KU outlasts Kent State
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Six shots up, six shots down started Kelly Oubre’s night as the freshman guard led No. 13/14 Kansas to a 78-62 win over a solid Kent State squad in the final game of 2014 inside Allen Fieldhouse Tuesday night.
Before ringing in the New Year, Kansas (10-2) went to work on its last week of non-conference action by welcoming Kent State (8-4) and collecting its 14th-straight home victory. Bouncing back from just its second loss of the season at Temple last week, KU moved to 63-8 in games following a loss.
For the second time this season – and the first since the Kentucky game – head coach Bill Self went with junior forwards Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor, sophomore guards Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden, Jr. and Oubre. Each came through in their own way, but none more than Oubre. The New Orleans native went 6-for-6 in the first half, highlighted by a 4-for-4 three-point accuracy. By the end of his evening, he finished 8-for-12 with a game-high 20 points and seven rebounds.
Alongside him, Ellis missed a double-double by a pair of rebounds, but still posted his 39th game in double-figures with 15 points and pulled down eight boards. Mason and Selden combined for 10 assists, while Mason extended his double-digit scoring streak to nine-straight games – the longest of any Jayhawk this season – with 14 tallies. Traylor notched his own seven-point streak in the second half, while freshman Cliff Alexander scored all eight of his points in the final 20 minutes.
The Jayhawks finished the game just one shot shy of the 50 percent mark (30-for-61), outrebounded their 10th opponent of the season (44-31) and ran the table on fastbreak points (19-0) – the third time this year that a KU opponent has failed to log a point on a fastbreak.
On the other bench, Kent State was led by redshirt sophomore Jimmy Hall, Jr. Named the Preseason MAC Newcomer of the Year by the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, Hall looked the part in the first half with 12 points. The Jayhawks, however, held him to a single point in the final frame. Junior Kaliq Spicer and senior Kris Brewer rounded out the leaders with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Oubre racked up eight of the Jayhawks’ first 10 points, knocking down a pair of threes before the first media timeout. While Oubre went off, however, the Golden Flashes kept pace. Back-to-back threes and a long jumper from Brewer put Kent State in front, 22-16. Midway through the first half, Self called for the timeout.
The message was received.
Out of the pause, Ellis fought for his own rebound and laid it in. On the next possession, Oubre connected on yet another three-pointer to reach double figures faster than any other Jayhawk over the last season and a half (6:23). Yet, Kansas was still playing behind. Three-straight baskets from Hall kept Kent State in front. Now 6-for-6 to start the game, Oubre’s jumper returned the lead to the Jayhawks. When Ellis capped the 7-0 Kansas run, the Golden Flashes took their turn at a timeout. They would never lead again.
A dunk from Spicer broke up a Kent State scoring drought that spanned almost five full minutes. While it helped his squad outshoot Kansas in the first half (50.0-44.4), the Jayhawks didn’t let loose of a lead that was finally theirs. KU went to halftime up, 39-33.
Oubre’s streak of makes ended in the opening minute of the second half, but he quickly restarted. He made his next attempt, sending KU to its first double-digit lead of the night, 44-33. And there it would stay. Spicer did hit another jump shot to narrow it to single digits once more, but five-straight points from Mason and seven-straight Traylor provided extra insurance.
Kent State continued to show why it was needed. Devareaux Manley drilled his second three of the half, again cutting KU’s lead to single digits, 56-47, with nine minutes on the clock.
This time, it was the other McDonald’s All-American on KU’s roster with the boost. Alexander caught fire for eight points in a row, highlighted by an alley-oop slam. Ready to put it away for good, Mason swiped the ball at half court and rolled it into a fastbreak layup. Suddenly behind by 20-plus, Kent State used its final timeout.
The Jayhawks enjoyed their last minutes of 2014 and were all smiles when Hunter Mickelson swatted away a shot, Brannen Greene sent it up the floor and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk threw down the dunk. Even Tyler Self joined the party, capping the night with his first points of the year and finishing the KU win, 78-62.
Kansas will close out non-conference play when it hosts UNLV on Sunday, Jan. 4, at 3:30 p.m. (Central), on CBS. Then KU, 10-time defending Big 12 regular-season champion, will open conference play at Baylor on Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 8 p.m., on ESPNU.
(13/14) Kansas 78, Kent State 62
December 30, 2014
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): So. G Frank Mason, III (12/15), So. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (12/47), Fr. G Kelly Oubre, Jr. (4/4), Jr. F Perry Ellis (12/49), Jr. F Jamari Traylor (3/4)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 2-0
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (217th-consecutive sellout)
- Made Kansas 10-2 or better for the second time in the past three seasons and the sixth time in Bill Self’s 12 seasons at KU.
- Kept Kansas an undefeated 2-0 all-time versus Kent State and 12-1 against current membership of the Mid-American Conference.
- Picked up the Jayhawks to a 63-8 record in games following a loss under head coach Bill Self.
- Upped KU’s record to 6-0 in home games this season and 5-0 inside Allen Fieldhouse in his 60th season of Kansas basketball.
- Extended the Jayhawks’ win streak inside the Fieldhouse to 14-straight games.
- Made Kansas 718-109 all-time inside Allen Fieldhouse, including a 180-9 home mark under Self.
- Improved Self to 335-71 while at Kansas and 542-176 overall.
- Made KU 2,136-824 all-time.
- Led by freshman F Cliff Alexander’s two rejections, Kansas recorded a season-high eight blocked shots, besting the previous high of seven against Rhode Island on Nov. 27.
- Seven individual Jayhawks recorded a blocked shot in the contest, the most since eight Kansas players blocked shots against Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Nov. 23, 2010.
- On the year, Kent State had only allowed opponents to average 58.8 points-per-game which ranked 39th in the country. Kansas surpassed that mark by tying the most points by a 2014 Golden Flashes’ opponent – 78 points.
- The Jayhawks allowed Kent State to shoot an even 50 percent (14-of-28) from the field in the first half of play. Kansas had only surrendered 50 percent or better in the opening period in one other contest this season. Florida made 53.6 percent of its field goals (15-of-28) to begin the game on Dec. 5.
- Both times KU allowed an opponent to make more than half of its shots in the opening period of play have resulted in Kansas victories.
- The Kansas defense harassed Kent State into shooting remarkably lower in the second half (32.3 percent, 10-of-31 shots).
- The Jayhawks crashed the glass and tied a season-high 44 rebounds. Kansas has now recorded 44 rebounds four separate times in 2014.
- Kansas also swiped a season-high-tying nine steals away from Kent State.
- Kansas’ 36 field goal attempts in the first half were the most by a Kansas team in 2014 and marked the most shots attempted in the first 20 minutes since shooting 37 times against Iowa State on Jan. 29, 2014.
- Kansas raced-out and matched its season-high 11 fast break points thanks to a layup by freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr. at the 17:41 mark in the second half. The Jayhawks previously scored 11 points in transition in the opening game of the season against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 14. Kansas finished the game with 19 points in transition.
- Kansas also held Kent State scoreless on the fast break, marking the third time this season KU has kept a team off of the board in the fast break category. The Jayhawks outdid the Golden Flashes in fast-break scoring, 19-0.
- Entering the Temple game on Dec. 22, Kansas was peaking from the free throw line converting 200-of-268 (75 percent) shots from the charity stripe. Due to a 9-of-15 performance at Temple and a 13-of-22 showing against Kent State, the Jayhawks are now on a skid of 22-for-37 over their last two games equaling out to 59.5 percent.
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III extended his double-digit scoring streak to nine games thanks to a layup giving him 10 points with 14:44 remaining in the contest.
- Mason III also connected on a three-pointer and has now tallied at least one three in 10 of his 12 outings this season.
- Freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr. scored 11 points – going 3-for-3 from long range – six minutes and 23 seconds into the contest. Oubre sparked the Jayhawks with 11 of KU’s first 15 points at the 13:37 mark of the first half.
- Oubre became KU’s fastest player to reach double figures since Ben McLemore scored 10 points in five minutes and 33 seconds against Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament on March 14, 2013.
- Four minutes later, Oubre added another three which tied his career-high four threes made, which he set against Lafayette on Dec. 20.
- Oubre also played a career-high 31 minutes against Kent State. His previous longevity in a single game was 23 minutes against Lafayette on Dec. 20.
- Oubre’s 16 points in the first session of play were the highest by a Jayhawk in the opening half this season. Previously, sophomore guard Frank Mason III held the high-mark with 13 points in the opening frame against Temple on Dec. 22.
- Over the previous three contests, Oubre has scored 23, 20 and nine points averaging out to 17.3 points per game. His hot streak has resulted in a 60 percent mark from the field and a 53.3 percent average from behind the three-point line. Oubre is also averaging eight rebounds over the previous three games.
- Junior F Perry Ellis began the game 2-of-8 from the field, but recovered to make four-consecutive shots, finishing 6-of-13 with 12 points in the opening frame.
- After nine combined points in the last two games on a 3-of-16 shooting performance, Ellis got out of his slump posting his ninth 10-plus point performance of 2014 finishing 7-of-14 from the field for 15 on the scoreboard.
- Sophomore F Landen Lucas pulled down a career-high seven rebounds against Kent State. Lucas’ previous career-best was six boards against Florida on Dec. 5.
- Redshirt sophomore G Tyler Self scored his first points since the 2012-13 season with a layup in the final seconds of the game.