Despite poor free throw shooting down the stretch, Kansas managed to pull out a tough win in Lubbock, 80-79.
Kansas began the ball struggling offensively, including a Svi Mykhailiuk air-ball, and Texas Tech had the early 12-9 advantage about 6 minutes in. Kansas went on a 9-2 run over the next five minutes en route to a 12-point, 34-22 lead with 4:25 until halftime. Texas Tech would close that gap before the break, though, and the Jayhawks would take a 42-35 lead into the break.
The Jayhawks rebuilt their double-digit lead quickly in the second half, going up 52-41 on a Frank Mason free throw with 15:45 to play. But that’s when Texas Tech went on a run. Over the next 8:21 of gametime, the Raiders outscored Kansas 24-9, taking a 65-61 lead of their own after a pair of Niem Stevenson free throws with 7:54 to play.
Kansas would retake the lead on a Josh Jackson layup with 5:13 to play at 70-69, and the rest of the game would be back and forth.
Kansas took a 79-77 lead on a Jackson layup with 1:36 remaining. 17 seconds later, Tech’s Zach Smith nailed a jumper. The final minute was an exercise in how to not close out a game. Tech fouled Lucas, who missed a free throw. Stevenson turned it over and Jackson was fouled on the fast break. Jackson missed the free throw. Aaron Ross missed a 3-pointer. After each time called its final timeout with 6 seconds left, KU set up a play for Jackson to drive to the basket. He got the foul call - and missed the free throw. However, Jackson did hit the second charity shot, and Kansas had a 1-point lead with 3 seconds left. A desperation heave from halfcourt by Keenan Evans was off-target and Kansas picked up the 80-79 victory.
This and That
Kansas only forced two Tech turnovers in the second half.
Miles Simon commented during the broadcast that Chris Beard told his team something to the effect of, “If 10 is guarding you in iso, take him.” Svi didn’t see much of the floor late in the game, I’m guessing due to his defense.
Frank Mason fouled out with 3:05 to play. He had one of his worst games this season, hitting just 4-13 shots for 13 points. But, he did make 2-4 from behind the arc, and both were huge.
The Jayhawks missed three free throws in the final minute of play.
Despite the two missed free throws late, Josh Jackson was phenomenal. He posted his 8th double-double of the season, 31 points and 11 rebounds on 12-15(!!!) shooting. He even added 4 assists.
Kansas hit just 10-25 (40.0%) three pointers.
Kansas was actually good at the free throw line for the first 39 minutes, and finished 12-19 (63.2%).
Kansas will host West Virginia inside Allen Fieldhouse on ESPN’s Big Monday on February 13 at 8 PM.
We’ll have more on the Tech game over the next day or two, but for now, the comment section is yours.