This is not what the “experts” wanted. Many of them were picking Northeastern to upset Kansas. Northeastern was supposed to cause trouble for the Jayhawks with their three-point shooting. But Kansas was too much for Northeastern in every aspect of the game.
Kansas was focused on both ends of the court from the opening tip. The biggest concern in this game was the possibility of Northeastern lighting up the Jayhawks from the three-point line. The Huskies were one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country. However, they had not played a team like Kansas. The Jayhawks were switching on every screen to not allow Northeastern to get many good looks from behind the arc. The Jayhawks’ switching defense held Northeastern to just 6-for-28 (21.4%) shooting from behind the arc and just 28.1% overall.
When Northeastern was able to drive by a Kansas defender, they struggled finishing in close because of the concern of bigger Kansas players blocking their shot. Kansas only had four blocked shots on defense but affected many more.
Kansas shot the ball ok from the three-point line but most of that came after the game was out of reach and they were comfortable taking the shot. The Jayhawks went 8-for-22 (36.4%) from there. But Kansas dominated in the paint. They were able to drive to the basket at will for easy shots. Kansas shot 55.7% overall on the day.
Dedric Lawson was once again the focus of the Jayhawks’ offense and the Huskies could not stop him. He could do anything he wanted. Lawson scored a game high 25 points. He was 9-for-16 overall, 3-for-5 from behind the arc and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Lawson pulled down 11 rebounds.
Devon Dotson was also able to do just about anything he wanted against the Huskies. He was too fast for anyone who tried to guard him. Dotson blew by his defender on multiple occasions to get an easy layup. Dotson finished with 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting.
Another bright spot for the Jayhawks was K.J. Lawson. He, like almost everyone else, took better shots than he has all season. He wasn’t forcing bad shots. K.J. Lawson finished with 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting.
The one concern for Kansas is that their 61 field goals came on just 12 assists. However, a lot of that could be because of how easy it was for the Jayhawks to drive past their man for an easy score at the rim.
Often this season during Big 12 play the Jayhawks looked smaller than we are used to seeing. This game made the Jayhawks look intimidating on the inside. With Auburn on the schedule for Saturday that likely won’t be the case again in this tournament. A win over Auburn on Saturday would advance Kansas to the spring Center in Kansas City for a likely matchup against North Carolina.