After three road losses, No. 8 Jayhawks hope to bounce back at Kansas State
Perry Ellis is one of two upperclassmen playing significant minutes for Kansas, and it’s only natural as a leader that he took responsibility for last week’s loss after missing a shot late.
He hasn’t let that disappointment fester, though.
Ellis looks to help the eighth-ranked Jayhawks avoid a third loss in four road games when they visit rival Kansas State on Monday night.
The junior forward has averaged 20.0 points in his last three, but his 19-point effort in last Monday’s 62-61 loss at No. 23 West Virginia was overshadowed by his missed layup in the closing seconds.
Ellis responded by going nine of 10 from the field and finishing with 23 points in Saturday’s 81-72 win over TCU.
"I was anxious to play, get back on the court," Ellis said. "(Missing the shot against West Virginia) was tough, man. I knew I had a chance to make it but I couldn’t."
Coach Bill Self knew Ellis would bounce back quickly.
"I know he probably felt like he let us down (last Monday), but he didn’t. He played very well in the game. (Michael) Jordan, if I’m not mistaken, missed a lot of shots too, and everybody does. If you play competitive ball, you do miss some shots."
That wasn’t the case for Devonte’ Graham on Saturday, as the freshman came off the bench and hit all seven field-goal attempts to finish with a season-high 20 points.
Ellis and Frank Mason III (14) were the only starters in double figures for Kansas (22-5, 11-3 Big 12).
"We had some starters not really produce, and when you have three starters combine for seven points, we needed our bench to be good," Self said. "We don’t win the game without Devonte’."
Ellis scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Kansas’ 68-57 home win over Kansas State on Jan. 31, the Jayhawks’ seventh victory in eight meetings. They lost 85-82 in overtime in their last trip to Manhattan last Feb. 10, but the Wildcats will have to overcome recent struggles to pull off the upset this time.
Kansas State (13-15, 6-9) has dropped seven of eight after falling 69-42 at Baylor on Saturday. It shot 38.3 percent while scoring its fewest points since a 63-41 loss to Texas on Jan. 10, 2001.
The Wildcats, who went one of 16 from 3-point range, have shot worse than 40 percent from the field 14 times. Thomas Gipson was the only Kansas State player in double figures with 11 points.
"All season, it’s been Groundhog Day," coach Bruce Weber said. "You just keep waking up."
Kansas is the fourth straight ranked team to visit Bramlage Coliseum, where the Wildcats are 11-4. They fell to then-No. 17 West Virginia on Jan. 27 and then-No. 25 Texas on Feb. 7 before knocking off then-No. 17 Oklahoma one week later.
"The way we play at home, I don’t think there is any doubt we can play at a high level," Weber said. "Now, can we play good enough to beat (Kansas)? We can’t do what we did at the start of the first Kansas game and what we did (Saturday), allowing layups.
"Hopefully, we can get our mindset right and use the crowd and get after them a little bit."