Even with the relatively turnover free second half, Kansas still turned the ball over on 22% of its possessions. That's not out of character for either Eastern Kentucky or Kansas, but it was a reminder of how poorly Kansas can play at times, no matter the opponent.
Still, with Bill Self's sometimes stubborn refusal to deviate from his gameplan, it was nice to see Kansas consistently dump the ball into the middle, and have Conner Frankamp as its most frequent ballhandler.
Though the Jayhawks gave up 1.08 PPP, they actually played well defensively. Eastern Kentucky shot under 40% from two, they grabbed fewer than 22% of their misses, and they rarely got to the line. Eastern's offense was a result of frequent (31) and efficient (39%) three point shooting. In fact, the Colonels shot better from three than they did from two. Some of them were fairly open, but, without reviewing each one, I would theorize the majority were tough looks.
In all, this points to a fairly positive picture of how Kansas played. They struggled turning the ball over, a team made a ton of threes against them, and they still won. They did so despite not making a three pointer. Instead, Kansas made 70% of its twos, and rebounded 56% of its misses en route to scoring 1.25 points per possession.
The game certainly was not pretty, but as the old adage goes, survive and advance. Kansas weathered a dual storm of its opponent playing very well and Kansas playing very poorly, and they advanced. 1 down, 5 to go.
Andrew Wiggins: 9. Eastern clearly gameplanned against Wiggins, denying him the ball at every opportunity. They couldn't stop him from scoring a game high 19 points on 12 shots, however. Wiggins had a few momentum changing dunks and, per usual, virtually neutralized his man defensively.
Perry Ellis: 8. Ellis struggled defensively, but provided a handful of first half baskets that kept Kansas in it, and ripped down 13 rebounds. He also had KU's only 2 steals.
Wayne Selden: 3. I don't know if I have words for how bad Selden was. He did well from an assist/TO standpoint, but that's about it. He didn't make a shot from the field and played porous defense.
Tarik Black: 8.5. Black made every shot he took, grabbed 5 rebounds, and pulled a decent Joel Embiid impression, blocking 4 shots.
Naadir Tharpe: 3.5. Tharpe gets a half point bonus over Selden because his perimeter defense was for once not awful, and he did make both of his twos, but the fact that I was semi seriously proposing Evan Manning as a Tharpe alternative doesn't bode well going forward. Still, winning while he plays awfully is a nice bonus, as that hasn't happened this year.
Conner Frankamp: 8.5. Hoo boy. Heat Man still needs to make a three one of these centuries, but made all of his twos, had 4 assists, didn't turn it over once against one of the best turnover forcing teams in the country, and played some pretty damn good perimeter D himself. To borrow a phrase from John Gasaway: Conner Frankamp, I salute you!
Jamari Traylor: 10. Traylor had a career high 17 points on 7-8 shooting, had 14 rebounds (7 offensive) had 2 sweet assists, and 1 block. Pretty much everyone did good and bad things today, but I feel confident in saying they don't win the game without the last two guys on this list. (also remember said two guys are a Freshman and a Sophomore).