ Graham and freshman Josh Jackson also earned a spot on the Naismith Trophy’s preseason watch list earlier this month. Jackson is one of seven freshmen on the list selected by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts.

KU-Stanford create series

According to college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein, Kansas and Stanford have agreed to a four-year series on the hardwood.

The Jayhawks and Cardinal will meet this year in Lawrence — 2:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at Allen Fieldhouse — and, according to the report, play once more at Allen Fieldhouse (in 2018-19) and twice in California during the following three seasons, once in Sacramento next season and again in Palo Alto during the 2019-20 season.

KU’s last meeting with Stanford came in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, where Andrew Wiggins and company were defeated 60-57 in St. Louis. Former KU great Jerod Haase is the new head coach at Stanford and that, no doubt, had something to do with the creation of this series.

KU leads the all-time series with Stanford, 8-3, but has lost the last two match-ups.

This and that...

Tuesday’s victory pushed Kansas to 2-2 under Self at Madison Square Garden and 2-4 in the Champions Classic, both victories coming against Duke.... Duke’s lead in the head-to-head series with Kansas is now down to 7-4.... With the win, the Jayhawks avoided their first 0-2 start since 1972-73 season and began Bill Self’s 14th season at Kansas with a 1-1 record, marking the fifth time in the past six seasons that KU has opened the season at 1-1.... KU now is 8-16 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll and 72-39 against ranked teams in the Bill Self era.... With a 217-43 record since 2010, Kansas is the winningest program, by percentage (83.4) this decade. Kentucky (82.3), which rocked Michigan State in Game 1 of the Champions Classic Tuesday, and Duke (81.4) rank second and third in that time.

By the Numbers: Kansas 77, Duke 75

By the Numbers: Kansas 77, Duke 75

— See what people were saying about KU's matchup against Duke during’s live coverage.

More news and notes from the win against Duke


Steve Zimmerman 6 years ago

This game is a good confidence building for both JJ and Udoka. Their performances tonight was impressive against a ranked & systematic team like Dook. I dont' care if their best players didn't play. I hope to see these two freshmen keep producing consistently. Huge contribution. Our players really stepped up big tonight.

Brian Wilson 6 years ago

I agree with you Steve. JJ was the played the best in the second half, Mason capped it off, but in my opinion, although far from having the best performance, it was Az that actually sparked the team. Welcome to the Land of Az!

Tony Bandle 6 years ago

Steve, I agree. Any time you beat Rat Face and his Pukes you've had to play a good game. However, you really can't ignore the fact that 60% of their front line was sitting on the bench with suits and ties.

I am pretty sure it might have been a different game but let,s revel in this very nice victory and use this as a step towards establishing the ultimate team chemistry needed for a NC!!!

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 6 years ago

People will wonder about the freshman sitting but really we probably would've beaten them harder with them playing. At the end of the season our freshmen have more experience against upperclass than duke will.

Jay Scott 6 years ago

Duke lost because they only shot 11 more free throws, below the usual margin of 12 per game.

Steve Zimmerman 6 years ago

Stupid refs.. the FT stat is so lobsided. Good observation.

Brett McCabe 6 years ago

Literally the dumbest basketball remark in the history of basketball.

Suzi Marshall 6 years ago

This was a huge NCAA seeding win for the Hawks, especially following the IU loss. Wit the weak Big 12, we only have the UK at Lexington game left on our schedule for another impact win. The Big 12 will probably do better than most expect but we still will not have that many top 25 teams....perhaps WVa and Baylor to go along with Kansas.

Gerry Butler 6 years ago

looked off the CBS sports site, already have the new 25 out of course it's just their's KU now 4th Duke 5th UK 1st BUT we also had in their poll Texas- - - Baylor - - -W Virginia- - - & Iowa State gives us 5 in their top 25

Suzi Marshall 6 years ago

Kenpom ( is the one that matters, where BU, WVA are the highest ranked at 17 and 24,respectively. Looks like we will have ver few opportunities for Top 25 wins but nearly every game, including pre-season, can be a Top 50 win. From top to bottom, the Big 12 will be very good *not great) and competitive.

Beate Williams 6 years ago

Baylor wiped Oregon out of the top 10. I know their pre-season All American did not play but that was a significant victory.

Barry Weiss 6 years ago

Great intensity on defense and rebounding won that game! Udoka is ready to start given Landen's injuries. The more minutes Udoka can get with the other starters, the better. He was an absolute beast at the 5 and that is what this team needs. He controlled his fouls fairly well.

Brian Wilson 6 years ago

I agree. Udoka Az sparked the team because he changed the trajectory of Duke's shots. IMO, Az should get 20-25 minutes every game. And I think we should change things up and rotate from a 4 guard lineup to a 3 guard lineup. This will make it hard for teams to adjust and it will prepare us for great rebounding teams with really huge lineups. So Start JJ with Az and rotate Bragg for the both of them, from Center to PF (5 to 4). This would mean that Az and Bragg would be on the court together about 20 minutes per game giving KU more power in the middle for those 5-10 minutes that JJ catches his breath. Just a thought.

Fred Davis 6 years ago

Incredible win for the Jayhawks last night - I can't remember the last time a KU team showed that much grit when overcoming a deficit and getting the W. Frank had some mental lapses on defense and you can tell Landon is not 100 percent physically, which they're going to need later on down the line - but when this team gets after it defensively, they're a tough out.

And Josh Jackson. Forget what he brings to the court in terms of basketball skill - mentally - and I know he was all over the place last night - but he brings a mental toughness and more importantly - an attitude, that this team hasn't had since the '08 team. He's a monster. Slapping the ball out of guys' hands, dead ball or not, slapping the floor on D, showing the emotion after the cheap foul calls 4&5 - we haven't seen that out of KU Frosh - ever. This kid is as good as advertised and I fully expect once the light bulb comes on - Watch out. Svi is still too reticent for my taste - but LeGerald Vick is going to be an X-Factor for this team. He is a junkyard dog at the Guard spot. Sure he didn't knock down any threes last night, but his drive from the corner was impressive, plus he was in Grayson Allen's grill all night. This is going to be a fun team to watch this year. Great win last night - Great day to be a Jayhawk.

Rock Chalk.

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 6 years ago

Vick shows potential, he could be better than most on the team if he gets the minutes and mindset. Svi is playing european ball, he isn't aggressive enough for nba or final four.

Suzi Marshall 6 years ago

Did you watch the game? Mykailiuk had a very nice game in all aspects except shooting the ball.

Ray Buckingham 6 years ago

Love the grit of this team! Josh is a quick study. It won't take long for him to figure out how to channel that incredible competitive nature and then - look out. It'll be Fearless Frank-like... unstoppable. Props to the AWESOME veterans to get to him in the heat of those moments. AND props to Josh for the maturity to listen to the older, wiser, been-there guys. It's all a part of learning to play big time college basketball.

Clarence Haynes 6 years ago

We need Lucas to get back to last year's form!

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 6 years ago

we need to rest him and get back to form for the end.

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