December 04, 2015

Cheick Diallo told coach Bill Self he was nervous before putting on an impressive performance in his Kansas debut. It's scary to think how good the Jayhawks can be once he gets comfortable.

The fourth-ranked Jayhawks look to win their 27th straight at Allen Fieldhouse when they take on Harvard for the first time Saturday.

Diallo didn't play in the first five games for Kansas (5-1) because the NCAA was looking into his academic work from a New York prep school as well as his relationship with his guardian. That investigation ended Nov. 25, with the NCAA clearing the 6-foot-9 Diallo after determining he received a limited amount of impermissible benefits.

He still had to sit out that night's Maui Invitational title game, which Kansas won by beating then-No. 19 Vanderbilt 70-63, before finally getting on the court Tuesday against Loyola.

Diallo didn't start and was given a standing ovation when he checked in. He got even more applause throughout the game with a trio of highlight-reel dunks, 13 points - all in the second half - six rebounds and three blocks in 16 minutes of a 94-61 victory.

''He told me two days ago, `I don't get nervous.' Then yesterday, `Oh, coach, I'm so nervous!''' Self said.

Wayne Selden Jr. had 18 points after being named co-Big 12 player of the week on Monday and co-Most Valuable Player in Maui. One of his four assists was a behind-the-back pass to Diallo, who slammed it home.

Diallo said he had trouble sleeping Monday night.

''I was thinking about this game; like what to do, rebound, block shots,'' he said. ''In the first half I played seven or eight minutes and got zero points and I was thinking, 'Wow what am I supposed to do in the second half?' I was so scared and nervous, but now I am so excited the game is over and I played really well.''

The same can be said of Kansas, which is among the nation's leaders in points per game (93.5), scoring margin (plus-23.5), field-goal percentage (51.2), 3-point shooting (45.7) and assists (19.2).

During its current four-game win streak, Selden has averaged 19.0 points on 64.3 percent shooting and has hit 15 of 23 from 3-point range.

The Jayhawks, though, could be in for a challenge offensively against Harvard (2-5), which ranks near the top of Division I in field-goal defense (35.5) while holding opponents to 61.1 points per game.

The Crimson, however, likely won't be able to keep up with Kansas as they average 63.1 points. They're also 0-4 on the road, while the Jayhawks' 26-game run at Allen Fieldhouse is tied for the eighth-best in school history.

This is the third of four straight games away from home for Harvard, which lost 80-71 to Northeastern on Wednesday despite shooting a season-high 55.4 percent.

Leading scorer Zena Edosomwan (13.6) had 18 points and went 9 of 12 from the field after being held to six on 2-of-7 shooting in Sunday's 50-49 defeat to Holy Cross.

Harvard dropped both matchups against Top 25 teams last season but nearly upset 15th-ranked North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, falling 67-65 to the fourth-seeded Tar Heels after leading by two with 1:15 remaining.

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