Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Notebook: Defensive prowess earns Marcus Garrett second-half start vs. Marquette

Kansas coach Bill Self gestures during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Marquette in the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Kansas coach Bill Self gestures during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Marquette in the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)


Brooklyn, N.Y. — Kansas sophomore Marcus Garrett was on the floor to start the second half of KU’s come-from-behind, 77-68 victory over Marquette at Barclays Center Wednesday night.

And Kansas coach Bill Self said afterward that there was a very simple reason for Garrett temporarily taking the spot belonging to freshman guard Quentin Grimes.

“Well, we were just trying to play the guys that played the best,” Self said of his thought process after KU trailed 47-38 at halftime. “It wasn’t punishment for Q. Q had a rough, rough, rough half. I thought that was our best chance to come back, to play our best defensive team and no matter how you slice it up, Marcus is part of our best defensive team.”

Garrett, who has logged seven starts in his first 43 games as a Jayhawk said he found out just before leaving the locker room at halftime that he’d open the second half on the floor.

None of Garrett’s previous starts have meant all that much to him. He’s not the type of player who worries about such things. And he wasn’t worrying about it on Wednesday night. All he knew was that somebody had to help second-ranked Kansas (4-0) get things turned around and he was willing to give it his best effort.

“He let us know we were trying something new just to get a spark,” Garrett recalled of Self’s halftime instructions. “I just knew we had to lock in defensively because they were making everything that first half.”

Garrett, whose floater in the lane at the first-half buzzer accounted for the first of a 24-0 KU run that spanned the end of the first half and the first 9:15 of the second, finished with 11 points, three rebounds, two blocks and a steal on 4-of-13 shooting in 28 minutes.

Asked if he had ever witnessed anything like KU’s tidal-wave run on Wednesday night, Garrett said, “No. I’ve never had one in my life. That was impressive when coach told us that. It really didn’t feel like that. We were just playing one possession at a time and I didn’t realize they didn’t score until the 10-minute mark.”

We’re No. 1?

With top-ranked Duke falling to No. 3 Gonzaga in the finals of the Maui Invitational on Wednesday, and Kansas taking care of Marquette, the Jayhawks could quickly find themselves in the conversation to reclaim the No. 1 spot in the polls that they had when the season began.

KU, of course, will have to take care of No. 5 Tennessee on Friday night in the NIT Season Tip-Off title game to have any shot at claiming the top spot, but junior forward Dedric Lawson made no effort to hide his thoughts about where Kansas should be ranked now that Duke had fallen.

“Definitely, if they lost,” he said. “I think that’s what happens when you lose, you drop.”

When told that Duke’s loss — 89-87 — came to the No. 3 team in the country, Lawson laughed and quickly began backtracking.

“Oh, shout-out to Gonzaga,” he said with a smile. “Gonzaga is a pretty good team, as well. So I guess I’ll leave that to the professionals.”

Still hot

After making 15 of his last 20 3-pointers over the past two games, KU senior Lagerald Vick opened Wednesday night by making three in a row from behind the arc.

While that 78.3 percent clip eventually had to come down — and did — Self said he had no problem with Vick continuing to look for his shot from distance as Wednesday’s game wore on.

“I thought he forced a couple of shots that he probably shouldn’t have taken,” Self said. “But he’s been on such a roll, how can you get on a guy that’s doing what he’s doing?”

Vick finished Wednesday’s game 3-of-5 from 3-point range and scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting overall. In doing so, he reminded his head coach that he remains one of the team’s most reliable offensive weapons at this point in the season.

“To me, we’ve got three go-to guys offensively,” Self said. “One deep in the post (Udoka Azubuike, who tallied six point in 15, foul-plagued minutes Wednesday), one mid-range (Lawson, 26 points and 12 rebounds) and Lagerald behind the arc.”

This and that...

Kansas now leads the all-time series with Marquette, 7-1, with the only loss coming in a national semifinal game in 1974. The Jayhawks have now won four straight over the Golden Eagles... KU’s victory pushed the Jayhawks to 4-0 for the second season in a row and eighth time in Self’s 16 seasons in charge... Kansas is now 19-3 all-time in the NIT Season Tip-Off and will be playing in the NIT title game for the fifth time in six appearances.


Phil Leister 4 years ago

Marcus should not be shooting 13 shots a game.

Barry Weiss 4 years ago

totally agree. I get it that his defense is his strength...but dang...25% from the field and not much better at the line. I thought he was going to spend all summer working on his shooting? Late in the game with Dok out, you could see Marquette trying to foul Marcus as soon as the ball went to him. Would hate for him to be hack a Dok 2.0

Steve Corder 4 years ago

Yeah! You're absolutely right. But if he had not, the clock would have expired. As Mike points out below, it's tough getting a shot off when it's our 4 against their 5.

Mike Greer 4 years ago

The reason Marcus takes 13 shots in a game is because when he's on the floor, no one bothers to guard him. Thus, no one else is open, they're playing 5 on 4. When he drives to the rim, they just foul him. He may be a defensive asset, but he's certainly an offensive liability.

I'd sure like to see more of McCormick, especially since Silvio is being held out.

Jeff Foster 4 years ago

And Marcus is taking 10+ shots in games because as of right now, the only one trying to create is own shot is Vick, throw D. Lawson in there too. Our guards aren't driving into the lane at near the rate our guards have the past few years, man were we spoiled! I think Dotson will get in there as he gets more comfortable, Grimes too, but they could open so many more 3s by driving/kicking out. So many of Vick's shots the past 3 games have been guarded shots and he's just so dialed in, but if the guards drive in, the D sinks to help and gets wide open shots for the wings. Case in point is how teams are playing us. Our week point is not being able to sag to help and get out quick enuf to guard the open 3. That won't be stopping any time soon. I like this team, but I'll like them a LOT more once everyone is comfortable in their roles...we'll call that January, when HCBS's teams usually come together. Let's Rock Chalk all over Rocky Top and see that #1 again!

Steve Zimmerman 4 years ago

Only pro-bound crafty guys can create their shots and finish them. The other option is to play offense like Nova's last year team - move the ball fast, pick and roll, screen to shoot/lob, guard's dribble drive and pass, like Jeff said kick it out for open 3s. We haven't really seen guys screening each other to free up shooters. We only see them screening for the ball handlers - just to rotate the ball on the perimeter. I like what Marcus has done. It's a starting point to realize that we need to do more dribble drives. See how many FTs we got. But he also needs to develop awareness where the bigs/3pt shooters are. Besides, he needs to learn how to finish strong and make those bunnies. His shooting wrist is so tight. Bounce the ball high off the glass if you want to use the board, buddy! Dok's stamina has been a good progress, but Garrett needs help from KU's player development coach in terms of bouncing his feet while driving, dunking, taking jump shots, shooting with better mechanic. Garrett can be a very valuable offense asset to this team. I see that coming.

Tony Bandle 4 years ago

Random Thoughts:

1] Marcus is still using that below-the-shoulder push shot. The only reason it doesn't get blocked is that no one guards him because he can't hit it.

2] Despite their current short comings, I am encouraged by our freshmen guards......,damn they are fast. They'll "get it" by March!!

3] Former Dookie, Wojo, still looks the pain in the ass he was when he played.

4] Speaking of Duke, if anyone saw the Maui Championship game, Coach K looks like a cast member of The Walking Dead!

5] Not that I think that it's going to happen but it's fun to dream.....Dok and "D" sit down and here comes "Big Mac" and Silvio......what a one-two front court punch that would be!

6] Amazing to think where we would be without Lagerald.....he saved the first half for us.

7] It is apparent that the Big 12 as an entire league will be down this year.....will see just how far once league play starts.

8] I am still hopeful that, since the NCAA giveth and the NCAA taketh away, since they gave Silvio the second semester last season, they'll take away the first semester this season and call it even.

9] Sorry, Charlie......right now you kind of are falling short of expectations. You need to step it up at both ends,

10] On the broadcast, it seemed like a lot of fans came disguised as empty seats.

James Donnell 4 years ago

Just imagine what Vick might do if he got to shoot open 3's like the Marquestte guys. I guess I don't understand why our offense cannot be more geared to kick outs. Perhaps this will come as the young guys learn to drive downhill more. I hope that happens soon, otherwise Garrett will be on the floor a lot. He is such a glaring offensive liability, I am not sure if his defensive ability is worth it.

Steve Zimmerman 4 years ago

This KU team and coaches need to watch Pop's Spurs. How they move the ball more than moving guys dribbling in the perimeter. Great point, why not kick outs - well, 1. Dok needs to make quick decision - BS' offense goes through him 80%; 2. Garrett had the most possessions in penetration, he needs to be coached to kick out, instead of just blindly throw the ball off the glass or getting rejected over and over. But be glad, he makes an effort to contribute offensively - something I didn't see last season. It'll come together. Give him time. He needs to watch Mason, McClung penetrate.

Bill Corey 4 years ago

What does the +/- stat mean? I can’t find my Basketball For Dummies

Kit Duncan 4 years ago

Did anyone notice on one of the few times KU started one of its famous “weaves”, that it quickly died when Vick stayed rooted in his corner spot and didn’t participate?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.