WASHINGTON (AP) — Brannen Greene went 5 for 5 from 3-point range and scored a career-high 19 points Wednesday night as No. 10 Kansas made a basketball statement with a 75-70 win over Georgetown, even as Hoyas players were making a societal statement by wearing “I CAN’T BREATHE” T-shirts for the national anthem.
Greene scored 16 in the second half, including two free throws that helped clinch the game in the final minute. Frank Mason added 14 points, and Perry Ellis had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Jayhawks (7-1), who have won six straight.
Joshua Smith scored 20 points to lead the Hoyas (5-3), whose other losses came against No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 15 Butler.
Minutes before the opening tip, Georgetown’s entire roster emerged for the final warmups wearing black, short-sleeve T-shirts with the words “I CAN’T BREATHE” in white.
The players kept the T-shirts on during the anthem and pregame handshakes, then took them off for the announcement of the starting lineups.
They became the latest notable athletes to display words on warmups or other equipment in recent days, echoing the last words spoken by Eric Garner as police were attempting to arrest him in New York in July. A grand jury decided last week not to indict the officers involved in his death.
Then came the game, which didn’t flow as much as it lurched along, with 33 combined turnovers, yet only 39 combined points off those turnovers. There were 58 free throws taken. Key players for both teams — Greene and Georgetown’s Mikael Hopkins — had four fouls by midway through the second half. The leading scorers for both teams entering the game had off-nights, with Ellis going 4 for 15 from the field and Georgetown’s D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera 3 for 15.
But it was suspenseful. The game was tied six times in the second half, and the outcome wasn’t settled until the final few seconds — with the officials’ indecision over an out-of-bounds call helping to make the difference.
Cliff Alexander hit two free throws with one minute left to make give the Jayhawks a 70-67 lead. Georgetown’s Smith then committed the 33rd turnover of the game as the Hoyas tried to feed the ball inside, and Mason made one of two free throws with 27 seconds to play for a four-point lead.
After Georgetown’s Isaac Copeland missed a 3-point attempt, the ball went out of bounds — and none of the three officials ruled whose possession it was. They still couldn’t tell after looking at the replay, so they called it a jump ball, a crucial decision because it gave Kansas the ball on the alternating possession rule.
Greene then made two free throws with 15.3 seconds remaining to make it a six-point lead, effectively sealing the outcome.
Kansas: Junior forward Jamari Traylor was suspended for the game after he was arrested over the weekend for interfering with a police officer near the Jayhawks’ campus. He is due in court Dec. 23. ... This was Kansas’ fifth game away from home this season, but the first one not to be played at a neutral site. ... The game completed a home-and-home series; Kansas thumped Georgetown 86-64 at Lawrence last season.
Georgetown: It should be no surprise that coach John Thompson III would allow his players to make a societal statement. His father, longtime Hoyas coach John Thompson Jr., was known for taking controversial positions during a Hall of Fame career, especially in support of minorities. Most famously, the elder Thompson walked off the court before a home game in 1989 to protest NCAA Proposition 42, which restricted the criteria under which athletes could receive scholarships.
Kansas plays Utah at Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday.
Georgetown hosts Radford on Saturday.
At Washington, D.C.
No. 10 KANSAS 75,
Mykhailiuk 0-1 0-0 0, Lucas 1-3 0-0 2, Ellis 4-15 4-4 13, Mason III 4-8 5-6 14, Selden Jr. 2-7 1-2 7, Alexander 2-4 3-4 7, Graham 1-4 3-6 6, Oubre Jr. 1-5 5-6 7, Greene 5-6 4-4 19, Mickelson 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals 20-53 25-32 75.
Peak 6-12 3-5 18, Hopkins 1-5 2-3 4, Smith 8-13 4-6 20, Smith-Rivera 3-15 4-4 10, Trawick 1-2 0-2 2, Campbell 0-0 0-0 0, Copeland 1-4 4-4 6, White 3-6 2-2 10, Bowen 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals 23-57 19-26 70.
Halftime_Kansas 34-32. 3-Point Goals_Kansas 10-17 (Greene 5-5, Selden Jr. 2-3, Graham 1-2, Ellis 1-3, Mason III 1-3, Oubre Jr. 0-1), Georgetown 5-16 (Peak 3-5, White 2-4, Copeland 0-2, Smith-Rivera 0-5). Fouled Out_Hopkins, Lucas. Rebounds_Kansas 39 (Ellis 10), Georgetown 37 (Smith-Rivera 10). Assists_Kansas 11 (Mason III, Selden Jr. 3), Georgetown 15 (Smith-Rivera 6). Total Fouls_Kansas 20, Georgetown 20. A_14,164.