Kansas opened up their regular season with a 69-59 win over UC Santa Barbara. It wasn’t pretty but it’s not like they lost to UMKC or a team like that.
Rock Chalk Blog Player of the Game: Perry Ellis
We’ve been wondering where Perry Ellis has been for the exhibition games and Ellis ended up emerging as the best player on Friday night. Ellis was the clear RCB player of the game early on in the second half and that’s really good news for Bill Self and the Jayhawk faithful.
Ellis finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and one assist. Ellis was 4-for-7 from the field and was 5-for-6 from the charity stripe. In games like these, you’d like to see Ellis get more looks than just 10 but you can’t complain with a 10 point victory against a team that will end up contending for an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament
RCB POTG Runner-Up: Devonte’ Graham
Devonte’ Graham was a difference maker on Friday night. Graham led the Jayhawks with 14 points, made smart decisions and played outstanding defense. I may have given him the POTG honors if he didn’t miss two free throws and had one less turnover (he had two).
Graham’s stat line was 14 points (5-for-8 shooting), 4-6 from the free throw line, four rebounds, two assists, two turnovers and a steal. Graham was also victim to the first Flagrant One elbow call of the season for the Jayhawks.
While Graham’s offense has been solid so far, his defense has stood out to me the most. He plays with so much effort and Kansas hasn’t had that at the point position in a few years.
You Let the Whole Team Down: The starting guards
It’s hard to nitpick a performance in this game but we have to choose someone for this. Wayne Selden and Frank Mason started for Jayhawks and despite both putting up double digits in points, they could have contributed even more.
Selden was 2-for-8 from the field and 0-for-3 from 3-point range. While he got to the free throw line for nine free throws, he missed three of them.
Yes, I’m nitpicking here but when you’re 2-for-8 from the field and three of those misses are threes, you need to be making eight of those free throws.
Like Selden, Mason missed a bunch of shots, too. Mason was 4-for-10 from the field. In addition, he had four turnovers and just one assist. You’d like Mason to switch those numbers around. Kansas can’t have 16 turnovers total against Kentucky and expect to win. I expect the Kentucky-Kansas game to be more high scoring than 69-59 so 16 turnovers in the UCSB game is even more crucial to avoid.