Ellis helps No. 8 Kansas hold off feisty TCU
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Perry Ellis had five long days to think about six quick seconds.
On Saturday, he was finally able to put his blown layup at West Virginia behind him.
The senior forward had 23 points on near-perfect shooting, and No. 8 Kansas bounced back from a frustrating loss to the Mountaineers with an 81-72 victory over TCU.
Devonte’ Graham added a career-high 20 points and Frank Mason III finished with 14 for the Jayhawks (22-5, 11-4), who maintained their one-game lead over Iowa State with four left in the Big 12 race. Kansas also extended its win streak in the Allen Fieldhouse to 22 games.
"I was anxious to play, get back on the court," said Ellis, who had the ball in his hands with six ticks left Monday, but watched his lay-in bounce off the rim in the 62-61 defeat. "It was tough, man. I knew I had a chance to make it but I couldn’t."
He almost couldn’t miss on Saturday, going nine for 10 from the field.
"I know he probably felt like he let us down (Monday), but he didn’t. He played very well in the game," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "I hope that wasn’t his motivation to play well today."
Trey Zeigler had 20 points to lead the Horned Frogs (16-11, 3-11), who still have never won in Lawrence. Kyan Anderson added 14 points and Amric Fields finished with 11.
"Our margin of error is pretty slim, in this league especially," Horned Frogs coach Trent Johnson said. "I can’t fault our effort. I can’t fault our execution, because they put it on you to be really good."
Kansas led just 35-29 at halftime, and Anderson converted a four-point play immediately out of the break that allowed the Horned Frogs to close within a possession. But a few minutes later, Ellis knocked down a basket in the paint to restore a 43-35 lead, and then scored two more baskets to cap a 10-2 spurt and give the Jayhawks a 47-37 advantage.
By that point, TCU’s foul problems had really started to mount.
Karviar Shepherd went to the bench with four fouls with 17:15 to play, and Chris Washburn followed him to coach Trent Johnson’s side with his fourth foul with 9:30 remaining.
Kansas spent the final 11 minutes in the double bonus.
"We knew we were going to take a punch or two," Zeigler said.
The Horned Frogs were still within 59-50 after the under-eight timeout, but Ellis followed a basket by Mason with the game’s two biggest highlights: He speared a lob from Mason and slammed it while getting fouled, then picked a pass near midcourt and added another dunk.
The duo kept of Ellis and Graham eventually put the game out of reach, the freshman guard feeding one of the Jayhawks’ only upper classman for an easy lay-in and a 70-62 lead with 3:11 to go. Then, Graham added a scooping layup a minute later to extend the lead.
The Jayhawks put the game away from the foul line in the final minute.
"They played really well in the second half, and we knew they were going to go on runs. We were going to take some punches," Zeigler said. "We just tried to play through their runs."
Self rewarded manager Chris Huey for his help on the scout team by letting him suit up Saturday. With about 30 seconds left, Self told Huey to check in to a huge roar from the student section. Groans followed when he missed an open layup.
As Johnson was leaving his post-game news conference, he noticed two police officers standing by the door, ready to walk him back to the TCU locker room. "Why they got two officers escorting me?" Johnson asked. "This isn’t West Virginia. I’m good."
TCU: The loss snapped the Horned Frogs’ two-game win streak. … TCU fell to 9-2 when scoring more than 70 points. … Shepherd finished with six points and six rebounds. … Anderson also had seven assists with only one turnover.
Kansas: The Jayhawks got 37 points from their bench. … Coach Bill Self improved to 13-4 against TCU, including 7-1 with the Jayhawks. … Graham’s previous career high of 14 points came in the season opener against UC-Santa Barbara. … Kansas shot 58 percent from the floor.
TCU travels to Texas Tech on Wednesday night.
Kansas heads down Interstate 70 to Kansas State on Monday night.