Recap: KU blasts Texas Tech with defense
Credit this one to the defense.
Kansas was far from bad on offense, scoring 1.19 points per possession, but its defense set the tone early and pushed the halftime margin to 24 in the Jayhawks' favor.
Just consider how poorly Texas Tech's best offensive players fared:
Point guard John Roberson: 5-for-14 shooting, 16 points
Shooting guard Nick Okorie: 1-for-10, 5 points
Small forward David Tairu: 1-for-5, 2 points
Power forward Mike Singletary: 0-for-4, 0 points
Add up those four lines and you get: 7-for-33, 23 points
The most efficient Red Raider was forward D'walyn Roberts, who scored nine points in 15 minutes. Unfortunately for Texas Tech, he picked up four fouls in those 15 minutes.
Two things stood out most from KU's defensive metrics:
• KU forced timely Texas Tech turnovers
The Red Raiders committed a turnover on 21.3 percent of their offensive possessions. That number is slightly worse than the national average and Texas Tech's average and nearly equal to KU's average turnovers forced per game. Saturday's turnovers just seemed to come at the right time. Instead of spreading the turnovers out across 40 minutes, the Red Raiders committed 14 in the first half. That allowed KU to burn Texas Tech in transition to the tune of 18 points off of turnovers in the first half and a 42-18 halftime lead. As you can see on the Game Flow chart (provided by StatSheet.com) below, once Texas Tech started valuing its possessions, it made up some ground and kept things a little bit respectable.
• The Jayhawks kept the Red Raiders off the free throw line
As KUSports.com editor Jesse Newell wrote in his Saturday pregame blog, Texas Tech has a knack for earning free throws. KU limited Texas Tech to a 29.7 percent Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA * 100), its fourth-lowest of the season. Even after Saturday, the Red Raiders' 46.0 percent FT Rate ranked 29th in the nation. The Jayhawks posted a 40.3 percent FT Rate, so its no surprise KU scored eight more points than Texas Tech from the free throw line.
M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)
This one was easy.
Sophomore forward Marcus Morris again approached the one point per minute threshold, scoring 20 points in 22 minutes on 7-for-10 shooting. The Philly native wasn't quite as efficient as he was in 21 minutes at Nebraska, but his 34 percent Rebound Rate ranked best among Jayhawks who played more than 11 minutes. Morris was the only KU player aside from freshman forward Thomas Robinson to use more than 20 percent of the team's possessions. When your most efficient scorer is your most active player, things tend to go well.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/17/ku_bkc_tt22.jpg KU forward Marcus Morris makes a post move — Richard Gwin/LJW Photo
Room for improvement
This might sound like a broken record, but KU failed to take care of the ball for the third consecutive game. The Jayhawks committed turnovers on 22.7 percent of their possessions, their third worst mark of the season. Texas Tech entered the game as a fairly pedestrian turnover-forcing team (141st nationally), but five Jayhawks committed turnovers on more than 20 percent of their individual possessions used.
Hard luck line
Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor played just 12 minutes but still earned(?) this weekend's dishonor. Taylor went 2-for-3 from the floor and grabbed 23 percent of available rebounds during his playing time. But considering he used just 17 percent of KU's possessions in his 12 minutes, his two turnovers stood out more than they usually might. KU coach Bill Self apparently agreed, sitting Taylor for 17 consecutive minutes after one particularly egregious gaffe.
As Jesse noted in The Newell Post, Taylor might not be stealing the ball as often as he could. The Hoboken, N.J., native had no steals against Texas Tech.
The Bottom Line:
Everything about this game said, "run-of-the-mill," which was a good thing for KU. The big first-half lead, the comfortable second-half ebb and flow and some just-for-kicks late-game showmanship by KU. The Jayhawks might not own the nation's best record, but — given Texas' and Kentucky's recent struggles — they are playing like the nation's best team.