WASHINGTON, D.C. — Already a perfect 4-for-4, sophomore guard Brannen Greene let it fly from the corner to drain his fifth three-pointer of the game, locking down the last field goal for No. 10 Kansas’ 75-70 win at Georgetown Wednesday night inside the Verizon Center.
Kansas (7-1) picked the nation’s capital for its first true road game of the 2014-15 season. Approximately 20 minutes away from the Georgetown (5-3) campus, the Verizon Center sits in the heart of D.C. and played witness to 33-consecutive non-conference wins for the Hoyas heading into the midweek matchup. Led by a career-best 19 points from Greene, the Jayhawks made certain the streak wouldn’t reach 34 on their watch.
Greene was on fire all night, but particularly when the game got dicey as all but three of his points game in the second half. His 5-for-5 mark from three-point territory marked the best by a Jayhawk since Ben McLemore went 6-for-6 at Iowa State on Jan. 9, 2013. Fellow sophomore guard Frank Mason III joined him on the leaderboard with a season-high 14 points, two steals, his first block of the season and tied Wayne Selden, Jr. for the team lead with three assists.
Junior forward Perry Ellis tallied his third double-double of the year with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while swatting a season-best two blocks and tied his career-high with three steals, powering his team to a season-best nine steals. Ellis was also one of the five Jayhawks to connect from three-point range as half of KU’s 20 field goals (20-for-53) came from behind the arc (10-for-17).
Georgetown junior guard and the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera used the KU-GU stage to record his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Yet, all eyes were on the 6-10, 350-pound senior center Josh Smith. The Georgetown big man led all player with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He posted a pair of blocks and five rebounds. Freshman forward L.J. Peak also proved lethal with 18 points and three steals.
While Kansas started the evening making just three of its first 12 attempts, the Jayhawks maintained a decent grip on the lead through the first 15 minutes of the game. It was the last five minutes of the half that drew cause for alarm.
Ellis, who missed his first five shots, snapped out of it and pulled up for a long jumper and a three-pointer to jolt his team forward, 22-11. When freshman guard Devonte’ Graham knocked down KU’s fifth trey in six tries, the Jayhawks had suddenly worked their way out to a 28-15 advantage. Just as suddenly, that cushion vanished. Two free throws were all that kept the Jayhawks from going completely silent through the next six minutes. By the time Ellis awoke with a layup, Georgetown had poured on a 15-1 run to take a 30-29 lead, its first since the 2-0 mark.
With 90 seconds till halftime, Ellis finally broke the scoring drought with a layup. Now looking to replenish a lead of any size, Mason made the most of the last possession with a drive to the basket to send the teams to halftime with the Jayhawks leading, 34-32.
Kansas didn’t start its second half any hotter, connecting on just two of its first 10 shots to fall behind by its largest margin of the game, 48-44. Greene was a scoring run all by himself, hitting a pair of threes – his third and fourth in a row – to put his Jayhawks back in front, 51-47. Now when Georgetown crept back, the Jayhawks had a full arsenal to keep the Hoyas just out of reach. Freshman guard Kelly Oubre, Jr. stayed steady with four-straight free throws, while Mason came up with a clutch three.
The lead wasn’t much, and Georgetown knew it. Peak drained a three from the wing to tie the score at 61-61, setting up a seat-edger with six minutes to play. When Greene sank his fifth three of the game, Kansas appeared to have enough momentum to close it out with the 68-63 lead.
Georgetown pressed on. Free throws put Smith over the 20-point barrier and a fastbreak layup sliced KU’s lead to one, 68-67. Kansas put away free throws on its own end, off the hands of freshman forward Cliff Alexander, to add two crucial points to the lead. Mason’s last steal of the game, swiping it from the Georgetown giant, resulted in the last free throw to seal the 75-70 win.
On Saturday, Dec. 13, KU will head to Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, to host No. 13/14 Utah in the Kansas City Shootout. The game will start at 2:15 p.m., and be televised on ESPN. KU will then take a week off for final exams before hosting Lafayette on Saturday, Dec. 20, at 2 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.
(10/10) Kansas 75, (RV/RV) Georgetown 70
December 10, 2014
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): So. G Frank Mason, III (8/11), So. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (8/43), Fr. G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (6/6), Jr. F Perry Ellis (8/45), So. F Landen Lucas (6/6)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads 3-1
ATTENDANCE: 14,164 (20,600 capacity)
- Extended KU’s win streak to six-straight games.
- Made the Jayhawks 7-1 for the second time in the last three seasons and the seventh time in Bill Self’s 12 seasons at Kansas.
- Improved Kansas’ lead in the all-time series to 3-1.
- Bettered Kansas’ record to 4-1 in neutral site games this season.
- Kept Self unbeaten (3-0) against Georgetown, 332-70 at Kansas and 539-175 overall.
- Made KU’s all-time record 2,133-823.
- Kansas snapped Georgetown’s 33-game win streak against non-conference opponents inside the Verizon Center.
- The Jayhawks have controlled all eight opening tips this season.
- Kansas kicked off the game with a meager 3-for-12 shooting mark. KU made up for it by making six of its next eight to double-up the Hoyas, 22-11. The newfound efficiency left them when the Jayhawks went without a field goal for nearly six minutes (7:14 – 1:30) to allow a 15-1 Georgetown run.
- GU’s run led the home team to a 30-29 lead, its first since the 2-0 mark.
- KU went 5-for-8 from three-point range in the first half and 5-for-9 in the second, marking the third and fourth times that the Jayhawks have tallied five or more threes in a half this year.
- Ironically, KU recorded its third-lowest shooting performance of the year (37.7 percent), but its highest three-point percentage (58.8 percent) since going 11-for-18 (61.1 percent) against West Virginia (3/2/13).
- The 10 three-pointers made are the most since knocking down 10-of-22 at Iowa State (1/29/14).
- KU pulled down 39 rebounds to Georgetown’s 37, out-rebounding seven of its eight opponents this season.
- Kansas has hit 25+ free throws in back-to-back games, a feat the team did not accomplish last season.
- Sophomore G Brannen Greene was a spark when the Jayhawks dearly needed one. After scoring just three points in the first half, Greene lit up the court with 16 second-half points and finished with a career-best 19.
- Greene’s 5-for-5 effort from three-point territory was the most threes made by a Jayhawk this season and tied the most made by a Jayhawk last season (Wayne Selden, 5-for-10 at Oklahoma, 1/8/14).
- Junior F Perry Ellis missed his first five shots of the game. After his slow start, he scored in double-figures for the sixth-straight contest and 37th time in his career.
- Ellis’ 13 points and 10 rebounds gave him three double-doubles on the year and nine for his career.
- Freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr. set career-highs all over the place, chalking up personal-bests in minutes (16), rebounds (5), points (7), steals (2) and free throws (5-of-6).
- Freshman F Cliff Alexander has recorded blocks in six of his eight games as a Jayhawk, including two more at Georgetown.
- After netting his best performance of the season with 21 points against Florida (12/5), sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., kicked off KU’s scoring with a three-pointer. He went 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, marking the fourth game this year he has connected on multiple treys.
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III recorded a season-best 14 points, 10 of which came in the second half. That makes 13 career games in double-figures. He has now tallied at least one three-pointer in six of his eight outings this season. He also swiped a season-high two steals and recorded the second block of his career (first of the season).
- Sophomore F Landen Lucas made his sixth-consecutive start and became KU’s first foul-out victim of the season.