This game had all the makings of a bad Sprint Center outing. There was a Jayhawk team that was inconsistent coming in, an opponent that was playing better than expected, and a building that seems to be at times a tempermental host to the Jayhawks.
The game started out extremely sloppy, with neither team really able to get anything going. At the first TV timeout, the score was 4-3 Oregon State. From there, it stayed ugly for the Jayhawks. Oregon State started to find their shooting stroke, and Kansas couldn't even find their stroke from the free throw line. A couple dunks got them within 9-8, but then they went over 4 minutes without making a bucket, and they found themselves down 22-9 with less than 10 minutes left in the half. Perry Ellis tipped in a shot before Mason scored 7 straight points, and an Oregon State time out let Kansas fans start to ease off the panic button. Coming out of the time out, Oregon State went right back to their scoring ways, and Kansas suddenly couldn't stop anything again. Ultimately, Wayne Selden was able to hit a couple threes to keep the margin from getting completely out of hand again, but Kansas still went into the break down 39-28.
At this point, Kansas fans all over had to be starting to panic. Kansas was only 2-7 on threes, the aspect of their game that allowed them to blow by opponents. They committed 9 turnovers. They looked lethargic and unfocused all half. Why do we play these games in the Sprint Center? The Jayhawks never seem to play very well here, right? To prevent a total meltdown, the team would need to get it going quickly and start to take control of the game.
And start quick they did. Ellis was fouled 12 seconds into the half and made both free throws. Kansas suddenly couldn't miss, hitting 4 straight shots (including a 3). Just prior to the first TV timeout of the first half, Kansas found themselves down 48-41. Including a Devonte' Graham layup just prior to the timeout, Kansas reeled off 14 straight points to find themselves up 55-48. While the Beavers scored the next 4 points to close within 3, Kansas went on another little run to push the lead to 63-54 with 10 minutes to go. Once the Jayhawks got the lead to double digits a minute later on a Graham trey, they never let up.
Kansas looked really sloppy to start this one, but when they finally decided to start playing like the team they know they are, Oregon State pretty much couldn't do anything to stop them. While this wasn't an all-around dominant performance, the Jayhawks were able to avoid the upset.
Kansas has a full week to work on their effort before Montana comes to town next Saturday at 1:00pm Kansas time.