Friday, February 17, 2017

Managing Motley again key for Kansas in rematch with Baylor

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) fights for position with Baylor guard Ishmail Wainright, front, and Baylor forward Johnathan Motley during the second half, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) fights for position with Baylor guard Ishmail Wainright, front, and Baylor forward Johnathan Motley during the second half, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.


The last time the Kansas men’s basketball team faced Baylor menace Johnathan Motley, the Jayhawks watched the junior forward go off for 14 points in one half and barely move the needle for two more points in the other.

Both of those 20-minute time periods proved to be learning experiences for the third-ranked Jayhawks, who will try to utilize lessons from each when they face Motley and No. 4 Baylor at noon on Saturday in Waco, Texas.

The key takeaway? Send the house.

“Just being in strong help, playing team defense and making it less of a one-on-one situation was definitely helpful,” said KU senior Landen Lucas. “And we did a better job of that in the second half.

“Just try to make sure he didn’t catch it in areas that are easy to make quick moves and score. The other thing we kind of emphasized at halftime was, when he does catch it outside of the area, the guards helping down and just showing that they’re around kind of makes him hesitate enough just to discourage some things.”

While that plan may curb Motley’s ability to score in bunches, the thing that makes the Baylor star so difficult to defend is his versatility.

Not only is Motley a monster scorer — he has reached double figures in nine consecutive games and is averaging 20 points per night in the past three — but he also plays the game with his head. He knows when to set up teammates instead of trying to force his own action and uses angles, anticipation and all-out effort to make plays when nothing seems to be there for the taking.

“We did a better job on him the second half,” KU coach Bill Self admitted. “But he’s such an unselfish kid and player that, it seems to me, if he gets a bad touch he becomes a passer immediately. In the first half, we didn’t put him in position to be a passer as much.”

Lucas called Motley a “tough” match-up and said he was on a short list of some of the most talented Big 12 big men he has been asked to guard during his Kansas career.

The 6-foot-10, 230-pound junior from Houston enters the rematch with Kansas ranked fourth in the Big 12 in scoring (16.7 points per game), first in rebounding — both offenisve (3.4 rpg) and defensive (6.1) — sixth in field goal percentage (.527), 14th in free throw percentage (.706) and 13th in blocks per game (1).

The Bears are 37-9 all-time when Motley reaches double figures, which Lucas said often looks easier than it should.

“When he does get a one-on-one situation and he makes an initial move, he’s very good at keeping his pivot foot and finding a way to get a shot off,” Lucas said. “That’s difficult to guard. He definitely has a lot of stuff he can pull from to get to the basket. Because of his length and his size (even) if I’m there in good position, he’s still able to get a shot off.”


Kent Richardson 4 years, 8 months ago

Hey staff. Didn't know where to complain's really hard to post on this site for the last two weeks. Really slow, times out or requires a shut down and re-launch. Don't have trouble anywhere else. Thanks four your attention. Maybe the other posters are happy. Lol.

Humpy Helsel 4 years, 8 months ago

I hate this team and the match ups they present. Motley, yes. Of course. But the whole starting 5 are a problem. Great to hear Landen's use of film and study of Motley and his moves. Landen must stay out of early foul trouble. We need him on the court and we need Carlton to be a man today. It will be interesting to see how much Landen and Carlton are on the floor together today. Dwight might provide some needed muscle inside. As big and tall as they are, I don't think they always deal as well with contact and toughness as we are capable of bringing. But we don't have fouls to waste as in other years. Frank, Devonte and Josh have got to shred the creases in that zone. Best case scenario. Two fouls on Motley in first half and a third early in second.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 8 months ago

It is always interesting to see what adjustments are made from half to half or game to game. I like our chances with Coach Self leading and all the more against Drew.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 8 months ago

I almost prefer when Kansas is trailing at the half. I think Self makes the best tactical adjustments at half than any other coach. Unfortunately, when we have a really good first half, we seem to come out flat in the 2nd.

I'm not sure if we've yet played 40 min of basketball with all cylinders hitting.

Kent Richardson 4 years, 8 months ago

How good is this 22-3, 11-2 team?

1) Just good enough? Yes, So Far.

2) Dominant? No. Not yet at least on D.

3) Capable of hitting on all cylinders? Not yet.

4) is our league so good and well coached to keep having every game close? Won't know until the NCAA's.

5) Is the 4 guard good enough to go deep? Yes.

6) Is the 4 guard susceptible to another 4 guard like ISU? Yes.

7) Is the 4 guard more protected when a zone defense utilized? Yes.

8) If JJack (who has moved into POY contention #8 this week) continues to be a 22 and 10 guy the rest of the season make KU have two first team AA's? No way the east coasters let that happen.

9) How about in the B12 all conference first team? Yep.

10) Do we win/tie the conference and win the conference tourney? Yes on the regular season and No on the tourney because WVU on down have too much at stake.

11) Does it really matter? Yes, on the regular season because it means losing today and at OSU which isn't good. No, on the tourney.

12) For the last three four weeks Lunardi has us playing the Shockers in Tulsa. Anyone get jacked up for that? Yep.

13) Win today and guys, win today!!

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