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Closing Out the Jayhawks: Breaking Down the Last 5 Minutes of KU vs. Texas

Bartoncreek asked that I break down the last 5 minutes of the game so here goes. Unlike the UConn game, we did virtually everything right during winning time with only a handful of hiccups. From big shots, to timeouts, to clock management, players and coaches alike were on their A game and the results speak for themselves. But I thought I'd break it down anyway.

Setting up the 5 minute home stretch, Texas extended its double digit lead with some big shots from J’Covan Brown and a pair of big buckets by Cory Joseph including a 25 foot bank shot as the shot clock expired. Texas’ 27-7 run allowed the Horns to lead 59-48 with just five minutes to go in the ballgame.

At this point in the game, Coach Barnes begins an offense to defense substitution pattern exchanging Gary Johnson for Matt Hill with most dead balls. The first Longhorn possession J’Covan Brown picks up his dribble which forces a time out. Selby and Brown exchange words and there’s the double Tech.

Out of the timeout Texas goes to a 1-4 low look with Brown on the ball and he just muscles Selby down to the cup for a bucket. Marcus Morris counters with a bucket of his own on a runner. Tough shot, but it was one of the few he hit. Texas by 10.

Next possession, Texas gets Hamilton isolated on Taylor in the corner. GJ is in the high post and TT stays weakside then lifts Marcus Morris away from the bucket. Hamilton blows by Taylor along the baseline for an easy lay in that’s goal tended. Horrible defense by Taylor giving up the baseline with all the helpside defense away from the goal. Texas by 12. Timeout.

Texas stays small, and Hamilton is caught going under the screen on a dribble handoff to Reed. Reed drains the 3 on a contested shot. KU down 9. Fullcourt pressure.

Texas is confused by the press and Brown runs away from the ball, Joseph gets caught in the air on a pass as he’s crossing halfcourt. Charging. KU ball. Rick with a really good 30 second timeout to talk press offense and calm the lads down.

Texas stays small, Reed with a tough 3 boarded by Marcus Morris for an and-1 stick back. KU rebounds the missed foul shot, ball out of bounds. Matt Hill comes in to give the Horns some size. Quick shot and miss rebounded by the Horns. Great sub by coach Barnes. KU fouls Joseph while pressing. One of two for CoJo, Texas up 8. Balbay and Hill now in.
Another runner by Morris, tough shot, cuts the lead to 6. That’s the kind of shot you want Morris taking all day. KU presses, Texas forced to call time out because they can’t get the ball inbounded.

Brown is the one man press breaker. Texas uses the entire shot clock and then Iso’s Hamiltion at the top of the key and he promptly blows by Taylor for another easy lay in. I can’t believe JH is able to explode by Taylor and there isn’t any help on a driver coming 25 feet from the bucket. Horrible defensive sequence by the Jayhawks. Texas up 8 with under 2 minutes to go.

Morris comes down and takes Hill off of the dribble for an and-1. Tough shot by Morris again, and Matt Hill fouls out. Lead down to 5 with 1:39 to go.

Texas runs the clock down with Hamilton iso’d out top. Hamilton drives it and then kicks it to Gary Johnson for an open jumper. Draino, Texas up 7. Biggest play in the game in my opinion. A miss and Texas might start gripping only up two possessions.

Hamilton then trails Taylor into the lane and swats Tyshawn’s layup attempt into Joseph’s arms. Brown is fouled. Texas up 9 after two foul shots. Great 4 play sequence by Hamilton. Two buckets, an assist, and a block leading to a steal. Morris hits 2 foul shots to cut the lead to 7 with 40 seconds to go.

Hamilton gives the ball up to Thompson and the heated discussion between Barnes and JH ensues. TT drains both foul shots. Ballgame.

Unlike the UConn game, Texas had two closers in this ballgame in Brown and Hamilton. They accounted for all of the field goals down the stretch and virtually every bucket was made after running 25-30 seconds off of the shot clock. Just textbook basketball.

Also credit Rick for a couple strategic, run stopping timeouts and two well conceived iso plays to manufacture some offense while running clock. Defensively, we made the Jayhawks make some tough shots and kept our composure after two or three questionable foul calls. The lone mistake was Joseph leaving his feet and charging when KU started to press fullcourt. Brown can’t leave the ball in that situation because our best ballhandler and best foul shooter. But J'Covan acquitted himself nicely in our press offense the rest of the way.

Oh, and then there's foul shooting. To a man, we were nails at the stripe.