It had been four straight seasons since the Kansas Jayhawks had last swept the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the regular season. That streak came to an end on Saturday night with a 90-85 victory.
While the final score was close, the final result was never in doubt for much of the game. Kansas trailed only twice, both instances coming early in the second half.
Kansas got out to an early 6-2 lead with a couple of threes by Frank Mason and Svi Mykhailiuk. They later opened up a 42-30 lead, sparked by some solid bench play from Carlton Bragg.
But Kansas closed the half poorly, allowing Oklahoma State back into the game. They would lead 43-40 at the break.
After the Cowboys took an early second half lead, Frank Mason responded with a couple of baskets, and every time Oklahoma State put together any semblance of a run in the second half, it was KU’s big three of Mason, Devonte’ Graham, and Josh Jackson that would respond, as Kansas coasted to the five point win.
Mason led Kansas with 27 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds, capping off his likely Player of the Year campaign. Jackson finished with 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Graham contributed 13 points.
Kansas allowed 85 points, however, the Cowboys shot just 42 percent from the field, which is a fine number since Oklahoma State shoots 47 percent from the floor in conference play, which leads the Big 12. It was a relatively fast-paced game, and the Cowboys finished the game scoring 1.17 points per possession, which is right on par with their season average. So it wasn’t a great defensive performance from Kansas, but it wasn’t a poor one either.
As mentioned earlier, Carlton Bragg had a great game off of the bench, finishing with 11 points on 5-6 shooting from the floor. My hot take before the season was that Bragg would lead Kansas in scoring, and that will undoubtedly end up being the worst sports take of all time. And I’ll accept that. However, that also means that I’ve been firmly on the Bragg bandwagon all season. I recently admitted that I wouldn’t get too excited over the good games from Bragg, since he’s already proven to be wildly inconsistent. Still, it’s good to see.
Svi Mykhailiuk continues to be absolutely lost on both ends of the court. He committed four fouls in very limited playing time, and contributed nothing beyond knocking down a three early in the game. Lagerald Vick, on the other hand, had 9 points and 8 rebounds, and did a much better job guarding Oklahoma State star Jeffrey Carroll (even though Carroll finished with 27 points). Svi needs to be better.
This doesn’t relate to this particular game, but as Kansas heads into postseason play, it’s important to remember that the Big 12 conference tournament doesn’t mean that much for the Jayhawks, and if they lose before the tournament final, it’s not that big of a deal. As a matter of fact, the rest might be a good thing for a team that lacks depth. It’s always nice to win, and we’ll all be cheering for it, but don’t forget the real goal is in the NCAA Tournament.
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