Kansas University’s basketball team, which led the country in field-goal-percentage defense last year (.361) and has ranked first in the Big 12 in that category in eight of Bill Self’s first 10 seasons in Lawrence, has been amazing on offense through four games of the 2013-14 campaign.
The Jayhawks (4-0) — who scored 88 points versus Towson, 86 against Iona, 94 against Duke and 80 versus Louisiana at Monroe — have cashed 56.8 percent of their floor shots, including 37.5 percent of their threes.
“If you look at our shooting percentages, they’re better than ever so far,” KU coach Bill Self said.
KU hit 60 percent of its attempts in Friday’s 88-58 home victory over Towson.
“We’ve shot 50 percent every game. We don’t do that. We just make sure other teams can’t score. Since we don’t do that anymore, I guess we’ve got to make sure we score,” he added sarcastically.
KU’s four foes have made 42.4 percent of their shots en route to an average of 67.5 points a game.
“Our guys are unselfish, which is good for a group that doesn’t know where their shots are coming from yet out of the offense,” Self said. “We have to have our best players be in attack mode and take advantage of their athletic ability.”
KU had eight crowd-pleasing dunks to Towson’s zero on Friday night.
“It’s how we need to play a lot,” junior guard Naadir Tharpe said, referring to a fast pace that ran the Tigers out of Allen Fieldhouse. “We have a lot of athletic guys on our team. We need to get out and run. That’s what coach wants. That’s what we do. We run.”
Self encourages his players to hit the boards, fire crisp outlet passes and run.
“We ran better. I think that’s the first time all year we looked athletic,” Self said. “We were much more active starting out. We were much more active defensively. It seemed we had hands everywhere, caused a lot of havoc.”
The Jayhawks’ energy on offense and defense on Friday thrilled 16,300 fans who were more fired-up than usual for a game against a smaller, outmanned school.
“It was fun to see what the building can be like when our guys are playing with energy,” Self said. “Our guys had the most fun they’ve had all year long, maybe including even the Duke game (a 94-83 KU win, Nov. 12 in Chicago), because they attacked the basket.”
One player who had a blast was senior power forward Tarik Black, who flushed two dunks in KU’s 11-5 run that opened the game. The former University of Memphis player picked up two quick fouls in each of KU’s first three games.
“Nobody had to fire him up. He’s a senior,” Tharpe said. “He knew he wasn’t giving us his best that we needed. He knew he’d come in this game and do everything he could, and that’s what he did.
“He was really excited. He was smiling. I got him that dunk at the beginning (one-hand slam off lob). He really wanted that. He got a fast- break dunk himself (off steal and drive to goal). That’s Tarik being himself, playing free.”
KU will next meet Wake Forest (5-0) at 2:30 p.m., Central time, Thursday, in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.