Breaking down KU's defense against Grayson Allen
Heading into Tuesday’s game against Duke, one of the biggest questions for the Kansas Jayhawks was figuring out how they would slow down junior guard Grayson Allen.
One of the most prolific scorers in the nation, Allen was held in check — 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting in 38 minutes.
It was only the fourth time in Allen’s last 39 games that he was held below 15 points. He shot 26.7 percent from the field (1-of-7 from deep), which was his lowest field goal percentage since a Dec. 19, 2015 loss to Utah in overtime (3-of-18, 16.7 percent).
The Jayhawks, of course, threw a number of defenders at Allen. They started with Frank Mason III, who gave up a few inches but knows how to hound ballhandlers. But when Mason picked up his second foul within the first four minutes, it was a credit to all of the other guards for not allowing Allen to ever find his rhythm.
A look at KU’s defense while guarding Allen:
Frank Mason - 11 minutes, 0-5 shooting.
Mason picked up two fouls in the first four minutes, including a dead-ball foul on a baseline out of bounds play where he tried to go around a screen from Chase Jeter.
Allen missed two shots in the first half, including a drive to his right where Carlton Bragg challenged him at the rim on a wild layup shot. Bragg also helped in transition, forcing Allen to pass to a three-point shooter. Allen also tried a catch-and-shoot three that hit the front of the rim.
In the second half, Bragg and Lucas helped out well on a couple of pick-and-rolls, plus Mason did well denying passes to Allen. He missed three shots, including one open look where he lost Mason and ran to the corner for an open three-point attempt.
Lagerald Vick - 16 minutes, 3-4 shooting
Vick ran through screens and did a fantastic job of staying in front of Allen in the first half. He made Allen work for his opportunities, getting only one open look after running through a screen and then juking Vick on a pump fake.
On pick-and-rolls, Lucas helped Vick by forcing passes with strong rim protection. Allen’s only points were on a drive to his right, going with a reverse layup after he got a step on Lucas by not using his screen from Amile Jefferson.
Vick guarded Allen for the final six minutes — except for the final possession — and gave up five points after getting caught on a back screen, then Allen drove past him for a layup with a minute left.
Devonte' Graham - 6.5 minutes, 1-4 shooting
Graham allowed one drive following a shot fake that forced Landen Lucas to come out and help, giving Chase Jeter an easy dunk. Then he slipped while closing out on another play, giving Allen an open layup.
Allen didn’t challenge Graham much. There was one baseline out of bounds play where he drove left but was met by Bragg in the middle of the lane and missed on a layup. At the end of the first half, Allen lost Graham on a handoff at the top of the arc, drove to his left but was challenged and blocked at the rim by Mitch Lightfoot, suffering an apparent calf injury on the play.
Svi Mykhailiuk - 2.5 minutes, 0-1 shooting.
It was kind of lost because Frank Jackson hit a game-tying three with 15 seconds left, but Mykhailiuk covered Allen on Duke’s final possession after players had to matchup with whoever was next to them. Allen tried to drive on Mykhailiuk with a crossover, but lost the ball on the drive and was forced to pass back out to the perimeter.
Josh Jackson - 1.5 minutes, 0-0 shooting
When Jackson was at his best offensively in the second half, he guarded Allen and did a nice job staying in front of the preseason ACC Player of the Year.
*Note: There was one possession in the second half where nobody picked up Allen in transition. Allen had an open look but missed an open three from the wing.