How a missed blockout and a lucky carom helped KU take down Purdue

Normally this would be the time to look ahead to Kansas' next opponent, but with such a dramatic finish in KU's 63-60 victory over Purdue on Sunday, I wanted to go back to take a deeper look at the Jayhawks' critical defensive possession in the final minute.

Let's set up the situation. KU led, 61-60, with 23.3 seconds left. Purdue had the basketball after a KU timeout. Here's the cued-up video if you want to follow along.

After the game, Purdue's Robbie Hummel said the plan was for him to come off a screen to receive a pass. We can see from the video that Hummel is supposed to curl around Terone Johnson, who sets a ball screen for teammate Lewis Jackson first.

Something very important happens here: Notice that Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson switch on the original ball screen.

When Purdue had gone to a small lineup this season, most teams put their big man on Johnson, who was easier to guard from the perimeter (31-percent three-point shooter, 22 of 71) than the taller Hummel (38-percent three-point shooter, 72 of 188).

When KU switched in the second half to put Travis Releford on Hummel, Robinson was forced to guard the 6-2 Johnson.

This change forces KU away from its normal defensive principles. Instead of hedging on ball screens, KU — with its small lineup — is now switching all ball screens.

"It's just different," KU coach Bill Self said, "when you haven't practiced that way a ton."

Robinson is focused, though, and switches as he's supposed to. The bigger issue for KU is that this creates a mismatch, putting the point guard Jackson against Robinson, who is a foot taller but not nearly as quick.

Even with the mismatch, Purdue's plan is to get the ball to its best player, Hummel, on this final possession.

Hummel starts to come around the screen when he notices something: Releford is overplaying him defensively.

Releford anticipates Hummel's cut, so he tries to beat him around the screen to deny the ball.

In the middle of a play designed for him, Hummel reads the defense and calls his own audible.

He back-cuts Releford.

And for a few frames, he is wide open.

This is still a tough read for Jackson, who is expecting Hummel to come to the top of the circle to receive a pass.

When he doesn't see Hummel there, it looks like the point guard's instinct takes over, and in this case, that means doing what he does best: trying to drive the ball. Remember, he still has Robinson guarding him.

If Jackson would have looked up, he'd have seen an open Hummel. And if Jackson would've gotten the pass around Robinson, Hummel would have almost certainly had an uncontested layup, as Purdue's spacing would have made it nearly impossible for any of the Jayhawks to help on D.

Even though Hummel's snap decision left him open, the senior said he regretted it afterwards.

"I probably should have just come off the screen," Hummel said, "but he was on top of me, so I tried to back up for a layup."

Hummel described the next few seconds as a scramble.

With Jackson's timid drive cut off by Robinson, Hummel dashes to the perimeter to go get the ball.

When he receives it, Jackson makes a smart play and sets a quick ball screen for him to clear some space.

Remember how well Robinson did switching on the first ball screen above?

He's not as quick to react here. Robinson is late to get to the perimeter to help out Releford on the screen.

The result is Hummel getting off a clean shot on what, a few seconds ago, was a broken play.

"I got a pretty good look," Hummel said. "I thought it was going in. It felt good off my hand. It was just a little bit short. I thought Lewis did a very good job of finding me there, and that's on me to make that one. I just didn't make it."

One last interesting thing on this play: Notice that each KU player, because of Purdue's positioning on the perimeter, has good position for the defensive rebound. Tyshawn Taylor has inside position on Johnson, Conner Teahan has inside position on Ryne Smith and Elijah Johnson has inside position on D.J. Byrd.

Watch what happens, though. Taylor gets caught up in watching the shot and doesn't even attempt to box Johnson out.

With a running start, Johnson deflects the ball away from Teahan, who had kept good rebounding position by staying between Smith and the rim.

The deflected ball zips by Smith before making its way to Robinson.

And here's where Taylor's missed blockout becomes a blessing.

Robinson now has a clear lane to throw cross-court, as Terone Johnson has taken himself out of the play by (correctly) gambling to go for the offensive rebound.

Because Taylor didn't get inside position, that also means he has a head start on the rest of the Boilermakers down the floor. This gives him a two-step advantage for an uncontested dunk to put KU up three.

KU's defense definitely wasn't perfect on the above possession, but as you can see, a missed shot, a blown boxout and a good bounce ended up being enough to get the Jayhawks to the Sweet 16.



hooper 2 years, 1 month ago

Why can't KU get players like Hummel? He up staged KU players.


imaboiler 2 years, 1 month ago

As a huge Purdue Fan I would like to compliment the Kansas fans. You guys are some of the classiest, most respectful, knowledgable fans I have come across. That was a fantastic game where both teams played their hearts out and if Purdue had to lose at least it was to a great, hard working team. Now that Purdue is out of the touney I will be cheering RCJH for the rest of the NCAA's.


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Chad Dexter 2 years, 1 month ago

Oh, never mind. I went back and looked at it one more time and I finally saw Hummel along the sideline. He runs into a ref and falls down.


Chad Dexter 2 years, 1 month ago

Great breakdown of the play. After the rebound I can't figure out where the 5th Purdue player is. I think it was Hummel but I only see 4 Purdue players. What happened? Where is #5?


Bob Forer 2 years, 1 month ago

Great analysis, Jesse. A question, maybe its just me, but it appears that Conner made a brilliant touch shovel pass to TRob on the rebound rather than it being deflected off his hands. your thoughts?


William Blake 2 years, 1 month ago

Great analysis, Jesse!

You haven't posted as much analysis this year and I was wondering if the coaching staff asked you to limit your analysis because other teams could use it effectively in their scouting reports?

With around 15-sec left I thought Purdue blew it for not having a second option open to Hummel... with TRele having overplayed the screen Hummel could have faked coming to the circle and ran towards the rim for a lob. At this time in the game there was an excellent chance he would have scored the dunk +1 for a foul.

This supports my own theory that you need to be a good poker player to be a good game coach. Hummel was the dominant player in this game. His hot shooting resembled the hot poker player who draws big hands all night. When these situations occur then good poker players know they are building big equity to run a bluff. Game coaching works the same way and Purdue didn't cash in on all that equity they built with Hummel's hot hand by running a backdoor or play that would have taken advantage of the overplay on Hummel. In the least it should have been an option Hummel could have used with 15-secs left after TRele overplayed the screen and left his man a free pass to the rim.

Hummel was their "go-to" guy all year and using this strategy may have won Purdue other games because you can bet other teams overplayed Hummel, too.

Purdue coaching choked on this one... fortunate for us!


justanotherfan 2 years, 1 month ago

Tyshawn made the right play to dunk the ball at the end.

In rewatching the play several times, TT had to really turn up the speed to avoid the foul at half court. At that point he's at top speed. By the time he's safely away from the first guy attempting to take the foul, he's inside the three point line. It's going to take him a minimum of one more stride (maybe two depending on how his steps are when he makes that decision) to change his course from a beeline to the rim out to the far left corner. He's going to have to slow down to do this, whereas if he continues to the rim, he won't have to change speeds. There are 3 Purdue players chasing, two of them guards who can probably catch TT fairly quickly if he slows down even a little because they are sprinting his way. Notice how close they were to TT until they realized he was going to dunk.

If he had slowed down, here is a list of the things that could happen. Almost all of them are bad.

TT could mishandle the ball as he is slowing down, losing it out of bounds. TT could get the ball stolen from behind trying to slow down without losing the ball. TT could get fouled and miss both. TT could get fouled and miss one. TT could get fouled and make both. TT could dribble out the clock.

That's six possible outcomes. One puts us in as good a position as TT dunking (two made free throws). One puts us in better position (clock runs out). The others put us in a variety of worse situations. Two give Purdue the ball with roughly the same amount of time as they had to get their final shot, but with us up only one, meaning we have to defend the entire floor (not just a three) because ANY shot beats us. The free throw scenarios mean that we have to get a rebound to secure a win, or, if TT makes the second FT, defend the whole floor against a game tying or game winning shot.

I'd rather just have the dunk to go up three.


DrPepper 2 years, 1 month ago

Jackson, the 5'9" senior point guard, seems to be on the short end of a lot of those plays. He couldn't see easily around Robinson, but twice he didn't pickup the jayhawk cutting for a jam (he could have picked up TT before the oop came from EJ; he was the last line of defense against TT going the length of the court and Jackson didn't even attempt to track down TT on the breakaway). Jackson is also the one who lost the ball, allowing EJ to get the steal. I don't mean to bag on a kid I don't know. It was just something I noticed in these replays at the end of the game. It was a heck of a game.


REHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Excellent video journalism, Jesse.


Dyrk Dugan 2 years, 1 month ago

It's good analysis, no doubt. so many things happen on a basketball court that are missed by players....everything is happening so fast and pressure of the situation. that's where you need to have that "see thing in slow motion" mode.

the play before, when Elijah got the steal, and the PG was just dribbling around, he had an EASY path to the basket for a couple of seconds....he had gotten by Tyshawn and the Purdue kid had TRob screened on his backside....if he would have kept at it, he had a wide open layup.

but again, the pressure and past results. We had some blocks on him and he had missed some all plays in the mind in crunch time. Go Jayhawks!


RockChalkHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Jesse - nice work. One thing I saw that hasn't been mentioned in the posts above - when Hummel backcuts Relaford, he gives Travis a subtle but effective push off with his left hand that helps give him momentum going back to the basket. Go back and watch, it's there. A veteran move. Though it could have been called an offensive foul, no way these refs (led by our old favorite, the wildly incompetent Higgins) call it in an endgame situation against a star player in a huge tournament game.


jayhawker_97 2 years, 1 month ago

good analysis. i didn't realize how open Hummel was cutting in till i saw those breakdowns. aren't we lucky?


Chad Smith 2 years, 1 month ago

Taylor did absolutely the right thing by dunking it.
Think about having to shoot two free throws in that crunch time when a dunk and good D wins you the game instead! Which is what happened! Hawks had been playing great D the past 5-10 min and barring a 3 point make and foul on the shot, the worst case scenario is OT and we had the momentum. I didn't even second guess when the commentators said he should have kept it. I thought to myself, GREAT PLAY, we're going to St. Louis!


JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 1 month ago

Very nice Jesse. I have one question: When Robinson and Hummel were shaking hands after the game, I could swear that Hummel looked at least one inch taller than Robinson and I am pretty sure it was not the camera angle. Hummel is listed at 6'-8" and Robinson at 6'-10"...any ideas? Also, I have seen Robinson next to Manning (6'-11") and Danny look taller than one inch. How tall is TRob, really?


Eric Baker 2 years, 1 month ago

Am I correct that Connor actually partially got the rebound on that Robbie Hummel miss? It looks like he jumped and batted it, or sort of swept it, to Thomas. It doesn't look to me like any Purdue players touched it. But maybe it's the angle.


Greg Lux 2 years, 1 month ago

Jesse says "Robinson now has a clear lane to throw cross-court, as Johnson has taken himself out of the play by (correctly) gambling to go for the offensive rebound"

Nice run through Jesse... Just one correction .. Johnson was going after a Defensive Rebound..

And over the year it's not uncommon for TT to not block out and be watching the game. He is very good at that part.


Thomas Thompson 2 years, 1 month ago

Good article, I really enjoyed the analysis.


lurkerhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

If you watch the video closely, you can see Hudy shoving someone when Taylor makes the dunk to put the game away.


aaaKU 2 years, 1 month ago

really good stuff, thanks for the hard work Jesse. more breakdowns and statistical analyst please. Keep it up!


jhawkrulz 2 years, 1 month ago

On the TT dribble out the clock or not, I think reflux wise you are going to score. Only if you are 100% sure that you dribble the clock out do you avoid the points. I think it would have been 1) difficult to know for sure how much time was left 2) If you do dribble it out, the way the refs were letting them play there was a good chance that they would have let them mug TT without calling a foul, possibly causing a Turnover with only a 1 point lead. Even if you get the foul, no guarantee of the two points.

Of course if you dribble the clock out, you win, if you get the foul and hit both free throws you come out ahead, but I would agree with HCBS' comments you take the 3 point lead and lock down on defense for another 2.5 seconds (which they did).

Kudos to all of the players including TT's dunk.


jhawkrulz 2 years, 1 month ago

Excellent read and breakdown as always.

Looking at the replay screenshot in slow motion. I see how open Hummel was; however the pass would have been somewhat difficult.

1) An alley-oop would have been a safe and easy play. 2) A bounce pass would have probably been kicked. 3) I believe the PG is right handed and although he could pass left or right, this would have had to been a zinger with his left hand to get it past TRob and the other defender. I would have imagined if he had it in his right hand, it would have been an easier toss.

Anyways, here is to playing great lockdown defense for the final 59 seconds, and expecially during the last 23.3 seconds.


VaJay 2 years, 1 month ago

Prior to the back-cut, Hummel shoves Releford in order to get some space & even then, Releford recovers so fast that there's not really a clear path for Jackson to feed him for that layup. Whoever complains about Travis's defense should be forced to watch this. He did a great job all second half and especially at the end.


nwhawkfan 2 years, 1 month ago

I was about to throw a major fit when Pardon The Interruption mentioned that today is the second anniversary of the Ali Farokhmanesh 3-pointer. Jesse's article & breakdown made for a great antidote.

That said, I don't want to have that feeling again anytime soon.



nwhawkfan 2 years, 1 month ago

Way to go Jesse, not just for the analysis but for getting the followup info from Tyshawn. Now that's what I call hustle!


Alohahawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Great read, Jesse. I extend my "Mahalo" for the great breakdown and analysis. Just goes to show that when all of us armchair quarterbacks think we know it all, there's always something else we do not know or recognize till it's pointed out, even when it's staring at us right in the face (ie. On the TV as we re-watch the game, that is.)


jessejayhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Jesse-- another absolutely fantastic job. If coach Self ever leaves or retires, I am nominating you to replace him. Any seconds?


skye 2 years, 1 month ago

Great read Jesse. I'm always impressed with your breakdowns.


machinegun 2 years, 1 month ago

Tyshawn was cheating on D just as he had done prior to the alley oop from Elijah! Long shot...long rebound. Remember, T-Rob got the rebound outside the 3-point line and threw a bullet pass to the "Speedster" who was determined to score. Unreasonable risk? I don't think so.

Anyone realize how fast Ty had to be to successfully execute both of those scoring plays? Check the replays. Ty went the length of the court both times in less than 3 seconds. Should he slow down next time to take time off the clock? I don't think so.

And some folks want to question Ty scoring rather than running out the clock. Crazy stuff! You always take the points!


CardHawkFan 2 years, 1 month ago

Funny thing is that I mentioned exactly what HCBS did in this game on RCST to Mr. Hanni right after Davidson lit us up from 3-point land and he essentially discredited my comment on air. Apparently, when you do face a good 3-point shooting team, it ends up working better to switch on ball screens instead of hedging. Thanks for pointing that out in the article Jesse. Nice to be right every now and again!


George Dugger 2 years, 1 month ago

If , as the TV announcer indicated, Withey touched the ball on the inbounds pass, then time should have expired before Purdue's final shot. Can anyone verify that, indeed, Withey tipped the pass.


jgkojak 2 years, 1 month ago

This is the kind of analysis that is completely missing from our local TV sportscasts-

fascinating - and it really does explain how that last possession happened.

By the way, Tyshawn did the correct thing scoring the basket - it guarantees we are up 3, no worse than overtime. Had he tried to run the clock out, he would have been fouled.

If he misses a foul shot, they have a chance for a cross court pass and a Hummel 24-footer for the win, instead of the under 1 second left shot for the tie.

You always take pts if they're handed to you.

(Its also risky for him to just throw the ball high in the air, hoping it takes more than 3 sec. to come down - remember, he probably doesn't know exactly how much time is left).


BCRavenJHawkfan 2 years, 1 month ago

Any geeks out there know how to save these types of clips?


AsadZ 2 years, 1 month ago

This is from Yahoo Sports on NC State Scouting Report: The Wolfpack has a good blend of interior and perimeter scoring options and that balance has been reflected with five players averaging in double figures for most of the season. F C.J. Leslie has raised his performance for the past month as he’s the team’s leading scorer for the second year in a row. F Scott Wood is one of the ACC’s active leaders in 3-point shooting as a junior and he’s had an ACC record of consecutive made free throws earlier in the season. G Lorenzo Brown has made a relatively smooth transition to point guard as a sophomore and his athleticism adds another element at that position. F Richard Howell is the second-best rebounder in the ACC, though he’s prone to foul trouble.

Futures Watch: The Wolfpack made it to the postseason with a limited amount of depth, but it hasn’t stopped it in the NCAA Tournament. N.C. State goes with a seven-player rotation for the most part. Even with senior G C.J. Williams’ impending departure and the uncertain status of forward C.J. Leslie, who could be tempted to jump to the professional level, there should be a replenished roster as coach Mark Gottfried’s first full recruiting class will arrive highly rated. Gottfried adapted well to the limited number of players in his rotation, though foul troubles, especially for junior F Richard Howell, tended to complicate matters at times. The influx of new players, though, should fill in the gaps.

Regular Season Review: The Wolfpack took care of business in most games that it should have won and that tended to be an upgrade from some past teams. Playing at times a rigorous schedule, the rap on the Wolfpack is that it didn’t win enough of the big-time games, but at least it was competitive in those and performances such as those might have created a good foundation. It was a breakthrough season for senior G C.J. Williams and it eventually became a season during which sophomore C.J. Leslie lived up to his reputation.

Roster Report:
• Sophomore F C.J. Leslie made two free throws late in the second half against Georgetown. He’s shooting less than 60 percent on foul shots for the season, though he’s the N.C. State player most often going to the line.

• Junior G Scott Wood missed two free throws in the game against Georgetown, taking a little shine of his status as the ACC leader in that category. His offense, though, is crucial to the Wolfpack, which is 21-4 this season when he scores in double figures.

• Sophomore G Lorenzo Brown has averaged 6.4 assists per game. That’s the most for a Wolfpack player in 21 seasons, when Chris Corchiani posted 9.6 assists per game. Brown is the first N.C. State player to average more than 4.6 assists in a season since Corchiani.


rhollinshed 2 years, 1 month ago

Nice breakdown Jesse! That is reading I enjoy! Glad things went our way! RCJH!


Steve Gantz 2 years, 1 month ago

If you watch the previous play which led to the EJ fastbreak, Purdue seems to go to a "prevent offense", appearing as if they were just going to have the PG fire up a shot clock beating shot. Purdue had great ball movement all game (i'm no expert, so I may be wrong on that) and seemed to abandon it when that play happened.

I was glad to see this analysis, as i watched the entire video. I was in a pretty bad mood the way the 'Hawks were seemingly throwing away another season with a subpar effort. I didn't really appreciate how exciting that last minute was.


Dan Pawlowski 2 years, 1 month ago

Lets help T-ROB take down Davis , Green and the rest.


Chad Smith 2 years, 1 month ago

I agree that hummel was open for a second there on the back cut, but there are a couple contributing factors and/or reasons to why I don't think the pass was made.

1) Robinson is a foot taller and could have disrupted that pass and maybe the PG didn't see over or around him to make it.

2) if the pg did see hummel, by the time he passed the ball, releford had jumped back over in the lane for a potential steal

3) The pg just tightened up and got caught up in the moment and hesitated. Hey that stuff happens, we're all human.

and it speaks to the fact that the pg looked nervous as the game got closer and wound down, he had a couple different opportunities to make plays and didn't. And to be honest, when johnson saw the opportunity to make a pass (the lob to taylor) he didn't hesitate and it ended up being a huge play for us. Those decisions and fearlessness are why we are moving on and they aren't. I'm not trying to rag on their pg, but point blank our guards made the plays when they mattered and that's the thin line between winning and losing in March.

I feel for Hummel and Purdue, but we played absolutely horrible the 1st half, they shot the ball extremely well and our defense, rebounding, and mental toughness are why we won the game. I'm glad we got a bad game out of our system and were able to survive it.

Steve Kerr had it right when he said the game seemed eerily similar to VCU game, and for most of the game it did. But the main difference between that game and this one is mental fortitude and defense. We locked down in the last 10 min of the game, where in the VCU game they just kept making shots. We made purdue earn their points at the basket and at the foul line and wore them down where with VCU they just kept draining open 3's all game.

I think we will be plenty motivated and reinvigorated in Saint Louis and I expect robinson and withey to play very well against NC State. Do not underestimate the opponent play strong defense and we will do well in the EJ Dome!



rick cowley 2 years, 1 month ago

Good job. I only saw about half of that.


Ron Prichard 2 years, 1 month ago

Fantastic analysis. I just have to add that Hummell is an amazing player. Even after he basically carried Purdue by himself the entire game, he is still humble and gracious enough to compliment his teammate and shoulder the blame for the loss: "I thought Lewis did a very good job of finding me there, and that's on me to make that one. I just didn't make it."

Just a fantastic kid all the way around. Although I am beyond thrilled we won and are moving to the next round, I still feel a little sad for Hummell. The kid had an amazing career that was hampered by injuries and he is clearly a great ambassador for Purdue and college basketball.

Now...the pressure is off and it's time for this team to play free and have some fun.



thomc6 2 years, 1 month ago

Interesting analysis....but for Jackson to both see Hummel over Robinson and get a pass by him is a tall order. Also, you could have had a video slow motion of missed KU free throws and analyzed what went wrong or one or two of those missed bunny shots.....those could have changed the outcome, too. It's a funny game that way....


mandomax 2 years, 1 month ago

Jesse Newell for college basketball analyst of the year!


VancouverHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Nice analysis, Jesse. I think you meant that EJ was going for the defensive rebound.

Any thoughts on whether TT did the right thing by dunking? The commentators seem to think he should've dribbled out the clock instead, but I'm not so sure he could've avoided being fouled (and his free throw percentage isn't great - he probably has less than a 50% chance of making both shots).


John Myers 2 years, 1 month ago

Excellent breakdown of that play, Jesse. And you know something really weird?? I actually got nervous all over again reading it, even though I knew the outcome.. hahaha.. Man, I need help..


lurkerhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

very cool

certainly Jesse perfectly displays why a lot of luck (intangibles, confounds) determine who advances


KU_Phogified 2 years, 1 month ago

Nice breakdown Jesse! Fortunately, Hummel didn't continue that back-cut into a post up, although even if he did, T-Rob sagging on the passer would have made for a difficult entry-pass.

Props to our kids for handling the original offensive deployment and subsequent movement in this situation. And I agree that after the shot was taken, there was some good fortune that came our way. Not going to call it luck, but in this tournament, being lucky can at times, be better than being good.


Ben Kane 2 years, 1 month ago

awesome play breakdown Jesse.

waiting for the NC State team breakdown... I'm a monster now, I can't get enough coverage.


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