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Jayhawks Outlast Sooners To Win Thrilling Game That I Also Hated

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

I mentioned in the preview that Kansas did a fantastic job on Buddy Hield last year and if they did that again, Kansas would win no problem. Oddly enough, I still think Kansas did a good job on Hield, but Hield still scored 46 points, went 5-8 from two, and 8-15 from three. Kansas did force him into 5 turnovers, including a killer one to all but clinch the win, but Hield was definitely the best player on the floor last night.

The return matchup is February 13, and both teams have things to feel good about. Oklahoma has to feel great about the way they played in Allen Fieldhouse, and you have to figure Isaiah Cousins won't disappear in Norman like he did in Lawrence (2-11 on twos, 0-3 from three). They also have to figure that the Jayhawks won't defend Hield as well, even though Kansas has done so three games in a row (it still feels weird to say they defended Hield well, but I watched every shot he took. They did. He was just better). On the Kansas side, Frank Mason and Devonte Graham both played terribly, they blew a handful of chances to win, got a tough whistle.....and still won. That has to feel good. And this is not blaspheming Buddy Hield, but as good as he is I would be shocked if he can make that many threes off the dribble with the tough defense that Kansas played on him. The Jayhawks need to run him off the line and deny the ball a lot better, but if they defend him like they did last night, I think they'll be happy.

As for last night, the Jayhawks held the Sooners to just 36 percent shooting from two, which is pretty incredible given how many put backs and alley oops they seemed to have, but (not to beat this dead horse) it is a testament to the power of the three that Oklahoma could push it into triple OT shooting 36 percent from two. The Sooners and Jayhawks both shot roughly 50 percent from deep, but Oklahoma attempted 11 more threes. It's certainly not as simple as saying if Kansas had attempted 5 or 10 more threes they would have won, but 5-10 more threes vs a 3-man weave into a 1 on 1 drive is a pretty easy decision to me.

Kansas held its own on the glass (rebounding 29 percent of its misses and limiting Oklahoma to 25 percent of its misses) and won the turnover battle, turning it over on 14 percent of its possessions compared to 16 percent for the Sooners. The Jayhawks were loose with the ball early, but turned it over just twice in the overtime period. Mason and Graham both were poor on offense, but when it counted they were incredible. In the 3 OTs, Graham was 2-2 from the field, 3-4 from the line, had 2 assists, and no turnovers. Mason was 0-4 from the field, but 3-4 from the line, had 2 assists, 1 turnover, and 2 steals and was a huge factor in Buddy Hield committing more turnovers in the overtimes than the entire Jayhawks team.

The Jayhawks rolled with just 7 guys in the overtimes, but basically 5 as Traylor barely played and Greene just stood in the corner for a possession. At times, last night was the worst of Bill Self: Kansas shot worse in close (41.2 percent) than it did from three (50 percent) but took 29 more shots in close than from three, despite a lack of success. And with the superior depth, the Jayhawks went away from it in the second half when they perhaps could have run away from the Sooners and worn them out. But it was also the best of Bill Self: For as much as he preaches toughness, he sure must have been proud that the 5 guys he sent out there came up with the plays to win when it counted. Somehow.

Perry Ellis was just 9-25 on twos but was 2-3 from three (sidenote: he attempted just 4 free throws despite attempting 25 twos. And not many of those were jumpers). Ellis also had 13 rebounds and just 1 turnover. Defensively he played well down low for the most part, but left Ryan Spangler too often and let him get too many in rhythm threes. Something to watch for next matchup.

Frank Mason had a game to forget offensively, going 4-15 on twos and 1-5 from three. He had 6 assists but 4 turnovers as well. I would have liked to have seen him either kick the ball out to open shooters or shoot that pull-up/runner he shoots so well more often.

Devonte Graham was 4-10 on twos, but 2-2 on threes and 6-7 from the line. Graham had 7 rebounds and 3 assists, but like Mason had 4 turnovers. I also think he had a rough game defensively. He helped off his man much too often, and allowed the Sooners too many open looks. Kansas is much better defending 1 on 1 this year, and with how dependent Oklahoma is on the three I was really hoping Kansas would force them to take those long twos or drive more.

Wayne Selden was 6-10 on twos and even though he missed a three in double overtime to win it, was 3-7 behind the arc. Selden had 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and no turnovers and played good defense on Hield early.

Hunter Mickelson played just 9 minutes, had 2 points, and 3 rebounds.

Landen Lucas was 1-3 on twos, but 5-6 from the line (and Kansas rebounded his only FT miss). Lucas played some really nice defense in the overtimes as well, and had 8 rebounds and no turnovers.

Brannen Greene played 17 rebounds and was 2-3 on threes. He played some awful defense which is probably why he didn't play more, but I think it would have been nice to have his ability to stretch the floor out there.

Jamari Traylor played 15 minutes, had the block of the season (remember that?) and played pretty well defensively. Too many wild offensive rebound attempts led to too many Oklahoma run outs though, and in general Kansas got killed on the glass when he was in.

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was 1-2 from three and like Selden I think he played some good defense on Hield early. I think he would have been a good body to throw at him in the second half.

Cheick Diallo played 5 minutes and had a rebound and a foul.

Carlton Bragg played 3 minutes, had 2 points, a rebound, and a turnover. I honestly don't remember any of what he or Diallo did.