Kansas beats Loyola in Diallo’s debut

Cheick Diallo made his Kansas Jayhawks debut in KU’s 94-61 victory over Loyola Maryland. The Jayhawks are now 5-1 and at full strength for the first time in this young season.

After a long wait, the 2015 Jayhawks are finally complete. The chests of students that were previously painted “FREE DIALLO” now read “FREE AT LAST.” Consensus top-10 recruit Cheick Diallo was finally cleared by the NCAA last week, and his debut was highly anticipated.

It took seven minutes before Diallo even checked into the game. The Jayhawks got off to a slow start regardless of whether their five-star freshman was playing or not. Loyola hit three straight three-pointers to tie the game at 32 with three minutes left in the first half. Kansas managed to grab a slight halftime lead, but shaky shooting at the rim and leaky perimeter defense left Bill Self plenty to be angry about at intermission. After 20 minutes, the Jayhawks led Loyola, 40-36.

As for Diallo, he cheicked in for the first time in his college career with 12:57 remaining in the first half.

He played six total minutes before the break, failing to take a shot. He grabbed one rebound and committed two fouls.

After halftime, Diallo and the rest of the Jayhawks put it together. Kansas opened the half on an 11-0 run. After that, the score difference never got back to single digits. Diallo did all of his offensive damage in the second half, electrifying Allen Fieldhouse by throwing in six field goals after halftime. He scored 13 points in his Jayhawks debut, including a play where he blocked a shot, took the ball coast-to-coast, and finished with an electric one-handed slam. His six rebounds tied for the team high, and he blocked three shots, tying the most for any Jayhawk in a single game all year.

As evidenced by this stat, Diallo provides the ability to protect the rim that the Jayhawks have so desperately needed.

Wayne Selden led Kansas with 18 points and is continuing his strong start to the season, leading the team in scoring (17.2 points) and field goal percentage (55%) through six games. Perry Ellis added 15 points of his own, and Frank Mason contributed 10 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

The main thing that Kansas struggled with on Tuesday night was free throws. The Jayhawks failed to make half their free throws, going 12/26 for an ugly 46% percentage.

Even despite a shaky first half full of turnovers, free throw woes, and missed opportunities at the rim, the Jayhawks breezed to a 94-61 win, adding to their now-26 game winning streak at Allen Fieldhouse. This is the eighth-longest streak in school history.

It is worth noting that Landen Lucas (toe) was held out of the game by Self, but Kansas expects him to practice later this week and be fine for Saturday’s game vs. Harvard.

Stats:

  • Wayne Selden: game-high 18 points, six rebounds, four assists. He pushes his scoring average to 17.2 points per game.
  • Perry Ellis: 15 points, six rebounds. He struggled in the first half before playing much better after intermission. 20 minutes in all.
  • Cheick Diallo: 13 points, six rebounds, three blocks in his collegiate debut. He played 16 minutes, more than either Jamari Traylor or Hunter Mickelson.
  • Frank Mason: 10 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals. As usual, he did a little bit of everything in his team-high 30 minutes.
  • Devonte Graham: Eight points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal. He also played 30 minutes.
  • Hunter Mickelson: Eight points, three blocks, three rebounds in 15 minutes.
  • Jamari Traylor: Two points, six rebounds in 14 minutes.
  • Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk: 10 points, two assists. He is making a good case to be the first guard off the bench, even when Brannen Greene returns.
  • Tyler Self: Three points in three minutes. Very efficient, should get more playing time as the season progresses. If this scoring rate keeps up, and there is no reason it shouldn’t, Self will be a shoo-in for Naismith Player of the Year after averaging 40 points per game.
  • KU shot 51% from the field and 40% from the three-point line, but a hideous 46% free-throw rate will make Bill Self’s blood boil.
  • The Jayhawks out-rebounded Loyola 47-40, turned the ball over 13 times, and had 17 assists on 37 made baskets.
  • Walkons now have 11 points on the year after combining for just 12 last season.
  • Up next for Kansas: Saturday vs. Harvard in Allen Fieldhouse.

This article contains contributions from Ryan Landreth.

Dylan King

Staff writer for Rock Chalk Blog.
http://twitter.com/_DK22