Start to finish this one was a fun game to watch. It wasn't necessarily pretty but it sure was fun. Kansas started the night with a golden opportunity to step behind the wheel and into the drivers seat for the Big 12 conference title. Before the game Coach Self talked with Erin Andrews about embracing the moment, embracing the opportunity to be number one and whatever he said seemed to work.
In a game that saw Sherron Collins would walk off the court slower than the often aired old lady wearing a beard, Kansas found a way. In a game where Cole Aldrich would play nearly 14 minutes with 4 fouls, Cole adjusted. When Marcus Morris fouled out, Xavier Henry continued to struggle and the Jayhawks as a team let a win slip away in regulation, Kansas regrouped and put together five more minutes.
Everyone had a part, everyone contributed somewhere and even though no one was perfect, sometimes you take the good with the bad. Last night, in the end the good outweighed the bad by just enough and once again Allen Fieldhouse West has a streak, a streak of just two, but a streak nonetheless.
As a team Kansas did what they do. They shot right around the 50% mark and in terms of eFG% checked in over that at 54%. They also held their opponent below that mark as the Wildcats shot 43% on the night. While the Wilcats were able to neutralize Cole to an extent he is still one giant obstacle in the middle for any team to negotiate. Throw in a well timed triangle and two defense and Coach Bill Self made some solid X's and O's moves last night to help make this happen.
Turnovers and steals were fairly even but the Wildcats did draw the advantage in this department. Combine that with an offensive rebounding clinic and the Wildcats were able to put together 13 more shot attempts than the Jayhawks.
Where the big difference lies is in Kansas getting to the line. No there wasn't a vast foul disparity as the final tally here was 25 to 24 in favor of Kansas State. The difference was in where the fouls were being drawn. Kansas was often committing fouls on the perimeter due to Pullen and Clemente attempting to penetrate the lane. Kansas was drawing fouls when going to the basket. As a result Kansas took 11 more free throw attempts and knocked in 7 more. Just enough to win.
|Stat||Game||Season Avg||Opp Season Avg|
|3pt FG Att||10||18||19||18||18||16|
|3pt FG Made||5||6||7||6||5||5|
|3pt FG Pct||50.0||33.3||41.2||35.8||31.6||32.3|
From an individual perspective Kansas has and will struggle when they fail to establish a third option. Or maybe not. Last night Cole had a solid game on the interior, Sherron contibuted 16, and beyond that there were 3 players impacting the game at almost the same level. It was almost difficult to determine the first or second option last night. Marcus Morris looks the part more and more. If he doesn't foul out Kansas likely has an easier time closing this out. After Morris you'd expect Xavier Henry but last night it was Brady and Tyshawn that made things happen. Tyshawn attacked the basket and got to the line in critical situations. Brady is a player that doesn't shoot often, but when he does you notice. Five players in double figures for Kansas, pretty balanced night any time you can say that.
Another big factor in this is where the points came from. Obviously Kansas State was great on the offensive boards but between Marcus Morris and Cole Aldrich Kansas saw 9 on the offensive end. Each one of those allowed for a put back or a foul and in most cases points on the board.
Last stat of the day. Tyshawn Taylor, 8 of 9 from the free throw line. Taylor is frustrated, finding his role, finding where he can contribute. Hats off to him for having the wherewithall to find a spot he could contribute. His speed is an asset. On defense he should be our best on ball defender and on offense when we need points, Tyshawn can get to the rim and draw contact. Once he starts finishing those buckets it will be a backbreaker to the opponent. Regardless, I think Tyshawn may have found a role. It might not be as a starter, but hopefully he realizes he can contribute just as much to the game coming off the bench.