LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - The play of a game that featured two teams shooting a combined 21 percent from deep, committing 31 turnovers and executing sloppy offense was never meant to be pretty.
Oklahoma's Brady Manek (35) and Kansas' Quentin Grimes (5) chase a loose ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, in Lawrence, Kan. Kansas won 70-63. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
So it was fitting when Quentin Grimes dove to the floor to make it. After turning the ball over, he got possession back and dished the ball to Devon Dotson for the last Jayhawk field goal in a 70-63 victory for No. 5 Kansas over No. 23 Oklahoma.
"That was the best play he's made all year," Bill Self said.
"It was a momentum-changer," Dedric Lawson said. "We had nothing going."
"That was the swing of the game," Grimes said.
Right now, Grimes looks like he's swinging in the right direction. That play stood out the most, but the freshman scored 14 points to put together back-to-back double-digit performances where he shot at least 55 percent or better.
"I feel like I'm a lot more comfortable with the system, just kind of feeding off how our players play," Grimes said. "I know the spots where I can get my open shots. I feel a lot more comfortable getting back to my old self."
"He's a great player," Devon Dotson said. "I feel like when he gets going, that's when we're at our best. When he can knock down shots and is making plays, it really helps lift the team."
The guard was open enough times to hit even more shots. He just couldn't get his jumper to fall, shooting 1-for-6 from three.
But he was able to make an impact offensively in other ways. One was noticeable late in the second half. Grimes posted his man up before finishing off the glass with contact for the bucket and the foul.
"We've been practicing that in practice, getting to the lane and working on finishing with contact," Grimes said. "So I'm definitely trying to attack more, definitely to get to the lane to get easy buckets."
"We've run a couple post-up plays for him," Self said. "Since we've run a couple for him, I think he thinks he should do that on his own as often as possible. That's a good play. He's a big, strong guard. That's something he should probably do a little bit more of moving forward."
He was also effective in transition, running out quickly for easy baskets to help Kansas convert 22 points off of turnovers.
"I feel like it's when we're at our best," Grimes said. "We can push the floor, get the ball up in transition and get fast break points."
"I thought the first half, we ran well, probably as efficiently as we've run all year," Self said. "The second half, it was a dud. There was no transition at all in the second half. But I do think it helped him get in the open court, maybe get an easy basket or two."
And that's important for a former McDonald's All-American who came into Wednesday night's Big 12 opener with eight single-digit point performances. It caused some to wonder where the guy who had a 21-point showcase in the opener vs. Michigan State went.
But the 18-year-old insists he never felt down on himself.
"I was kind of just trying to figure things out because Lagerald (Vick) got real hot," Grimes said. "He had those two 30-point games. So I was just trying to figure out through the offense how to insert myself. I never lose confidence in myself."