Quick grades for five aspects of the Kansas basketball team’s 71-56 win over BYU on Tuesday at the Maui Invitational.
• An ugly first-half stretch for the Jayhawks’ offense kept the semifinal tight during the opening 20 minutes. KU missed 8 shots in a row and went close to 6 minutes without scoring during one stretch.
Even though KU had the bigs to potentially outmatch BYU inside, the Cougars often made it difficult for the Jayhawks to get the ball in their post players’ hands. So points were hard to come by as KU shot 2-for-9 on 3-pointers in the first half and only attempted three free throws.
• The high-percentage looks for KU increased in the second half, and the Jayhawks’ passing influenced that shift. Devon Dotson, Marcus Garrett, Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack and Udoka Azubuike each dished an assist as KU opened the second half 7-for-10 from the floor.
KU shot 53.1% from the field in the second half and only turned the ball over 4 times in the final 20 minutes to pull away.
• The importance of KU’s defensive work outside the 3-point line became evident quickly versus BYU, with the Cougars getting up 5 3-pointers in the first 5 minutes. BYU routinely worked the ball around to seek out open looks and the Cougars showed no hesitation to fire away when they found an open man.
BYU went 3-for-9 in the opening 10 minutes, and KU was fortunate that some of the Cougars’ good looks didn’t fall. The Jayhawks spent the better part of the next several minutes limiting BYU’s 3-point opportunities. But a late half flurry — 2-for-5 in the 3 minutes leading up to halftime — cut into KU’s lead.
The Cougars shot 5-for-17 from deep in the first half (29.4%) and 38.5% from the floor.
• BYU missed its first 10 3-point tries in the second half, as KU got out to a comfortable lead. Some were open, on some KU’s defense deserved at least a little credit for the shots not falling. The Cougars only made 9 of 33 (27.3%) from long range in the loss.
• Even though much of the BYU offense is built around back cuts and passing, the Cougars turned the ball over 20 times and scored just 18 points in the paint.
• KU only got two made shots at the rim apiece out of its biggest players, Udoka Azubuike and David McCormack in the first half.
The Jayhawks made sure to change that in the second half, with layups and dunks from the two bigs helping KU build its first double-digit lead.
• McCormack found a rhythm as a scorer, putting up a team-high 16 points, while showing some touch as KU advanced to the Maui Invitational final and a matchup with Dayton.
• Ochai Agbaji did much more than put up points (14), but the sophomore did a bulk of that work, too, in a low-scoring game.
Agbaji’s rebounding and passing came in handy, but so did his his hustle.
• Devon Dotson (13 points, 5-for-16 shooting) took it right at the BYU defense off the bounce early, proving his handles and speed in the open court could be a problem for the Cougars. But some missed layups by the point guard kept him from destroying BYU the way it seemed he might.
Even so, Dotson had one of his better distributing nights, racking up 8 assists.
• Marcus Garrett’s workmanlike approach to the opening minutes of the second half allowed KU to build its biggest lead of the game up to that point, before the first media timeout. Garrett’s passing, driving, defense and even a 3-pointer turned a tie game into a 38-31 KU lead.
• With Isaiah Moss off offensively, KU got little production from its subs. Moss knocked down his first attempt, a 3, of course, in rhythm but couldn’t replicate that moving forward. He finished the win shooting 2-for-8 from the floor.
Still, Moss is a good fit for the KU offense’s spacing and flow, and the Jayhawks’ lead grew when he was on the floor.
• Silvio De Sousa barely played until the game was all but over (3 minutes).
Tristan Enaruna wasn’t creating as much as he can offensively.
Moss (5 points) was the only member of the bench who had scored much of the night. But Christian Braun finished an alley-oop pass on a break from Dotson in the final minutes and Enaruna hit 3 of 4 free throws.
Quick grades for five aspects of the Kansas basketball team’s 93-63 win over Chaminade on Monday at the Maui Invitational.
• Down 5-0 early to de facto host Chaminade, the Jayhawks regrouped quickly enough, taking their first lead on their first made 3-pointer, 10-7, from Ochai Agbaji, who had been in a noted slump.
That shot seemed to ignite the Jayhawks and/or loosen them up, with an Isaiah Moss triple to follow. Devon Dotson connected on a 3 of his own shortly after amid a 17-0 outburst.
• The Jayhawks spent most of the night — afternoon if you’re on island time —dominating the way they should in this type of matchup. They shot 55% from the floor, helped greatly by their 50 points in the paint and 36 points off turnovers.
• KU handled the Swords’ half-court zone defenses well, with patience and passing leading to high percentage looks.
• Kansas proved more than reliable from 3-point range, going 12-for-29.
• KU’s defense wasn’t great early, but good enough to keep its opponent from playing cleanly. Chaminade helped the Jayhawks build a comfortable first half lead by turning the ball over far too often. KU got credit for 5 first half steals but the Silverswords turned it over 16 times in the first 20 minutes.
When Chaminade was actually taking care of the ball, its guards were driving and getting more layups than Bill Self would like to see. Chaminade shot 48% from the floor in the first half — but KU led 47-27 at the break.
• The Swords finished with 27 turnovers and shot 7-for-21 on 3-pointers.
• Even though KU had the obvious size advantage inside with Udoka Azubuike and David McCormack, neither played particularly well in the first half against the Silverswords’ mostly perimeter-based lineup. Azubuike checked out with nearly 13 minutes left in the first half and wouldn’t return until after intermission. He turned the ball over twice, fouled twice and didn’t attempt a field goal in 7 first-half minutes.
The 7-footer came out intent on doing much more with his time on the floor in the second half, with a pair of layups and two overpowering dunks in the the first 7 minutes, en route to 15 points.
• McCormack only played 8 minutes in the first half, with one offensive rebound and a couple of buckets being his largest contributions.
He would have a much more emphatic attack of the offensive glass as KU was rolling late in the second half, and his two-handed follow rattled the backboard. Within a few minutes he added two more baskets inside, getting him to double digits for the game.
• KU guards Dotson and Marcus Garrett helped get the heavy favorite out in front, as they did a good job of attacking the paint early, combining for five of the team’s first six successful trips to the rim.
Dotson’s speed meant he kept getting layups and he could have gotten more if KU needed them.
• Ochai Agbaji's shooting slump didn't travel to Maui. The sophomore shot 3 of 5 from deep in the first half, a good sign for sure, even if all 11 of his points came before halftime.
• Garrett was a distributor (7 assists) and disruptor 4xx steals) continuing to shine as an ideal role player.
• KU’s guards stood out in the first half and then gladly let the bigs take the spotlight in the second half as KU cruised.
• Once Moss joined the fray in the first half, KU began to roll. His shooting made him an ideal floor spacer for the offense and the Jayhawks took off once they went away from their two-big look.
Moss provided 13 points off the bench and drained 3 of his 4 3-pointers.
• Tristan Enaruna was off the mark much of the game, starting 0-for-5 from the floor before knocking in KU’s 11th 3-pointer of the rout. The freshman again made himself valuable with his passing and defense, though, regardless of his shot outcomes.
• Silvio De Sousa’s minutes were limited. He scored all 4 of his points in the first half.