Four games and four wins for the Kansas Jayhawks in the last nine days and suddenly freshmen sensation Andrew Wiggins is on fire — 18 ppg. in his last 4 contests on 52% shooting from the field.
Monday night in Lawrence, Wiggins got off to his slowest start of the four game win streak but made up for it in the second half of the Jayhawks win over No. 25 Oklahoma.
After just five points at the half, Wiggins had ten in the second period and iced the game with a dagger three at the 2:40 mark. Wiggins finished the game with fifteen points on 5-14 shooting coupled with five rebounds.
After sealing at least a share of the regular season Big Twelve championship, Wiggins opened up, “Winning the championship, it’s a great feeling on the court”. Also of interest to Sixers fans was that Kansas center Joel Embiid’s effort against Oklahoma as Embiid pitched in with twelve points and thirteen rebounds, four of which were offensive boards.
Sealing a share of the championship so early came in part because of what the Jayhawks have done in their last four contests. The first was a thrashing of TCU 95-65 where Wiggins had seventeen points on 7-11 shooting to go along with four rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal. There was not much else to say about this game other than Kansas showcasing their superior talent over the Horned Frogs.
The second game of the winning streak was actually the closest contest thanks to a Tubby Williams coached Texas Tech squad. Kansas escaped with a lay up by Wiggins as time expired that secured the 64-63 win. Wiggins looked confident the entire game going 6-11 from the field with nineteen points to go along with six rebounds and two assists.
When asked how he felt about his overall performance Wiggins replied, “When I score early, it brings a lot of confidence to my game, especially when I hit a three. I get on fire”.
The third game in the streak was a classic. When Kansas played Texas for the second time on February 22nd, they had only one thought in their minds, revenge. In response to the 81-69 drubbing in Austin, the Jayhawks dominated the Long Horns in Kansas 85-54. Wiggins led the way for Kansas with twenty one points on 7-12 shooting with six rebounds and two blocks.
After the game Wiggins shed a little light on the team’s response game “Last time we got embarrassed at their place. We wanted to do the same thing to them, win every minute of every possession”.
You have to love a guy who holds on to the bad memory of losing a game and uses it as motivation.
When you look at Wiggins past four games, you will notice a change in his demeanor on and off the court. Great first year players begin to gain confidence midway through the season. His quotes and stats validate the maturity. In those four games, Wiggins has scored at least fifteen points and has shot a combined 25-48 from the field with a 52.08 field goal percentage. Wiggins’ aggressive play has propelled Kansas all the way to the No. 5 ranking in the country and things might not stop there. Kansas has six losses and four of them are quality L’s – Villanova; SDSU; at Texas and at Kansas State (in OT). They also play in arguably the toughest conference in college basketball.
The freshman sensation class has taken over college basketball this year and rightly so. Each of the highly rated first year players are showing why they are so high on draft boards this year and now it is time for the big stage, March Madness. That’s right, it’s almost here and we will get to see on the biggest stage whether or not Wiggins can take his hot streak into the tournament.
Before the tournament season starts however Kansas does have three big games to close out the season. This Saturday, Kansas heads to Oklahoma State for a huge contest on ESPN at nine o’clock. The following Wednesday, Wiggins and Co. face off with Tubby Smith’s Red Raiders for the second time in Kansas at eight. Finally, to close out the regular season Kansas travels to West Virginia to take on Bob Huggins and company. That’s a classic trap game.
Wiggins is hitting on all cylinders and with March only days away, we are about really see what type of skills the future lottery pick really owns. Just think, next year at this time we may have to call the Philadelphia Fire Department to put out a Wiggins inferno down at the Wells Fargo Center.
Alex Gorge is a scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @apg3000.
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