That wasn't the greatest game of basketball we've ever watched, to say the least. I remember remarking with about seven minutes left that I was both nervous as hell and bored to death. In the end, Kansas finished with just .94 points per possession but held the Cowboys to just .8 points per trip to come away with the win. (apropos of nothing, if not for the technical free throws and Phil Forte getting 3 free throws for jumping two feet sideways into Kelly Oubre, it would have been .7 points per possession. And yes I know you can't really do that but it goes to show what an insane effort the Jayhawks had defensively).
For the third straight game Kansas did well at two point defense, holding the Cowboys to 37 percent inside the arc. They also did well at three point defense, allowing Oklahoma State to shoot just 3-16. Phil Forte attempted just two threes, and while Forte's injury he picked up in the second half certainly contributed to that, Devonte Graham and Wayne Selden did a really good job chasing him around screens, the latter of which really surprised me, and the rest of the Cowboys were unable to take advantage. LeBryan Nash finished with a decent game, but was helped by getting to the line a ton. From the field, the senior was just 5-14.
Kansas's turnover forcing fell back to the pack a bit in this one, forcing steals on just 7 percent of OSU's possessions, and turnovers on just 16.9 percent of the Cowboys possessions. The Jayhawks made up for it though by owning the defensive glass, rebounding 89.2 percent of OSU's misses, and giving up just 4 offensive rebounds all game.
Offensively was another freaking disaster. Some of that was Oklahoma State's defense, but a lot of it was errors by the Jayhawks. Kansas attempted just 28 percent of its shots from three, though when you're shooting just 25 percent on threes and getting to the line at will that can be excused. Speaking of, Kansas is now back up to 44th nationally at getting to the free throw line, but although 70 percent isn't a horrible percentage to shoot at the line, the Jayhawks left a lot of points out there.
Most concerning was Kansas's shooting from two in general. Kansas made just 42 percent of the shots it attempted inside the arc, and now ranks an appalling 261st nationally in shooting from two. Kansas got to the restricted area often, taking 25 of their 31 twos there, but shot just 48 percent there, which is honestly embarrassing, even though Oklahoma State's rim defense has been pretty good this year.
- Frank Mason led the team in rebounds with 9, but had the same number of assists as turnovers, and was just 2-3 on twos and 1-5 on threes. He did, however, get to the line 11 times, making 9 of them. Another good effort from Mason, which could probably be elevated to great given the nature of the game.
- Kelly Oubre had 4 turnovers, but was fantastic elsewhere. Oubre pulled down 6 rebounds, was 2-3 on twos, 1-2 on threes, and was 7-12 at the line. He also had 3 assists, 2 steals, and a block. He can attack the lane basically every possession and I wouldn't be mad.
- Perry Ellis. Woof. Not sure what to say at this point. It's almost like he's flipped his offense and defense from last year around this year. He was just 1-7 on twos and 0-1 on threes, though he did go 5-6 at the line. Most problematic, though, were his turnovers. Ellis had 5, and did it in all sorts of ways: soft passes, dropped passes. He is just not good at finishing at the rim, his shot isn't falling. He really needs a big to be with him so he can score over smaller guys. On the flipside, his defense has gotten a lot better. He rebounded well, he had 3 steals, he had 2 blocks, and he did a really good job hedging and on double teams. Now just do that stuff offensively.
- Wayne Selden did a good job chasing Phil Forte around screens, but it took away from his offensive game. Selden was 1-5 on twos, 1-2 on threes, just 1-2 at the line, and mostly faded in and out of the game. He did have 2 nice blocks though.
- Jamari Traylor struggled with fouls and looked to be hampered by injuries, but finished 2-3 from the floor and grabbed 2 offensive rebounds. He hasn't necessarily been my favorite Jayhawk this year, but the team certainly needs him at 100% to win the Big 12.
- Speaking of, Cliff Alexander played just 21 minutes thanks in part to (apparently) some injury concerns, but when he was in he made an impact. He had 7 points, including the dunk of the season, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He also picked up the worst technical foul in the history of basketball, so that was something.
- Devonte Graham had 9 points in 21 minutes, going 2-4 on twos and 5-8 from the line. Graham also had 3 assists and 0 turnovers. Let me be the millionth person to say that a him and Mason backcourt for the next two years is going to be amazing.
- Landen Lucas had some finishing issues, but finished with 4 points and 4 rebounds in 12 minutes. He also made some nice defensive plays and set some good screens offensively. Obviously that last point seems trite, but I think a big reason why some fans don't like Lucas much is that his failures (i.e. not finishing at the rim) are very visible, but his successes (hedging, screening, sealing his man so someone can drive, etc.) are much more private and harder to spot. If he learns how to finish inside though, I think he'll start to pick up some more playing time.
- Brannen Greene played just 3 minutes, grabbing a rebound and missing a three.