On Saturday, KU basketball experienced another tough road test at the hands of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Leading the Jayhawks to their 22nd win of the season was number eleven Josh Jackson.
Frank Mason III, the senior leader, the bulldog in the paint, the muscle, was as close to a non-factor as he could be on Saturday with 12 points as he dealt with the flu and foul trouble.
The one takeaway from this nail-biting road game is a huge positive looking towards NCAA March Madness: someone can step up when Mason has a below average game.
Josh Jackson led the team during last Saturday’s game with his motor that wouldn’t stop. He threw touchdown passes on fast breaks down the court. He dunked and launched a three-pointer when needed as a senior leader would.
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Jackson was everything the Jayhawks needed for the game. When Mason was hit with foul number five, Jackson stepped up big time.
Jackson played all 40 minutes against Texas Tech, scored a career-high 31 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, and recorded four assists.
After Mason had fouled out on a frustrating but correct offensive foul, Devonte’ Graham became skittish. He looked lost without his backcourt counterpart. His first possession he turned the ball over and gave the Red Raiders an easy, fast break score.
Devonte’ Graham needed help. Low and behold, the freshman Josh Jackson filled the void. It can only help this team down the stretch to know they have other options than Mason in crunch time.
Frank Mason III now has two other key players supporting him in crucial game time moments; which might just be enough to earn Bill Self a second championship ring. Fingers crossed.
Hopefully, Mason will be feeling better and more rested for West Virginia on Big Monday. The KU basketball team will need his ball handling and poise while facing the tough pressure the West Virgina Mountaineers love to apply on defense.