For Kansas junior forward Jamari Traylor, his first few days at Disney World could have gone a little better. He had six points and three turnovers in No. 11 KU’s opening-round victory over Rhode Island, and then managed just one point and three turnovers in a semifinal victory over Tennessee.
“I know I’ve been having rough games and everything,” Traylor said.
On Sunday, Traylor shook off some of his early-season struggles with six points in 15 minutes in a 61-56 victory over No. 20 Michigan State. He also converted two free throws with 30 seconds left as Kansas protected a three-point lead.
“Mari is emotional,” Kansas coach Bill Self said, “and sometimes I think his emotions are the best thing about him, and sometimes they kind of get in his way a little bit. I think for the most part, he’s kept a good attitude.”
Traylor said he has been frustrated by his performance thus far. After shooting 67 percent from the floor as a sophomore, he’s shooting just 36 percent in six games. So making those two free throws certainly felt good.
“I’m tough on myself when I make mistakes, because I know I’m better than that,” Traylor said. “Coach (Self) puts a lot of trust in me by putting me on the floor. But I always think next play.”
▪ Sunday’s attendance at HP Fieldhouse at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex was 4,842. According to tournament officials, it was a single-session record for the Orlando Classic. The previous mark was set in 2008.
▪ Kansas became the first Big 12 Conference team to win the Orlando Classic in the tournament’s nine-year history. For the Jayhawks, it was the first early-season tournament title since winning the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center in 2012.
▪ For the second straight game, Kansas sophomore guard Frank Mason set a career high in rebounds. His 10 rebounds on Sunday were also a team high.
▪ Key play: KU freshman Svi Mykhailiuk drilled a three-pointer in the final seconds of the half, cutting Michigan State’s lead to 36-35 heading into the second half.
▪ Key stat: Michigan State hit five of eight from three-point range.
▪ Key play: Freshman Cliff Alexander finished a layup through contact and drew a foul, finishing with a three-point play. The basket and free throw gave Kansas a 54-46 lead with more than 7 minutes left.
▪ Key stat: Michigan State shot 24 percent in the second half.