In a Tale of Two Cities, the French revolutionaries rise up after years of torment by the aristocracy and then brutalize said aristocracy. In a tale of two halves last night, the Big 12 aristocracy rose up and brutalized their subjects in the second half after a rough opening stanza.
If we are looking for overarching themes from last night other than my sweet Dickens reference, it may be that Bill Self has finally embraced the three (fingers crossed). Kansas took 40 twos last night, and shot just 37.5 percent inside the arc, but while in years past they may have continued to pound it inside, last night the Jayhawks responded by attempting 27 threes and making 44 percent of them. That, combined with turning it over on fewer than 15 percent of your possessions, is how you score 1.08 points per possession despite shooting abysmally inside the arc.
Defensively, Kansas was much better all game. They contested shots better, they rotated better, and boxed out much better. The Jayhawks allowed just .93 points per possession, Oklahoma shot just 42 percent on twos, and they forced turnovers on a perfectly acceptable 18.7 percent of possessions. It is weird to not have much else to talk about on that end of the floor, but other than Jamuni McNeace being able to catch it deep and shoot a jump hook whenever he wanted, there isn’t much to complain about defensively.
- Frank Mason was about as good as you can imagine, again. 6-14 on twos, 5-6 from 3, 5 assists, and 2 steals. The 3 turnovers weren’t great, but scoring 28 points efficiently will allow people to overlook a lot of turnovers.
- Svi Mykhailiuk had an underrated good game, going 3-8 from deep and grabbing 9 rebounds. I thought he took a mini step back on defense though.
- Devonte Graham was 1-3 on twos, 3-8 from three, and had 5 assists with no turnovers. He also had 2 steals and played the best defense I had seen him play in awhile.
- Landen Lucas was 3-6 from two (and drilled a layup off the bottom of the rim which was weird), and also had 13 rebounds. He also had 3 assists, which is a change.
- Josh Jackson didn’t make a 3, but was 5-8 on twos and 6-8 from the line, He also had 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Not his best game by any means, which speaks to how good he is that I can say that about a 16 point, 4 rebound, 3 assist night.
- Lagerald Vick has been struggling lately. He was 0-4 on twos, and took two ugly pull up jumpers with his feet just inside the line, though he was 1-2 from deep. He also looked to be the weak link defensively as well.
- Carlton Bragg didn’t score, but had 3 blocked shots in 10 minutes, which is weird. I also thought it was weird he barely played after picking up his second foul given that he was mostly pretty good defensively.
- Dwight Coleby and Mitch Lightfoot each came in and committed an illegal screen and then were banished. I thought Mitch’s was fine, but Coleby’s would earn you 2 minutes in the box in hockey.