Kansas Survives Poor Shooting, Turnovers To Beat Texas

USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas Jayhawks improved to 4-0 in Big 12 play with a big second half comeback to down the Longhorns

I never root for a loss, but at some point during Kansas's 64-59 win over Texas I thought it was good for them to lose to realize that a team, even one as good as Kansas, can't come out flat and expect to miraculously win every game.

But, while it's true that great teams blow other teams out, sometimes great teams need to win while playing a C+ game, and that's what this was. Because of how good Texas is defensively (1st in eFG allowed, 3rd in 2 pt% allowed) I didn't expect much from Kansas on the offensive end. And, believe it or not, they were better than the average Texas opponent in both eFG and from two. But it was still poor, and that poor shooting combined with a 22.1% turnover rate added up to Kansas scoring just .94 points per trip, their second straight game they have been held under a point per possession.

And yet, even though they allowed Texas to score just .86 points per trip, the defense was even more disappointing. They allowed the Longhorns to shoot 47% from two, and while they got a bit lucky from three, they let Texas shoot above their average from both two and three and the Horns had fewer turnovers than normal. And this is the 257th ranked offense according to KenPom, so quite frankly Kansas should have put on a two point defensive clinic.

This game was won on the glass and on the foul line: The Jayhawks limited Texas to grabbing just 18.2% of their misses, about half their average, and they had a pretty insane 49% FT rate and shot 21-25 from the line. Texas, meanwhile went just 2-8 from the stripe. Was it some favorable refereeing, or did Kansas just do a good job of defending without fouling while also attacking the basket on the offensive end? Who knows. Kansas usually does a good job of defending without fouling, but there were definitely some iffy calls both ways (like every college basketball game because college refs are in general not very good).

  • I'm planning on doing a longer post on this so I won't spend too much time here, but Elijah Johnson was terrible. He was 1-9 from two and 0-2 from three, just 2 assists and 3 turnovers. He beat his man a lot but couldn't quite finish, so hopefully it was just an off shooting night. I will mention though that Phil Pressey had a way worse night and it got about 5% of the mentions that I saw Elijah's bad game get. Just saying.
  • The legend of McLemore grows: 4-7 from two, 2-3 from three, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, a block, drawing a charge to foul out Johnathan Holmes and a big close out on Texas's last shot. All on an ankle he absolutely mangled 5 days ago.
  • Travis Releford missed a couple threes, but he went 4-6 from two and 4-4 from the line and pitched in with 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. He also did a really good job of looking for his shot when Kansas needed him to and made a pair of clutch free throws late.
  • Naadir Tharpe is getting rave reviews for his game today, and he did do a good job of playing defense on Javan Felix as well as not turning the ball over. He also made a great drive to the hoop late. Still, I think fans are going a bit overboard on his game today, just because Elijah looked to bad in comparison.
  • The KU assists leader today was none other than Jeff Withey. He also had 3 blocks, passing Eric Chenowith on the career blocks list and is now just 15 away from Ostertag.
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