Kansas Jayhawks Hold Off Oklahoma Sooners in Big 12 Opener: 90-83

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't always pretty but the Jayhawks pulled out the opener with the help of some new faces. Andrew Wiggins struggles with foul trouble while Wayne Selden opens conference play in style.

The Jayhawks held on in Norman to win their 23rd straight conference opener (according to ESPN).  Kansas was led by freshman Wayne Selden, scoring 24 points while going 9-17 from the field and 5-10 from behind the 3 point line.  Sophomore Perry Ellis rebounded from a rough game against San Diego State and added 22 points.  Ellis was 6-8 from the field and 10-12 from the free throw line.  Andrew Wiggins struggled a little bit throughout the game.  He was whistled for four fouls (one that earned Bill Self a technical) which sent him to the bench for extended times and turned it over attempting to push the ball in transition twice.  However, he did get to the line 7 times leading to 9 total points.  Point guard Naadir Tharpe was again good on the offensive end of the court, adding 17 points by going 5-7 from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line with only 1 turnover.  Freshman Conner Frankamp also saw double digit minutes tonight for the first time since Thanksgiving, even earning a spot to start the second half.

It was far from a perfect night for Kansas though.  Oklahoma got to the lane often which led to them getting to the free throw line often.  As mentioned earlier, Frankamp played 13 minutes and started the second half which I read as a message to Mason and Tharpe.  It appears as though Tharpe picked up on it and played better in the 2nd half.  It appeared as if whoever Mason or Tharpe were guarding early in the game succeeded in breaking down the defense.  Hopefully this issue gets corrected soon.  But looking poor on defense against Oklahoma isn't that surprising, Kenpom has their offense at the 12th best in the nation.  They shot the ball well and attacked the basket just as efficiently.  Other bumps include a bit of a rough night for Joel Embiid, though a bit understandable as he was rocking the REC SPECS thanks to getting poked in the eye in practice earlier this week.  The physicality of the game seemed to get him just a bit but nothing that concerns me going forward.  Tarik Black was also back on the foul train, guy just can't catch a break with the refs.

At this point, happy with a road win to start Big 12 play.  17 games left with a huge one coming up on Saturday.  Check back throughout the rest of the week for more on this one and in preparation for Kansas State's trip to the Phog on Saturday.  Rock Chalk!

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