After Saturday's big win, it was perhaps unsurprising that the Jayhawks came out a bit flat last night. It's also probably unsurprising, given what happened in Stillwater, that Oklahoma State came out on fire from three. Fortunately for the Jayhawks, OSU went cold in the second half and finished just 35 percent behind the arc.
The Jayhawks still allowed OSU to score 1.02 points per possession despite average 3-point shooting, just 44 percent from two, and just a 19 percent offensive rebounding rate. Kansas allowed the Cowboys to the line a few too many times, but the real culprit behind the defensive efforts continues to be the turnovers. Kansas forced turnovers on just 12.1 percent of Oklahoma State's possessions. KU has maybe the best first shot defense in the league, and they generally rebound well on the defensive glass, but when you can't (or refuse to) force turnovers, it leads to some hairier games than you'd like. I understand Bill Self wants to play tough first shot defense and doesn't want to do anything that leads to easy baskets (and I don't blame him) but I do think the Jayhawks would be better off trying to pressure and force some turnovers just a bit more often. They don't need to go full on West Virginia, but a hot shooting night or a couple weird bounces on offensive rebounds could leave them in a precarious position in March.
Offensively Kansas was mostly good. Oklahoma State has one of the best 2-point defenses in the league, so KU shooting 48 percent from two is pretty good. For some reason, the Cowboys sat back (hence the just 10.6 percent turnover rate for Kansas) and allowed the Jayhawks some open threes. Kansas responded by making 54 percent of its 21 attempts. The Jayhawks also rebounded 44.4 percent of their misses, which is positively West Virginiaish, and was a big factor in them scoring 1.42 points per trip (though not as big of a factor as the threes, obviously).
Frank Mason had 6 assists and 0 turnovers, and even if OSU was mostly sagging off, that's nice to see. He now has a better assist rate than turnover rate for the conference season. Worringly, he blew an open layup and was just 3-7 from two, but I just kind of think he's never going to be a very good finisher. I'd still rather have a guy who gets to the rim at will and shoots a bit lower than 50 percent than a guy who can't get to the rim at all but finishes better.
Devonte Graham had a bit of a quiet game. He was 2-2 from two and 2-5 from three, which is awesome, and didn't have any assists or turnovers.
Wayne Selden was 1-5 from two but was 4-7 from three and had 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and no turnovers. Even though it was his only two of the game, I thought his baseline drive for a dunk was a key moment in the game because it got the Jayhawks a bit more fired up when they had been a bit sluggish up to that point.
Landen Lucas was the star of this one. He had a double double, and was 5-8 from the field to go along with his 10 rebounds. I don't foresee the scoring continuing, but Lucas certainly belongs in the discussion of the conference's best rebounders and interior defenders.
Perry Ellis had another quietly awesome game, going 5-10 on twos and 1-3 from three. Ellis added 4 rebounds and an assist, although he did have a rare turnover.
Brannen Greene clearly got jealous of all of the attention Graham was getting for his shooting, and responded by going 3-3 from three. He's now up to 55 percent from deep on the year and, even with his other faults, pretty much has to shoot 5 threes per game now.
Jamari Traylor had a nice drive for a layup late in the first half, but mostly was pretty absent from this one.
Carlton Bragg had a jumper go in and out, but made 4 free throws, had 2 assists, and a steal.
Cheick Diallo had 3 blocks (2 in one possession) in 7 minutes. I get that he does weird stuff out there, and he did have 2 turnovers in those 7 minutes, but I still think he needs to play more. At this point he is sort of like a supersized Jamari, where all of his positive and negative traits are outsized versions of Traylor's. I suppose there is some value in mostly knowing what Traylor is going to give you, but a good game from Diallo at the right time could put the Jayhawks in a very good spot.
Hunter Mickelson had 2 points in 3 minutes, but also committed 2 fouls.
Lagerald Vick attempted a 3 in garbage time (stop me if you've heard that before) but missed it.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was 1-1 from the field, had a rebound, and a turnover. It sort of looks like his playing time going forward is going to depend on how well Greene is shooting, which is probably fair.