Friday, December 29, 2017

Jayhawks bombard Longhorns with 3-pointers to win Big 12 opener

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) puts up a three over Texas guard Matt Coleman (2) during the first half on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) puts up a three over Texas guard Matt Coleman (2) during the first half on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.


As Kansas opened Big 12 play Friday night at Frank Erwin Center, it didn’t take long for Texas freshman Mohamed Bamba to establish himself as a force inside defensively, what with his 7-foot-9 wingspan and active hands and feet.

So the No. 11 Jayhawks used one of their greatest strengths, their 3-point shooting, to avoid the dangerous Bamba and win, 92-86, in Austin, Texas.

KU improved to 11-2 on the year by finding open looks on the perimeter and scoring on 17 of its 35 outside shots.

Though KU entered the game ranked third nationally in assists (20.0 per game), the Jayhawks’ offense wasn’t as fluid as usual in the first half. The road team made just three assists on 14 field goals in the first 20 minutes.

That aspect improved dramatically down the stretch, though, as KU’s guards and wings discovered confidence in their shooting and the Jayhawks assisted on 12 of their 17 second-half field goals at UT (9-4).

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: The Jayhawks started connecting on shots from spots on the floor where Bamba couldn’t thwart them.

The visitors weren’t bad by any means from behind the 3-point arc in the first half, converting six of 15 (40 percent). But the Jayhawks took it to another level early in the second half, going 6-for-9 from deep in the opening six-plus minutes.

Senior Svi Mykhailiuk spearheaded the shooting display, catching fire just after intermission. Mykhailiuk (20 points, 5-for-10 on 3-pointers) drained three from downtown in a span of less than three minutes.

Junior Lagerald Vick (21 points, 5-for-8 from deep) buried two 3-pointers of his own less than five minutes into the second half, and Devonte’ Graham (23 points, 6-for-12 outside) made his fifth of the game to extend KU’s advantage to 13 with 13:35 to play.

The Jayhawks drilled 11 of 20 3-pointers in the final half and made 49 percent overall.

• Offensive highlight: Graham’s 3-point shooting in the first half (4-for-8) allowed KU to head into halftime with a 37-34 lead.

The four the senior knocked down before intermission not only looked smooth coming off his right hand, but they also came at pivotal junctures.

UT took an early lead in the opening minutes when Graham first struck.

An onslaught of point-blank Bamba buckets gave Texas an 11-9 advantage before Graham sent another 3-pointer through the net.

The game was tied at 25 before KU’s senior leader retook the lead for the Jayhawks yet again with his third successful long-range bomb.

Then, with 1:00 left until the half, and the game tied for the sixth time, Graham used a Lightfoot screen at the top of the key to get the window he needed to hit trifecta No. 4.

• Defensive highlight: This space typically is reserved for Jayhawks, but 6-11 freshman big Bamba was too dominant to be overlooked.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native swatted five KU shots in the first half alone and finished with eight blocks, limiting the Jayhawks’ offensive impact around the rim and no doubt altering many other shots and/or would-be drives with his presence alone.

• Key stat: Points in the paint. A category KU typically wins, the presence of Bamba — on both ends — made doing so in Austin particularly challenging in the league opener.

With Bamba scoring 12 of his 16 first-half points at the rim, the Longhorns outscored Kansas 22-14 inside in the first half. By the end of the night, the Longhorns became just the second team this season (Arizona State was the first) to produce more points in the paint than the Jayhawks, winning that game within the game, 42-26, behind Bamba’s 22-point, 15-rebound show.

• Up next: The Jayhawks will return to Allen Fieldhouse for their first home game in 15 days, when KU plays host to Texas Tech on Tuesday (8 p.m., ESPN).

The No. 22 Red Raiders opened league play Friday night with a 77-53 home win over No. 18 Baylor.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Texas

By the Numbers: Kansas 92, Texas 86

By the Numbers: Kansas 92, Texas 86


Barry Weiss 5 months, 3 weeks ago

great road win and start to the season. no doubt bamba is a beast, thank goodness we were hitting our 3's. very impressed with our 2-3 zone. I think that defense saved us and may need to see some regular use every game. sure keeps opponents from driving past our guards and also helps on keeping fouls down. texas did out rebound us. Texas Tech Tuesday night will be another big test.

Bryce Landon 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I missed the game - you say we used a zone? Bill Self actually swallowed his pride and made his team play ZONE????? Holy crap, not only has Iowa frozen over, but so has Hell!

Barry Weiss 5 months, 3 weeks ago

someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like we were in a 2-3 zone at least half of the game.

Adam Engelbrecht 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Yeah, I'm not sure if it was literally 20 minutes, but it was a long time. End of 1st half pretty much til the end of the game.

Barry Weiss 5 months, 3 weeks ago

thanks, I thought so, may be worth using more of, I'm sure it helps keep our guys from wearing out as much given the 30 plus minutes they log.

Gerry Butler 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Agree about the zone for sure. - - There wasn't anyone who was going to be able to contain Bamba the entire night in a man to man - -Doke played well for sure but helped keep him from further foul issues. - -Plus Texas can't shoot from the outside worth a flip, which we knew coming in , also right MAN do we need Billy and De-Sousa - -we know it's just a matter or at least should be a little more for De Sousa Billy on the other hand - -- ummmm, not feeling really good about. - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Bryce Landon 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Well done, Jayhawks! I didn't listen because I was driving through a snowstorm in eastern Iowa, and I needed all the power of concentration I could muster to focus on getting home safely.

Barry Weiss 5 months, 3 weeks ago

not sure. no one was in foul trouble and it was a fairly close game the whole way, so you know coach, he tends to go with guys that have a track record.

RJ King 5 months, 3 weeks ago

By the time Self might've put him in (midway thru 1st half?) I believe we were playing the zone. Maybe Cunliffe not up to speed on the zone? Also no KU player in foul trouble, and Garrett playing steady in front of his home state. In the 2nd half, KU was building the lead and Self probably didn't want to break the momentum. Also there's that "trust thing" in tight, significant games (which it looks like will be the case for the rest of the year). If Svi had picked up his 4th foul sooner we might've seen Sam (or not). If it ain't broke . . .

Marcia Parsons 5 months, 3 weeks ago

In his after game interview, Self said Cunliff had been playing fine. Only reason he didn't play was that the others were on a roll and he didn't want to break their rhythm by changing players.

Gerry Butler 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I wondered that myself last night. - -I thought well damn is Sam hurt? -- is he sick? - -nope. - - But Coach said in his post game , nothing wrong with Sam that he hadn't done anything wrong and that people shouldn't try and read or make anything more out of it then what it was and that was - - - Coach just liked the way the flow of the game was going with who he had playing and didn't want to do anything to mess that up. - -Again he said there is nothing wrong with Sam and not in dog house or anything , but ya I still thought that was kind of interesting.

Allan Olson 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes a zone defense was played extensively in the second half. Probably won the game because it took Bamba's offense down a few pegs. Poor Dok was not agile enough to score and rebound against Bamba, But then any KU player's attempt to pass or score in the paint was a disaster. Can't wait to see that guy in Allen with the fans and all our guys available.

Aaron Paisley 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Not even close. Bamba is a post player, not a wing like Durant. He might be their best player since Durant, but Durant is the best player Texas has ever produced in basketball.

RJ King 5 months, 2 weeks ago

mea culpa is further down if you want. tried to delete comment shortly afterward, but too late. had the flu for a week. lesson: don't post with high fever. call me delirious.

Dirk Medema 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hopefully, Dok can get some treatment on his back and return strong. I think it will be a much different game if he's healthy in AFH. It would also be important to get at least one of the other bigs eligible so that he can get some rest.

Loved Garrett's drive and reverse finish. One of the few points in the paint.

Gerry Butler 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Umm I agree with maybe the agility/mobility part to a certain degree, then come to find out playing with back issues BUT ummm I was REALLY PROUD f Doke actually. - -Actually he played a hell of a game all things considered, 13 points and 13 rebounds is nothing to sneeze at especially going against the length of Bamba. - -sure he had shots blocked but that didn't phase him or intimidate him - he went right back and kept going. I'd say Doke played a really good game.

Barry Weiss 5 months, 3 weeks ago

agreed, a double double out of your post man is always acceptable. Mamba is just a true beast and Dok did a fine job I thought. Hope his back is okay after that fall.

Mike Greer 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I would have guessed Bamba had a dozen blocks, it looked like he was blocking just about everything but the threes. I guess one way to get bench points is to have one of the starters come off the bench 😉, otherwise still not hardly anything from the bench again. That's going to kill us one of these games.

Gerry Butler 5 months, 3 weeks ago

that will change some when De Sousa is cleared -- Billy gets cleared and Sam plays more - -we get these three - -or even the two of Cunliffe and De souse this team is going to look a lot different if nothing else depth wise, going to make a difference for sure

RJ King 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I know, right? May I suggest removal of my own comment???

Dirk Medema 5 months, 3 weeks ago

He doesn't have anywhere near as much around him either.

Allan Olson 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Texas has two strong inside guys, Bamba and that "lumberjack" transfer from Tulane. Those two worked us over pretty good on both ends. And I agree, until Bamba can score 30 points, including bunches of three's, he is no Durant at this stage. Just one hell of a defender!!!

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