Kansas opened the season as it almost always does, by stomping an overmatched opponent, in this case a 46-point win over Towson State. The young Jayhawks got a quick dose of reality in their second game, though, unable to keep up with No. 2 Kentucky in a 75-65 loss last Tuesday.
Kansas got off to a shaky start offensively against Georgetown, missing eight of its first 12 shots, including a breakaway dunk by Robinson that clanged off the back of the rim.
The Jayhawks settled down after that, though, getting an alley-oop dunk from Justin Wesley and a 3-pointer by Conner Teahen to go up 35-29 late in the first half.
But, as a young team tends to do, Kansas kept following good spurts with bad ones.
The Jayhawks went into a funk after the first-half run, allowing Georgetown to get within two at halftime. Kansas tried to pull away to start the second half and started fumbling balls away as the Hoyas fought back, before the Jayhawks finally pulled out the win with one final spurt.
“I thought we played hard and played smart, for the most part,” Self said.
Kansas looks like a veteran team compared to Georgetown.
The Hoyas lost three starters and a pair of role players from a team that won 21 games and lost to Virginia Commonwealth in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament. That leaves Georgetown with a roster of 10 underclassmen to go with Thompson, Clark and Henry Sims.
But the Hoyas are resilient, rallying together after a brawl with a Chinese team in Beijing over the summer, and play that hard-to-guard version of the Princeton offense that Thompson installed.
Georgetown needed its resiliency after struggling early.
The Hoyas went nearly four minutes before scoring their first points and missed 11 of their first 15 shots. Georgetown finally started to get a few shots to drop, let Kansas go on a run after that and fought back, getting a pair of late 3-pointers by Thompson and one by Otto Porter at the buzzer to stay within 37-35.
The Hoyas continued to fight back, but couldn’t come up with the big plays down the stretch to fall just short after a gutty effort from a young team.
“We have to take care of our business a little better,” Thompson III said. “Maybe it is a function of being young, I don’t know, but we have to take care of our business better in key parts of the game.”