Behind Matisse Thybulle, Jaylen Nowell and Noah Dickerson, the Huskies, who were 22-point underdogs, stun Jayhawks in Kansas City, Mo.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — First-year Washington coach Mike Hopkins saw how Kansas dissected Syracuse’s vaunted 2-3 zone defense last week, so he made a couple of tweaks to his own version before facing the Jayhawks on Wednesday night.
Primarily, Hopkins stretched the zone to take away the three-pointer.
It worked to perfection.
The Huskies frustrated the Jayhawks’ dangerous lineup of deep threats, Matisse Thybulle hit five three-pointers and scored 19 points, and Washington kept its poise down the stretch for a 74-65 victory that knocked No. 2 Kansas from the ranks of the unbeaten.
“We’ve been very fortunate this year to play a lot of teams that shoot 30 and 35 three-pointers. It’s really the kryptonite of the zone,” said Hopkins, who spent 22 years on Jim Boeheim’s staff at Syracuse, a tenure that came in handy considering the Jayhawks just beat the Orange.
“I felt like this could be our best opportunity to win the game,” Hopkins said.
Jaylen Nowell also had 15 points, and Noah Dickerson had 13 points and 14 rebounds, as the Huskies (7-2) beat the Jayhawks (7-1) for the first time since December 1974.
“We really just didn’t have it tonight. You have to give them credit,” the Jayhawks’ Devonte Graham said. “They made every shot and they did a good job of not letting us get comfortable.”
Lagerald Vick had a career-high 28 points for Kansas, doing almost all of his damage in the middle of the Huskies’ zone. But he didn’t get a whole lot of help as the Jayhawks went 5 for 20 from the three-point arc, lowlighted by lousy performances from their two best sharpshooters.
Graham, coming off back-to-back 35-point outbursts, was held to three points on 1-for-8 shooting, while Svi Mykhailiuk was 3 for 12 from the field and scored eight points before fouling out.
“They took everybody away but Lagerald — ‘See if you can beat us,’ ” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I thought our defense was horrendous and our hustle plays weren’t very good either.”
In truth, the Jayhawks had little trouble getting Vick open shots in the middle of the zone. The problem came in that he was…