Notebook: Ejiofor out ‘for extended period’ after injury; Chiefs’ Kelce attends game

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce congratulates Kansas head coach Bill Self following the Jayhawks’ 90-78 win over Kansas State on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, at Allen Fieldhouse. Photo by Nick Krug

Freshman big man Zuby Ejiofor did not suit up for Tuesday’s game against Kansas State.

The 6-foot-10 forward was injured during the Jayhawks’ win at Kentucky and Self said he would be out for “a while.”

“We got a great report today in that it is what we thought it was,” Self said on Monday of the news for team doctors. “He has a pretty banged-up (left) foot, a sprained foot.”

While Self classified the diagnosis as “great news for Zuby and us,” the KU coach said Ejiofor will still be limited for the next two to three weeks.

“He’s going to be out an extended period of time,” Self said. “Certainly, that beats the alternative of having surgery and being out six or seven months.”

In 19 games so far this season, the Garland, Texas, forward who was wearing a walking boot on Tuesday night has averaged 1.4 points and 1.9 rebounds in 5.6 minutes per game.

With Ejiofor out, Ernest Udeh Jr. was the first man off the bench for Kansas on Tuesday night, with Zach Clemence also playing some minutes at the 5 behind starter KJ Adams.

Within seconds of checking in for Adams in both halves, Udeh made his impact felt, grabbing an offensive rebound for an easy bucket in the first half and blocking a shot and grabbing the rebound in the second half.

Student surplus

For the first time in more than 15 years, more Kansas students redeemed their tickets than Allen Fieldhouse had room for through their annual sports pass.

As a result, KU quickly made adjustments for the students it could not let into the building. Each one was offered a $10 refund, a $20 concessions voucher and a spot inside KU’s volleyball venue, Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena, as a form of overflow seating to watch the ESPN broadcast the game that unfolded just a few hundred feet to the east.

On a few separate occasions during Tuesday’s pregame, KU’s public address announcer asked the students who were already seated to squeeze together to allow for as many student seats as possible.

A KU spokesperson said Allen Fieldhouse typically allows for 3,000 student seats per game and KU was able to get 3,400 in on Tuesday, using what’s referred to as “holds” for other seats.

The spokesperson said 5,100 students claimed tickets for Tuesday’s game and that about 200 students went to Horejsi to watch the game.

Tuesday’s student sections were jam packed more than an hour before tipoff of Tuesday’s highly anticipated rematch of the Sunflower Showdown.

Kelce in the house

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was in Allen Fieldhouse for Tuesday’s game.

Sporting a black vest, a white hoodie and white and blue hat, Kelce was introduced to the crowd during the under-4 media timeout of the first half.

Shortly before his introduction, half of the fans in the stands broke into a tomahawk chop to welcome their guest. Kelce visited the KU locker room after the victory and, according to Jalen Wilson, had one message for the team.

“Winning one is good, winning two is even better,” Wilson said.

Wooden candidates

Three of the 20 players who were on the floor for Tuesday’s game at Allen Fieldhouse recently landed on the late-season watch list for the John R. Wooden Award, given annually to college basketball’s top player.

Two of them wore purple, with Kansas State’s Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell joining KU’s Jalen Wilson on the list.

Others on the list were: North Carolina’s Armando Bacot, Detroit’s Antoine Davis, Memphis’ Kendric Davis, Purdue’s Zach Edey, Duke’s Kyle Filipowski, Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez, TCU’s Mike Miles, Alabama’s Brandon Miller, Penn State’s Jalen Pickett, Iowa’s Kris Murray, Houston’s Marcus Sasser, N.C. State’s Terquavion Smith, Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis and Miami’s Isaiah Wong.

Voting for the 2023 Wooden Award will open prior to the NCAA Tournament with the player of the year award announced following the NCAA title game in April.

KU women travel to Baylor

The Kansas women’s basketball team will head to Waco, Texas, on Wednesday night for a battle with Baylor at the Ferrell Center.

The Jayhawks (14-5 overall, 4-4 Big 12) and Bears (14-6, 5-3) already met in Lawrence earlier this year, with Baylor (coming away with a 75-62 win at Allen Fieldhouse. That loss remains KU’s lone home loss of the season to date.

Baylor, meanwhile, is 9-3 at home this season and boasts the second-best scoring defense in the Big 12 at 57.5 points allowed per game.

KU enters this one on the heels of a big home win over Kansas State last weekend. It marked the Jayhawks’ second win in their last three Big 12 outings following a three-game losing streak.

Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. on Big 12 Now via ESPN+.


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