Not many teams can throw seven big men into a game on the collegiate level. The Kansas Jayhawks (8-3) wore down the front court of the Georgetown Hoyas (7-3) in their 84-62 victory with a legion of big men on Saturday.
Despite Perry Ellis getting hurt early in the second half with a head injury, the Jayhawks didn’t miss a beat as Joel Embiid, Tarik Black, and Jamari Traylor picked up the slack against a physical Hoya squad. Embiid logged 21 minutes, Black and Traylor each put in 20 minutes of work.
Black and Embiid led the team in scoring with 17 points each. Embiid pulled down 8 boards, Traylor 7, and Black 6 in the contest. The three added five total blocks to the cause as well.
Tarik Black in particular stood because it was by far his best game as a Jayhawk. Coming in, he had logged just 9.7 minutes an outing, and had played only 30 minutes in the last five games. Fouls, turnovers, and missed shots had marred his performances.
There was none of that on Saturday. In his 20 minutes, Black scored 17 points, going 5-5 from the field, and 7-9 from the line. He had 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, an assist, no turnovers, and only one foul. That’s a pretty good line.
Four Jayhawks recorded 4 assists in the game. Naadir Tharpe, Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden Jr., and Frank Mason combined for 16 of Kansas’ 18 assists. Kansas only committed 12 turnovers in the contest.
Three big men fouled out of the game for the Hoyas. Joshua Smith, Nate Lubick, and Moses Ayegba combined for 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 15 fouls in 45 minutes. Markel Starks was the game’s leading scorer with 19, and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 12 in the game for Georgetown.
Georgetown appeared unfazed in the school’s first ever visit to Allen Fieldhouse. They came out of the gate red hot, hitting 10 of their first 12 field goal attempts. From that point on, they hit just 12 more shots in 42 attempts (28.6%).
After the first seven or eight minutes, the Jayhawks played their best team defense of the year. They shut off the Georgetown back cuts and guarded the perimeter. While they didn’t play with the intensity we have seen out of past Bill Self teams on defense, it was certainly much better than we have seen from Kansas thus far this season.
Kansas also did a fine job on the glass, outrebounding the Hoyas by 10.
Georgetown played a very physical type of basketball. They seemed to be hitting the Jayhawks above the shoulders on a regular basis. One hard foul sent Perry Ellis to the locker room with a head injury. After getting clobbered on the back of the head, Ellis was obviously woozy. He shot a free throw that missed the rim by at least a foot. He was removed form the game, went to the locker room, and wasn’t seen again.
This was Kansas’ best all around game since beating Duke on November 12th. Georgetown is a quality opponent, even if they are not as good as they were a year ago. It was a nice way to close the pre-holiday schedule. Kansas doesn’t play again until December 30th. The Jayhawks will get a few days off for the holidays, then will return for some serious practice time late next week.
In 9 days, Kansas will welcome an undefeated Toledo team to Allen Fieldhouse. The game is on December 30th, at 7 p.m. CST, and will be broadcast on Time Warner’s Metro Sports.