It may have been Ugly Sweater Day at Allen Fieldhouse, but the Jayhawks’ play on Saturday afternoon was gorgeous.
On a day full of upsets around college basketball, Kansas made it clear from the start that it would never receive even a minor scare. The Jayhawks made a number of highlight plays en route to a 88-46 victory over the Montana Grizzlies.
Brannen Greene made a rare start because after a “sleep disorder” made Devonte’ Graham late for shoot-around, and his impact was immediately felt when he splashed in three three-pointers in the first half. Kansas pulled away early in the game and never looked back. Senior forward Perry Ellis had 14 points in the first half as the Jayhawks cruised to a 44-24 lead at halftime.
Things got worse for the Grizzlies after halftime. The Jayhawks opened the second half with an 11-0 run and eventually stretched their lead to 51 points. Everyone was involved in the offense; eight players scored seven or more points as KU looked as dominant as any team in college basketball.
Just about everything went right on the day for Kansas. As if a dominant, 42-point victory wasn’t enough, fans set a Guinness World Record for “largest gathering of people wearing holiday sweaters.” 3,473 ugly sweaters were counted to cement KU’s place in history, regardless of how unimportant the record may seem.
Ellis, after being called out by his head coach earlier in the week, put forth arguably his best game of the season. He led the team with 18 points (including a perfect 10/10 at the free throw line) and nine rebounds. While he was laying the ball in the basket, Frank Mason was dropping dimes, tying a career-best with nine assists.
This Kansas team is as deep as any Jayhawk team in recent memory. Both Greene and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk made a strong case to be the first guard off the bench, finishing with 11 and 10 points respectively. Greene made three of his four three-pointers, which actually dropped his percentage on the season to a cool 79%. Freshman Carlton Bragg also added nine points off the bench, highlighted by an alley-oop thrown from the other side of halfcourt by Wayne Selden.
The Jayhawks have their first true road game coming up against San Diego State on Tuesday, and Graham is expected to return to his starting role. “Devonte is the starter. Don’t make a big deal out of that,” Self said.
- Ellis: 18 points (4/7 FG) and nine rebounds in 24 minutes.
- Mason: seven points (2/5 FG) and nine assists in 23 minutes. His streak of nine straight games to open the season with at least 10 points ended.
- Greene: 11 points (4/5 FG) and a career-best three assists in 19 minutes.
- Selden: 11 points (5/10 FG), four assists, four rebounds, and two steals in 26 minutes. His three-point shot wasn’t on like usual, but he made up for it with his electric dunks and pinpoint passing.
- Bragg: nine points (4/6 FG) in 14 minutes. He is really gelling with Perry Ellis, and when the two are playing at the same time, Kansas really puts up points in a hurry.
- Graham: nine points (4/7 FG) in 21 minutes, which is the fewest for him this year.
- Mickelson: two points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes. He continues to be very efficient on the glass.
- Lucas: seven points (3/4 FG) and six rebounds in nine minutes. He also played very good defense on Montana’s best scoring threat, forward Martin Breunig, in the second half.
- Diallo: four points (2/4 FG), three rebounds, and five fouls in 10 minutes. That’s probably why he doesn’t start.
- Traylor: three rebounds in 11 minutes without attempting a shot.
- Svi: 10 points (4/7 FG) in 16 minutes.
- Once again, Kansas was on fire from the field. The Jayhawks shot 57% for the game, 44% from three-point range, and 79% from the free throw line.
- KU out-rebounded Montana 44-26, and the Jayhawks had 20 assists on 33 made baskets.
- Up next: Kansas’ first road game of the season comes on Tuesday night when San Diego State hosts KU.