University of Kansas

First impression mixed for Jayhawks’ Jackson

KU basketball coach Bill Self unhappy with team's performance in exhibition

Kansas coach Bill Self was not happy with his team's performance against Washburn University in its exhibition opener Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.
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Kansas coach Bill Self was not happy with his team's performance against Washburn University in its exhibition opener Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.

It took Kansas freshman guard Josh Jackson, the No. 1-ranked player in the recruiting Class of 2016, a good, long while to score his first points in his first college game — Tuesday’s somewhat difficult 92-74 victory over Division II Washburn in steamy Allen Fieldhouse.

Jackson, a 6-foot-8 native of Detroit, had four turnovers and three fouls when he drove the middle of the lane and scored the initial bucket of what figures to be a one-and-done college career with 13:51 left in the Jayhawks’ exhibition opener against the Ichabods.

It was a game that, oh by the way, featured a near triple double by senior Frank Mason, who had 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Mason did swing the ball to Tyler Self on the wing for a deep two late in the game but as of game’s end was not credited with an assist on that play.

Jackson — he was taken out of the game by coach Bill Self a minute into the second half after committing his fourth turnover — heated up in a hurry upon returning.

He scored 11 points in a 5 1/2 minute flurry (13:51 to 8:27) and finished with 14 points off 6-of-12 shooting with four rebounds and five turnovers in 20 minutes.

“I was just a little nervous when I first came out (for the game). I had a talk with a couple guys in the locker room and coaching staff,” Jackson said of halftime. “I got my head together.

“I talked to Frank,” he said. “He told me not to worry about it. Coach Townsend (Kurtis, assistant) pulled me aside and told me to play my game and play more aggressive. That’s what I tried to do.”

Four of Jackson’s first five buckets were off slashes to the hoop, impressing fans who braved muggy conditions in KU’s 61-year-old arena, which has no air conditioning and thus resembled a sauna on an unseasonably warm 80-degree day.

The freshman said he had the wrong attitude for his opener.

“I was focused on looking bad, not focused on the game,” he said, forcing a smile.

Fans cheered as the Kansas Jayhawks were introduced before their exhibition game against Washburn University on Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Of Jackson’s collegiate debut, Self said: “I didn’t think anybody other than Frank played well. He (Jackson) scored the ball some the second half. I will not get real excited about that. He didn’t handle it very well, didn’t pass it very well. Those are potentially things he can be very good at.”

The Jayhawks had some trouble disposing of the Ichabods, leading by just nine points with 17 minutes to play and 11 with seven minutes left. KU was led by Mason and Svi Mykhailiuk, who scored 21 and 16 points respectively. Mykhailiuk hit four threes.

KU, which did use a four-guard lineup at times (the first four-guard unit included Jackson, Mason, Devonte Graham, Lagerald Vick and big man Landen Lucas), enjoyed a 50-34 halftime lead behind Mason’s 11 points and eight assists. Lucas finished with 10 points and Vick nine for KU.

The Jayhawks were outrebounded by the Ichabods, 45-44, prompting Self to say the Jayhawks were “soft tonight. They were quicker than us.”

Mitch Lightfoot had seven boards and Dwight Coleby six for KU.

KU will meet Emporia State at 7 p.m. Sunday, in its final exhibition game. Washburn, which was led by Cameron Wiggins’ 14 points, will meet Kansas State at 8 p.m. Friday in Manhattan and Oklahoma at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Norman.

WASHBURN: Wiggins 5-11 0-0 14, Skeens 3-8 0-4 6, Smtih 4-9 0-2 10, Salach 2-3 0-0 5, Blake 1-8 0-2 2, Martin 2-5 2-2 6, Huppe 1-2 0-0 2, Clark 5-13 0-0 11, Holmes 1-2 1-4 3, Holmberg 1-1 2-2 4, Ogbonna 0-1 2-4 2, Lickteig 0-2 0-0 0, Pyle 3-8 1-3 9. Totals 28-73 8-23 74.

KANSAS: Mason 6-11 7-11 21, Graham 2-5 0-0 6, Jackson 6-12 1-5 14, Bragg 3-4 0-0 6, Lucas 3-4 4-5 10, Vick 4-6 0-0 9, Mykhaliuk 5-7 2-2 16, Self 1-2 0-0 2, Coleby 0-3 0-0 0, Azubuike 2-3 1-2 5, Lightfoot 0-2 3-9 3. Totals 32-59 18-34 92.

Threes — WU 10-36 (Wiggins 4-7, Pyle 2-3, Smith 2-5, Salach 1-2, Clark 1-4, Holmes 0-1, Huppe 0-1, Blake 0-3), KU 10-22 (Mykhaliuk 4-6, Mason 2-4, Graham 2-5, Vick 1-2, Jackson 1-3, Self 0-1, Lightfoot 0-1). Rebounds — WU 41 (Skeens 7), KU 43 (Mason 10). Assists — WU 12 (Clark 5), KU 16 (Mason 9).