June 22, 2024

KU rolls in exhibition opener

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Thirty minutes in, the big play that Kansas fans await each gameday came through via a Kelly Oubre, Jr. breakaway dunk delivered by a grinning Wayne Selden, Jr. Kansas downed Washburn, 85-53, in the unofficial start to the 2014-15 men’s basketball season Monday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Squaring off in exhibition play for the first time since 2012 and the 40th time overall, No. 5 Kansas and Washburn were heartily welcomed by the Allen Fieldhouse crowd, eager to watch the latest edition of the Jayhawks in action. High-octane recruitCliff Alexander played to his hype, leading the Jayhawks with a game-high-tying 14 points on 6-for-8 accuracy and coming in just one rebound short of a double-double. His three blocks, all in the first half, led his team’s solid defensive effort as the Jayhawks chalked up nine rejections and held the Ichabods under 30 percent shooting.
KU’s other freshman All-American, Oubre was also solid in his debut with nine points, including his thunder dunk inside the 12-minute mark. By night’s end, all 15 Jayhawks checked in and 12 scored en route to a 30-for-53 field-goal performance (56.6 percent). Nine of those came from behind the arc, only one shy of KU’s best three-point total a year ago (10 vs. Iowa State, 1/29/14).
Sophomore guard Frank Mason started the game at point, flanked on either side by Selden and freshman Devonte’ Graham, the only newcomer to crack the starting lineup. All-Big 12 returnee Perry Ellis reclaimed his starting spot, while junior forward Jamari Traylor would have registered his second career start had the game counted.
Mason looked the part at floor general, dishing out a game-high seven assists to just one turnover while turning in 13 points with only one missed shot on the night. Sophomore forward Landen Lucas posted a perfect 4-for-4 show to tally nine points and six rebounds. He, Traylor, Alexander and junior forward Hunter Mickelson all swatted multiple shots in the win.
On the opposing bench, senior guard Korey Fisher tied Alexander for the game’s lead with 14 points. He hit two of Washburn’s three three-pointers on Monday as the Ichabods were held to 3-for-20 from long range.
Senior guard Kyle Wiggins connected on a long jumper to put his team ahead 2-1, but the early lead would be the Ichabods’ last. Selden answered with a three on the other end to fuel an 8-0 run, capped by Graham’s first fastbreak layup as a Jayhawk. Not 15 seconds after he checked in, Alexander turned KU’s run to 12-straight points with back-to-back buckets. Halfway through the opening 20 minutes, Ellis already had a three-pointer to his credit and four of KU’s five freshmen had checked into the game. Like Alexander, Oubre also wasted no time collecting his first basket as he drained a three from the corner in hurry.
The rookies shared their night of firsts with Mickelson, who at long last heard his named called after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. He scored a put-back layup, a turnaround hook shot and blocked a shot to power KU’s lead past the 20-point plateau. Moments later, a three from Mason pushed it over 25 points.
Three minutes remained in the first half when a runner through the lane by Fisher finally put the Ichabods in double-digits. By halftime, KU’s defense had taken its toll, pestering Washburn with seven blocks and five steals. While Kansas shot 52 percent in first frame, the Jayhawks forced the Ichabods to miss 25 of their 30 first-half shots to take a commanding 42-13 lead to the lockerroom.
Scoring was slower to start the second half as nearly five minutes ticked away before free throws from Ellis and Mason saw KU eclipse 50 points. The ‘Svi for Three’ call from the PA announcer rang out for the first of, what the Jayhawk fan base hopes many, times this season after freshman guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk connected from three-point territory, and the Jayhawks found themselves ahead by 30 points, 59-29.
Firmly in command, Kansas utilized various lineups for the rest of the night – all of which are likely to appear in the regular season. Graham spent some time in the point guard spot and fired off five late points, before Evan ManningTyler Self and Josh Pollard replaced the backcourt for the final minutes of the 85-53 win.
Kansas will conclude exhibition play when it plays host to Emporia State on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Tip time is set for 7 p.m. (Central) and the game can be seen on Jayhawk IMG Television, ESPN Full Court and ESPN3 outside the state of Kansas. KU will then open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 14 against UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. That contest is also on the Jayhawk IMG Television, ESPN Full Court and ESPN3 outside the state of Kansas.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.