The beauty of college basketball is that this game means next to nothing until tournament seeding time. We get a chance to see two solid programs like Kansas and Duke play each other unlike in college football. This loss isn’t going to hurt Kansas near as much as it is going to help Duke.
The problem for Kansas in this game was the large number of turnovers. The broadcast said that Kansas had 28 turnovers but ESPN has it at 27. Whichever is correct isn’t important. That’s too many turnovers to win against most teams especially against a team as good as Duke. However, even with that many turnovers Kansas lost by just two points.
When the Jayhawks weren’t turning the ball over early in the second half, Kansas turned a 33-30 deficit into a 46-37 lead with 14:35 left in the game. But after that point Kansas started turning over the ball again and let Duke back into the game.
Duke turned the ball over 16 times and shot just 36.5% from the field to help Kansas in the game in the first half. The Blue Devils shot just 33% from behind the arc. Kansas’ size and rebounding aggressiveness gave Kansas a 44-34 lead on the boards.
This loss gives Bill Self something to get on his team for with three easier home games on the schedule before they head to Maui the week of Thanksgiving.
This game turned with 14:27 left in the game when Alex O’Connell hit a three-point shot for Duke to cut the Kansas lead to 46-40 to start a 10-2 Duke run and eventually tie the game with 11:37 to play. The run was the start of more turnover problems for Kansas which had not appeared in the second half after a terrible time for the Jayhawks in the first half.
F David McCormack was impressive in this game. He was just 2-for-7 from the field but pulled down 13 rebounds to lead the team. He had a big turnover near the end of the game when he tried to feed the ball to Azubuike under the basket. But McCormack was impressive especially considering that he has not played a lot. In this game he was the best big man on the Kansas team.
G Marcus Garrett also struggled shooting, going just 5-for-13, but he pulled down five rebounds to go with four assists and a block with just two turnovers. Garrett stepped up with some nice drives to the basket when Kansas needed points. He didn’t take a three-point shot so it will be nice to see if his work on that pays off in the near future.
G Tristan Enaruna looked comfortable from the field going 2-for-3 and 1-for-1 from behind the arc. Enaruna has a nice looking shot.
Room for Improvement
G Devon Dotson was 5-for-9 from the field but just 1-for-4 from the three point line and six turnovers to go with just one assist and three steals. Dotson made some big plays offensively for Kansas but six turnovers is just way too much for him.
C Udoka Azubuike was 3-for-4 from the field and 2-for-3 from the free throw line to go with nine rebounds but his four turnovers hurt.
G Ochai Agbaji had five turnovers in the game. He’s going to handle the ball a lot but can’t if he doesn’t value the basketball more than he did tonight. He was 6-for-10 from the field with 2-for-4 shooting from the three-point line to go with six rebounds.
Kansas returns to Allen Fieldhouse on Friday with a home game against UNC Greensboro at 8:00pm on ESPNU.