I suppose we should get the bad out of the way immediately and note that KU gave up 1.21 points per possession, and dropped from 2nd all the way to 6th in adjusted defensive efficiency. That's pretty much where it ends as Kansas put up a ridiculous 1.45 points per possession. Both teams shot well from three, with Missouri shooting 38% and Kansas shooting 58%. But while Kansas did its damage from beyond the arc Missouri did theirs from the charity stripe, going 18-22 from the line. I was also pleased that Kansas didn't even wait a game before proving my point about the free throws. Yes we only shot 64.3% from the line, but we drew so many fouls that we were in the bonus before 5 minutes had elapsed in the second half. We fouled out two Tigers (and almost a third). Regardless of how well we shoot from the free throw line we are going to win a lot of games doing that.
KU didn't force many Missouri turnovers, but Missouri never turns it over so I am not discouraged about that. But in this brave new world of Kansas taking care of the ball, this was the ultimate test, other than the trip to Missouri: The Tigers force opponents to turn it over on a fourth of their possessions. Kansas turned it over on just 17% of their possessions. That is incredible. As is the fact that Kansas rebounded almost exactly half of their misses. Shooting well + getting a lot of second chances + getting a lot of first chances because you don't turn it over = a nearly unstoppable offense.
Last but not least I wanted to just note how awesome it was to be in the Fieldhouse for this one. Every time a Missouri fan walked in to find his or her seat he or she got booed. There was almost a fight in the stands before the game. When Thomas Robinson threw down his one handed dunk I seriously thought the roof was going to come off. It was the type of night where I would need to be Michael Lewis or Joe Posnanski to adequately sum up how awesome the atmosphere was, but it was awesome nonetheless.
- Might as well start with this. My #1 pet peeve about KU fans is their inability to understand how good of a player Tyshawn Taylor is. Does he turn it over quite a bit? Yes. But just for comparison's sake, he turns it over only 1% more than some guy named Russell Robinson who, oh I don't know, only led us to a national championship. Yes he was just 3-11 from two and missed a handful of runners that should have gone in. But guess what? Him getting into the lane forced the defense to help and led to tons of easy offensive rebounds. It was a big reason why we were able to rebound half our misses. And while his play in the first half was pretty passive, in the second half he got into the lane and beat his man off the dribble at will. Every single time he wanted to get into the lane he got there. No coincidence that we pulled away in the second half. Yes he has his faults, but there is no way in hell we are as good of a basketball team with someone other than Tyshawn running the show. And if Kansas fans can't see it, maybe we aren't the greatest fanbase in the country like we think we are.
- Marcus Morris was the master of efficiency yet again, going 6-7 from two and 1-2 from three for a tidy 83.3% eFG. He added 8 rebounds and 3 assists. I would have liked to have seen him shoot better from the line but that's just being picky. His three point play where he drew contact and then laid it in was one of the better moves I have ever seen in person. Just phenomenal body control.
- His twin was perhaps a bit overshadowed, but shouldn't be. He was 5-6 from two and 1-2 from three for an 81.2% eFG. He added 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks, including one that almost started a riot like we were in Rucker Park or something.
- Mario Little came off the bench for some instant offense, going a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc, including a step back number at the end of the shot clock. He was also 4-6 from two and added 5 rebounds, but I think he got exposed on defense a bit.
- Thomas Robinson only played 15 minutes despite only committing 1 foul. It seemed like he played more than that, and I'm not sure why he didn't play more seeing as how he was perfect from the field and snagged 7 boards in his limited playing time
- Brady Morningstar had 7 assists to 0 turnovers. He has quietly been very awesome in Big 12 play.