The Kansas defense forced tough shots from BYU and limited the Cougars to 41% shooting overall and 27% from behind the arc. BYU missed some open shots which appeared to be partly due to how tired they were from playing Monday as well as how hard it was for them to play against the bigger and stronger Jayhawks.
BYU had nobody to battle against the Kansas front court of Udoka Azubuike and David McCormack. Those two combined for 27 of the Jayhawks’ 71 points and 15 of the team’s 35 rebounds. They combined for 80% shooting from the field.
Kansas had a nice game against a smaller team that passes the ball and shoots from the outside. Those are the kind of teams that could scare the Jayhawks in the first few rounds in the NCAA tournament so a little experience helps. The win could be misleading though since BYU is currently missing its best player to an NCAA suspension and having played just one day earlier, BYU didn’t have its legs completely under them. In an NCAA tournament situation Kansas won’t be as fortunate with their opponent having tired legs. That doesn’t mean Kansas wouldn’t win the game. It just means that it will be tougher than tonight’s game.
Player of the Game
C Udoka Azubuike was terrific in this game. He struggled getting in position for passes down low in the first ten minutes or so of the game, but once Kansas settled in Azubuike was much better offensively. Udoka shot 5-for-6 from the field and pulled down ten rebounds. His size affected the BYU defense keeping them out of the lane for the most part.
F David McCormack was 7-for-9 from the field, 2-for-2 at the free throw line and pulled down five rebounds. McCormack’s outside shot was good tonight. He was aggressive as always on both ends of the court.
G Ochai Agbaji shot well for the second consecutive game. He was 6-for-9 from the field and 2-for-4 form behind the arc. He grabbed five rebounds. Agbaji is also important for his defense. He played good defense for the most part in this game.
G Marcus Garrett scored just seven points but his outside defense was terrific. With so many Jayhawks going under the outside pick, Garrett consistently went over the pick which prevented the three-point shot. Garrett is a critical defender for the Jayhawks who needs to be on the court as much as possible.
Room for Improvement
G Devon Dotson struggled shooting and played poor outside defense in this game. He shot just 5-for-16. Dotson was going under picks outside which opened up the outside shot for the Cougars.
Kansas defenders need to understand their team and force opponents inside the three-point line to the basket and get help from the big guys inside. They need to stop going under the picks outside. Go over the pick and force the opponent to drive inside the arc.
Kansas plays a hot Dayton team on Wednesday at 4:00pm in the championship game of the Maui Invitational. Sophomore forward Obi Toppin has been terrific early in the season. After averaging 14.4 points per game last season, Toppin is currently averaging 24 ppg this season. Toppin scored 24 points in Dayton’s semifinal win over Virginia Tech and 25 points in their first round win over Georgia. Don’t be fooled by the name. Dayton is playing as well as anyone right now and will be a tough opponent for the Jayhawks.