Ellis leads Kansas past TCU
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Perry Ellis is a man of few words, but on Saturday the sophomore forward was happy to let the Kansas crowd say it all.
When he was done with his performance, the sellout throng in Allen Fieldhouse was chanting his name: “Perry, Perry, Perry.”
No wonder. Ellis scored a career-high 32 points on 13-of-15 shooting. He also led the No. 7 Jayhawks with a career-high five assists and shared game-high honors with eight rebounds as Kansas throttled TCU, 95-65.
“He was great,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I even think one of his two misses he got back and put it in. He was without question our best player today.”
The limelight for Ellis is dimmed at times by the Jayhawks’ dazzling freshman class.
Among them, guards Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Selden added 17 and 15 points, respectively, as Kansas bounced back from an overtime loss earlier in the week to in-state rival Kansas State and improved to 19-6 overall, while maintaining the Big 12 lead at 10-2.
To pull away from TCU, which remained winless in Big 12 play at 0-12 while falling to 9-15 overall, the Jayhawks counted on Ellis to show impressive range.
When he wasn’t scoring, he solved the TCU zone by passing out of the high post for his five assists.
“Even though he won’t be our leading scorer this year, he’s going to be our most consistent scorer,” Self said. “We don’t have to run any stuff for him. Perry is going to get his.”
Ellis established his previous scoring high in a Nov. 12 win over Duke. That was in the Champions Classic. This time, in his own building, he got to hear his name.
“It felt good,” Ellis said. “We have great fan support. But I‘m just trying to be my best. That’s all I can do.”
Defensively, the Jayhawks weren’t close to that level throughout the first half as TCU made eight of its first 11 shots and led by as many as six points.
Kansas rallied to gain a seven-point halftime margin, then made eight of its first 11 shots to begin the second half, which it started with a 23-5 rampage.
Ellis scored 10 points during that spree and also fed Wiggins with a beautiful lob for a shattering dunk.
“They are good, they are really good,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “What I like about them is that they are really competitive. They play for their jersey. They are selfless and very tough.”
Guard Kyan Anderson scored 25 points on 8-of-9 shooting to pace TCU, but was limited to four second-half points, including one field goal.
“It was one guy having a great first half,” Self said. “The adjustments we made (guarding Anderson) weren’t major things at all. It was try a little harder.”
In solving the TCU zone, the Jayhawks made 35-of-46 shots from inside the 3-point arc. They shot 61.5 percent overall, including only 26.3 percent from 3-point range on 5-of-19 shooting.
After serving a disciplinary suspension that forced him to miss the Kansas State defeat, forward Jamari Traylor came off the Kansas bench to add 10 points and grab eight rebounds.
The Jayhawks had a 35-18 advantage on the glass. They also distributed 20 assists as Selden, Wiggins and point guard Naadir Tharpe each had four.
Forward Amric Fields added 12 points for TCU, including its first field goal of the second half at the 14:47 mark.
“We put pretty good pressure on (Kansas) in the first half,” said Anderson, who led the Horned Frogs with five assists. “They came out with a lot more intensity on defense in the second half and that led to easy baskets for them. That’s what good teams do.”
TCU ranked last in the Big 12 with a 64.9-point average on 40.9 percent shooting, yet forged its six-point lead at the 12:32 mark of the first half behind Anderson’s hot hand.
Anderson netted 21 first-half points on 7-for-8 shooting as the Horned Frogs went 13-of-23 (56 percent) from the floor before the break.
Kansas used a 15-3 surge midway through the half to go up, 34-28. Selden scored three buckets during that spree and finished with 11 first-half points to share team-high honors with Ellis and Wiggins. Together, the trio went 15-of-22 from the floor.
NOTES: Kansas C Joel Embiid missed the game because of injuries that have prevented the freshman from practicing since a loss at Kansas State on Monday. Embiid is dealing with a strained knee, as well as a back injury he sustained on Feb. 8 against West Virginia. Senior Tarik Black replaced Embiid in the starting lineup. ... G Brannen Greene also missed the game because of what Kansas officials termed “a pattern of irresponsible behavior.” ... F Jamari Traylor, who missed the Kansas State game, also for acting irresponsibly according to coach Bill Self, entered for the Jayhawks before the first TV timeout. ... TCU won nine of its 10 games before entering Big 12 play, where it has lost 12 straight. The Horned Frogs went 2-16 and finished last in the Big 12 a year ago, but split the league series with Kansas.