Kansas basketball: Jayhawks find a way to lose vs. Duke

(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

Kansas basketball fell to Duke 66-68 in the Champions Classic despite leading nearly every statistic. Turnovers ultimately lost the game for the Jayhawks.

In a disappointing season opener, Bill Self and Kansas basketball dropped their first game of the year to Duke 68-66. The Jayhawks played good enough to win but struggled with just one statistical category: turnovers.

Kansas finished the game with a whopping 28 turnovers, two shy from a school record set back in 1988. It was an ugly sight, but the Jayhawks actually played pretty well otherwise.

Kansas shot 46% from the field and 44% from three, both better percentages than Duke’s. The Jayhawks also outrebounded the Blue Devils 40-30 and even made more free throws.

Devon Dotson led all scorers with 17 points, and Ochai Agbaji was right behind him with 15 points; however, the two also combined for 11 turnovers.

So why did Kansas basketball commit all those turnovers? Was the Duke defense just that good? Well, Duke wasn’t really any better than Kansas was defensively. The Jayhawks and Blue Devils totaled the same amount of steals, and yet Duke only committed 16 turnovers.

The sad truth is that the Jayhawks made way too many unforced errors. Kansas has to value the ball more and treat each possession with care. If the Jayhawks are just a little more careful and only commit 20 turnovers rather than 28, they more than likely escape with an ugly win.

But that’s all over now, so what are some positives from the loss?

The good thing is that Kansas basketball can commit 28 turnovers and not only score 66 points, but also hold their opponent to 68. It’s really quite remarkable.

The other good thing is that Kansas basketball wasn’t playing at full strength. The Jayhawks only attempted nine three-pointers against Duke, but that number would have certainly been higher if Isaiah Moss would have been playing.

The Iowa grad transfer has been dealing with a hamstring injury, and the Jayhawks really could have used him against the Blue Devils. At the same time, it’s important that Moss is healthy for the rest of the season, so sitting him was the right move on Bill Self’s part.

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This one hurts, but it’s a long season. Hopefully, the turnovers were just a beginning-of-the-season thing and not something that’s going to become a recurring theme. Kansas basketball will take on UNC Greensboro this Friday in Lawrence at 8:00 PM.

It’s a good opportunity for the Jayhawks to right the ship and prepare for their next big non-conference game against either BYU or UCLA in Hawaii on November 19. Once again, it’s time to trust Bill Self.