Recap: Kansas 67 Oklahoma 65

I'm not sure there's much to be drawn from the box score that wasn't visible to the eye last night. It was, as they say, a game of two halves.

1st HALF

Team eFG% OR% TO% FT Rate FT% PPP
KU 48.4 23.5 12.2 6.3 100 1.00
OU 25.9 21.7 20.8 20.7 66.7 0.56

Unable to get the ball in the basket during the first half, Oklahoma made a concerted effort to attack the rim in the second half. This was a sound tactical decision (they can't guard you if you're shooting free throws and all) and happily (for Oklahoma, who tend to make free throws) coincided with the officials' decision to call fouls on any and all contact. At least until the last two minutes when a couple of Jayhawks knocked a driving Nate Carter to the floor without repercussion and Sasha kaun got smacked across the face while laying the ball in the basket. No blood, no foul transmuted in the latter case into, Blood, no foul.

The officials turned a free-flowing if not especially well-played game into a free throw shooting contest and a free throw shooting contest chills the blood of any Kansas fan.

2nd HALF

Team eFG% OR% TO% FT Rate FT% PPP
KU 41.2 40.0 32.4 117.6 62.5 0.92
OU 50.0 40.9 18.7 61.3 78.9 1.23

Perhaps the officials were carrying out a subversive mission to undermine tempo-free stats. Each team had four more possessions in the stop-and-start second half but I don't think anyone watching would be comfortable describing the second twenty minutes as the game's "faster" half.

Kansas managed but five more field goal attempts than turnovers in the second half, and, aided by Oklahoma's intentional fouling in the final minute, shot almost twice as many free throws as field goals in the second half.

GAME

Team eFG% OR% TO% FT Rate FT% PPP
KU 45.9 31.3 22.9 44.9 64.7 0.96
OU 38.3 31.1 19.7 31.7 76.0 0.92

That's five games in a row that opponents have failed to shoot even 39 eFG% against Kansas. Preventing the other team from making shots covers up a lot of ills, especially when you rebound the vast majority of those missed shots. Oklahoma had a good night on the offensive glass relative to Kansas's opponents, but were still 16% off their own offensive rebounding average in conference play.

On a night when Sherron Collins and Darrell Arthur post a double ziggy and Brandon Rush appeared not to want to have the basketball in his hands for any length of time, I'm not convinced that Jeff Capel found a formula for slowing down Kansas. Then again, it'll only take one bad night against some team's collection of junk defenses for us to ask ourselves all over again why Kansas can't win in mid-March.

As unpleasant as it was to watch, either one or two more made shots in the first half, or a couple more made free throws or a couple fewer turnovers in the second half and the Jayhawks would have won by a similar margin as in Manhattan.

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