After starting off slow in each of its first two Big 12 games, No. 2 Kansas is hoping it has turned a corner.
The Jayhawks will get a chance to show that they’ve made steps in the right direction on Saturday when they take on Oklahoma in Lawrence, Kan.
The game will feature a matchup of one of the top shooting teams in the conference and one of the league’s top defensive teams.
The Sooners are shooting 49.2 percent from the floor, the second-best field-goal percentage in the Big 12. Kansas is second in the league in opponent field-goal percentage, as teams have shot just 39.6 percent from the field against the Jayhawks.
But it was on the offensive end where the Jayhawks made their mark early in Saturday’s 76-62 win at West Virginia.
Kansas (14-1, 3-0) made seven 3-pointers in the first half and finished 11 of 24 from deep, marking the first time it has made at least 11 treys in three consecutive games since early in the 2016-17 season. It is also the first time in program history that KU has accomplished that feat in conference play.
“I think just coming out with energy,” Jayhawks guard Gradey Dick said of the difference from the first two conference games, where Kansas had to battle back to beat Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. “What we’ve been talking about in the locker room before games is, when we kind of come out a little sluggish in games, we begin playing catch-up ball. That’s where we kind of want to work on.”
For Oklahoma (10-5, 1-2), freshman guard Milos Uzan is coming off a season-high 18-point outing in Saturday’s 68-63 win at Texas Tech that snapped a two-game losing streak to begin conference play.
Uzan is shooting 54.5 percent from the field and, though he’s attempting just 1.1 3-pointers per game, 43.8 percent from beyond the arc since moving into the starting lineup on Dec. 6. He’s also averaging 4.9 assists during that span.
“He brings a guy that can go downhill, create for others,” Sooners coach Porter Moser said of Uzan. “He’s a long defender. He can knock down a shot. He’s not afraid to go downhill to finish. … He brings a lot to us.”
While Uzan has been strong lately, his backcourt mate has struggled.
Grant Sherfield, who leads the Sooners in scoring at 16.9 points per game, has scored a total of just 15 points over the last two games while shooting 5-for-24 (20.8 percent) overall and 3 of 15 (20 percent) from beyond the arc.
Sherfield did have five assists against the Red Raiders after being held without one in a loss to Iowa State.
“You’ve got to really work to get the ball. … In those ball screens when he gets trapped, you’ve got to make them pay from trapping you. If it’s effective, if you’re getting bottled up, they’re going to keep doing it,” Moser said. “So you’ve got to be effective. Get it out. Spray it.
“That’s what you’ve got to do.”
–Field Level Media