Archive for Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Leaders: Tharpe’s big night keeps KU unbeaten in Big 12

Kansas point guard Naadir Tharpe pumps his fist after forcing an Iowa State timeout during a Jayhawk run in the second half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas point guard Naadir Tharpe pumps his fist after forcing an Iowa State timeout during a Jayhawk run in the second half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

January 14, 2014

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self after Jayhawks' huge, 77-70 victory at Iowa State

KU coach Bill Self after Jayhawks' huge 77-70 victory at Iowa State

KANSAS 77, IOWA STATE 70

Box Score

— He didn’t quite match Elijah Johnson’s 39-point outing of a year ago.

But Kansas University junior Naadir Tharpe continued a two-year tradition of scoring from the point guard position in Hilton Coliseum, exploding for a career-high 23 points in Monday’s 77-70 victory over Iowa State.

“I thought he played great. He hit shots, was finding the open man. I think he was player of the game,” said KU freshman Andrew Wiggins, who was outstanding as well, grabbing 19 rebounds, one off KU’s freshman record of 20 set by Eric Chenowith against Texas A&M; in 1998.

Tharpe — he scored 14 points the first half as the teams played to a 36-36 deadlock — hit seven of nine shots overall and was three of four from three. He also made six free throws in seven tries and had four assists against four turnovers with six rebounds in 36 minutes.

“I thought Naadir was terrific. He was fabulous,” said KU coach Bill Self. “He was good the whole game. Anytime anybody scores 23 on nine shots, he’s doing good things. I thought Naa gave us confidence, starting the second half to make a three out of post trap on the first possession ... it seems like a little thing, but next thing you know we are up seven.”

Indeed, Tharpe opened the scoring in the final half as (12-4, 3-0) KU eventually built a game-high lead of 12 points and was able to outlast an ISU team that fell to 14-2, 2-2.

Tharpe wore a red hat with the word “leaders” on it as he met media after the game. It’d be a good story if it’s because he’s a team leader. 

Instead “leaders” is a clothing line, the star of the game explained with a smile.

As far as trying to match his former teammate Johnson’s performance ... “Some people were talking on Twitter: ‘You are going to have another game like Elijah.’ It was nothing like Elijah did. It was more a team game,” Tharpe said.

Tharpe surpassed his previous scoring high of 20 points against Toledo on Dec. 30.

Monday’s scoring outburst came out of nowhere for the 5-foot-11 dynamo from Worcester, Mass.

“Coach told me at shoot-around .... I missed a lot of shots ... he said, ‘play with confidence and be aggressive,’’’ Tharpe said.

He hit two free throws at :46.9, stretching a 72-67 lead to 74-67, part of his six of seven deadeye performance from the line.

“It feels good. Coach always says, ‘Big time players play in the big games,’’’ Tharpe said. “I feel I played well. I had a couple bad turnovers. It’s part of basketball, too, you’ve got to think next play.”

KU freshman big man Joel Embiid also was huge for the Jayhawks, scoring six points in an 8-2 run that stretched a 56-51 lead to 64-53 at 7:52. Embiid had picked up a technical foul in the first half for pulling down on the jersey of DeAndre Kane.

Embiid had four points and two rebounds the first half. He finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and seven turnovers in 28 minutes.

“Coach told me to stay aggressive,” Embiid said of the halftime talk. “The past two games, I knew I had to play well for us to win. The second half I changed my mindset. I went like I’m used to. I got aggressive.”

As far as rebounder deluxe Wiggins, his 19 boards were most by a Jayhawk since Nick Collison had 19 against Duke in the 2003 NCAAs.

“We came out with a bang. We stayed aggressive,” said Wiggins, who said a talk with his dad stressed the importance of rebounding.

Another key to victory was Iowa State hit just four of 25 threes. KU cashed five of 16.

“This was one of our better road wins,” Self said. “We’re so fortunate because they missed shots. We defended them well, but they missed shots. We handled the ball miserably (24 turnovers to ISU’s eight). We looked like third graders at times handling the ball.”

Iowa State was able to withstand a game-opening 15-4 run  by KU and by halftime had matched the Jayhawks point for point, 36-36.

Senior guard DeAndre Kane (21 points) who played despite suffering a severe ankle sprain on Saturday at Oklahoma, hit a three-pointer over 7-footer Embiid to beat the halftime buzzer and tie the contest.

“All that did at the end of the first half was make it a 20-minute game. That’s what I told our guys,” Self said.

ISU in the first half survived miserable 2-of-13 three-point shooting, the 14-point onslaught of KU point guard Tharpe and the 12-rebound, 11-point performance of Wiggins

Wiggins had six points and Tharpe five in the 15-4 opening surge. A technical foul by Embiid, who pulled hard on Kane’s jersey, at 15:13, led to two free throws by Georges Niang and started a 14-5 run to cut the gap to 20-18 at 10:22.

The Jayhawks grabbed a 30-22 lead off a Tharpe three at 6:11. ISU, which had just two turnovers the first half, closed the half with a 14-6 surge.

KU will next meet Oklahoma State at 3 p.m., Saturday, in Allen.He didn’t quite match Elijah Johnson’s 39-point outing of a year ago.

But Kansas University junior Naadir Tharpe continued a two-year tradition of scoring from the point guard position in Hilton Coliseum, exploding for a career-high 23 points in Monday’s 77-70 victory over Iowa State.

“I thought he played great. He hit shots, was finding the open man. I think he was player of the game,” said KU freshman Andrew Wiggins, who was outstanding as well, grabbing 19 rebounds, one off KU’s freshman record of 20 set by Eric Chenowith against Texas A&M; in 1998.

Tharpe — he scored 14 points the first half as the teams played to a 36-36 deadlock — hit seven of nine shots overall and was three of four from three. He also made six free throws in seven tries and had four assists against four turnovers with six rebounds in 36 minutes.

“I thought Naadir was terrific. He was fabulous,” said KU coach Bill Self. “He was good the whole game. Anytime anybody scores 23 on nine shots, he’s doing good things. I thought Naa gave us confidence, starting the second half to make a three out of post trap on the first possession ... it seems like a little thing, but next thing you know we are up seven.”

Indeed, Tharpe opened the scoring in the final half as (12-4, 3-0) KU eventually built a game-high lead of 12 points and was able to outlast an ISU team that fell to 14-2, 2-2.

Tharpe wore a red hat with the word “leaders” on it as he met media after the game. It’d be a good story if it’s because he’s a team leader. 

Instead “leaders” is a clothing line, the star of the game explained with a smile.

As far as trying to match his former teammate Johnson’s performance ... “Some people were talking on Twitter: ‘You are going to have another game like Elijah.’ It was nothing like Elijah did. It was more a team game,” Tharpe said.

Tharpe surpassed his previous scoring high of 20 points against Toledo on Dec. 30.

Monday’s scoring outburst came out of nowhere for the 5-foot-11 dynamo from Worcester, Mass.

“Coach told me at shoot-around .... I missed a lot of shots ... he said, ‘play with confidence and be aggressive,’’’ Tharpe said.

He hit two free throws at :46.9, stretching a 72-67 lead to 74-67, part of his six of seven deadeye performance from the line.

“It feels good. Coach always says, ‘Big time players play in the big games,’’’ Tharpe said. “I feel I played well. I had a couple bad turnovers. It’s part of basketball, too, you’ve got to think next play.”

KU freshman big man Joel Embiid also was huge for the Jayhawks, scoring six points in an 8-2 run that stretched a 56-51 lead to 64-53 at 7:52. Embiid had picked up a technical foul in the first half for pulling down on the jersey of DeAndre Kane.

Embiid had four points and two rebounds the first half. He finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and seven turnovers in 28 minutes.

“Coach told me to stay aggressive,” Embiid said of the halftime talk. “The past two games, I knew I had to play well for us to win. The second half I changed my mindset. I went like I’m used to. I got aggressive.”

As far as rebounder deluxe Wiggins, his 19 boards were most by a Jayhawk since Nick Collison had 19 against Duke in the 2003 NCAAs.

“We came out with a bang. We stayed aggressive,” said Wiggins, who said a talk with his dad stressed the importance of rebounding.

Another key to victory was Iowa State hit just four of 25 threes. KU cashed five of 16.

“This was one of our better road wins,” Self said. “We’re so fortunate because they missed shots. We defended them well, but they missed shots. We handled the ball miserably (24 turnovers to ISU’s eight). We looked like third graders at times handling the ball.”

Iowa State was able to withstand a game-opening 15-4 run  by KU and by halftime had matched the Jayhawks point for point, 36-36.

Senior guard DeAndre Kane (21 points) who played despite suffering a severe ankle sprain on Saturday at Oklahoma, hit a three-pointer over 7-footer Embiid to beat the halftime buzzer and tie the contest.

“All that did at the end of the first half was make it a 20-minute game. That’s what I told our guys,” Self said.

ISU in the first half survived miserable 2-of-13 three-point shooting, the 14-point onslaught of KU point guard Tharpe and the 12-rebound, 11-point performance of Wiggins

Wiggins had six points and Tharpe five in the 15-4 opening surge. A technical foul by Embiid, who pulled hard on Kane’s jersey, at 15:13, led to two free throws by Georges Niang and started a 14-5 run to cut the gap to 20-18 at 10:22.

The Jayhawks grabbed a 30-22 lead off a Tharpe three at 6:11. ISU, which had just two turnovers the first half, closed the half with a 14-6 surge.

KU will next meet Oklahoma State at 3 p.m., Saturday, in Allen. Self is hoping that game is a continuation of what he's seen of late in league play. The Jayhawks before, during and after Monday's game had smiles on their faces.

“Maybe they are growing up,” Self said of his young Jayhawks. “If you have followed our team closely, you can make a case this team enjoyed playing less than teams we’ve had. Since we’ve started conference play they are having as much fun as any team we’ve had. Maybe they are growing up, or saw the ball go in the hole. They are having fun right now.”

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