Four Takeaways From Kansas’ Win Over OklahomaPosted by Kory Carpenter on January 9th, 2014
It’s true that a team’s conference opener is never a “must-win game,” but the road to Kansas’ 10th straight Big 12 championship would have gotten a lot tougher had the Jayhawks lost at Oklahoma Wednesday evening. The Sooners aren’t bad at all, but with the next four Kansas games coming against Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Baylor, the Jayhawks’ hole in the conference race would have felt much bigger than 0-1. Alas, Kansas escaped with a 90-83 victory in Norman, improving to 10-4 on the year and showing some glimpses of their potential in March. Here are four key takeaways from last night’s win.
- Wayne Selden scored in double-figures for just the fifth time this season, finishing with a career-high 24 points and showing us why he is a projected first round draft pick in June. He was 5-of-10 from three-point range, and while it appeared to be a flukish shooting night (his three-point shooting on the season is at 37.5 percent), it should give him plenty of confidence going forward. The Jayhawks desperately need consistent long-range shooting to open up the lane for its drivers and big men, and Selden is as good a candidate as any.
- Cameron Clark‘s game will be overshadowed in the loss, but it shouldn’t be. The senior guard dropped 32 points on 10-of-18 shooting for Oklahoma, and he single-handedly kept the Sooners in the game when Selden and friends were doing all they could to help Kansas pull away. Clark has averaged 17.7 PPG this season and has quietly been one of the best players in the Big 12 this season.
- Joel Embiid was invisible offensively in this game, but Kansas was still able to put up 90 points on the road. Donning protective goggles after injuring his eye socket, Embiid went 2-of-4 from the field and looked out of sorts all night. He finished with six points, one block, and four fouls, but his tough night highlighted the depth at Bill Self’s disposal this season. Forward Perry Ellis, point guard Naadir Tharpe, and Wayne Selden combined for 63 of Kansas’ 90 points.
- Maybe it was a coincidence or maybe it was a response to an expanded role from Conner Frankamp, but Naadir Tharpe had an efficient night with 17 points, three assists, and one turnover. He also went 5-of-7 from the field. Frankamp saw more time at the point guard spot than he had seen all season, and the freshman responded well. His 13 minutes were the most he had played since the season opener, and he went 2-of-3 from the floor with zero turnovers. Don’t expect him to play 13 minutes per game during the rest of the conference season, but it was a nice reminder to Tharpe that there are other talented guys behind him ready to play if needed.