Jayhawks Survive Major Scare From Southern Utah

This may have been a bit of a trap game for Kansas. Coming off of a huge win against Duke in the Champions Classic and maybe looking ahead to unbeaten NC State next week, Southern Utah seemed to be like the least important of the three games. The Thunderbirds had other ideas.

The largest lead for either team was just six in the first half. That number jumped to just eight in the second half, but that lead proved to be just enough for Kansas. A one point lead with three and a half minutes left moved to eight points in just over a minute of game time. Southern Utah answered with a 7-0 run before Gradey Dick hit a three with just 40 seconds remaining. A couple Jayhawk free throws would finally put the game on ice.

The Thunderbird starters did all they could to carry them to a massive upset, as they had three players combine to go 9-22 from deep (41 percent). Those same three players were the only three to reach double digits, led by Tevian Jones’ 25 points. However, the star power of KU ended up being just barely too much for them to overcome.

Jalen Wilson continues to play at an All-American level, collecting 33 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Freshman phenom Gradey Dick has quickly become the second scoring option, dropping 18 points (4-6 from deep) with six rebounds and three assists. Dajuan Harris continues to be one of the most steady point guards in the country, contributing 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, and four steals.

He has been so good to start the year that his two turnovers doubled his season total and knocked his assist to turnover ratio down to 25:4. Yes, he is averaging one turnover every 6.25 assists. Coming into the game, that number was one turnover every 11.5 assists. He has been the steadying force behind a team trying to replace three starters from last season.

While this was certainly a surprising outcome, it wasn’t necessarily unexpected. With so much turnover from the championship team, it was fair to expect a couple bumps along the way. It may show more about the team that they were able to close out a team that had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The Jayhawks will get Coach Self back after his four game suspension and I’m sure he will have plenty of teaching points from this game. Their next time on the court will be in the Battle 4 Atlantis against NC State.

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