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Recap: Duke's defense deserves credit following win over KU

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Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.

Lost in the shuffle of Duke's 68-61 victory over Kansas on Wednesday night is the fact that the Blue Devils made a pretty significant improvement defensively in the second half.

Kansas guard Travis Releford and Duke forward Ryan Kelly fight for a loose ball during the second half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas guard Travis Releford and Duke forward Ryan Kelly fight for a loose ball during the second half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

KU scored on its first three possessions of the second half to take a 41-34 lead with 18:37 remaining.

Here are the point-per-possession totals for both teams before and after that point.

KU before 18:37 in second half — 1.14 points per possession (41 points, 36 possessions)
KU after 18:37 in second half — 0.71 points per possession (20 points, 28 possessions)

Duke before 18:37 in second half — 0.97 points per possession (34 points, 35 possessions)
Duke after 18:37 in second half — 1.17 points per possession (34 points, 29 possessions)

As you can see, KU's offense tailed off nearly a half-point per possession in the game's final 18 minutes.

To put 0.71 PPP in perspective, only once has a Bill Self-coached KU team had a production that low throughout a whole game: against Arizona during a 61-49 loss in 2005.

It's going to be hard to keep any lead with production like that.

Obviously, KU's turnovers contributed to the low output, but let's also give credit where it's due.

A lot of times, the Jayhawks were forced to try to go through Tyshawn Taylor offensively because the Blue Devils were guarding KU's ball screens so well.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor looks for a shot as he is defended by Duke forward Miles Plumlee during the first half on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor looks for a shot as he is defended by Duke forward Miles Plumlee during the first half on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

Taylor might have ended many of KU's late possessions with a turnover, but the reason he was being forced to create was because Duke amped up its defense and didn't allow openings for KU's normally efficient offense.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Thomas Robinson had another stellar game on the defensive glass, but Jeff Withey earns the honor for M.O.J.

Withey posted a team-high 1.49 points per possessions used while ending 18.1 percent of the possessions he was in.

Kansas center Jeff Withey is fouled on the way up between Duke defenders Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas center Jeff Withey is fouled on the way up between Duke defenders Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

The big man also was active in nearly every single statistical category.

He led KU in free throw rate (85.7), steal percentage (coming away with steals on 2 percent of Duke's possessions while he was in), block percentage (blocking 8.3 percent of the Blue Devils' two-point attempts while he was in) and offensive rebound percentage (grabbing 13.8 percent of the available misses while he was in).

Not only that, he tied with Elijah Johnson for the team lead in effective field goal percentage (57.1 percent) and had a great night on the defensive boards (coming away with 25 percent of the available defensive rebounds).

Withey continues to show improvement and also a lot more aggressiveness than we'd seen from him earlier in the year.

Kansas defenders Jeff Withey (5) and Travis Releford (24) pressure Duke guard Seth Curry during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas defenders Jeff Withey (5) and Travis Releford (24) pressure Duke guard Seth Curry during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

Self complimented him after the game as well, saying he was "outstanding" and that he had gotten some "big-boy" rebounds in Maui.

The biggest obstacle with Withey continues to be fouls. He has 20 of them in 108 minutes — or roughly 7.4 fouls per 40 minutes of game time.

That number needs to come down dramatically, as he's quickly becoming one of KU's most irreplaceable players in the lineup.

Room for Improvement

Two areas stand out: Turnovers and three-point defense.

Yes, those are the exact same words I wrote in this spot in Wednesday's Recap blog following the UCLA game.

The Jayhawks turned the ball over on 26.6 percent of their possessions against Duke — their fifth-highest mark in the last two seasons.

The Kansas bench and players watch the final moments against Duke on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

The Kansas bench and players watch the final moments against Duke on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

Perhaps the strangest part about that stat is that while KU had 17 turnovers, Duke only had four steals. That means at least some of KU's turnovers were unforced, with a lot of those coming on plays when the ball went out of bounds.

The Jayhawks also struggled for the second straight game defending threes, as Duke made 11 of 25 outside shots (44 percent).

In five games this season, three teams have already made 44 percent or more of their threes against KU — a feat that only happen six times against KU in 38 games last year.

Tough-Luck Line

This goes to Tyshawn Taylor, though you're not going to hear me ragging on him for his play.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor is fouled fighting for a loose ball with Duke guard Austin Rivers during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor is fouled fighting for a loose ball with Duke guard Austin Rivers during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

The senior posted a team-low 0.75 points per possessions used while ending 37.8 percent of KU's possessions while he was in.

That 37.8 percent number is around the highest for a player that I've ever seen in one game. In other words, Taylor — who played 38 minutes — was being asked to do almost everything for the Jayhawks against Duke.

Here's another way of looking at it: Taylor ended 23 KU possessions, which was the fourth-highest for a player in a game during the Bill Self era. Previously, he'd never had more than 16 possessions ended in a game.

Taylor's turnovers kept him from an effective night. But he also was being asked to do so much (including chasing down Duke shooters) that I don't see how he can be faulted for his effort.

Self took some of the blame afterwards for Taylor's turnovers, saying he needed to rest the guard more. The play-by-play seems to back that up.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor gives words of advice to teammate Travis Releford after a first-half turnover against Duke on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2011.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor gives words of advice to teammate Travis Releford after a first-half turnover against Duke on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2011. by Nick Krug

Looking back at the box score, Taylor sat out exactly 91 seconds at the 4:48 mark of the first half before coming back in.

Seven of Taylor's 11 turnovers came in the final 11:52 of the game.

KU was playing with a fatigued Taylor during the most important stretch of Wednesday's game. Look for Self to get him some sort of rest in the second half of each game from here on out.

Bottom Line

After building a seven-point lead, KU couldn't maintain its previous scoring level against a stingy Duke defense.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson puts a shot over Duke forward Ryan Kelly during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson puts a shot over Duke forward Ryan Kelly during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks not only turned it over at a high rate, they also didn't shoot it well. KU's effective field goal percentage of 44.9 percent was its sixth-lowest mark of the last two seasons, while KU's two three-pointers tied for the lowest in the last two seasons.

Playing its third game in three days with a thin bench, KU — and also Taylor — appeared to be affected by fatigue late in Wednesday's game, and the numbers seem to reflect that drop off.

Comments

Dirk Medema 10 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for the good analysis Jesse. The PPP change is a bit of a no-brainer when there is a 14 pt swing in the score. That TT had less than 2 minutes of rest, and that in the 1st half is tough. Asking TT to pull a Sherron seems even more dubious than the first attempt at it. Definitely need to get some coaching confidence in the 2nd group.

NJHAWK 10 years, 2 months ago

It reminded me of the 1986 game against Duke in the NCAA tournament. I hate to blame it on the officials. But sometimes they do alter the dynamics of a game. Last night, two quick calls on Johnson altered Self's strategy of ball handling duties and Johnson's agressiveness throughout the game.

CHEEZIT 10 years, 2 months ago

That's what I was thinking! Just ask Danny Manning!

KU_Alumn_2000 10 years, 2 months ago

Despite what the ESPN announces think...I thought we were the better team last night. Duke won't hit 3s like that every night...and when that happens against a good defensive team like Kansas...they are vulnerable.

The refs really pissed me off by not calling that traveling violation moments before that Duke guard threw up that last 3 pointer.

This game really made me sick. Kruslfjsdfjski and Wojohowfdslafjski act like big babys everytime T-Rob took a charge or the refs call a foul on Duke. By the end of the game, it was like the refs gave them what they wanted.

It seemed like Krusldfjsldfjski knew Kansas was slightly better than his team.

Finally - Dickey V. could be wrong again with his Big 12 prediction. I think we'll win the Big 12 again...for the 8th straight season !!! Go Hawks !!!

SCHNBALL 10 years, 2 months ago

I must say one of the best games I watched this early in the year. While this team has progressed so much faster than I could imagine, will we learn from our mistakes

Tyshawn does not understand:

Situation Time Space

While his turnovers are glaring, to me, it was the 3 to 5 trips he took off on defense that stood out to me. Was he tired, sure, but he is a senior. Our 3 subs played the exact minutes our subs played, Tyshawn was 1 turover shy for the entire Duke team. Tyshawn should know by now every possession counts, if last night does not teach him that lesson, then he will never learn.

EJ should have the ball out front if we are going one on one on a short time clock, he has proven a better driver than Tyshawn.

Where was Kevin Young? He grabs you 2 extra possessions the night before and does not step on the floor? You have to hand it to Coach K, he left Rivers out and let a no name sophmore make the day, says something about him and his coaching abliity. I do help Self will learn a little from that coaching move, it is not always who is normally on the floor, it is how they are playing that day.

Overall, can't be more excited about this team, as I have stated all along, Tyshawn is the only guy on the roster that scares me, not for his ability but for his lack of knowing the situation, time and space.

p.s. How would any 7 footer not come to KU after watching the progressions. Good luck Tarc

VaJay 10 years, 2 months ago

Wow. Can you coach our team, and maybe run the point too?

Geezer 10 years, 2 months ago

These articles are really interesting. Unlike KenPom, Sagarin and even Web Prince, this use of numbers and what we see is pretty insightful. The basic fault of any numbers based analysis is that there is just no useful numbers for defense. Offensive raw data til hell won't have it but defense is really hard to look at. I thought Releford played an awesome defensive game but it just can't be quantified. Passes denied??? Block outs??? proper switches??? successful help and recover plays??? The short coming of the offensive numbers comes from not knowing the assignments on a particular play. A guy can make 2 or 3 glaring assignment misplays on one possession and then bury a 3-ball as the shot clock runs down and the numbers just show 1-1 3at.

REHawk 10 years, 2 months ago

OK, I hope to see TT get some rest during the 3 contests preceding the Ohio State game. Maybe he can sit for 15 minutes, Elijah for 10; and Naadir can be on the floor for 25 minutes, running the point. Also, perhaps Kevin Young can get 15 minutes to play through his mistakes in order to become a contributor. I view those two bench players as essential to our survival and success vs. the Buckeyes, Baylor, A+M and Mizzou.

Michael Luby 10 years, 1 month ago

And Okie State. They always seem to have our #.

Michael Luby 10 years, 1 month ago

Alright, Im re watching the KU/Duke game in Maui. There is 7:30 left in the game.

Since the 1730 mark in the second half. Tyshawn has made 5 unforced turnovers. Bone head drives into heavy traffic when he should have kicked it out or lazy passes that got picked off, or dribbles off his foot.

The refs havent made things any easier letting 3 fouls against Duke escape their eyes. With 6:30 left KU leads by one.

KU just cannot hit anything from 3 land this game at all.

Robinson is an absolute beast in this game.

Jaybate made a point earlier about coach K's status influencing the Refs in how they call the game. I might have to agree with that, atleast a little. One play around the 3:40 mark Robinson was clearly set and took a charge. Saw coach K getting into the Ref's ear about it. Duke leads by one.

At the 3 minute mark it has been almost 5 min, since Duke has made a field goal. Now thats good D by KU. They still have to defend the 3 better.

2:30, Tyshawn got called for an offensive foul, another turnover but Curry was not set. Thats another bad call by the Refs.

1:15 left, KU leads by 1 on a huge Elijah 3. Anyones game. Each team is in the bonus. But, as Jesse said, KU has only taken 6 trey attempts in the game.

Tyshawn turns it over at the 56 second mark. Tyshawn got bumped trying to drive. Coulda been another no call by the refs but ehh.

Main thing is Curry travelled twice with no calls by the refs right after!!! It was a 2 point game until Thornton guessed where the basket was behind the 3 pt line.

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