On most nights, the effort put forth by the Texas Longhorns would be worthy of a win.
Friday night, however, was not most nights; not as the Kansas Jayhawks executed one of the greatest three-point shooting displays in recent memory.
"This has been absolutely ridiculous to watch. It's like a video game," said Jay Billas after Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk nailed Kansas' 17th three-pointer of the evening to dish Texas a 92-86 defeat in its Big 12 opener.
Despite the Jayhawks barrage of bombs from start to finish, though, Texas held its own in what was largely a back-and-forth affair.
While Kansas shot out of the gates with each of its first four connections coming from the perimeter, Mohamed Bamba matched that productivity, scoring 11 of the Longhorns first 13 points to pave the way for what became a career night for the Harlem native.
Despite Bamba’s two-way dominance from buzzer to buzzer, though, Friday was largely an instance of whatever Bamba can do, the Jayhawks can collectively do better. Virtually each jab the Longhorns landed was answered with a Jayhawks counterpunch. But as Kansas’ three-pointers connected at an unbelievable rate, Texas flashed the resiliency is had during previous wins over VCU and Tennessee State, taking a 30-28 lead late in the first half.
Courtesy of a Davante’ Graham three-pointer and six collective connections from deep, though, the Jayhawks entered halftime with a narrow 37-34 edge, regardless of Bamba’s 16 points and five blocked shots.
Unfortunately for Texas, Kansas came out of intermission with an even hotter hand.
By the 16:28 mark, back-to-back three-pointers from Mykhailiuk pushed the Jayhawks lead to 51-41, and Mykhailiuk, nor his team, cooled off from that point forward. Moments later, in a sequence telling of Texas efforts being matched plus-one from the Jayhawks, a Lagarald Vick three was matched by one from Matt Coleman, before Mykhailiuk responded with one of his own. Andrew Jones, during his first action since fracturing his wrist against VCU, kept the hot streak going with a long-range connection of his own, before Graham did the same and thus, pushed Kansas’ lead to 62-49.
Texas did continue to battle back, though, such as Dylan Osetkowski racking up eight quick points to to cut the deficit to 67-61, but in familiar fashion, Graham sunk a three the following possession.
That was the reoccurring theme of the night, and to open Big 12 play, it was just enough to deal Texas a Big 12-opening loss and its fourth of the season overall.
Matt Coleman on Kansas' 17 3-pointers: "It’s like playing the Warriors almost. That's what it looked like."— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) December 30, 2017
Mo Bamba on Kansas: "It was super tough. It’s probably one of the best 3-point exhibitions I’ve ever seen in my life."— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) December 30, 2017
Bamba finished his career effort with a team-high 22 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Coleman and Osetkowski joined Bamba in double figured with 17 a piece, as did Kerwin Roach II with 13 points and Eric Davis Jr. with 12 points off the bench.
Unlike Kansas, though, the Longhorns fortunates from the perimeter weren’t quite as fruitful, with Texas making just 7-25 attempts, as opposed to 17-35 from the Jayhawks.
Kansas saw five of its own reach double figures in the scoring column, headlined by Graham’s 23 points behind a 6-12 display from three. Five more three-pointers from Mykhailiuk led to the senior finishing with 20 points, while Vick finished with 21 points after five threes of his own. Udoka Azubuike and Malik Newman each added 13 points, as well.
For Texas, its latest loss drops the Longhorns to 9-4 on the season and 0-1 to open Big 12 play.
The ‘Horns will aim to bounce back against Iowa State to open the new year on Monday.