Kansas breezed through it’s easiest trip to Ames in some time and took home a 26-point win which probably could have been even worse. After some early struggles, Kansas was up just 4 points 10 minutes into the game. But they outscored the Cyclones 22-7 over the last 10 minutes of the first half and went into the break essentially assured of victory.
The Jayhawk defense was stout as usual, allowing Iowa State to score just .83 points per possession. They also forced the Cyclones into a lot of difficult shots, as Iowa State took just five shots at the rim and, as expected, expanded their 3-point range and took almost as many threes as they did twos. Frankly, I understand the strategy, as you’re not going to win a 2-point contest with Kansas, but it led to a lot of quick possessions without getting the KU defense moving too much. Iowa State shot just 28 percent on those threes, and just 40 percent on twos, so they were pretty much doomed regardless of what Kansas did on offense.
Sadly for them, the Jayhawks didn’t give them any help on the other side of the ball. Kansas ripped off 1.24 points per possession and shot 10-19 from three. They also got 15 attempts at the rim and made all 15 of them. Each squad turned the ball over the exact same amount of times, essentially eliminating any chance the Cyclones had at winning via shot volume.
- Devon Dotson rebounded from a couple off games to put up 20 points on 13 shots with 6 assists, 3 steals and 5 rebounds to boot.
- Ochai Abaji had probably his best game of the season, putting up 16 points while going 4-5 from three. He did have four turnovers, which isn’t great, but given that Agbaji has had some issues with aggressiveness this season, I am OK with him forcing the issue a little bit more to try to get himself going.
- Christian Braun also probably had his best game of the season, going 3-4 from three while adding 2 assists and 5 rebounds. He also played really well defensively.
- Udoka Azubuike “only” shot 60 percent from two and “only” had 7 rebounds. Take his scholarship. More seriously, he was 4-5 from the free throw line and was probably the biggest reason Iowa State only took 5 field goal attempts at the rim.
- Marcus Garrett hurt his ankle early, but thankfully came back into the game and was able to play 19 minutes. He didn’t do much offensively but (along with Devon Dotson) held Tyrese Haliburton to just 5 points, and while he had 5 assists, those were marred by 3 turnovers. Having a defensive cheat code sure helps.
- David McCormack had 16 points and 7 rebounds, and really destroyed Iowa State’s smaller fours. This probably deserves to be its own post, but I think McCormack does better as the second big against smaller teams. You’re going to give up something in terms of allowing outside shots, but if you’re playing a team that doesn’t shoot them terribly well I think you can take your chances that that will continue and allow McCormack to feast on the other end.
- Isaiah Moss had just 2 points and didn’t make either of his 3-point attempts. I think it’s mostly a confidence issue at this point, and once he sees a couple threes drop we will see his play trend upwards.
- Silvio de Sousa struggled offensively, but defensively played pretty well. I still think it is an issue of reps at this point, but can Kansas afford to do that during Big 12 play? I say this is the rare year in which they can, but Bill Self might disagree.
- Tristan Enaruna had a bad turnover, but did have two steals in 15 minutes. I think his impact defensively carries less weight this year because of what Garrett and Braun have been able to do on that end, but I still think Kansas should feel comfortable if he’s pressed into extended action.