Bill Self went to old reliable on Wednesday night. The Mario Chalmers’ play. Except this time with a twist and a kiss.
Ben McLemore’s banked 3-pointer with a second left brought back a lot of memories for Kansas fans. Not only did it send the game to overtime, just like in 2008, the ending was inevitable. Kansas 97, Iowa State 89.
Self has gone to this play countless times throughout the years — before and after Chalmers’ 3 — and with varying degrees of success. Teams know it’s coming, but Self has added different wrinkles to keep it fresh.
Everyone, including the Cyclones, had to expect that Elijah Johnson, playing the Chalmers’ role, was going to take the shot to try to tie it. As you can see in this first screen shot, Jeff Withey is setting a screen to free Johnson. Only this time around KU had some action on the left side of the court as well, and Travis Releford set a screen for McLemore.
Georges Niang was guarding McLemore and Releford (circled below) takes him out of the play. Releford’s man, Tyrus McGee, was in the paint not expecting McLemore to get the ball, which allowed him a clean look at the basket.
What will probably go unnoticed by most is that KU had another option in case Iowa State took McLemore away. Back on the right side, Withey was setting a second pick to free Naadir Tharpe, who would have also been wide open had Johnson decided not to go to McLemore.
Here is the play in real time.
On that play, the handoff went to Tyshawn Taylor. On the left side of the court, Releford (circled below) was again setting a screen, this time trying to free Conner Teahan. He actually sets two different screens trying to get Teahan open on the flare. Robinson, after setting a screen for Taylor, went to set a second screen for Johnson, who had executed the initial handoff.
Since Teahan is clearly covered, Taylor throws the ball back to Johnson as he comes off Robinson’s screen.
Johnson did not have a look at a three, so he attacked the paint as Robinson rolled to the rim.
With Steve Moore stepping up to stop Johnson’s penetration, Johnson delivers a perfect pass to Robinson, who was fouled by Michael Dixon and given a chance to tie the game, as he did. You probably know the rest.
Here’s that play in real time (scroll to 1:23:00 to see it).
You have Releford (circled) setting the screen for Johnson, who received the handoff. And Robinson is trying to set a flare screen to free Teahan on the other side.
Teahan (circled) was not open this time and that forced Johnson to hold onto the ball and take the shot.
By the time Johnson realized he had to shoot, Missouri had recovered and he didn’t have a good look.
Here’s is that failed attempt in real time (scroll to the 1:21:10 mark).
The remarkable thing about the Chalmers’ shot is that it wasn’t even run that great. Not only does Collins stumble as he is about to hand off the ball, Darnell Jackson (green circle) does not set a screen to free Chalmers, as you’ll see KU do in all the other plays. Also, there was no second option as Brandon Rush (yellow circle) is merely a spectator.
The play in real-time.