Over a million people, certainly the largest crowd at Allen Fieldhouse that I can remember, saw yesterday’s game, which followed a somewhat familiar pattern. Kansas would go on a run, fueled largely by taking open threes (or open shots in general) and forcing tough shots (or forcing turnovers in yesterday’s case, which was a bit of a new wrinkle). Then, they would get lazy on defense and either commit unforced turnovers or force the ball inside despite having plenty of open shots, and let the opponent back in the game.
So it was yesterday. Kansas shot just 46 percent on twos and turned it over on 21.6 percent of its possessions, most of them due to post ups or ill-advised post feeds, and they shot 48 percent on threes. They ended up taking more threes than they usually do (38 percent of their field goal attempts), but against a team that is as good as Texas is inside, and as well as Kansas can shoot it (and with how many open looks they passed up) that number should be even higher. Thanks to that 3-point barrage, Kansas still managed to score 1.07 points per possession.
The other end of the floor looked much worse than it was. Part of that was because Texas, who was under 30 percent from 3 coming into the game, shot 37.5 percent from deep, but a lot of it was also Jarrett Allen having a monster game down low. Still, Kansas held Texas to just 44.2 percent on twos, only allowed them to rebound 28 percent of their misses, and forced turnovers on 25 percent of their possessions. This was definitely a case where some careless turnovers prevented the Jayhawks from stretching the lead rather than the defense allowing Texas back into it.
- Devonte Graham blew up in the first half, and then mostly had a quiet second half until the end. He finished 2-2 on twos, 4-8 from deep, with 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 0 turnovers. For all of the (well deserved) attention Mason gets, it’s worth noting just how good Graham has been this year.
- Frank Mason, meanwhile, was just 5-11 on twos, but 2-4 from three, and added 7 assists with just 1 turnover. He was called for a (dubious) offensive foul midway through the first half, which sent him to the bench, and Texas made its first half run. Mason then committed just 1 foul the rest of the game. For the love of God you don’t need to automatically bench guys in the first half when they get 2 fouls.
- Josh Jackson had, all things considered, maybe his worst game as a Jayhawk. He did go 2-5 from deep and was 4-9 on twos, but he took too many wild shots, didn’t make an impact on the glass, had 6 turnovers, and was awful defensively. I assume it is just the freshman wall hitting, but Kansas can’t afford too many more bad Jackson games.
- Landen Lucas was reportedly sick in this one, which might be why he was 0-4 from the field, but he still managed 14 rebounds and was really good defensively. His rotations are back to where they were at the end of last season, and most of the damage down low occurred either not by Lucas’s man or in spite of Lucas forcing tough shots.
- Svi Mykhailiuk was 2-3 on twos and 2-4 from three, and had 3 steals, but also had 3 turnovers.
- Lagerald Vick was 1-2 on threes and had a pair of offensive rebounds. I thought he should have gotten some more playing time when Jackson was struggling.
- Carlton Bragg had 8 points and 2 offensive rebounds in 15 minutes, but struggled defensively and had a couple turnovers (even if his travel wasn’t a travel).
- Mitch Lightfoot had 2 rebounds in 4 minutes, and had his only 2 points on a nice tip in. He’s not strong enough yet to be a rotation player, but he’s going to be really good.