November 27, 2014

Kansas coach Bill Self says that patience is a reason his team has worked through some early shooting woes.

Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall is wondering what he can do to get his team off to a better start.

The No. 11 Jayhawks and Volunteers meet for the third time in their history Friday with a spot in the Orlando Classic championship on the line.

Kansas (3-1) shot 30.3 percent in its first two games before heating up to connect at 53.3 in winning its last two. Four Jayhawks scored in double figures in Thursday's 76-60 win over Rhode Island.

"There's a maturation process that has to take place with everybody," Self said. "And some things you can't force feed, it's gotta kinda play out."

The improved offense may be the result of back-to-back 17-point efforts from Perry Ellis, who has made 10 of 16 shots in that span after going 5 of 13 for a total of 17 points in his first two games.

''I think Perry is playing with more aggression without question,'' Self said.

Ellis had 11 points in the opening 20 minutes to help Kansas cruise to a 43-25 halftime lead. The Jayhawks went ahead 31-11 with just over 6 minutes left before intermission on Ellis' rebound slam.

''I just tried to keep attacking, that's what coach is consistently telling me,'' Ellis said.

The last two games have also featured the first starts for freshman Ukrainian guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, who was held scoreless Thursday.

"We start five guys but I'm not sure that really means much because I think we could probably start seven or eight guys when guys are playing well," Self said.

Tennessee (2-1) has outscored foes by an average of 8.0 points in second halves. The problem is that the Volunteers have been outscored by an average of 7.0 in the first half, rallying from a three-point halftime deficit in Thursday's 64-57 win over Santa Clara.

"I don't know what we can do to start out games better," Tyndall said. "I talked to my assistants today and they said we had a great warmup so I thought that we were excited and ready to go."

Josh Richardson and Armani Moore each had 18 points, with Richardson scoring 12 in the second half. The Volunteers held the Broncos to 33.3 percent shooting after halftime, a vast improvement from allowing them to make 7 of 13 shots in the first half.

''It was most important to start the second half right,'' Tyndall said. ''They dug in and defensed the right way.''

Tennessee continues to be foul-prone. The Vols entered play Thursday last in college basketball with an average of 28.0 fouls and committed 23 more that led to 29 free throws, with Kevin Punter becoming the fourth different Tennessee player to foul out this season.

This tournament is a homecoming for two Vols frontcourt starters, Derek Reese and Willie Carmichael III. Reese is from Orlando and Carmichael from nearby Apopka - they combined for only four points and eight rebounds Thursday.

These schools split their only meetings in 2009 and 2010.

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