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Gonzaga races past Kansas, 102-90

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Defense was non-existent for the Jayhawks.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Gonzaga Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas hung with preseason #1 for 30 minutes, but unfortunately, games are 40 minutes long, and the Jayhawks just couldn’t stop Gonzaga from scoring, enabling the Zags to eventually run away with a fairly comfortable 102-90 win.

Ochai Agbaji led off the scoring in the game, but 2-0 would be the only lead KU would enjoy on the day. The Zags absolutely abused KU’s defense all afternoon, opening up leads as big as 12 in the first half and 18 in the second half.

Consider:

  • This was the most points allowed by a Bill Self KU team (in a non-overtime game).
  • Gonzaga finished with 62 points in the paint; KU had not allowed more than 46 points in the paint in the last 15 years.
  • Gonzaga shot 77.3% from two, the worst mark ever by a Bill Self coached Kansas team.
  • The last opponent who put triple digits on Kansas in regulation was Oklahoma in 1990.

Despite all of that, it was still a one-point game with just over 10 minutes to play. But by the 7-minute mark, Gonzaga had already re-established a 10-point lead, and the Jayhawks would not be within single digits the rest of the game. You might say the Bulldogs really mauled the Jayhawks over the final 10 minutes.

Both sides turned it over 15 times each, but Gonzaga scored 20 points off of those turnovers, while Kansas scored just 11 points.

The defense really was the culprit in this one. Maybe Gonzaga is just that good offensively, only time will tell. Gonzaga still has two more top-10 opponent in Baylor and Iowa on their schedule, so if they do that to those two squads as well, I think we’ll have our answer. If not, Kansas had better figure out what the issues on defense were today - switches, communication, etc.

The five-guard lineup felt like KU’s best version of offense today. I like Mitch Lightfoot’s defensive effort, and he seems to have worked on his jumper, but KU was better equipped to run and hang with Gonzaga with five guards playing. Part of that is David McCormack still taking way too many shots too far away from the rim, and part of it is mismatches like Marcus Garrett blowing past the opponent’s big man.

Up next, the Jayhawks have a quick turnaround with a matchup against St. Joseph’s at 1 PM on Friday, November 27, in the same arena this game was played.