It was an offensive explosion in Austin as both teams scored over a point per possession, although both did it in different ways. Kansas has finally totally embraced the three, shooting over half their attempts from deep, and was rewarded for it last night, shooting 48.6 percent from deep, which masked a 41 percent effort on twos. The Jayhawks also turned it over on only 11 percent of their possessions.
Still, they didn’t do well on the glass, and didn’t get to the line often, which underscores the power of the three. It goes without saying you aren’t going to make half your threes every game, but when you go against a team that allows you to only shoot 40 percent on twos, the math pretty much dictates you have to shoot a ton of threes, and on those special nights when you do make almost half of them, it’s almost impossible to lose.
Defensively, the Jayhawks allowed 1.18 points per trip, but true to form I am the eternal defensive optimist. Texas shot 51 percent on twos, which in lower than their season average, and did so by utilizing a ton of putbacks. When Kansas gets their reinforcements, those putbacks aren’t going to be as plentiful. Furthermore, while Kansas didn’t force a ton of turnovers, they did a good job (mostly) of basically packing it in and forcing Texas to shoot over them.
- Devonte Graham took a bit to settle in, but finished with 6 threes and had all 8 of his assists in the second half. He struggled taking it inside early, but did a good job adjusting to the Horns’ interior defense and consistently getting the Jayhawks good shots.
- Lagerald Vick may have been the player of the game, going 3-6 on twos and 4-8 from three. He also mostly defended well, had a pair of assists, and a block.
- Svi Mykhailiuk broke out of his road slump in a big way, going 5-10 from deep. He struggled a bit taking the ball to the basket, but 5-10 from three is going to cover up a lot of other deficiencies.
- Udoka Azubuike reportedly almost didn’t play because his back was so bad, which makes his second half effort on Mo Bamba even more impressive. For the game he was 6-11 and had 13 rebounds, including 6 on the offensive end. I’m not sure who KU’s best player is, but Azubuike remains the most important.
- Marcus Garrett had a sweet reverse layup but mostly had one of those fill up the boxscore type games that makes you excited for his future. Garrett had 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a block, and 2 steals, all in just 18 minutes.
- Malik Newman didn’t get the start, but somewhat responded by going 3-6 on twos and 1-4 from deep. He also played more solid defense. I said this on Twitter, but if you didn’t know Newman was a top 10 recruit coming out of high school, and saw he was a guard who shot a decent percentage, played pretty good defense, and contributed on the glass, you’d have to be fairly impressed with how he’s played this year. I think he’ll improve as the season goes on as well.