LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)—Photographers covering Saturday night’s Texas-Kansas game had best polish their wide-angle lens—3-pointers are likely to come from all corners of Allen Fieldhouse.
No. 16 Texas (15-4, 2-3 Big 12) made 14-of-21 3-pointers Tuesday night in an 80-73 victory over Texas Tech, with freshman point guard Daniel Gibson going 6-of-6 from long range.
But the sixth-ranked Jayhawks (15-1, 5-0) were even hotter in their last game, a 86-66 win against Baylor Tuesday night in which they set a team record with 16 3-pointers. Jeff Hawkins, who started the season at the end of the bench, came in to go 5-of-5 from beyond the arc.
“The game kind of dictates what we do,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes, who’s down to eight scholarship players. “We just do what we have to do.”
Barnes is without forward P.J. Tucker and center LeMarcus Aldridge. Tucker was leading the team with 13.7 points and eight rebounds per game before being declared academically ineligible for the rest of the semester. Aldridge is out indefinitely with a hip injury.
It’s a problem the Jayhawks can understand. They went through a four-game stretch without their leading scorer and rebounder, Wayne Simien, but didn’t drop a game.
Aaron Miles, Kansas’ senior point guard who’ll spend much of the game defending Gibson, said when a team loses a player like Simien or Tucker, “different players show the talent they have.”
“Somebody else on that team may be able to score just as good as Tucker, or score a little more than they have been,” Miles said.
Someone like Gibson, for example. He has averaged 19.3 points in his last four games, including a 27-point, 10-rebound effort against Oklahoma State, while reducing his assists-to-turnover ratio at the same time.
“He has poise and he is a great shooter,” said Kansas coach Bill Self, who is 0-4 against Texas. “He has the chance to be mentioned in the same breath as (former Texas point guard) T.J. Ford. He is a fabulous shooter against good competition. He has really stepped his game up in the absence of Tucker.”
Gibson, a Texas native who considered signing with Kansas, seems to have overcome a crisis of confidence that left him contemplating a transfer earlier in the season.
“I’ve watched Daniel the last two weeks become so much more aware,” Barnes said. “He’s getting more comfortable—understanding his teammates, where the ball needs to go. The best thing he’s done in the last couple of weeks has been his penetration. He is definitely more aware than ever before of what’s happening and what needs to go on.”
Also helping pick up the slack in the absence of Tucker and Aldridge against Texas Tech were Kenton Paulino, who had three 3-pointers, and Brad Buckman, who had a career-high 14 rebounds.
“There are teams out there who play with six guys,” Barnes said. “Sometimes (fatigue) is overrated. They’re young enough. They want to play. If we have to, we’ll play them all 40 minutes.”