Wayne Selden’s breakout performance carries No. 18 Kansas over Oklahoma
Perry Ellis went for 21 points and 11 boards and Naadir Tharpe chipped in with 17 as No. 18 Kansas bounced back from an atrocious offensive performance against San Diego State by scoring 90 for just the third time this season in a 90-83 win at Oklahoma on Wednesday night.
As a team, the Jayhawks shot 54.7% from the floor and 8-for-16 from three, a stark contrast to the 29.8% that the Aztecs held them to. Making those numbers all the more impressive is the fact that the two star freshmen for the Jayhawks did a whole lotta nothing.
Joel Embiid had six points and six boards while shooting 2-for-4 from the floor, but at least he had an excuse. His left eye was nearly swollen shut, and he was forced to wear goggles that he was clearly uncomfortable with.
Andrew Wiggins was another story. He shot 2-for-9 from the floor, committed a pair of turnovers and just seemed out of it the entire game. He never got into a rhythm. He was never aggressive. He didn’t want to finish strong at the rim. He essentially did everything that we’ve been concerned about regarding Wiggins all season long, and he was rightly ripped for it all game by ESPN color commentator Jay Bilas.
The good news for Kansas?
That their forgotten freshmen, Wayne Selden, had the best game of his young career. He finished with 24 points, with 15 coming in the first nine minutes of the game, and hit five threes. Coming into the game, his career-high was 15 points. That’s big for the Jayhawks, because if Wiggins is never going to fully embrace his talent level, than they need to find a scoring punch from somewhere on their perimeter.
Selden is as talented as anyone that they have, and while it would be tough to ask him to duplicate a performance like this on a nightly basis, getting the freshman a little confidence is never a bad thing.
As far as Oklahoma is concerned, their next three games are huge. They host Iowa State on Saturday and then head to both Kansas State and Baylor never week. The top four teams in the Big 12, back-to-back-to-back-to-back. That’s an easy way to lose four straight if they’re not careful.