LAWRENCE — When the final three-pointer went down, Perry Ellis turned to jog back on defense and broke into a half smile. Except it wasn’t quite a smile, more like a half-grimace.
Ellis had just hit 30 points on the day — on his way to a career-high 32 — and No. 7 Kansas was rolling to a 95-65 victory over TCU on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse. But Perry Ellis really doesn’t do smiles. At least he doesn’t do them well.
So Ellis managed the best he could, recording another quietly dominating performance while Kansas moved to 19-6 overall and 10-2 in the Big 12. It wasn’t the smoothest blowout — the Jayhawks allowed 40 points in the first half to one of the worst offenses in the country. But with Ellis knifing through TCU’s zone defense for most of the afternoon, the Jayhawks had more than enough offense to waltz to an easy win.
Ellis was nearly perfect. He finished 13 of 15 from the floor, and four of four from the free-throw line. He even added two three-pointers after entering the day with just three on the season.
When he exited in the final minutes, Allen Fieldhouse came to its feet and the student section chanted his name: “Perry, Perry!”
Andrew Wiggins added 17 points for Kansas, which was playing without freshman center Joel Embiid, still recovering from knee and back issues. The Jayhawks also played without freshman Brannen Greene, who was suspended for “a pattern of irresponsible behavior,” according to a KU official.
And for a Kansas team playing short-handed, the opening 20 minutes weren’t the best response.
How bad was Kansas’ defense during the first half? Entering Saturday, TCU ranked 313th in the nation in points per game and 321st in field-goal percentage. By putting up 40 points in the first 20 minutes, the Horned Frogs were already two-thirds of the way to the 59.1 points they’d averaged in 11 Big 12 losses.
Kansas allowed TCU to shoot nearly 57 percent during the first half, including four of seven from three-point range. And TCU guard Kyan Anderson scorched Kansas for 21 points during the opening half. (He finished with just 25.)
But Kansas still managed to lead 47-40, and the offensive onslaught would come in the second half.
In the opening minutes after the intermission, Wiggins tossed an alley-oop lob to Tarik Black, who finished in traffic over TCU’s Hudson Price. The Jayhawks led 52-40, and the expected rout was back on schedule.
For the final 20 minutes, the Jayhawks finally locked down on defense. There were lob dunks over the zone, and offensive putbacks, and finally some stops. When Ellis finished another dunk with 12 minutes left, the Kansas run had stretched to 23-4. The Jayhawks’ lead was 70-45.
From there, it was all a formality.