The Kansas Jayhawks faced the Duke Blue Devils Tuesday night in Chicago as part of the State Farm Champions Classic, and walked away with a solid 94-83 victory. What a way to really get the the 2013-2014 college basketball season under way!
The score is not indicative of close this game was right up until the very end. Wayne Selden Jr tipped in a missed shot with 2:53 left in the game to break a 79-79 tie. It was all Kansas from that point.
Sophomore Jamari Traylor made a nice running layup, followed by a step back jumper from freshman Andrew Wiggins, then Perry Ellis snagged a bobbled ball by Duke’s Rodney Hood, threw down court to Wiggins who corralled it, and threw it down for a big dunk. Suddenly, it was 87-79.
Kansas made a majority of their free throws in the last minute to secure the second win of the season, and a big victory over the number 4 Duke Blue Devils on a national stage.
The game had a herky-jerky feel to it, like so many of the early games thus far in college basketball. The NCAA mandated concentration on curtailing the physical nature of defenses has led to games being interrupted constantly by whistles and free throws. There were 53 fouls called in this one, and 63 free throws. At times, the game slowed down to a near halt.
Free Throw Percentage ended up being a key factor in the game. Kansas shot 77.1% (27-35) from the line while the Blue Devils struggled, going just 16-28 (57.1%).
Despite all the whistles, it wasn’t a sloppily played contest. Each team only committed 10 turnovers and both schools shoot over 50% from the field. Considering the lack of rhythm and flow, these are pretty amazing numbers.
Perry Ellis carried the Jayhawks through a large portion of the game as many of his teammates battled foul trouble. He played 35 minutes, and led the team in scoring and rebounds.
He was 9-13 from the field, including 1-1 from 3-point range, and 5-6 from the line for 24 total points. He yanked down 9 boards, dished out 2 assists, had 2 steals and just one turnover.
Andrew Wiggins was tooted for 2 fouls relatively early in the first half so only saw 9 minutes of action before intermission. He was much more of a factor in the second half as he finished up with 22 points on 9-15 shooting from the field. He also recorded 8 rebounds.
Freshmen guards Wayne Selden Jr and Frank Mason also scored in double figures, each with 15.
Jabari Parker led all scorers with 27 points on 9-18 from the field. He was 4-7 on 3-point attempts, and made all five of his free throws. He led the Blue Devils with 9 rebounds.
Another key element of the game was how Kansas dominated on the boards. The Jayhawks pulled down 39 total rebounds while the Blue Devils only tallied 24 for the whole game. Duke could only muster 5 offensive rebounds to Kansas’ 9.
This looks like it might be an issue all season for Duke as they do not have a dominating inside presence other than Parker, who is more effective roaming the floor, taking advantage of mismatches.
The Jayhawks should be excited after their gritty win, especially since they have looked far from spectacular in the exhibition games and the first game of year against Louisiana- Monroe. They took a big step forward Tuesday night in their improvement as a team.
Kansas will face Iona next Tuesday night a Allen Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. The will be broadcast locally on the Time Warner’s Metro Sports.