Let’s call it like it is: this Kansas team is really, really good at shooting threes.
Brannen Greene returned from a five-game suspension and scored 14 points to lead Kansas (7-1) over Holy Cross, 92-59, on Wednesday. Greene, playing for the first time since November 17th, had his suspension cut one game short by Bill Self for “responsible behavior and hard work at practice.”
Kansas fans caught a glimpse of just how good their team can be with their best shooter lighting it up.
For the third straight game, the Jayhawks never trailed. Sizzling shooting was the story of the first half for Kansas, or more specifically, shooting three-point range. The Jayhawks shot 70% from the floor before halftime, but even more impressively, shot 80% (8/10) on three-pointers. Greene checked in to a loud ovation and immediately drained two threes, stretching his streak to open his season to seven consecutive made three-pointers.
While Kansas was launching on one end of the floor, Holy Cross wasn’t missing many shots either. The Crusaders also made a high percentage of three-pointers in the first half, making 55% of their deep shots to prevent the Jayhawks from running away with the game at the half. After 20 minutes, Kansas led 50-33.
Holy Cross opened the second half on a 13-2 run to pull the deficit within six. Groans filled Allen Fieldhouse as fans reminisced on the Jayhawks’ struggle to put Harvard away just four days prior. Right when people began to feel uneasy, Kansas blew the game way out of reach by using a 26-4 run over the next 11 minutes. The defense finally locked down, holding the Crusaders without a field goal for over 13 minutes.
In all, the Jayhawks shot 63% from the floor and 60% from three-point range, both season highs. Additionally, after shooting 25/51 (49%) from the free throw line in the last two combined games, Kansas made all 12 of its free throws on Wednesday night.
Kansas was playing without Landen Lucas (toe) and Jamari Traylor (hip). According to Self, both could have played and warmed up, but were given the night off to rest. This move allowed freshmen big men Carlton Bragg and Cheick Diallo to each play a career high 18 minutes, gaining experience that will be pivotal come Big 12 play.
- 7-1 for Kansas, which has won six games in a row.
- Selden: game-high 15 points on 5/9 from the floor. After shooting better than 50% in just five of 38 games last season, he has now shot >50% in six straight games this season. He also had four assists, all of which were seemingly highlight-reel worthy.
- Mason: 13 points (5/6 FG), five assists, and a block (!) in a team-high 27 minutes. He has at least 10 points and two assists in all eight games this season.
- First block for Mason since December 30th, 2014. He went 1,051 minutes in between blocks.
- Greene: 14 points (5/6 FG, 3/4 from three) in 17 minutes. He made his first 10 shots of the 2015-16 season before finally missing a three in the second half. Lethal.
- Ellis: 12 points (6/8 FG), and four rebounds in 26 minutes. He’s not nearly the scorer that we all thought he’d be so far this year, but when the rest of the team is putting up points like they are, who cares?
- Graham: 10 points (3/5 FG), five assists, three steals, and no turnovers in 24 minutes. Very solid game.
- Mickelson: no points and two rebounds in 15 minutes. He got the start with Traylor and Lucas out, though.
- Diallo: 12 points (4/7 FG), four rebounds, a block, and four turnovers in a career-high 18 minutes. As was the case in his debut vs. Loyola, he came alive in the second half. He also surprised everybody by making all four of his free throws.
- Bragg: four points (2/4 FG) and a team-high five rebounds in a career-best 18 minutes. He’s going to be one of the more underrated players in the country come conference play.
- Svi: seven points (2/5 FG) in 18 minutes. Solid.
- Evan Manning hit a three, and Clay Young hit a layup.
- After scoring just 13 points all of last year, the walkon unit has 16 through eight games.
- Kansas has not trailed since 18:55 remained in the Vanderbilt game back on November 25th. That spans 138 minutes and 55 seconds of game time.
- Field goals: 34/54 (63%). Three-pointers: 12/20 (60%). Free throws: 12/12 (100%)
- Rebounds: Kansas 31, Holy Cross 17. Now that’s much better.
- KU had 23 assists on 34 made field goals. That’s splendid.
- Up next: Oregon State in the Sprint Center on Saturday night. Kansas should win, but that’s nowhere near as easy as a lot of fans think it will be.