KU effective from three, spotty from line: ‘You’d think we’d shoot a little better’

Kansas coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks had their hands full with a stubborn Texas squad Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse. KU narrowly beat the Longhorns, 80-78. | Rich Sugg | rsugg@kcstar.com

By Gary Bedore gbedore@kcstar.com

Kansas’ basketball team has cashed 20 of 38 three-point shots the last two games — wins over Texas and Baylor.

That’s a 52.6 percent mark — remarkable for a squad hitting 35.5 percent from behind the arc this season and 35 percent in five Big 12 games.

At the same time, the No. 7-ranked Jayhawks (15-2, 4-1) have made 27 of 48 free throws over the same two games. That’s a 56.3 percent mark — alarming for a squad that is 66.8 percent from the line for the year and a league-low 62 percent in conference games.

“That is great we shot the three that well, sad we shot free throws the way we shot the three (percentage wise). You’d think we’d shoot a little better (from the line),” KU coach Bill Self said on Tuesday’s weekly Hawk Talk radio show.

“We should be shooting a lot better from the line considering Doke is not out there, to be candid,” Self added.

Udoka Azubuike, a 34.4 percent free throw shooter this season, has not played in the last four games and is out the rest of the season following hand surgery.

“We are well under 70 percent for the season. I remember some years I thought we were a poor free throw shooting team and shot 72 or 73 for the year. We haven’t shot it well from the line or consistently well,” Self stated.

He pointed out that in Monday’s 80-78 victory over Texas, Dedric Lawson was 5 of 8 from the line and Marcus Garrett 1 of 4. For the year, they have made 74.5 and 61.2 percent of their charities respectively.

“Marcus has the game of his life (20 points, three assists, three steals) and goes 1 for 4. Those two guys are 6 for 12. You’d think it (performance) would be better,” Self said. “Devon (Dotson, 10 of 14 from line last two games) is as good a clutch shooter as we’ve had all year (77.9 percent). We don’t have yet — and I emphasize ‘yet’ — a guy we know will make 80 percent. I do think we’re capable. Our bench has not shot free throws as well. When you play limited minutes and get limited opportunities you don’t get a chance to see the ball go in as much. Mitch (Lightfoot) is a much better shooter than he’s shown, especially from the line (50 percent free throws, 54.5 from field, 0-for-4 threes). He’s not seen the ball go in but is capable of being much better,” Self added of the junior forward.

Senior guard Lagerald Vick has been torrid from three in the past two games. He was 5 of 8 in KU’s victory over Texas and 6 of 8 in a 73-68 win Saturday at Baylor.

“Baylor is a hard team for us for a lot of reasons, one is we’ve been so inconsistent shooting the ball (from outside). When a team plays zone, one of the best ways to attack the zone is spread them and make some threes,” Self said. “We’ve not been able to shoot the ball well. We shot pretty well against Baylor. I’d like to say he (Vick) is on an uptick (but) shooting is so much ebbs and flows. James Harden (Houston Rockets) has the all-time record for most games in a row over 30 (17 games in a row with 30 or more points). The other night scored 30. He was 1 of 17 from three. You think he thought, ‘What’s wrong with my shot?’ The next night he gets 56 (points). Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. We do need Lagerald to be pretty consistent,” Self added.

More on De Sousa situation

Self reiterated on Tuesday’s show that he’s hoping to hear word regarding Silvio De Sousa’s eligibility in the near future.

He said he was not certain that would be the case, however.

“There’s no question he could help (on defensive end),” Self said of the 6-foot-9 De Sousa. “The biggest thing is it allows Dedric to play without worrying about fouling because you automatically have depth there immediately.

“We shouldn’t talk about that because it is a hypothetical still. If it does come to be, we’ll be a better team, but we are not approaching it any different than we have been approaching it so far. You hope for the best but you’ve got to prepare for not the best. That’s what we’ve been doing.”

Self did not comment on any specifics Tuesday. De Sousa has practiced but not played in games this season because of an eligibility review by the school and the NCAA.

KU coach Bill Self originally announced De Sousa would be held out of competition at Big 12 media days on Oct. 24. At the time, De Sousa and his recruitment had been discussed during a federal trial relating to corruption in college basketball.

“The timing of it is what is the situation,” Self said. KU has just 14 games remaining in the regular season of De Sousa’s sophomore campaign.

“We don’t know what the timing is. We hope we’ll hear something soon (from NCAA). When you hear something soon, it doesn’t mean it will be positive. Certainly we can hope for that,” Self added.

Lawson honored

Kansas redshirt-junior Dedric Lawson has been named to the 2018-19 Sporting News midseason All-America First Team, the publication announced Tuesday. Other members of the first team: Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga; Grant Williams, Tennessee; Zion Williamson, Duke; Cassius Winston, Michigan State. Lawson was named to the Wooden Award midseason top 25. One other Big 12 player is on that list: Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech.

“I’ve been real pleased. At the same time there’s room for growth for all our guys,” Self said. Lawson has averaged a double double — 19.2 points and 10.6 points a game.

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