The Jayhawks were tested, as we knew they would be, but in the end it was a fairly comfortable win against a team they would have struggled with last season, and even two years ago. The Jayhawks posted 1.11 points per possession against one of the best defenses in the country and while shooting 42 percent on twos does not seem like something the Jayhawks should be proud of, that was over six percent better than San Diego State opponents to that point. Maybe most impressively, the Jayhawks got just three shots blocked in the entire game.
Defensively, Kansas allowed just .9 points per possession, but it could have been even lower against a poor offensive team like San Diego State. The Aztecs shot just 37 percent inside the arc and turned it over on 24 percent of their possessions, but got some easy putbacks via offensive rebound. Kansas's defensive rebounding effort was a bit disappointing in this one, but that is the risk you run when you play Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor together for long stretches.
It's hard to complain much about Kansas's performance in its first road game of the season, however. Most places are tough to play in when Kansas comes to town, but the Jayhawks handled the environment, the late start time, and a run by San Diego State extremely well. It's not about being the best team in late December, but the last two years have taught me we're always an injury or an injury and a suspension away from March being ruined, so let's just enjoy being maybe the best team in the country in late December.
Perry Ellis had a great game, and against a team that doesn't let post players have great games. He was 6-12 inside, 2-3 on threes, had 3 offensive rebounds, and 2 blocks. He did have 5 of KU's 9 turnovers, but he did everything else well.
Devonte Graham was 2-4 on twos and 2-6 from three, and had another good game taking care of the ball, with 3 assists and just 1 turnover.
Frank Mason had a bit of an off game saved by going 2-3 on threes. He was just 3-9 on twos, which is going to happen against teams like SDSU. Like Graham, he had 3 assists and 1 turnover. For the season the pair now have 100 assists and just 23 turnovers.
Wayne Selden had to sit a lot in the first half due to foul trouble, and finished with just 22 minutes played. He made them count, though, going 2-4 on twos, 1-2 on threes, and 3-3 from the line. Selden had 3 rebounds, an assist, and a steal as well.
Hunter Mickelson got another start but played just 8 minutes. He had 2 blocks in those 8 minutes, but couldn't really get it going offensively. With that end of the floor being a premium last night, I don't blame Self for sitting him.
Brannen Greene was just 1-3 from three last night. Sound the alarm. He had some nice defensive plays, however, and probably earned some more playing time.
Jamari Traylor played 21 minutes and was KU's best player for long stretches in the second half. He finished with 4 offensive rebounds and also had 3 steals. I can see the argument for his minutes being cut, however, because....
Cheick Diallo played just 9 minutes. The latest in my series of posts I think I should do but never do might have to center around whether it's too early to complain about his lack of playing time. On the one hand, he's raw and he only has a handful of games under his belt. On the other hand, I doubt Self is going to let him find his way during the Big 12 season, so it's probably better to throw him out there in a relatively meaningless game. And oh yeah: Cheick has been awesome. he was 2-3 last night and had 3 defensive rebounds in 9 minutes. Seems like a good idea to play him. For the record, for the season Diallo has a 28 percent usage rate and is shooting 55 percent. For the uninitiated: that's incredible. The minutes are way different, but just for comparison's sake, in his monster 2012 season, Thomas Robinson had a usage rate of 29.7 percent and shot 50.5 percent on twos. Looks like we have to #freediallo again.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk played 7 minutes and missed both of his shots. He played some good defense, but like I said above that isn't as important when playing a team who can't throw it into the ocean.
Carlton Bragg played 6 minutes and was 1-3 from the field.
Landen Lucas got a lot less playing time than I thought he would, and that was part of the reason for the struggles on the glass. He had a rebound in 2 minutes, and didn't attempt a shot.