FORT WORTH, Texas — While not a member of the team that surrendered the upset to TCU a year ago, freshman guard Andrew Wiggins still made certain that history would not repeat itself, setting the tone with 19 first-half points to power No. 8/11 Kansas to a 91-69 win at TCU in the Jayhawks’ first trip back to the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum Saturday night.
Not quite a year ago, Kansas (15-4, 6-0 Big 12) fell victim to one of the oddest games in recent history at TCU (9-10, 0-7 Big 12). The Jayhawks garnered just 13 first-half points in what was tagged as a ‘bizarro’ loss.
As a unit, the Jayhawks laid all memories of last year’s scoring drought to rest when they came out with 53 points by halftime, marking the most points scored in a half against a conference opponent since rolling out 57 points in the second half against Texas Tech in the first half of Big 12 Championship Quarterfinals – and the most on the road in a regular season conference game since tallying the same total at Baylor on Jan. 17, 2011.
While Wiggins was one of four starters that weren’t Jayhawks at the time, he led the redemption trip with a career-high 27 points total on 8-of-13 shooting and a 9-for-10 effort at the free throw line. Fellow rookies Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden, Jr., joined Wiggins’ on the redemption effort, tallying 14 and 12 points, respectively. Sophomore forward Perry Ellis, the only starter from that fateful game still on the team, pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds.
The Jayhawk faithful did their part, as well. It became unclear whether the sold-out venue was home or away as “Let’s Go Jayhawks” cheers broke out throughout the night, drowning out those of the home team to provide yet another source of motivation. At the two-minute mark, the infamous “Rock Chalk” chant sealed the deal on KU’s sixth-straight victory that keeps the Jayhawks atop the Big 12 Conference standings.
Freshman forward Brandon Parrish led the Horned Frogs with 15 points, while junior forward Amric Fields added 13 points. Fields also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, doing his best to fend off KU’s 40-24 rebounding margin.
Although this year’s starting lineup at TCU looked much different than the one from a year ago, the Jayhawks wasted no time ensuring that the game would have a different look as well. Seven early points from Embiid saw Kansas make five of its first nine attempts en route to a 14-6 lead.
The Jayhawks worked quickly to strengthen its grip. After Parrish drove in for a layup to cut the advantage to four, 14-10, KU sprang into action. Picking up a pair of threes from Wiggins and fellow freshman Brannen Greene, KU put together a 12-2 scoring stretch to more than double the Horned Frogs halfway through the first half, 26-12.
Without the use of senior forward Tarik Black, who missed the only game of his Jayhawk career due to a day-to-day ankle injury, redshirt freshman Landen Lucas was called upon to step up. He obliged, diving on the floor for loose balls upon checking in and connecting on a textbook hook shot from the baseline to keep his team’s advantage in double-digits. He finished with a career-high seven points and five rebounds.
From there, the landslide began to take hold. Less than 40 seconds separated a pair of threes from freshman guard Conner Frankamp and Wiggins, launching the lead past the 20-point mark with 3:30 still to play in the opening frame. Meanwhile, the visitors acquired additional benefit from TCU’s lack of a field goal for nearly seven minutes. Solid free throw shooting – the Frogs went 14-for-16 from the line in the first half – did little to help its poor shooting effort. TCU’s buzzer-beating three off the hands of Parrish couldn’t get the Jayhawks lead under 20 by the break. Kansas took its largest halftime lead of the conference season to the lockerroom, 53-32.
The last second three did help TCU come out of the gate with more firepower to start half number two. By the second media timeout, the teams matched each other with a 16-16 scoring start. KU’s first-half resume did plenty to maintain distance until scoring picked back up. Freshman guard Frank Mason grabbed a defensive rebound and seamlessly drove coast-to-coast for a layup. Ellis joined him with a jumper in the lane as the teams traded baskets momentarily.
TCU kept pace in second-half scoring numbers. In fact, by the end of the evening, KU outscored TCU in the second half by a single point. When Embiid departed the game early with five fouls and six minutes still to play, the Horned Frogs gained additional momentum.
But the Jayhawks had built all they needed. Armed with a 20-point lead, head coach Bill Self checked his reserves into the game to close it out. A three-point play from Greene pushed KU’s point total to 91, the most points TCU has allowed this season, en route to closing out the 91-69 victory.
Kansas will play its second 2014 contest against No. 16/17 Iowa State when the Cyclones come to Lawrence on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. KU will then take a two-game road trip to the Lone Star State when the Jayhawks play at Texas on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 3 p.m. on ESPN. KU will then travel to Baylor on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. on either ESPN or ESPN2.
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NO. 8/11 KANSAS 91, TCU 69
Jan. 25, 2014
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): Jr. Naadir Tharpe (16/16), Fr. Wayne Selden, Jr. (19/19), Fr. Andrew Wiggins (19/19), So. Perry Ellis (19/22), Fr. Joel Embiid (11/11)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads 6-1
ATTENDANCE: 7,494 (7,201 capacity)
• Improved Kansas to 15-4 on the season.
• Keeps Kansas the only undefeated team in conference play, making KU 6-0 for the third-straight time and the sixth time in the 11-year Bill Self era.
• Increased the Jayhawks’ series lead to 6-1 all-time against the Horned Frogs, including a 2-1 advantage in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
• Moved Kansas head coach Bill Self to 10-4 all-time against TCU, 315-63 while at Kansas and 522-168 overall.
• Pushed KU's all-time record to 2,116-816.
• Saturday’s matchup was the first KU has played against a team not ranked or receiving votes in more than a month (Georgetown, 12/21/13).
• The game marked the annual Coaches vs. Cancer event and both coaching staffs showed their support by wearing sneakers with their suits.
• Kansas wore its original road blues for the first time since unveiling their new alternate uniforms on Jan. 11.
• KU’s 91 points are the most that TCU has surrendered this season and marks the first time the Jayhawks have tallied two 90-point outings on the road in conference play in the Bill Self era (90 at Oklahoma; 91 at TCU).
• The Jayhawks quickly denounced any sign of a repeat from their last trip to TCU when they hit their third field goal of the opening frame less than three minutes into the game. A year ago, three field goals were all KU could muster in the opening half.
• Instead, the Jayhawks went on to amass its second-highest point total in a half this season (53) in the first 20 minutes, marking the most points scored in a half against a conference opponent since rolling out 57 points in the second half against Texas Tech in the first half of Big 12 Championship Quarterfinals.
• The 53 first-half points marked the most on the road in a regular season conference game since tallying the same total at Baylor on Jan. 17, 2011.
• By the third media timeout of the first half (7:41), freshman C Joel Embiid (5) and sophomore F Perry Ellis (6) were outrebounding the Horned Frogs on their own (9). KU went on to outrebound TCU for the half (20-14) and for the game (40-24), making 16-of-19 games this season in which the Jayhawks won the war on the boards. The +16 rebounding margin was just one off KU’s season high (17 at Iowa State (1/13).
• Kansas shot 61.5 percent (16-26) in the first half, marking the 10th half of the season that the Jayhawks shot 60 percent or better. The Jayhawks finished at 57.4 percent (31-54) for the game and improved to 11-1 when shooting better than 50 percent for the game.
• The Jayhawks held the Frogs without a field goal from the 9:04 to the 2:28 mark of the first half.
• The ‘Rock Chalk’ crowd chant began at 1:56.
· Senior F Tarik Black did not suit up against the Horned Frogs due to injury. That’s the first time this season Black did not check into a game.
· Freshman G Andrew Wiggins tallied 19 points in the first half, the most in a half since former Kansas guard Ben McLemore racked up 19 in the opening half of his freshman record 36-point game against West Virginia (3/3/13).
· Wiggins went on to chalk up a career-high 27 points, besting his previous high of 26 at Florida (12/10).
· Wiggins went 9-for-10 at the free throw line, marking the fifth time this season he’s shot 90 percent or better from the charity stripe.
· Sophomore F Perry Ellis brought down a career-high 14 rebounds for his third double-digit rebounding effort of the season.
· RS freshman F Landen Lucas checked into his first career Big 12 game and within seconds dove after a loose ball. He added a career-high seven points for his first scores since the Georgetown game (12/21).
· Junior G Naadir Tharpe tallied four assists and no turnovers, his fifth game this season without committing a turnover. It also marked his only game of the season that he didn’t score.
· Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr. stopped his streak of games with at least one made three-pointer at 12-straight games. His 12 points, four assists and no turnovers made up for it. He’s posted double-digit points in half of KU’s Big 12 games.
· Freshman C Joel Embiid blocked three shots on Saturday. He now has at least one blocked shot in 13-straight games this season.
· The Cameroon native’s now has 53 blocks on the season, moving him into second on the all-time freshman block’s list at Kansas, trailing only Darrell Arthur (54, 2007) and Eric Chenowith (62, 1998).