Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

Shooting focus for OU-KU part II

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kansas coach Bill Self expects his Jayhawks to have their hands full today dealing with Buddy Hield and the rest of the sharp-shooting Oklahoma Sooners.

Hield poured in 46 points in Kansas' 109-106 triple-overtime win Jan. 4 — considered by most to be the game of the year in college basketball — but the nation's No. 2 scorer is just part of the story. Third-ranked Oklahoma leads the nation in 3-point shooting percentage by a significant margin heading into today's rematch (2:30, ESPN) with the No. 6 Jayhawks. OU is shooting .451 from beyond the arc; no team has finished a season with as high a percentage since Indiana's .454 in 1994.

Oklahoma boasts three of the nation's best in 3-point shooting percentage: Hield ranks seventh at .500, Jordan Woodard 15th at .486 and Isaiah Cousins 22nd at .468 for the season.

But it's not just a matter of making jumpers. Self said OU's ability to attack inside the arc creates open 3-pointers.

"I think that Oklahoma is probably the hardest personnel to guard, I think, because all of them can go get their own," Self said. "All of them put pressure on the defense. None of them are just one-dimensional."

It starts with Hield, who averages 25.7 points and hit a winning 3 Monday against Texas. This season, he's attacking, yet showing a willingness to share the ball. KU (20-4, 8-3 Big 12) can't focus solely on Hield because he, Cousins and Woodard, Oklahoma's top three scorers, are in the conference's top 12 in assists during league play.

"Maybe something that's gone unnoticed a little bit is the fact that all our guys can drive and kick, and they can all handle it, and they like doing that," OU coach Lon Kruger said.

Oklahoma (20-3, 8-3) shot at least 50 percent from 3-point range in three straight conference games during a particularly torrid stretch. And the Sooners aren't just shooting a high percentage because of volume — they rank fourth nationally in 3s made per game but only 44th in 3s attempted.

Hield remains Kansas' primary concern, and Self said Frank Mason will have much of the defensive responsibility for him. Self said Mason actually did a decent job last time, and that's what is scary.

"If Frank had not been on our team, he (Hield) would have got 60," Self said.

MEN's TOP 25: Darrell Davis made a go-ahead 3 with 20 seconds left as No. 19 Dayton (21-3, 11-1 A-10) beat host Rhode Island 68-66 Friday. Rhode Island's Four McGlynn missed a 3 in the final seconds. … Tra Holder scored 20, Savon Goodman added 17 and host Arizona State pulled a 74-67 upset of No. 23 USC (18-6, 8-4 Pac-12).

USF WINS IN WOMEN'S TOP 25: Courtney Williams scored 17 of her 22 in the first half as No. 22 USF rolled to a 78-51 win at Cincinnati. Williams hit 3 of 4 3s and 7 of 10 overall while the Bulls (18-6, 11-3 AAC) shot 55 percent in the first half. Kitija Laksa added 14 points and Maria Jespersen 10 for USF, which has won six of its past seven. … Ashton Millender had 15 points and No. 23 DePaul (20-7, 12-2 Big East) had six others score at least eight in its 82-52 win over visiting Xavier.

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