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Defense, Jumpshooting Help Kansas Basketball To Tough Road Win At Georgetown

Brannen Greene came off the bench to hit some big threes for Kansas, helping mask some problems with the offense

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the best efforts of Josh Smith, Kansas allowed Georgetown to shoot just 43.9 percent from two, and allowed the Hoyas just .946 points per possession. The Jayhawks also rebounded 71.8 percent of Georgetown's misses, limiting the Hoyas' second chance opportunities.

The game was largely even, as seen in the graph below, but the difference came down to basically one stat: Kansas shot 10-17 on threes, and Georgetown shot 5-16 beyond the arc. Brannen Greene paced the Jayhawks from deep, making all five of his three pointers, but it masked some real problems. Kansas shot just 27.8 percent from two, and even though Kansas could not get a good look inside, what with Georgetown packing the lane, and with the refs loathe to call fouls inside, Kansas kept going inside again and again.

The turnovers were another issue, with the Jayhawks giving it away on 23 percent of their possessions. If they could knock that down just 5 or so percent, which would still be quite bad, their offensive production would look much better.

Defensively, Kansas did a good job forcing turnovers (21.6 percent of Georgetown's possessions) even though it led to some easy backdoor cuts and easy drives into the lane. Given how poor the Hoyas have been at shooting threes I expected the Jayhawks to pack it in a bit more, but this was the second highest PPP Bill Self has allowed to a John Thompson III coached team, so clearly he knows what he is doing against him.

Even though Kansas currently ranks 265th nationally in 2 pt offense, and 308th in terms of getting their shots blocked, it's important to put it in the context of one of the toughest non conference schedules of the country. It's also important to realize that Kansas is often getting good shots near the rim, they just haven't made a lot of them yet. They will, I think, which will cause the Jayhawks' offensive numbers to rise even more.

  • Frank Mason got a lot of plaudits for his tough defense (deserved) and making three of his five twos and one of his three threes. However, Mason had four turnovers and three assists, and too often drove into a group of two or three defenders with no clear man to pass to, forcing a jump pass that wasn't planned out until he was in the air, or a turnover. His speed and ability to attack the rim are exactly what Kansas need at times, but it's also the exact opposite of what they need at times.
  • Perry Ellis shot just 3-12 on twos, but came away with a double double, two blocks, and three steals. He did a pretty good job defensively, and for the most part got good looks, they just didn't fall. Small sample size warning, but his jumper certainly doesn't look as good this year as it did last year, though I don't think that's anything to worry about yet.
  • Wayne Selden was 2-3 on threes and had four rebounds, but turned it over three times, missed all of his twos, and had some horrible off ball defense.
  • I'll skip to Brannen Greene here because it ties into a couple points to be made with Selden. Greene made all five of his threes, and all four of his free throws, but grabbed just one rebound, had an assist and a turnover, and played poor defense both on and off the ball. He and Selden are the two guys on the team most prone to up and down games at this point, and that's because their production mostly relies on how well they shoot jumpers. When they are hot from the outside, like Selden against Florida and Greene tonight, the deficiencies in the other parts of their games are less noticeable, or at least easier to brush aside, but when they don't shoot well on jumpers, it's almost impossible to play either one of them.
  • Landen Lucas played 13 minutes, scored just two points and had just one rebound, though it did seem like he played the better defense on Josh Smith. He also fouled out.
  • This was a bit of a "welcome to college hoops" game for Cliff Alexander. He had 7 points on 2-4 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks, but he constantly let Josh Smith catch the ball much to deep and was unable to deny him the ball or stop him from scoring over the top. Some of it is Smith, but Cliff has had some problems with initial post defense this season, though the rim protection is a bonus.
  • Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk played just 5 minutes, playing some rough defense and committing a foul. A game where you nearly have to draw blood to draw a foul probably isn't the best place for a 17 year old, no matter how good.
  • Devonte Graham was 1-2 from three and 3-6 on free throws. He had some nice flashes on both ends of the floor, but was mostly inconsistent. If only we had a point guard who was steady, didn't turn the ball over, and added outside shooting.
  • Kelly Oubre played 16 minutes, was 1-4 on twos, 0-1 on threes, and 5-6 from the line. He did have five rebounds and two steals, however, and flashed potential of what Kansas will hopefully be getting to see in the conference season.
  • Hunter Mickelson came in, allowed a backdoor layup, and was never heard from again.