Jayhawk Insider: KU toughness on display early in 2018-19
By Hadyn Krause
LAWRENCE, Kan.– While the Kansas Jayhawks are one of just 11 teams in NCAA DI without a loss after the first month of the 2018-19 season, KU’s six victories have not come without adversity. Of those six wins, the Jayhawks have trailed by eight points or more in five of those outings. But despite finding themselves in these deficits, Kansas has found a way to persevere and find a way to win, including overtime wins in each of their last two outings. This unshakeable will to win is a promising trait the Bill Self’s squad will hope it can carry through the remainder of the season.
On December 1 the Jayhawks found themselves in a scoring drought, trailing to Stanford by 12 in several instances during the night, similar to the situation they were in just over a week before when facing Tennessee. Tennessee and Stanford both forced the Jayhawks into a battle, testing their endurance and mentality, but as the challenges came, Kansas put forth a team effort to carry the team into two victories.
In their previous game on November 23, the Jayhawks defeated Tennessee in their first overtime contest of the season. Tennessee carried the game the second half, leading the Jayhawks by nine with 16:06 left in regulation. As some would doubt if the Jayhawks had what it took to stage a comeback, redshirt junior forward Dedric Lawson led the team to a thrilling win, 87-81.
“In overtime I just wanted to be aggressive,” Dedric Lawson said. “I came out and knew that the score was 0-0 and it was a new game. I wanted to win. I wanted to win very badly, and I tried to do everything I could to seal the deal.”
Just over a week later, a familiar roar of Jayhawk fans echoed through Allen Fieldhouse when the ball landed into the hands of senior guard, Lagerald Vick. KU basketball prevailed once again as Vick fired a three, sending the Jayhawks into their second-consecutive overtime game of the season. The energy in the Fieldhouse was palpable as the Hawks found themselves challenged by Stanford throughout the game.
“We gave Stanford confidence,” head coach Bill Self said. “After we gave them confidence, they really played to their capabilities…They are young and have some guys who can really drive it. Obviously, they take away threes and we had one guy make a shot outside of three feet.”
True to tradition, however, the Jayhawks remained calm, showing their willingness to fight through adversity. This is not a new feeling for Hawks fans, as the team consistently comes back later in the second half to secure a win.
Shot after shot, the momentum for the Kansas team grew and grew, and the presence of the confidence rose.
“For whatever reason, you make a couple shots, and the building really gets into it,” Bill Self said, “Guys really play well down the stretch.”
Full team effort was shown, as each player on the court stepped up to make an impact. Lagerald Vick closed out the first half with two points, and found his spark late in the second half, finishing the game with 29 points while Dedric Lawson recorded 24 points against both Tennessee and Stanford.
Kansas stayed relentless when it came to patience and finding their shots, and their moment to find the momentum to find control to win the games.
“It was really just letting my game come to me,” Lagerald Vick said. “Our coaches always talk to me and keep me motivated and telling me to let my game come. I was able to just, when it came, it came.”
As the team’s season continues, they can carry confidence on their shoulders that they have the ability to power through setbacks of each game, and the mentality to know they are capable of working together to lead to success.
Kansas will meet Wofford for the first time in program history when the Terriers come to Lawrence on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m., on Jayhawk TV and ESPN+. KU will then head down the road to Kansas City to take on New Mexico State in the Jayhawk Shootout inside Sprint Center on Saturday, Dec. 8. The contest is slated for 7:30 p.m., on ESPN2.
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