Kansas basketball coach Bill Self didn’t expect guard Wayne Selden and forward Landen Lucas to be his team’s two representatives at the news conference after they labored in the opening 36 minutes of the Jayhawks’ 66-60 victory over No. 19 Baylor on Tuesday night.
“I got onto them hard at halftime — maybe too hard,” Self said. “They really struggled the first half.”
The two juniors were better over the game’s final four minutes. Lucas provided a crucial offensive rebound and layup, while Selden had two offensive boards and four points to help KU pull away.
“Coach was challenging Wayne and I the whole time,” Lucas said. “The good thing is, even if the offense isn’t coming for either one of us, the one thing we can do is create extra possessions and play well defensively. I think we did that well towards the end of the game and gave our team a chance to win.”
KU also locked down defensively late. Baylor scored eight points in the final 7 minutes, 6 seconds, with three of those coming on an irrelevant three-pointer by Al Freeman with 1 second left.
“The best thing we did tonight, and there wasn’t a ton,” Self said, “was we guarded the last eight minutes and we rebounded the last eight minutes.”
Self was steamed at Lucas after he allowed Baylor’s Rico Gathers to catch a full-court pass at the end of the first half before making his first career three-pointer.
“When the ball’s in the air, anybody can go get it. He just let him catch it and shoot it,” Self said. “Unbelievable to me. We were fortunate that didn’t end up coming back to bite us more than it did.”
Lucas picked up five rebounds in the game’s final five minutes.
“He made up for it late,” Self said with a smile.
Ellis’ eye improving
KU forward Perry Ellis reported his scratched right eye “felt good” in his first game back since Selden scratched it late in KU’s 72-63 victory over K-State on Saturday.
“Each day, it’s getting better and better vision-wise,” Ellis said. “They said it heals real fast, so it should be good by the next couple days.”
Ellis, who says his vision is still blurred a bit, said the eye “was great for the game. I didn’t have any problems with it.”
He also received 12 stitches in the back of his head during the second half of the K-State game when he made collided with teammate Carlton Bragg.
“I took a charge, then Carlton’s knee, I think I ran into his knee,” Ellis said, “and it kind of just split open.”