Kansas sophomore wing Brannen Greene continued his hot outside shooting on Saturday, bolstering the Jayhawks’ offense during the second half of a 68-57 victory over K-State.
While K-State tried to climb back into the game, Greene drilled two key second-half threes, blunting the Wildcats’ momentum. He finished with 11 points, hitting three of four from three-point range. Greene also hit a long jumper.
“I thought that Brannen Greene kind of bailed us out,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “The dude takes five shots outside 17 feet and makes four of them. I thought he kind of bailed us out when we didn’t play great offense.”
For the season, Greene is now shooting 50 percent (27 of 54) from long distance. He’s been even better during conference play, hitting 13 of 21 on threes.
“Where other guys need a lot of daylight, he doesn’t need that much daylight,” Self said. “So I like it when the ball leaves his hand.”
▪ Kansas freshman guard Devonte’ Graham picked up a technical foul in the second half for taunting K-State’s Marcus Foster. Self said that, according to the officials, both players had just been warned about trash talking on a previous possession.
“He didn’t say anything bad,” Self said. “But he ran up there and yelled at him. He deserved it. It was an immature and bad play, but he’ll learn from it.”
▪ Sophomore guard Wayne Selden set a career high with four blocks, which also matched the most by a KU player this season.
▪ Kansas has now won 49 of 53 games against K-State, dating to the 1994 season.
Williams starts for K-State
In a surprise move, senior forward Nino Williams was in K-State’s starting lineup.
He was recovering from a sprained left knee suffered in his last game against West Virginia and was deemed doubtful to play Saturday by K-State coach Bruce Weber. He didn’t practice on Thursday or Friday leading up to the game, but he participated fully in warm-ups and convinced coaches he was fit to play.
That bodes well for his health moving forward, but he was not a factor against the Jayhawks, missing six of seven shots and scoring four points.
“I could tell by his first couple of shots, I’m not sure where his mind-set was,” Weber said. “Our only fear of him playing was the next nine games. Hopefully he responds well.”
Same old story for Wildcats
K-State has lost nine straight games at Kansas, all by double digits. The lopsided scores were all a result of early leads by the Jayhawks.
It’s become predictable.
Three different K-State coaches have been involved in that streak. Weber isn’t sure what it will take for the Wildcats to change that routine.
“You have to come in with the right mind-set and can’t be affected,” Weber said. “We go to Iowa State, we’ve been to Oklahoma and we were so focused. Then we come here and we weren’t ready to guard them the way we need to guard
“… If you are going to come in here you have to guard them and fight them. I’m not saying with fists. You have to battle them. If you don’t do that, if you think you are going to go in and just be pretty and soft, you aren’t going to win.”
▪ Key play: Kansas forward Perry Ellis made a layupt that gave Kansas a 20-5 lead with 12 minutes to play in the first half. KU would lead 33-17 at halftime.
▪ Key stat: K-State didn’t make a single three-pointer and shot 17.1 percent from the field.
▪ Key play: After K-State cut KU’s lead to 51-40, Kansas sophomore Brannen Greene drilled a three-pointer that began a 5-0 run and pushed the lead back to 56-40 with 7:58 to play.
▪ Key stat: Self is 23-4 against K-State while at KU.