Postgame Report Card: Kansas 83, Iowa State 78
Quick grades for five aspects of KU’s 83-78 victory over Iowa State Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
Eighty-three points and 14 3-pointers will get you an A grade on most nights. But the fact that the Jayhawks fell in love with the 3-point shot in this one brings this one down to the B range. Part of the heavy reliance on 3-point shooting is not the fault of the guards. Udoka Azubuike has to do a better job of getting position and being ready to catch and go to work. He’s still not there. And when that breaks down the Jayhawks have to find another way. Tonight it was via the 3-point shot. In the future it can be a better mix of 3-pointers and trips to the free throw line. KU made just 5-of-13 from the line in this one, with Azubuike finishing 1-of-4 by himself.
Iowa State does not shoot it well and is not a great rebounding team, but did both very well against the Jayhawks. ISU’s 40.7 clip from 3-point range was its best in eight games and the Cyclones out-rebounded their opponent (44-34) for just the fifth time in their last nine games.
Udoka Azubuike attempted just five shots and only one was anything other than an easy dunk. Not the kind of night KU needs from its lone big man. On top of that, he added six rebounds and a much-improved block total of four to give KU just enough inside. He still must play better on both ends for this team to take another step forward.
Devonte’ Graham’s 11 points, nine assist and four steals in 37 minutes brought me back to his early-season efforts, when scoring was not as important as getting others going. He was terrific in that area. And Malik Newman and Svi Mykhailiuk combined to hit 11 of 22 3-point attempts on a night when Kansas needed every one of them.
Any time one player scores 27 points and adds eight rebounds in 34 productive and aggressive minutes, the bench grade is going to be pretty good. Even if Malik Newman did start the second half — Self said that was based more on Marcus Garrett’s struggles to plug in during the first half as opposed to anything Newman did — he still counts as bench points in this one because he did not start the game. And he gave the Jayhawks all they needed and then some. Mitch Lightfoot’s lone bright spot also proved important, as he picked up another well-time, off-the-ball block.