Mason not enough as Jayhawks fall to Hoosiers in Hawaii

The Kansas Jayhawks lost a heartbreaker to the Indiana Hoosiers 103-99 in overtime Friday night in Hawaii in the Armed Forces Classic.

The story of the game was rebounding: the Jayhawks were outrebounded 50 to 38, and senior forward Landen Lucas struggled inside to guard Indiana’s Thomas Bryant, who finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Juwan Morgan also grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench for the Hoosiers.

It was a back-and-forth affair, with Kansas  leading most of the first half and taking a 46-42 lead into the break. The lead changed hands many times in the second half, with Indiana taking a five point lead with just over a minute to go, but it was Frank Mason who single-handedly brought the Jayhawks back, eventually sending the game to overtime with a couple of free throws with just a couple of seconds remaining.

In overtime, both teams struggled to score, as is typical late in the first game of the season. James Blackmon and Curtis Jones hit a couple of late threes, and it was too much for Kansas to overcome.

Star of the game: Frank Mason

I was skeptical of how much better he could get this year, but boy did he prove me wrong. Mason finished with 30 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

Seemingly every time Indiana put together a bit of a run, it was Mason that delivered an answer. He played under control, and took mostly good shots. He got to the rim at will, leading to several trips to the foul line. He only turned the ball over two times to go with his nine assists.

If there’s one thing that I’d like to see more of, it’s kick outs to shooters. But that’s just picking nits. The Frank Mason complaint department should be completely closed after this one.

Bust of the game: Josh Jackson

Speaking of Jackson’s shooting ability. He finished with just nine points on 3-11 from the floor.

He settled for jumpers way too often. I will say, the few times he touched the ball in the post, I thought he looked good, including a bullet pass across the court to Svi Myhailiuk for an open three in the corner.

I would like to see Jackson get to the paint a lot more. There’s no reason for him to settle for jumpers, because there’s plenty of other guys on this team that can do that. It would appear that Self knows this, too, because they ran a few of the same sets to get Jackson the ball in the post that they used to run for Perry Ellis.

What to watch going forward: The guard rotation

Lagerald Vick was the first guard off the bench tonight, replacing Carlton Bragg at about the 17 minute mark of the first half. He was forced into playing 14 first half minutes, and was relatively invisible during that time.

He was a little bit better in the second half, and he ended up finishing with seven points. However, he was far outplayed by Svi Myhailiuk, who was arguably the Jayhawks’ third best player tonight.

He finished with 12 points on 5-8 from the field, and continued to show impressive court vision that he showed in exhibition season, zipping an alley-oop pass to Devonte’ Graham from halfcourt in the first half.

With both Myhailiuk playing well, and Self appearing to trust Vick, it looks as if Carlton Bragg might have to earn Self’s trust back. Bragg eventually fouled out in this one, but Self settled on a four guard lineup for most of the late-game and for overtime.

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