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Kansas Notebook Freshmen center Joel Embiid makes first start for Jayhawks

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, at 12:15 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, at 6:09 a.m.

First half

•  Key play: Florida’s Scottie Wilbekin hit a three-pointer that cut KU’s early lead to 10-8 and ignited a 21-0 run.

•  Key stat: KU had 16 turnovers and just three assists.

Second half

•  Key play: A three-pointer from Florida’s Dorian Finney-Smith pushed the lead back to 50-37 after KU had climbed within eight points with 12 minutes left.

•  Key stat: Andrew Wiggins was a perfect eight or eight on free throws.

Embiid makes first start

Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid joined three other freshmen in the starting lineup Tuesday, giving KU four freshmen starters for the first time in school history.

Embiid said KU coach Bill Self told him last weekend that he’d be starting against Florida in Gainesville, the town where he spent his last year of high school.

Embiid finished with six points and six rebounds while playing 30 minutes in Kansas’ 67-61 loss.

“I think we competed and then, like coach said, we had to play better,” Embiid said. “The first half was kind of tough, a lot of turnovers.”

• Kansas freshman guard Wayne Selden played just 14 minutes — just one minute in the second half — before sitting the rest of the game. Self said he hoped Selden learned from the off-night. Freshmen wing Brannen Greene took some of those minutes, playing 14 minutes and scoring five points. Greene had a chance to help KU cut Florida’s lead to four points in the final minutes, but he turned the ball over near the sideline.

“It’s all about playing hard,” Greene said of the added minutes. “Coach wants energy. He wants somebody that’s tough and plays hard, and I’m just trying to learn that.”

• The road loss dropped KU to 0-2 on the road and 3-3 in games away from Allen Fieldhouse, including a 3-1 record in neutral-site games.

• After Kansas’ loss, the Big 12 dropped to 6-3 in the first ever Big 12-SEC Challenge.

To reach Rustin Dodd, call 816-234-4937 or send email to rdodd@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/rustindodd.

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