The No. 4 ranked Jayhawks opened up their exhibition slate with a 89-66 win over Pittsburgh State on Wednesday in Allen Fieldhouse.
Senior forward Perry Ellis lead the way for the Jayhawks with 22 points and 12 rebounds in 24 minutes of action. Ellis struggled offensively at first, but was able to turn things around, scoring 15 of his 22 points in the second half. The senior’s 12 rebounds were also a team high.
Self: Perry Ellis set the standard tonight for what KU should expect out of him this season. (22 points/12 rebounds) #kubball
— Benton Smith (@BentonASmith) November 5, 2015
One surprising contributor to tonight’s victory was Senior forward Hunter Mickelson, who was able to rack up 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks on just 13 minutes of gameplay. Last year’s team saw a similar explosion from Landon Lucas in the exhibition slate, and he turned out to be a big contributor for the team towards the end of the season. With Mickelson’s performance tonight, head coach Bill Self said we can expect to see a lot more of him for his defensive presence.
Freshman forward Carlton Bragg also had a big game for the Jayhawks, putting up 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 21 minutes. The game was a strong start for Bragg as he was making his collegiate debut, but his teammates didn’t see his performance as any surprise.
Devonte’ Graham didn’t have the best shooting day, finishing just 1-of-6 from the field, but was able to contribute in other ways to the team’s victory. Graham knocked down 4-of-6 free throws, notching up 7 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals in Wednesday night’s contest.
Devonte' Graham said a friend joked that he should go get a triple-double before the game… He almost did… 7 points, 8 assists, 8 boards.
— Scott Chasen (@SChasenKU) November 5, 2015
It was a sloppy game by both teams, with 26 total turnovers and 47 total fouls. Coach Self thought that his team’s performance in this game was “about as poorly as [they] can play.”
Outside of the parameters of the game was the looming question of Cheick Diallo’s eligibility. A seemingly ongoing fiasco to determine whether the freshman forward is eligible to play in the NCAA this season is still ongoing. Despite efforts made on KU’s part, Self says there is no timetable for when that decision will be made.
The national media has hinged the Jayhawks’ success this season on whether or not Diallo will be cleared, and to ESPN’s Jay Bilas this decision seems to be a no brainer.
NCAA continues to embarrass itself over Cheick Diallo matter: https://t.co/wuHTpLsPen Worse, NCAA process mistreats student-athletes. Sad.
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) November 5, 2015
When asked if Diallo would miss regular season games, Self said he wouldn’t think so, but with the way that the process has gone he would not be too surprised.
Kansas will continue their exhibition slate on Tuesday when they host Fort Hays State at 7:00 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. That game will be televised on the Jayhawk IMG Television Network and ESPN3 (subject to blackout).