John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Perry Ellis had his best game as a Jayhawk and Naadir Tharpe continues to improve for the Jayhawks
It was little more than a scrimmage, but it was still nice to see Kansas come out and not mess around against American. The Jayhawks jumped out in front early, having them doubled up just 7 minutes in, and did not look back as the lead hovered around 30 for the final 13 minutes of the game. It's worth noting that even by Patriot League standards American isn't very good this year, but putting up 1.44 points per possession isn't easy against anybody. It was helped along by a ridiculous 76.9% eFG, the best mark in division 1 this year and the school's best mark in 16 seasons. (h/t Jesse Newell on those)
Kansas did a bulk of their damage from beyond the arc last night for the first time all season. Together they were 15-24 (62.5%) from three, upping their season average to 37.8% from beyond the arc. If you read the jump shooting update post from the other day you'll know that they raised their season percentage as a team by 3% in one game. We'll cover the individual breakdowns below.
Defensively Kansas held American to .92 points per possession, and held them to just 32% shooting inside the arc. I said this on twitter last night, but they only forced turnovers on 12.9% of their possessions last night. That's not a problem defensively, as I think it is the best in the country regardless of turnovers, but scoring will come much less easily in March and a few extra turnovers per game will help Kansas get a few more easy buckets. But that is something to worry about in a couple months. For now, let's marvel at the fact that Bill Self has built a borderline top 5 offense with, well, this.
- After a bit of a rough start to the season, Naadir Tharpe is coming back into his own. He was 3-4 from three (shooting 43.3% on the season now) and had 12 assists without turning it over. Read that again. In fact, his last turnover came on December 8th.
- Travis Releford went 5-6 from three and is now a legitimate deep threat when he's open. He raised his percentage to 44.4%.
- Elijah Johnson was 4-5 from three and is now at 37.7% for the year (which, by the way, is the worst percentage for a regular. Think about that). He also had 4 assists and just 1 turnover.
- Jeff Withey was 4-5 from three. OK that's a lie. Just seeing if you're paying attention. He did have 4 blocks and is now 35 from setting the school record.