In its first true road game of the season, Kansas defeated Georgetown 75-70 in the nation’s capitol on Wednesday night. The Jayhawks were led by the hot shooting Brannen Greene who finished with 19 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field. Greene knocked down all five of his 3-point attempts against the Hoyas. The sophomore hit the biggest shot of the game, draining a corner three with 2:37 remaining to extend the Jayhawk lead to five. Wayne Selden found Greene in the corner after an impromptu Landen Lucas screen left him wide open for the drive and kick. The Jayhawks 3-point shooting carried their offense on Wednesday, helping generate a 44.7 percent effective field goal percentage. Five different Kansas players knocked down shots from behind the arc against Georgetown.
Kansas needed that 3-point shooting because their 2-point offense continued to struggle against Georgetown. The Jayhawks shot 10-for-36 on their 2-point attempts as the Hoyas racked up nine blocks led by Mikael Hopkins’ four rejections. Wednesday’s failure to knock down easy shots is symptomatic of a larger problem for Kansas. Bill Self’s squad is shooting 43.7 percent on their 2-point shots this season. If that mark holds, it will be by far the lowest 2-point field goal percentage for a Kansas team during Self’s tenure in Lawrence. By comparison, the Jayhawks hit 55.4 percent of their 2-point attempts last season.
Perry Ellis again continued to have trouble scoring from the field against size. Ellis attempted 12 2-point field goals and was only to connect on three of them against Georgetown. He finished 2-for-6 on dunk or layup attempts. The Jayhawks will need Ellis to be more effective against defenses featuring rim protectors as they head into Big 12 play and opponents like Texas.
The Jayhawks also continued to generate offense from the free throw line. Their 60.4 free throw rate was slightly above their season average of 56.0. Kansas generated one-third of their total points on foul shots. Freshman Kelly Oubre Jr. finally received substantial minutes and offensively was regularly used in pick and roll actions allowing him to use his athleticism to get to the basket. While Oubre wasn’t able to finish shots at the rim, he did connect on five of his six free throw attempts.
Defensively, Kansas was unable to contain Joshua Smith. Smith finished with 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting as he dominated the Jayhawks’ bigs in the paint. Kansas did find success against Georgetown’s leading scorer D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. While Smith-Rivera finished with 10 points, it took him 15 shots to get there, which suggests that Frank Mason III did well forcing the 6-foot-3 guard into inefficient scoring situations.
Overall, the Jayhawks succeeded offensively in knocking down 3-point shots and getting to the free throw line, but continue to struggle in their 2-point offense. Brannen Greene’s break out night helped hold off the Hoyas for a nice road win.