Kansas was firing on all cylinders Wednesday against Iowa State and gave us a glimpse at what this offense can be at its peak.
The Jayhawks went into Hilton Coliseum and quickly silenced what is usually a raucous crowd. The Cyclones hung with the Jayhawks to start the game, but KU went on a 21-3 run to end the first half, creating what would become an insurmountable lead on the way to a 26-point victory.
Iowa State struggled on offense all night and could never get in rhythm, save for the first 10 or so minutes. Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State’s best player and one of the best in the country, was held to only five points, far off his 17-point average.
The Jayhawks performance on the offensive end was the real key to the blowout. They seemed to get almost anything they wanted and scored in the half court and on fast breaks.
The key to the stellar offensive performance was three-point shooting. Kansas shot a flamethrower-like 53% from deep on 19 attempts, with Ochai Agbaji leading the way by making four of his five attempts.
Christian Braun continued his recent uptick going 3-4 from three and even Marcus Garrett made his only try. The three was freed for the Jayhawks, especially in the first half, and it made a big difference in all facets of the game.
That hot performance stretched the Cyclone defense to their limits, opening up the paint for David McCormack and Udoka Azubuike whenever they touched it down low. The big men took advantage of this, shooting a combined 9-16 from the field and sinking eight out of nine free throw tries.
McCormack and Azubuike weren’t only scoring, they also had a nice game passing the ball, highlighted by an early alley oop from Doke to Dave when the double team came.
The outside shooting and dominant play in the paint was all orchestrated by the maestro Devon Dotson. Dotson won the high-profile point guard matchup against Haliburton, scoring a team-high 20 points and dishing out six assists.
Dotson scored at every level. He made two threes, punished lazy defenders by cutting for baskets at the rim, and was a blur in break out situations, showing his offensive versatility to the NBA scouts on hand.
There were still a few negatives amidst the noteworthy offensive game. Isaiah Moss struggled shooting, going 1-5 from the field, including misses on his two attempts from three.
Silvio De Sousa also continued his somewhat baffling season, scoring two points and grabbing only two rebounds in 15 minutes. If Bill Self can get either of those guys playing to their preseason expectations, dominant performances like this one will become more routine.
Every game won’t be like this one. This team won’t continue to shoot over 50% from three and free throws are bound to be an issue even after this promising performance.
Nevertheless, this game gave KU their winning blueprint to follow. Rely on Dotson to run the show, bomb teams with three-point attempts, and feed the ball down low to your physically dominant big guys.