The Jayhawks showed off two of their greatest recent strengths yesterday against Kansas State, getting a big lead and then taking their foot off the gas and coasting almost the entire second half for an 11 point win. The worst part was no doubt the people who got their cover ruined by a banked in three and another three by Stephen Hurt, who has now made four career three pointers, with two of them coming in the final minute of yesterday's game. Don't gamble.
As far as the rest of the game goes, Kansas put on a defensive clinic, holding the Wildcats to just .89 points per possession. In addition, Kansas allowed K State to shoot just 32.6 percent on twos and while K State did shoot 35.7 percent on threes, if you take out Hurt's threes when the game was essentially over, K State shot just 3-12 from deep. Kansas especially did a really good job on Marcus Foster, who was 4-8 on twos and just 3-10 from three, with only a couple shots being even a little open. Kansas did really well on the glass as well, allowing the Wildcats to rebound just 29.5 percent of their misses. The lone bad job by the Jayhawks was only forcing turnovers on 10.9 percent of Wildcats possessions, but those were all steals and 10.9 percent is an acceptable steal rate, so even that comes with good news.
Offensively the Jayhawks scored just 1.06 points per possession, but that included a lot of easy looks they missed: multiple layups, a dunk, an uncalled goaltend, etc. Kansas still managed to shoot 48.8 percent on twos (and 54.8 percent in close), and the Jayhawks shot 35.3 percent on threes. Where they gave some points away was at the line, where they shot just 58.8 percent (and had fewer free throw attempts than Kansas State even including the intentional fouling at the end of the game). Kansas grabbed just 31.4 percent of its misses on the glass, but made up for it by committing turnovers on just 12.5 percent of their possessions against the second most frequent turnover forcing team in the conference.
Perry Ellis started off extremely hot, and kept it going for most of the game. The junior scored 16 points, making 7 of his 9 shots, and grabbed 12 rebounds. Ellis also had 3 assists and a blocked shot.
Frank Mason had his worst game of the Big 12 season, going 3-8 on twos and 0-4 on threes. He didn't make a shot in the first half. Mason also had just 2 assists and a turnover. The two pieces of good news, however, are that it seems like most of his mistakes were self inflicted rather than K State having anything to do with it, and this will be his worst game of the year and it was in a game Kansas won by 11.
Wayne Selden had one of his best games of the year. Although he went just 2-7 on twos he was 3-6 from three, had 2 assists, 4 blocks, and did a really good job on Marcus Foster defensively. Maybe it's the haircut.
Jamari Traylor was just 3-7 on twos, including a couple long jumpers that I'll live with against Kansas State but will slit my wrists if he takes in a close important game, and had 5 rebounds, three assists (two turnovers), and two steals.
Kelly Oubre appeared to be fully recovered from the flu, coming out with energy, dunking a couple shots, playing tough defense, and being able to play 25 minutes. Oubre was 3-4 on twos, had 9 rebounds, 2 assists, a block, and a steal. The one sour note of his game continues to be his outside shot, as Oubre was 0-2 in the game and now is shooting just 24 percent on threes in conference play.
Cliff Alexander had his worst game in awhile (and interestingly got to play through a lot of mistakes), missing both his shots, grabbing 4 rebounds, and blocking a shot. He had a nice assist off a hustle play as well (which is likely why he got to play through a lot of mistakes.)
The Devonte Graham I know and love got back to business, dishing out 4 assists and not committing a turnover. Graham is now up to 24 assists and 3 turnovers in conference play, ranking 4th in assist rate and 2nd in turnover rate.
Brannen Greene's minutes were a bit limited due to a bloody nose in the first half, which probably robbed him of taking over the Big 12 lead in offensive rating, but Greene still made his only two and was 3-4 on threes. Greene shooting 50 percent on threes for the season, and 61.9 percent in Big 12 play.