Ellis shines, leads Jayhawks past TCU

Perry Ellis dunking against TCU

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas sophomore forward Perry Ellis contributed a career-best 32 points and the Jayhawks used stout second-half defense to rout TCU, 95-65, inside Allen Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon.

On a day that four Jayhawks scored in double-figures, Ellis was a near-perfect 13-of-15 from the field and snagged eight rebounds while defensively, No. 7 Kansas (19-6, 10-2 Big 12) limited TCU (9-15, 0-12) to just nine points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to blow open what was a single-digit halftime lead.

The Horned Frogs had led by as many as six points before intermission behind first-half 21 points from junior guard Kyan Anderson and trailed by seven at the break before Kansas bolted to a 20-point advantage three quarters of the way through the game.

Freshman guard Andrew Wiggins followed Ellis with 17 points, while fellow freshman Wayne Selden, Jr., tallied 15 for the game after scoring 11 in the first half. Sophomore forward Jamari Traylor provided great hustle and energy off of the bench with a career-high 10 points and eight rebounds. As a team, Kansas shot a blistering 61.5 percent from the field in the game, its highest shooting percentage since a 66.0 percent (31-47) efficiency in the Big 12 Tournament against Texas Tech (3/14/13).

TCU hung with the Jayhawks in the first 20 minutes of play thanks largely to Anderson’s eruption. Anderson only missed one of his eight shot attempts and nailed five first-half free throws. The rest of the Horned Frogs combined with Anderson to chalk up a 56.5 first half shooting percentage, but the tone changed in the second half as Anderson and TCU couldn’t find the right rhythm to hang with Kansas. The Jayhawks tightened up their defense and limited TCU to 33.3 percent in the second half, limited the once-hot Anderson to four second-half points, and forced 17 TCU turnovers in the contest.

The Horned Frogs started the contest connecting on eight of their first 11 shots and led the Jayhawks, who started off 8-of-14 from the field, 22-16 near the midpoint of the first half. The hot start from the field didn’t translate over to the free throw line for Kansas which missed six of its first seven attempts from the charity stripe. Down by six at the 11-minute mark, the Jayhawks reeled off five-straight points to trail by one, 25-24, after Ellis’s first made three-point attempt of the season.

Even without the presence of freshman center Joel Embiid in the middle, KU flustered TCU down low in the first half. The Jayhawks grabbed seven offensive rebounds, scored 22 points in the paint and added five second-chance points to the scoreboard. Despite the well-rounded production of three Jayhawks scoring in double-figures in the first half, Kansas couldn’t decisively pull away from TCU due to Anderson’s offensive showcase.

In the waning seconds of the first half, Wiggins drained a three from the top of the key to push the KU lead to seven points, 47-40, going into the break. Kansas shot 21-for-34 from the field in the first half and kept the torrid pace after half.

Just five seconds into the second half Kansas forced a TCU timeout on an inbounds play, then a second later KU blasted the tone for the rest of the game by forcing TCU into a turnover that finished with Ellis scoring in transition. The pieces quickly started to come together for the Jayhawks to build up an insurmountable second-half lead.

Kansas found the recipe to contain TCU’s offense, holding the Horned Frogs to make one of their first five second-half shots. The Jayhawks on the other hand, had no trouble building on their shooting streak, making 70 percent of their shots through the first eight minutes.

The Jayhawks tickled the crowd by putting up a few highlight lob plays on the offensive end of the floor. Senior forward Tarik Black opened the aerial show as he threw down a pass from Wiggins to build KU’s lead to 12 points, 52-40. The lead would keep expanding from there. KU quickly turned flipped the dozen into 19 after Ellis found a wide-open, cutting Wiggins for another crowd pleasing rim rattler.

TCU had no answer for the groove the Jayhawks found themselves in. Feeding off of the crowd, KU turned several hustle plays into points. Not even 10 minutes had passed in the second half when what was once a seven-point, halftime lead, ballooned to 25 points, 70-45, with 11:32 left to play.

Spurring chants of “Perry, Perry, Perry” from the crowd at multiple times during the second half, Ellis put the finishing touches on his career afternoon by draining his second three giving to push the lead to 27 points. The Wichita, Kan., native reached 30 points with a little more than four minutes left to play and added a pair of free throws on the next possession before leaving the action with 32.

Anderson scored 25 to pace TCU and was joined in double figures by Amric Fields, who added 12. Kansas out-rebounded TCU 35-18 and out-muscled the Horned Frogs with a 56-18 scoring difference in the paint.

UP NEXT

Kansas will travel to Texas Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. on the Big 12 Network. The Jayhawks will then host Texas on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU and Oklahoma in their fourth ESPN Big Monday appearance of 2013-14 on Feb. 24 at 8 p.m.

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