In the moment, it defied description.
On Wednesday night, the Kansas Jayhawks shot just one of 11 from three-point range and still managed to escape Gallagher-Iba Arena with a 68-67 victory.
If winning in hostile territory was going to be difficult — especially with KU’s Big 12 title streak in jeopardy — this all added to the improbable nature of events. The Jayhawks clanked 91 percent of their three-pointers. Naadir Tharpe finished zero for six. Ben McLemore, a better than 40 percent shooter from deep, was just one of three.
But how rare was this? When was the last time KU made one three-pointer or less … and still won the game? Well, you actually don’t have to go back as far as you might think. The Jayhawks shot one for 14 from three-point range in their 60-57 victory over North Carolina State in last season's Sweet 16 matchup in St. Louis. KU’s Jeff Withey finished with 10 blocks, and KU held the Wolfpack to 28.4 percent shooting.
And that’s just the beginning, really, the start of what might be the weirdest statistical oddity in college basketball – if not sports. Dating back to the 2005-06 season, Kansas is 10-0 in games in which it hit one three-pointer or less. You read that right. A perfect 10-0 on nights the Jayhawks chucked mostly bricked from deep.
Even more remarkable: Eight of the victories have come away from Allen Fieldhouse. And the one time during the streak that Kansas went oh-fer from three? The Jayhawks simply hit triple digits in a 100-90 victory over Baylor on Feb. 9, 2008. (KU was helped by going 36 of 46 from the free-throw line.)
Of course, maybe it’s not surprising that Kansas has its worst shooting performances away from home. But to win 10 straight with shooting like that? Crazy stuff, right?
This is not to suggest the Jayhawks haven’t been bitten by three-point issues; they shot just two of 21 (9.5 percent) in their Elite Eight loss to VCU in 2011. But perhaps Wednesday night’s victory isn’t as singularly spectacular as it seemed upon first glance.
Then again, you might recall the last time Kansas lost after hitting just one three-pointer. It came in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2005. Bucknell held the Jayhawks to just one of 11 from deep.Here’s the last 11 times Kansas has hit one three-pointer or less:
Oklahoma State, W, 68-67, Feb. 20, 2013, Stillwater
North Carolina State, W, 60-57, March 23, 2012, St. Louis
Texas A, W, 59-54, Feb. 15, 2010, College Station
Memphis, W, 57-55, Nov. 17, 2009, St. Louis
UMKC, W, 71-56, Nov. 16, 2008, Lawrence
Baylor, W, 100-90, Feb. 9, 2008, Lawrence*
Oklahoma, W, 67-65, Feb. 26, 2007, Norman
Southern Illinois, W, March 22, 2007, San Jose, Calif.
Oklahoma State, W, 64-49, Feb. 13, 2006, Stillwater
Oklahoma State, W, 63-62, March 10, 2006, Dallas
Bucknell, L, 64-63, March 18, 2005, Oklahoma City*Zero threes.