Sophomore guard Devon Dotson’s emergence as an all-around playmaker propelled Kansas men’s basketball to a 74-62 victory in its home opener against UNC Greensboro Friday.
Dotson’s multifaceted performance was an encouraging sign after he committed six turnovers against the Duke Blue Devils Tuesday night. The sophomore guard turned the ball over just once Friday night while dishing out six assists.
“We know what we didn’t do Tuesday night, and we wanted to correct it and just bring that energy for the home opener,” Dotson said.
Dotson said he was in "attack mode" all night and also said the team fed off of the crowd’s liveliness.
The 6-foot-2 guard also managed to pull down eight rebounds — the second-highest total in his 38-game career.
Dotson, who was one of the 20 point guards put on the 2020 Bob Cousy Award watch list for the nation’s top point guards, used his aggressiveness to kickstart the Jayhawks’ offense.
With the assertive defense of UNC Greensboro doing its best to trap the Jayhawks, Dotson was able to take advantage, get to the foul line and shoot 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. His composure at the line helped atone for his teammates, who shot 2-for-11 combined.
Coach Bill Self said the Jayhawks tried to start fast and avoid getting into situations where they couldn’t run plays against what he called a “soft pressure” from the Spartans.
The majority of those plays were initiated by Dotson, who is Kansas’ primary ball-handler.
“As the game wore down, we weren’t as good in our press, and they were pretty good in attacking it, and Devon Dotson had quite a bit to do with that. We had a tough time dealing with him tonight,” UNC Greensboro coach Wes Miller said.
Dotson also helped set the tone with a steal on the first possession of the game. He flashed across the wing, intercepted a pass from Spartans’ senior forward Kyrin Galloway and hit junior guard Marcus Garrett in stride for the first basket of the night.
Later in the game, Dotson pushed the Jayhawks' lead to 56-38 — their largest of the night to that point — when he ripped down his eighth rebound and sprinted down the court to set up senior guard Isaiah Moss for another open three-pointer.
Both plays exemplified Dotson’s ability to make plays from all parts of the court. Self said he saw a change in his game from the team’s loss against Duke.
“I thought Devon played great,” Self said. "That was a different Devon than we saw on Tuesday night."