Jayhawks outlast Wildcats in Manhattan, 72-63

After a sloppy start, the Jayhawks seemed to have the game in hand when KU extended its lead to 17. But an injury to Perry Ellis and more sloppy play left the game in doubt once again.

The first half wasn’t pretty. Both teams had trouble boxing out, as 10 offensive rebounds were collected in the first nine minutes of the game. There were 19 fouls called in the first 11 minutes, most of which went against Kansas State. The Jayhawks didn’t make the most of their chances at the line, going only 9-17 in that stretch. Turnovers plagued KU in the first half, and 15 minutes into the game, the Jayhawks had nine turnovers to only four assists.

Despite all those factors, the game stayed close as Kansas State had multiple players in foul trouble and Kansas struggled from the free-throw line.

Kansas finally got some breathing room when Frank Mason hit a three to put KU up 8 with 2:50 to go before halftime. Both teams traded buckets, and a steal by Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk turned into a Perry Ellis dunk to put the Jayhawks up 39-29 at half.

Mykhailiuk was the big spark for Kansas in the first half. He came into the game and hit two threes, made a nice pass to Ellis in a pick-and-roll and got a steal that put Kansas up 10 before half. This game could help Svi break out this year, as he got some run with the starters, hit shots and made plays when the Jayhawks needed someone to step up.

Kansas extended its lead in the second half, with the margin getting as high as 17 on the highlight of the night. Frank Mason took a pass in transition and went behind the back to avoid the defender before making the layup.

At this point, the game looked like it was going to be a runaway win for the Jayhawks, but then everything fell apart.

Perry Ellis took a hit with around 12 minutes left in the game and went to the locker room with his head bleeding.  Kansas State went on a 12-5 run with Ellis out, but he would return to the game with six minutes to go after receiving 12 stitches. Kansas State cut the lead to five before Jamari Traylor threw down a monster dunk to put Kansas back up 7.

Kansas State pulled back within three on a Justin Edwards layup, but after an ill-advised Frank Mason shot, Wayne Selden got a big rebound, his fifth of the game, and laid in the follow-up to bring the lead back to five.

Landen Lucas fouled out on the next possession and the Wildcats hit both free throws, but a nice step-back jumper from Devonte’ Graham, his first points of the game, brought the lead to five again.

Jamari Traylor fouled out on the next possession and Perry Ellis went to the locker room with another injury, this time after being poked in the eye. He would later return to the bench.

After having a huge 17-point lead, the Jayhawks wilted late and found themselves only up four with 43 seconds left. After having free throw and turnover troubles all game, it seemed this game could go either way.

Devonte’ Graham hit four free throws and Frank Mason added one of his own to seal the game at 72-63.

With this win, Kansas now has a two-game lead in the Big 12 with four games to play.

Next up: The Jayhawks are on the road on Tuesday against #25 Baylor. The game is at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

Notes:

  • Frank Mason: 16 points (5/9 FG), five assists and two steals.
  • Perry Ellis: 14 points (4/6 FG), 12 stitches, two rebounds and two assists. Left the game with injury twice, but returned to the bench before the game ended. Head coach Bill Self said, “We think he’ll be fine.”
  • Wayne Selden: 12 points (5/10 FG) and five rebounds.
  • Svi Mykhailiuk: 9 points (3/6 FG), four rebounds and two assists.
  • Landen Lucas: 7 points (2/2 FG), eight rebounds and a block.
  • Devonte’ Graham: 6 points (1/6 FG), six rebounds and three assists.
  • Jamari Traylor: 6 points (3/4 FG), three rebounds, an assist and a block.
  • Carlton Bragg: 2 points (1/2 FG), three rebounds and a steal.
  • Kansas shot 18/30 from the free-throw line (60%), 6/18 from three (33.3%) and 24/48 from the field (50%).
  • Career 32% three point shooter Stephen Hurt went 3/3 from behind the arc today. Sound familiar?
  • ESPN played a clip showing every win Kansas State has against Kansas in Bramlage Coliseum. It took (maybe) 15 seconds.
  • The Jayhawks are now 24-4 in the ‘Octagon of Doom’. Not too bad.
  • If the Jayhawks don’t lose a home game, they will win a 12th consecutive Big 12 Championship.
  • Remember when people were panicking about an 18-4 Kansas team being bad? That seems like ages ago.
  • Jamari Traylor’s only block was a big one:

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Dylan King

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