Saturday, January 27, 2018

Notebook: Self impressed by Marcus Garrett vs. Texas A&M; Big 12 falls in showdown with SEC

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) gets to the bucket past Texas A&M forward DJ Hogg (1) during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) gets to the bucket past Texas A&M forward DJ Hogg (1) during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.


It's been a while since KU freshman Marcus Garrett delivered the kind of stat line he put up Saturday, during fifth-ranked Kansas' 79-68 victory over Texas A&M; in the Big 12/SEC Challenge at Allen Fieldhouse.

The fact that Saturday's game was not nearly as hyped up as the past two conference showdown games involving KU and Kentucky — not to mention KU's status as an eight-point favorite in Las Vegas — did nothing to steal Garrett's focus from the task at hand.

Playing his second-fewest minute total since the start of Big 12 play, Garrett filled up the stat sheet to the tune of nine points, one rebound, two steals, one assist and one turnover.

“I thought he was, other than Svi, the best player in the game,” KU coach Bill Self said of his utility-knife freshman, who, once again, did whatever was needed at the exact perfect time to help the Jayhawks improve to 17-4 and win their fourth straight in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. “He does a lot of good things defensively and he made a couple of great drives and then, of course, knocked down a three.”

All nine of Garrett's points — on 4-of-4 shooting — came during a stagnant second half that featured KU coasting to victory and the Aggies fighting like mad to make a game of it. His first seven points came during a 3:43 stretch midway through the second half and helped Kansas maintain a double-digit lead. And his biggest bucket came with the KU lead down to 10 — 72-62 with 4:40 to play — when Garrett drove hard to the rim 32 seconds after checking back in to give Kansas a little breathing room again.

But while those four shots and his uncharacteristic offensive involvement gave the Jayhawks a lift, Self said it was the freshman's defense that continued to earn him minutes.

“He did some things from a defensive standpoint that was probably better than what all our other perimeter defenders did,” Self said. “I thought he played great. Best game he's had in a long time.”

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Self on Marcus Garrett after beating A&M: 'Best game he's had in a long time'

After a 79-68 home win over Texas A&M;, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self praised freshman guard Marcus Garrett for his defense and drives and how the Jayhawks used their speed to match A&M;'s size.

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Smooth sailing?

After playing six consecutive single-digit, conference grinders following their 12-point home loss to Texas Tech in early January, the Jayhawks finally got to experience what it felt like to play with and close out a game with a big lead.

But just because the Jayhawks led by double digits from the 9:58 mark of the first half to the final horn did not mean things came easy on Saturday. At least not in the eyes of the Jayhawks themselves.

“I mean, we did sweat,” said leading scorer Svi Mykhailiuk. “But it was just great to bounce back and get a win (after) the last game.”

Added Self, asked if it was “nice to have one of these:” “Yeah, it is. But, still, though, it wasn't as comfortable as what I would've hoped. I think that we could've played a lot better the second half and been able to sub and play Silvio (De Sousa) and get Devonte' (Graham) off the floor and stuff, but those things didn't happen.”

First-time familiar faces

Saturday's victory marked the first live KU game that Kansas signee Quentin Grimes had ever enjoyed.

Grimes sat court-side with his mother, a KU grad, to his right and former KU great Sherron Collins to his left, in the row behind the Jayhawks' bench. The milestone moment came just a couple of nights after the recently-named McDonald's All-American scored 45 in his prep team's 38-point victory.

Six or so seats to Grimes' right, former KU forward Jamari Traylor enjoyed his first game in Allen Fieldhouse since his final game as a player back in 2016.

Traylor, who has been playing professional ball in Greece, had been back in town just two days and planned his schedule so he would have to wait as little as possible to get back into his old home.

“I just need to get me one or two games back in here and I'll be good,” Traylor said at halftime.

Big 12 bummer

With Saturday's victory, the Jayhawks once again did their part to keep the Big 12/SEC Challenge trophy in Big 12 country for another year. But the rest of the league did not come through.

After winning the the trophy during the first three years of the challenge and maintaining possession of the trophy after splitting 10 games with SEC foes in 2017, the Big 12 will have to give it up for the first time, thanks to a 6-4 edge by SEC programs in this year's event.

Only Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Texas came through with victories for the conference on Saturday, while Oklahoma, TCU, West Virginia, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Iowa State all lost.

Big 12 teams are now 29-21 all-time in the Big 12/SEC Challenge and the conference has posted a 57-41 mark in the last two conference challenge series, which includes a previous clash with the Pac-10 dating back to 2007.

The Jayhawks are now 7-2 all-time in conference challenges with two wins over UCLA and Kentucky, a 1-0 mark against Texas A&M; and a 1-1 record against Arizona and Florida.

This and that...

Saturday's victory marked the fourth in a row for the Jayhawks in the Big 12/SEC Challenge and improved the Jayhawks to 4-1 all-time in the mid-season showcase. KU owns a 1-0 record vs. A&M;, a 2-0 record vs. Kentucky and a 1-1 mark against Florida in the event... Saturday's win also gave Kansas its 10th straight victory over former Big 12 foe Texas A&M; and pushed its all-time lead in the series with the Aggies to 21-1... In addition, the win moved KU to 17-4 or better for the fourth consecutive season and marked KU's 10th victory at Allen Fieldhouse this season.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Texas A & M

By the Numbers: Kansas 79, Texas A&M 68.

By the Numbers: Kansas 79, Texas A&M 68.


Justin Kruse 4 years, 8 months ago

Hopefully this game will give Garrett a little more confidence on the offensive end. He's quick and looked great driving to the bucket!

Monday is gonna be huge! K-State is playing great. Still ticked about our loss to OU!

Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

It sucks that the Big 12 lost this year's challenge to the SEC, but I was so happy to see Tennessee wipe the floor with Iowa State in Hilton Coliseum.

Jeff Foster 4 years, 8 months ago

And it was hard not to smile when Kentucky came back from a big deficit at Morgantown to beat WVU.

Craig Carson 4 years, 8 months ago

@Jeff..not me .. I wanted WVU to whip the floor with UK..I take a lot more pleasure in seeing Cal and UK lose..I like Huggins and WVU (except when KU has to play them)....WVU has some serious issues when their press isnt forcing TO's and easy buckets..what has happened to TCU???

Robert Brock 4 years, 8 months ago

It was dumb playing the event in late January during conference play.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

No, it isn't. It's smart. The event gets lost in the midst of the two conferences' football teams preparing for bowl games (the Big 12 and SEC are football-first conferences), and playing it the last weekend of January brings it the attention it deserves. Also, it gives everyone a break from the grind of conference play. We looked quite a bit better against A&M yesterday than we have against virtually every Big 12 opponent we have played this season.

Tom Jones 4 years, 8 months ago

Sorry, I have to take advantage of this because it may be the only opportunity of my life...

I completely agree with Bryce.

Andy Godwin 4 years, 8 months ago

Will likely change the national perception that the Big 12 is the best league. Overall poor showing by the "very deep" Big 12.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 8 months ago

How many points did Williams get for Texas A&M? Oh, only 11. I thought that he was going to get 40! What happened.

Steve Zimmerman 4 years, 8 months ago

Silvio had 1 block in 2 minutes. I think he earns more playing time now. He'll get us more rebounds, too.

Brian Mellor 4 years, 8 months ago

Until WVU crapped the bed in the 2nd half the challenge really just amounted to "Home Court Advantage" - asides from a severe talent differential a'la ISU losing and TTU winning. Conference arguments are generally meaningless, but they make good fodder for talking crap on ESPN forums, so I guess there's that.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 8 months ago

Random Thoughts:

1] It kills me to say this but that frigging Bruce Weber is doing a good job with the Kitties and Monday is going to a bitch a game. I'm sure they've got the template for the "victory T-Shirts" ready and the video camera all set up for the game tape sales on Monday. :).

2] If the NCAA really wants to end the court storming simply declare that any home team that has their court stormed, automatically forfeits the game, the team loses a scholarship and the head coach is fined $50,000. I guarantee you'll never see a court storming anywhere again.

3] Marcus Garrett is going to be a hell of a basketball player in about two years. He is just scratching the surface.

4] West Virginia blowing a 17 point lead at home in Morgantown......UNBELIEVABLE!!!

5] Well, at least Silvio looked less lost in the game yesterday. He still has maybe 13 more games to prepare for the NCAAs.

6] Did Sam Cunliffe have a date with Bill's daughter and not show up?

7] Small and fast beats big and slow everytime......big and fast?...not so much!

8] It appears that the Malik Newman transformation is for real and permanent. Now, Bill, give that same pep talk to Vick, although the Vickster flashed signs of his old self.

9] Anybody notice the shooting % for Graham for the last two games? Is he wearing down? Should we be worried?.

Craig Carson 4 years, 8 months ago

1) KSU is doing better than expected, maybe Webber is the cause on that..but it also wouldnt shock me to see them go on a massive losing streak 2)I wouldnt go as far as to say the team losses a scholarship or the team forfeits the game, but I would like to see a rule that requires the fans to allow all opposing team personnel and guest to safely leave the court BEFORE they can storm, but if they do maybe some sort of charges or fines for the actual fans who are caught 3) Garrett has the look of a Travis Releford type of guy..someone who develops and turns into a great college player 4) Im glad KU came back against WVU but I was hoping UK wouldnt ..WVU has some serious issues when their press isnt forcing TO's 5)Self is doing a great job in bringing Silvio along..he might not be ready for offensive plays called for him but he looks to be very active on D 6)Cunliffe wont play until he learns to play D..doesnt matter how good his shot is 7)keep in mind, next year KU could be that "big and slow" team since Self will be playing 2 bigs..them being fast remains to be seen 8)Newman came alive right when Vick started to vanished..whatever Self said to Newman, he needs to say it to Vick 9)Graham has always been a streaky long as he is still dishing out the assist and leading the offense, then he will be alright. Though im sure fatigue has to play some factor, the kid played all 40 minutes against OU

Doug Clark 4 years, 8 months ago

I really think Graham is getting worn down, I have been worried about this all season. All his misses against Oklahoma were short and most of his struggles happen in the 2nd half, I thought for sure being up 15 would allow him to get a little break and for Sam and Silvio to get a little game action. I really wish they didn't play so poor in the 2nd half, that would have been a good time to get them in if we had extended the lead.

Joe Joseph 4 years, 8 months ago

The talk about DG being worn down due to his mpg is a bit over blown.

These guys are some of the best conditioned athletes in the world and play just two games a week. Self is no fool. He's not working these guys into the ground during the week. He's giving them time to recover, so much as anyone can recover during a long season in the middle of a conference run.

No doubt it would be nice if DG could get 6-8 minutes of rest per game, though.

Mike Greer 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm not sure exactly what five or six minutes of rest during a game gets you long term, short term it allows you to get your breath back, you can see Dok huffing and puffing on the bench when he takes a seat. Not exactly sure that's Devonte's problem. However, when your second half is as rough as his have been, and even your free throws are coming up short, to go along with the short threes, there must be something.

I have high hopes for Monday night, maybe the team can hit on all cylinders.

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