Kansas shuts down Hoskins, leaves K-State with no other inside threat

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All season, there’s been no secret about K-State’s inside scoring presence.

Junior David Hoskins is the only legitimate inside threat for the Wildcats. Kansas seemed more than aware of this, holding him to nine points during the Jayhawks’ 71-62 victory Monday night at Bramlage Coliseum.

Entering the game, the Jayhawks were arguably the Big 12 Conference’s best defensive team. They ranked in the top three in points allowed, defensive field goal percentage and 3-point defensive field goal percentage.

One of KU’s main objectives was taking Hoskins out of the game. Every time he lowered his shoulder and took off to drive, three or four Jayhawks clogged the lane to slow him down.

They held Hoskins to three points in the first half on 1-of-8 shooting. The only shot he made was a layup, which he flipped up behind his back.

“I couldn’t get the ball in the basket,” Hoskins said. “I think it was more of an off night than KU’s athletic ability. I’ve played against those guys before. I think I was a little too excited and let things get to me and I couldn’t put it home.”

KU sophomore Julian Wright spent a large chunk of his time shutting down Hoskins. Wright said limiting Hoskins was his primary concern coming into the game and he succeeded, allowing him to make only 2-of-15 shots.

“I just tried to give him fits with my length,” Wright said. “I tried to make it as tough as possible to score.”

Even when Hoskins made it into the lane he still struggled, clanging eight shots in the paint. He made only one layup.

During K-State’s 65-47 victory over Iowa State Saturday, Hoskins led the Wildcats in scoring with 20. He was like a kid in a candy store, driving the ball wherever he wanted.

KU was a different story. The Jayhawks swarmed the lane every time anyone drove.

K-State shot just five layups the entire game and only one in the second half. Without Hoskins leading the charge, there was no one to take the ball inside.

The reason Hoskins is burdened with the responsibility of scoring the bulk of the Wildcats’ points inside is because of a lack of productivity from K-State’s freshmen big men. Jason Bennett and Luis Colon average fewer than five points per game.

Wright said no other Wildcat posed a scoring threat on the inside. Without Hoskins drawing the defense, The Jayhawks were able to focus more attention on the perimeter with a 3-2 zone.

“You never think he’s going to go 2-of-15,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Certainly we think that their offensive game revolves around him more than anybody else.”

With the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament hopes on the line, this is the wrong time for K-State to get exposed offensively. Postseason success will hinge on the Wildcats finding an additional player who can score down low.

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