Orlando,FL – Tennessee rode a 14-0 second half start to erase a three-point halftime deficit and defeat Santa Clara, 64-57, in the opening game of the Orlando Classic on the grounds of Disney’s Wide World of Sports.
Senior Josh Richardson and junior Armani Moore, two of Tennessee’s most experienced players, led the Vols with 18 points each. Sliding over from the wing position he played his first three years at Tennessee, the 6-6 Richardson spearheaded the Vols attack playing the point and scoring in a variety of ways. He made two of three shots from behind the three-point arc, scored on mid-range jump shots and drove the ball to the basket to score on runners in the paint. He converted both of his two free throw attempts.
Santa Clara was led by 6-0 senior guard Brandon Clark who played all but three minutes of the game and led the Broncos with 21 points. Clark scored from distance making two of five three-point shots, but did most of his work driving the ball to the basket and challenging the Tennessee bigs at the rim. He absorbed contact to earn 12 attempts at the free throw line. A strong shooter at the free throw line making 84 percent of his career attempts as a Bronco, Clark made only seven of his twelve tries from the line.
Kansas used the shot-making ability of junior forward Perry Ellis to jump out to a 43-25 halftime lead and rode the inside/outside tandem of Frank Mason III and Cliff Alexander to defeat Rhode Island, 76-60, in game two of the Orlando Classic.
Ellis scored in a variety of ways in putting up 11 first half points to help stake the Jayhawks to their 18-point halftime lead. He made one of two shots from behind the arc, cleaned up a teammate’s missed shot in transition to score above the rim and went four for seven from the foul line in the first half. Saddled with two quick fouls in the second half, Ellis played only seven minutes in the final twenty minute period. Mason and Alexander helped pick up the offensive slack for the Jayhawks in the second half scoring seven points each to keep Rhode Island from cutting its deficit to single digits.
Alexander was impressive on both ends of the court. He finished in the paint and showed a nice touch stepping out to the elbow to make a jump shot. The freshman shot with confidence at the free throw line converting three of four foul shots. Using his strength to carve out space in the paint, Alexander collected eight rebounds to lead both teams in only 21 minutes of play. Although only credited with one blocked shot, Alexander dissuaded a number of Rhode Island drives and altered shots when the Rams did challenge him.
Athletic Kansas off-guard Wayne Selden Jr. filled up the stat sheet with ten points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Selden made half of his attempts from behind the three-point arc and used a quick first step to attack the rim to score with floaters in the paint and pass to open teammates on the perimeter. After getting a three-minute blow in the first half, Selden played all twenty minutes of the second half.
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