Graham’s monster games the first of their kind at KU since 1970

photo by: Nick Krug

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) puts up a three over Syracuse guard Frank Howard (23) during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at American Airlines Arena in Miami.

Andrew Wiggins (41), Elijah Johnson (39) and Ben McLemore (36) all scored more points in a single game during their time as Jayhawks than current KU senior Devonte’ Graham scored last week.

But, unlike Graham, who tallied a career-high 35 points in back to back wins over Toledo and Syracuse last week, none of them were able to follow up their outbursts with quite the same kind of performance the next game out.

Wiggins came the closest, scoring 30 points in an overtime win over Oklahoma State in the 2014 Big 12 tournament, five days after scoring 41 in a loss at West Virginia.

But Johnson followed up his big game with a much more modest 12-point night in a win over West Virginia. Johnson did add 10 assists and five rebounds to his line. And what’s funny about Johnson’s follow-up game was that it was the night that McLemore scored his 36.

McLemore then followed that up with a 13-point effort on Senior Night in 2013.

According to KU’s media relations staff, Graham’s back-to-back games of 35 points last week marked the first time since the 1969-70 season that a Jayhawk had scored 35 or more in back to back games.

That player was former KU center and 14-year NBA veteran Dave Robisch, who tallied 39 points against Iowa State and 38 against Colorado the next time out during a pair of conference games back in 1970.

Graham’s two 35-point outings set a new career high for the senior from Raleigh, N.C., — eclipsing the old mark of 27 — and all seemed to come within the flow of KU’s offense, without the point guard forcing the action or seeking his own shot to the detriment of the team.

“I’ve always coached ’em down to the point where we haven’t had very many (players put up huge point totals),” Self said this week, when asked about Graham’s big nights. “Wiggs got 41 at West Virginia because we were behind and a lot of them were catch-up points. But we haven’t had very many of them get that number. …Wilt (Chamberlain) probably did it a couple times.”

Self continued: “Elijah got like 39 or something against Iowa State, but that was an overtime game. So, as far as in the teeth of a game, Devonte’ had 35 with eight minutes left against Toledo and he had 35 with about five minutes left against Syracuse. So, yeah, I don’t know if we’ve had anybody ever score the ball that well when the game was still in balance, so to speak. Because a lot of times guys get points by being ahead late and they (shoot free throws) or being behind and then you have real short possessions. This was not a case of either one of those.”