The second game of a doubleheader from the Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu saw No. 11 Indiana take down No. 3 Kansas 103-99 on Friday night.
James Blackmon Jr. scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half and overtime to carry Indiana, after Thomas Bryant, who added 19, fouled out in the second half.
It was enough to outduel a Frank Mason-led Kansas team as the senior guard recorded a game-high 30 points with nine assists and six rebounds.
During a night that contained one of the most anticipated collegiate debuts of the season in Scout’s No. 1 class of 2016 Kansas prospect Josh Jackson, the freshman recorded an off night with nine points and six rebounds in the loss.
The big, new name in the frontcourt joined a pair of returning guards in Mason and last year’s most outstanding player of the Big 12 Tournament, Devonte’ Graham.
Graham, who also fouled out in the second half, had 16 points on the night.
The reigning Big Ten champions Indiana took its first steps without Yogi Ferrell, an All-Big Ten point guard who is now applying his trade in the NBA with the Brooklyn Nets.
Forward OG Anunoby was expected to be the go-to guy for the Hoosiers, and he did his part with 13 points and seven rebounds, but it was all about Bryant and Blackmon.
Indiana came out firing from the three-point line early on, attempting its first eight shots from beyond the arc and hitting four of them to take an early 12-9 lead.
Two from Bryant, one from Anunoby and one from Curtis Jones made up Indiana’s early scoring. In fact, they accounted for the Hoosiers’ first 12 points.
What made Bryant’s play most impressive was that this was a 6’10" center showing range to complement a strong low-post game, which caught the eye of ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman:
Love watching IU’s Thomas Bryant. Not sure there will be a better big man in the country this year.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) November 12, 2016
Kansas would go on a 9-2 run to take a four-point lead, and it was capped off by Jackson’s first collegiate basket, an uncontested transition layup with 11:31 left. But it would be his only points of the half.
While Indiana answered with a run of its own behind the stellar play of Bryant, who scored 16 points in the first 20 minutes, Kansas managed to keep a 46-42 halftime lead.
The Jayhawks, on the other hand, were paced by the veteran backcourt of Graham and Mason, who combined for 21 points and five assists
With five straight points to start the second half, Kansas opened up its biggest lead of the night at nine, but Indiana’s ability to hit the three kept it within reach of the lead.
Six minutes into the half, Indiana tied it back up at 56, when Blackmon stroked Indiana’s ninth three of the game.
Neither side was willing to pull away, as Kansas could only muster a lead as large as six, much to the delight of ESPN College BBall:
Kansas and Indiana just out here trading buckets.
We got another great one.
— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) November 12, 2016
With the game tied at 76 with 4:41 left, Indiana reeled off five straight points to take an 81-76 lead with 3:45 to go.
Kansas found an answer, though, scoring six straight to take a one-point lead with 2:27 left after Mason hit a layup along with the and-1 opportunity.
Blackmon punched back for Indiana with six straight points via a three-pointer and three made free throws to put the Hoosiers back up five points with less than 1:30 left.
Mason ensured Kansas wouldn’t go quietly, though, by getting a rebound off Robert Johnson’s second straight missed free throw, driving the length of the court and laying it in while drawing the foul. The made free throw brought Kansas within two with 1:04 left.
FoxSports.com’s Dan Carson was floored by Mason’s play:
Frank Mason is a murderer though
— Dan Carson (@TheDoctorCarson) November 12, 2016
An offensive foul on Bryant, which was his fifth and final foul, gave Kansas back the ball and allowed Mason to drive to the hoop again, hit another layup and draw another foul. This time, though, with 41 seconds left, Mason missed the free throw to keep the game tied at 87.
Graham was the next big name to foul out as he hacked a driving Blackmon to the hoop with 13.1 seconds left. The Hoosier guard hit both free throws to put Kansas’ backs to the wall.
The Jayhawks went to Mason, who drove to the basket, had the ball swatted away once, got it back and was fouled with 2.3 seconds left. He hit both to tie the game at 89 and force overtime.
Blackmon once again made his presence felt in overtime, sinking his fourth three-pointer of the night to put the Hoosiers up 94-91 with 2:21 left.
It was a triumphant return for a player who missed significant time last year with a knee injury, according to CBS Sports’ Seth Davis:
I am absolutely blown away by what James Blackmon is doing tonight. After missing all that time, in this setting, against this team…man.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) November 12, 2016
Jones would sink another three after a pair of Mason free throws to make it 97-93 with less than a minute left. But Mason once again drove his way to the basket and picked up another foul, hitting both from the charity stripe to make it a two-point game with 55.9 seconds left.
However, that’s as close as it would get as Indiana managed to keep Kansas at bay long enough to secure the victory.
It’s a disappointing start to the season for Kansas, who was considered to be a national title contender. While this loss doesn’t ruin those hopes in the slightest, it does reveal the problems this team must work on, especially on the defensive end.
Indiana can’t boast much about its defense either, but with the kind of explosive offense it has thanks to contributions from all over the roster, the Hoosiers have something promising on their hands moving forward.