Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Quick recap: No. 3 Kansas falls to No. 4 Duke in Champions Classic

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) and Duke forward Javin DeLaurier reach for the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) and Duke forward Javin DeLaurier reach for the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)


It only made sense that it came down to the final minutes.

In the end, No. 4 Duke made enough plays down the stretch to secure a 68-66 win over No. 3 Kansas Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden during the first game of the 2019-20 season. The loss snapped the Jayhawks’ three-game win streak in the Champions Classic, which included a narrow victory over Duke on a game-winning shot by Frank Mason in 2016.

Duke took a 64-61 lead with 1:33 left in the game on a pull-up jumper by Tre Jones, which got a friendly bounce. The Jayhawks responded with strong left-handed drive by Marcus Garrett to make it a 1-point game.

The Blue Devils then hit a pair of free throws after an errant pass by David McCormack, which was KU’s 28th turnover of the night. Ultimately, the Jayhawks missed multiple layup attempts on the ensuing possession to effectively end their chances.

Sophomore point guard Devon Dotson hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the loss.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: When Duke was able to respond to a decisive stretch by Kansas early in the second half.

After trailing by a 33-30 margin at the intermission, the Jayhawks responded by scoring 13 unanswered points to begin the second half. Garrett started things off with a strong drive and Ochai Agbaji was gifted a dunk on a backdoor cut.

McCormack scored on a bucket in the post, while Udoka Azubuike was on the receiving end of an alley-oop from Garrett. Agbaji then drilled a 3-pointer and scored on a transition play to give Kansas an 8-point advantage early in the second half.

The Blue Devils never wavered, though, and found a way to reclaim the advantage later in the half.

• Offensive highlight: It didn’t take long to get our first Bill Self special of the season.

Kansas scored its first points of the 2019-20 campaign on a nice set play to take a 2-0 lead over Duke. With 19:20 left in the first half, Dotson brought the ball up the court and hit Azubuike on the elbow.

As soon as Azubuike caught the ball on the elbow, Agbaji cut toward the rim from the wing. Azubuike hit Agbaji in stride, as he finished off the sequence with an easy slam. As noted by this tweet, however, it is not the first time that Self has turned to this play in the Champions Classic.

None by Jordan Sperber

Kansas ran the same exact play early in the second half, trimming the deficit to just one point at the time.

• Defensive highlight: McCormack got the start in the season opener, and he notched an impressive defensive play in the first half.

Midway through the first half, Duke guard Wendell Moore Jr. attacked the rim in transition. McCormack managed to hold his ground, and met Moore at the rim. Despite receiving some contact from Moore, McCormack ended up blocking the shot attempt to keep the Blue Devils from getting an easy bucket.

None by We Good?

For comparison, McCormack swatted 13 total shots in 34 games as a freshman last year.

• Key stat: The Jayhawks were fortunate to only be down three points at halftime.

Kansas coughed up 18 turnovers in the first half alone, which led to a 33-30 deficit at the intermission. The Jayhawks went 10-for-21 from the floor in the first 20 minutes, but were unable to get much of a rhythm offense due to their 18 turnovers.

"We were awful,” Self told Holly Rowe during his halftime interview on ESPN. “We had poor guard play, we had poor big play. We weren't very good."

KU finished with 28 turnovers in the season opener.

• Up next: Kansas will play host to UNC Greensboro at 8 p.m. Friday.


Bryce Landon 2 years, 9 months ago

Holy crap, I am sick to my stomach about this one. Bad enough to lose to the Evil Empire. To lose the way we lost, with that level of carelessness with the ball, and all the opportunities we had to score that we didn't take advantage of, is just gut-wrenching.

The Jayhawks have three days to get their collective $#!+ together and be much sharper against UNCG.

Cora Smith 2 years, 9 months ago

Dotson did not quarterback the team. He looked for his shot every time down the court. Doke and de Sousa have not progressed in their time off. At one point we missed 5 straight free throws and that did not count the and ones that we should have gotten. They had so many turnovers it was disgusting.

Steve Zimmerman 2 years, 9 months ago

You know, I gave this coaching staff a year to really groom Dotson, coaching him to be a better PG, but alas, it's the same old Dotson. I've observed this and been telling the same thing: Dotson does not like alley-oop that much, and as Cora said, Dotson looks for his shots only. That, again, I blame on the coaching staff. Groom a PG to be a PG. Just because he's super speedy, he can just lay the ball in everytime he dribbles inside. SMH... You've got capable BIGS. I mean BIGS that can run up & down the floor now. Yes, including Dok! And yet we have only 2-3 Assists from our PGs.. Even Dok collects more than 2-3 PGs combined. This is PATHETIC.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 9 months ago

We turned the ball over 27 times and still had a chance of winning but number 28 proved to be the nail in the coffin. All we have to do is not turn the ball over 28 times a game and we should be fine.

J.L. Forge 2 years, 9 months ago

So much upside to this team! To play as bad as they did on both sides of the court and be in the game proves that. Super sloppy with the ball and hopefully that will get tightened up. If Dok could play D remotely close to how Mac does, that would be a huge benefit but as he has done for going on 4 years now, he spends to much time standing around watching things. I agreed with Jay Bilas in that Dotson needs to re-assume his role as the point guard rather than deferring to get down court to try and look for a pass/shoot opportunity. He is way too valuable and way too dangerous with the ball in his hand. Should be a fantastic year! RC!

Andy Godwin 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes ball handling was atrocious, but no shooters-three, midrange, or free throwS (missed 10 free points). Hopefully the grad transfer can play one day and actually contribute. Very embarrassing. Nobody could shoot outside of 2 feet. KU made only 4 shoots outside the paint. The high-low offense was very poorly executed. Long way to national respectability. Not close to a top 10 team. High ranking was to promote these games. Duke was not that great, so now Self needs to develop an effective offense.

Barry Weiss 2 years, 9 months ago

well that one was pretty rough. I'd say we have more upside than Duke. To turn it over 28 times just killed us. We beat them in most categories on the box score.....if only we did not turn it over so much. ALL of our guys did, not just the bigs. Just some real sloppy play that I know we can improve. I thought Silvio would be more of a force, but it will just take him time. DMac was a beast on the boards. A little spun up like early like last year, but he will settle down. Marcus looked good. Devon, a bit sloppy with the ball, but still led us in scoring. Ochai, some good some sloppy TO's. This will be the only time we are under .500 this year, so embrace the pain.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 9 months ago

Random Thoughts:

1] Although it's never good to lose the first game of the season, especially to Duke, this game will provide a valuable template for the coaching staff to get the team ready for the NCAA title in six months or so.

2] As stated above by many, turnovers, no outside shooting, knucklehead decisions, missed free throws, etc. and still only a couple of non-turnovers or a three pointer away from winning would indicate this team can be fixed.

3] Sorry, I just can't join the Marcus Garrett parade. It strikes me almost as a case of "The Emperor's Clothes".

4] KU will win a lot of games by sheer talent and size against lesser opponents, but in a Top Ten match up, we better get better....a LOT BETTER!!!

5] If Mitch had been playing, we would have won this game. Does anyone agree with me?

6] Blowing of steam after a Jayhawk loss feels better than therapy...and it's a lot cheaper!!

7] I stopped counting at 10 non-calls against was ridiculous.

8] Let's see Dok hadn't played in about a year, Silvio about a year and a half and all the freshmen were in it for the first time. Madison Garden, New York City, National Television, against a Top 5 opponent with a HOF Coach. Welcome to the big time, boys!!!!

Drew Doerfler 2 years, 9 months ago

ok, that was a very sad loss....we had the upperclassmen but looked really bad executing anything. Duke wasn't very good and still beat us. We have no passers or playmakers on the team. Dotson is not a good passer. Our bigs are not good passers. Hopefully it's just the rust, but Dok looks like he hasn't improved at all since his freshman year in the the exhibition games and this game. He just doesn't have very many actual basketball skills. I think we still have potential to be a championship contender, but they are definitely going to have to fix some things. I would start Enaruna at power forward to spread the court for dok underneath and for driving lanes for Dotson and Garrett. It just seemed too crowded underneath with two bigs that aren't good passers or know how to move without the ball.....oh, and i just hate losing to Duke! especially when they have a really young team and didn't play very well.......

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