University of Kansas

KU notes: Freshman Cliff Alexander sits in the second half

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander was a spectator most of the second half.
Kansas forward Cliff Alexander was a spectator most of the second half. The Associated Press

Alexander takes seat

Kansas freshman forward Cliff Alexander put up six points and six rebounds in 12 minutes during the first half on Saturday in an eventual 86-81 loss to Iowa State. But some defensive lapses and an inconsistent “motor” on defense limited him to just 2 minutes in the second half, Kansas coach Bill Self said.

“I didn’t think his motor was very good tonight,” Self said. “That was the reason.”

The Jayhawks received a solid performance from junior forward Perry Ellis, who finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. But the rest of the Kansas frontcourt was largely ineffective. Sophomore Landen Lucas finished with zero points, zero rebounds and four fouls in 19 minutes. Junior Jamari Traylor was scoreless and had two rebounds in 15 minutes. Even reserve Hunter Mickelson (four rebounds in 3 minutes) played more minutes than Alexander in the second half.

When asked about the balance of letting Alexander play through mistakes because of what he can bring on the offensive and defensive end, Self offered this:

“I think the big thing is you got to play with a motor.” Self said. “When you’re guarding a guy that’s active on the perimeter, you got to at least close out or be in a stance or do some things to try and guard him. I didn’t think that was the case at all.

“Although he can put up some numbers, but we’re not going to win consistently unless he plays with a motor. And he won’t play well consistently unless he plays with a motor.”

Alexander, a former McDonald’s All-American and top-five recruit, is averaging more than 18 minutes per game this season.

▪ Two former Kansas athletes will be honored Monday during KU’s game against Oklahoma as part of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration on campus.

Homer Floyd, a former Kansas football captain, and Ernie Shelby, a former track and field captain, will return to campus and take part in ceremonies commemorating their roles in the desegregation of Lawrence during the 1950s.

In 1957, Floyd, Shelby, the late Wilt Chamberlain and the late track star Charlie Tidwell met with then KU chancellor Franklin Murphy and threatened to leave KU if the university didn’t take on a larger role in addressing segregation in the Lawrence community.

On Monday afternoon, Floyd and Shelby will participate in a candlelight vigil and walk from Strong Hall to the Kansas Union for a social justice celebration. Later that night, Floyd and Shelby will be honored during Kansas’ game against Oklahoma. In addition to KU athletics, the events are being sponsored by KU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.

First half

Key play: Trailing 34-28 in the final minutes of the half, Kansas forward Cliff Alexander finished at the rim. The bucket helped Kansas cut the halftime deficit to three.

Key stat: Kansas shot zero free throws.

Second half

Key play: After Kansas cut Iowa State’s lead to 55-53, Cyclones big man Jameel McKay got loose for an alley-oop dunk, sparking the decisive run.

Key stat: Iowa State scored 21 points off transition.

| Rustin Dodd, rdodd@kcstar.com

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