Ellis moving up charts
Perry Ellis’ 21 points Saturday pushed his career total to 1,767 and into the top 10 at Kansas. It’s heady company. Ellis passed Kirk Hinrich (1,753) and Dave Robisch (1,754) and moved into ninth place.
“It’s an honor, to be with all the great players who came before me,” Ellis said after KU’s 73-61 victory over Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament second round at Wells Fargo Arena. “It’s something I’m not thinking about, I’m just playing the game to win. You have a mindset like that you get accolades after the season.”
Ellis also added eight rebounds, giving him 824 for his career, which ranks 12th at KU. Clyde Lovellette is in 11th place with 839 and Scot Pollard is 10th with 850.
Ellis’ 15-footer with nine minutes remaining after Connecticut had closed to 50-41 started an 8-2 run that restored the Jayhawks’ confidence. Ellis ended the run with a slam.
He is a good half away from moving up one more spot. Paul Pierce finished with 1,768 points in his three seasons.
KU career leaders
1. D. Manning
2. N. Collison
3. R. LaFrentz
4. C. Lovellette
5. S. Collins
6. D. Valentine
7. K. Langford
8. P. Pierce
9. P. Ellis
10. D. Robisch
Where’s Uncle Anthony?
After Wayne Selden threw down a one-handed alley-oop dunk from Devonte’ Graham with 1:38 remaining Saturday, some KU fans watching the game on CBS waited for the camera to focus behind the Jayhawks bench.
That’s where Selden’s uncle Anthony Pitts, with his trademark oversized timepiece draped around his neck, was celebrating his nephew’s latest highlight slam. But after becoming a social-media sensation with his on-camera reactions during the Big 12 Tournament, Pitts didn’t get any camera time Saturday.
After the game, Selden jumped into Pitts’ arms for a hug after he finished an on-court interview.
Love for Jamari
Some of the loudest cheers Saturday were reserved for senior forward Jamari Traylor.
Even the CBS announcing team, led by enthusiastic commentator Bill Raftery, got in on the action. He could hardly contain his excitement.
That’s how strong Traylor’s defense was. He had several jaw-dropping blocks, at one point sending the ball well off the court and into the KU band.
Moments later, he followed UConn guard Jalen Adams for what appeared to be an easy layup by swooping in at the last moment to swat the attempt away.
Both plays occurred during a dominant stretch in the first half in which Kansas raced to a 40-16 lead. When Traylor exited the game, fans stood across the arena to applaud his effort.
“Their guy was trying to attack the basket, so I jumped up there and made a a play on the ball and got it on the first one,” Tryalor said. “The second one was in transition, and I was just hoping I didn’t foul him. I knew if we cut him off and he shot it that I was going to get it, and I did.”
Traylor earned style points by spiking the basketball on both blocks, finishing with three.
Landen Lucas also had three blocks to go with 12 points and six rebounds. The Jayhawks proved they have rim protectors.
“It looked like batting practice out there,” KU guard Wayne Selden said.
The flan split at Wells Fargo Arena for Saturday’s tradition-rich doubleheader was a tad surprising.
With KU, Kentucky and Indiana all playing at the same site, many wondered which fan base would bring the largest contingent of supporters. All three schools are within driving distance of Des Moines, and all three expected to make a March run.
Tickets were hard to come by, but Jayhawks fans seemed to get their hands on a small majority of them, followed by Indiana. There was a sharp drop-off to Kentucky, which usually fills arenas everywhere it goes. Some Kentucky reported said they had never seen a smaller gathering of Wildcats fans at the NCAA Tournament. Connecticut predictably had only a small pocket of fans.
Every member of KU’s starting lineup played at least 32 minutes. The only reserves to play were Svi Mykhailiuk, Brannen Greene, Carlton Bragg and Traylor. They combined for 29 minutes, with Traylor leading the way with 10.
Kellis Robinett, Blair Kerkhoff and Chris Fickett