SALT LAKE CITY — Northeastern entered its NCAA Tournament first-round game against Kansas tied for 14th nationally in 3-point shooting percentage, hitting 38.8 percent from long range.
The Jayhawks held the Huskies significantly below that average in Kansas’ 87-53 win at Vivint Arena on Thursday. Northeastern shot 6 of 28 (29.8 percent) from 3-point range in the lopsided loss, including a dismal 1 of 11 in the second half as the Jayhawks outscored the Huskies 50-28 in the final 20 minutes.
“If you are kind of dialing up the blueprint for an upset, it would include, you know, a great shooting night,” said Northeastern coach Bill Coen, whose team shot 25.8 percent overall from the field.
Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji said the Jayhawks put an emphasis on getting out on Northeastern’s shooters.
“The way they can shoot it from beyond the arc, they were spectacular at that,” he said. “So, I think focusing on getting out to the shooters and making them put it on the floor, that really helped us.”
50-50: Kansas scored 50 points in the paint, the second-most scored inside Vivint Arena during an NCAA Tournament game. That trails only Arizona’s 54 in a win over North Dakota on March 16, 2017.
The Jayhawks were also second-best in Vivint Arena NCAA history in another category: second-half scoring. Kansas put up 50 points in the second half, behind only Northwestern’s 53 against Gonzaga on March 18, 2017.
Kansas forward Dedric Lawson attributed part of the Jayhawks' second half success — at one point, they went on a 32-6 run — to clamping down on defense.Comment on this story
"We came out second half kind of lackadaisical, kind of comfortable, and our coach got us in a huddle and once he did, the guys realized the game was not over and we just locked down and guarded it," Lawson said. "We switched forwards and made it tough on those guys and we did the best we could to give them the one shot, so that helped out a lot."
FRIENDLY FIRSTS: Kansas, which is making an NCAA Tournament record 30th straight appearance, improved to 34-2 in tournament first-round games dating back to 1981 with the win.
This was also the Jayhawks’ first time playing an NCAA Tournament game in Salt Lake City. The Jayhawks improved to 108-46 all-time in NCAA games.