There was a lot to like and a lot not to like about last night’s game, but once again the Jayhawks took a big punch from an opponent and despite all of the fatigue from Saturday’s game as well as a few calls not going their way, the Jayhawks outtoughed the Wildcats to nab a narrow win and keep itself in the driver’s seat in the Big 12 race.
Offensively, Kansas scored 1.10 points per possession, but it should have been so much more. The Jayhawks were 8-17 from three, but shot just 49 percent on twos. Yet, the Jayhawks took just 30 percent of their field goal attempts behind the arc. Why? It is a fair point that Kansas was able to isolate Josh Jackson and Svi Mykhailiuk on guys who were unable to guard them, but other than that they had a lot of open looks they either passed up or merely didn’t attempt to generate. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I suppose that’s for another day. Kansas also turned it over on its first 3 possessions but then just 9 more times the rest of the way, turning it over 17.9 percent of possessions against the top turnover forcing team in the Big 12. And thankfully they did because they had a tough time getting to the line and a tough time rebounding, grabbing just 27 percent of their misses.
Defensively, there is stuff to like as well. The Jayhawks allowed K State to shoot just 39 percent inside the arc. That’s probably about it, though, as they allowed the Wildcats to rebound 45.5 percent of their misses, and a lot of them were by guys who either aren’t good rebounders (Dean Wade, Kamau Stokes), or guys Kansas should have an answer for (Wesley Iwundu). I think it is fair to chalk it up to fatigue as long as you worry about it happening in the 2nd round, or god willing the Elite 8 or national title game. Kansas also forced K State to turn it over on just 16.4 percent of possessions. This probably requires more of an in depth post as well, but when teams are grabbing almost half their misses, it’s not enough to force a bunch of tough looks. You have to force some empty possessions as well.
- Frank Mason played incredibly considering how gassed he was. He was just 5-12 on twos, but 2-5 on 3s, 5-6 from the line, and he had 3 assists and 2 steals, including maybe the steal of the year (that unfortunately will have to be left out of all highlight packages because he dribbled it off his knee good job Frank).
- Devonte Graham had 7 rebounds, which is surprising enough, and was 2-4 from deep, 4-4 from the line (including the clinchers) and had 6 assists.
- Svi Mykhailiuk is back to his being terrible at off ball defense, but hit the biggest 3 of the game, and I thought he did better at on ball defense than he got credit for.
- Landen Lucas had just 7 rebounds but was 3-5 from the field and added 2 blocks.
- Josh Jackson was 5-9 on twos, 2-3 from three, added 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. He got caught ball watching a few times as well but did a pretty good job when isolated onto someone, and was pretty unstoppable on offense.
- Lagerald Vick was 2-5 on twos and 0-2 from three, but added 5 rebounds and an assist.
- Carlton Bragg returned in a big way, going 3-4, grabbing 3 rebounds, and adding 2 assists. I assume his playing time was limited mostly due to fatigue because Kansas was much better with him on the floor.
- Dwight Coleby came in and immediately blocked a shot and then committed a foul and was never heard from again.