Versatile Wilson leads No. 5 Kansas in opposition to Omaha

Although Jalen Wilson spent a year in the Kansas program before showing up as a starter, it was an unproven good.

A broken ankle fell out of Wilson after two games last season. His freshman redshirt was then spent rehabilitating and learning the system the hard way with no practice from Bill Self. Let us know that Wilson was ready this season and quickly positioned himself as the leader, as the Jayhawks # 5 (5-1) see, continue a five-game home stand against Omaha (2-4) on Friday.

“It gets to the point where we expect him to produce,” said Self. “He’s not scared. I didn’t think he was (scared), but until you actually train him, once we start playing this guy isn’t scared. He likes the moment. I’m looking for him around us to keep improving and to give us more and more over time. “

The last moment Wilson delivered was clutch. He struck 42 seconds on Tuesday night to score a draw and ultimately give Kansas a 73-72 win over Creighton No. 8.

Wilson’s aggressive nature emerged late in that showdown when he committed a foul that gave the Bluejays a chance to send the game into overtime by 1.1 seconds. Wilson’s second double-double of the season, however, made for a win in regulation.

“Being injured with such a great team last year motivated me to get better every day,” said Wilson. “I tried to motivate them as best I could from training and on the sidelines in games.

“I was just trying to let everyone know that I’ll be working as hard as I have all year. Although our season ended last year (due to the coronavirus pandemic), we have a chance this year, so I’m looking forward to it to give everything I have. “

Wilson has already proven himself capable of providing an elevator by fighting for both points and ricochets inside and also defending at a high level. He’s runner-up for Kansas (15.0) and leads on ricochet (8.8), giving the Jayhawks a versatile performer to use in a variety of places depending on whether center David McCormack is on the court .

After Self compared the close matchup with Creighton to a game in the second week of the NCAA tournament, the Jayhawks want to relax and use additional combos against the second team in a row they face from Omaha.

The Mavericks (2-4), members of the Summit League, have seasoned experience. They used a dunk from one of their seniors, Matt Pile, to beat Southern Illinois-Edwardsville for a 65-63 road win in the final seconds on Saturday.

Pile leads Omaha on rebound (9.5) while Marlon Ruffin keeps the team busy on scoring (13.4).

“I think we are extremely deep,” said Ayo Akinwole, assistant leader of the Mavericks (2.5). “We have a lot of players who have shown that they can play at a pretty good level. This non-conference (schedule), those first nine or ten games, will tell us what this is all about.”

– Field level media

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