Jayhawks fend off Longhorns, 80-78
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A career-high 20 points from sophomore guard Marcus Garrett along with a 21-point effort from senior guard Lagerald Vick helped the No. 7/8 Kansas Jayhawks hold off an upset-minded Texas Longhorns squad, 80-78, Monday night inside Allen Fieldhouse. Redshirt-junior Dedric Lawson added 13 of his 17 points in the second-half as the Jayhawks claimed their 31st-consecutive ESPN Big Monday win in Lawrence.
The win moved Kansas to 15-2 on the year and 4-1 in Big 12 play, while Texas dropped its third-straight, falling to 10-7 in 2018-19 and 2-3 in the league.
The Jayhawks came out of the gates on a sprint, hitting their first three shots of the night, two of which were from beyond the 3-point arc, to build an early 8-0 lead. After a quick timeout to stop KU’s quick start, the Longhorns rebounded and quickly erase the early deficit and pulling within 10-7 before the 16:00 mark of the opening frame.
Garrett took control on the offensive end, scoring 15 of KU’s next 17 points to push the KU lead to 27-20 nine minutes into the game.
But Texas, who entered the game averaging just over eight 3-pointers per game, seemingly couldn’t miss from deep over the first 20 minutes. The visitors connected on eight triples in the first half, helping them take a two-point lead, 40-38, into the halftime locker room.
Kansas came out after the restart and gave the Longhorns a dose of their own medicine. KU’s first four field goals of the second half all came from beyond the 3-point arc, with Vick hitting back-to-back triples to put his team up, 51-44, just over four minutes into the second half.
The Jayhawks then took play inside with Devon Dotson, David McCormack and Garrett each converting on jumpers in the paint on three-straight KU possessions to see the KU lead swell to double figures at 57-47 with just under 12 minutes remaining in regulation.
KU held UT at arm’s length for the next seven minutes, but the Longhorn shooters caught fire once again as the Longhorns fought their way back into the game. Kerwin Roach II connected on his third triple of the night before Jase Febres buried three-straight from 3-point land to tie the game at 73-73 with 2:26 to play.
Dedric Lawson responded with a pair of free throws on KU’s next possession before Vick knocked down his fifth 3-pointer of the game on the Jayhawks’ next trip down the floor, pushing his team’s lead to 78-73 with 1:15 remaining.
A free throw each from Lawson and Garrett on KU’s next two possession was just enough to hold off the valiant Longhorn comeback and close out the 80-78 win.
Vick led Kansas in scoring for the sixth time this season with his 21 points, which included a 5-of-8 clip from 3-point range. Garrett’s 20 points bettered his previous career high by seven points as he tallied an efficient 8-of-11 shooting night from the field. Lawson tallied 17 points, 13 of which came in the second half, to go along with eight rebounds. Dotson scored in double figures for the 11th time this season and added five assists and five rebounds in a team-high 36 minutes.
QUOTES – Full Quotes
Kansas head coach Bill Self
On escaping with a two-point win and going 4-1 to start off play in the Big 12:
“It was a great basketball game, by far the best game in our building this year from an execution standpoint. We played great offensively, we just didn’t make free throws. Defensively we didn’t do a great job by any stretch, but we took away the middle for the most part until the end … They shot the ball ridiculously well, especially down the stretch, but we hung in there. We had every reason to panic or lose our poise but that’s as well as we’ve executed at game point against a zone in a long time, so that was good to see.”
On the team’s recent success from 3-point range:
“The ball just went in the hole. I thought our shot selection was a lot better the last two games. The big thing is Lagerald, he went 6-of-8 and 5-of-8 and that’s a big difference, along with Marcus tonight. There were some good things that happened. It was a terrific win and every game in our league will be like this. We’re not going to run away from people, we don’t have one of those teams, nor is our league one of those which will allow a team to run away from people (other teams). We’ll have a few days to catch our breath and get ready for ‘Press Virginia’ and then a quick turnaround after that (vs. Iowa State on Monday, Jan. 21). We have a big 48 hours starting this weekend.”
Kansas sophomore Marcus Garrett
On where his offensive confidence is coming from:
“My teammates, like Dedric (Lawson) and Charlie (Moore). Every time we go home they’re letting me know to not let those missed shots affect me and just keep shooting. The only way the ball will go in is if you keep shooting.”
Kansas senior G Lagerald Vick
On taking care of and protecting the ball:
“Coach has really emphasized that — taking care of the ball. Especially since we turned it over kind of late (in our) last game. He emphasized that a lot going into today’s game. We need to do a better job closing out games and taking care of the ball.”
NOTABLES – Full Notes
- The win gave Kansas a 32-8 all-time series record against Texas, including a 17-1 record in Lawrence (15-1 in Allen Fieldhouse)
- The victory also improved KU’s record to 27-0 when playing on ESPN Big Monday inside Allen Fieldhouse under Bill Self (since 2003-04).
- The Jayhawks trailed for the sixth time this season at the half. Kansas has a 5-1 record in those games.
- The Jayhawks’ four turnovers for the game marked their fewest since posting just three giveaways also against Texas on Jan. 24, 2015.
- Since 2016, in Big 12 regular season games decided by 10 points or less, KU is 37-3.
- The teams combined for just 10 turnovers which marks the fewest by the Jayhawks and an opponent. The record was previously 12 in a game at Texas (1/24/15).
- Kansas capitalized on Texas’ six turnovers turning them into 15 points.
- For the second straight game, Kansas shot over 50% from the field (53.7). KU is now 246-9 under Bill Self when shooting 50% or better, which includes and 8-0 mark this season.
- Kansas’ 12 fouls were the fewest committed by the Jayhawks in a conference game since KU recorded nine against Texas on Feb. 26th, 2018.
- With Vick and Garrett each surpassing the 20 point mark, Kansas has now seen multiple 20 point scorers in five contests this season (Michigan State, Vermont, Stanford, Villanova, Texas).
- Senior guard Lagerald Vick’s 18 points on the day moved him past Thomas Robinson (1,026) in the list of 1,000 point scorers in the Bill Self era and sits 55th all-time. Vick finished the night with 1,022 points as a Jayhawk.
- Connecting five times from deep, Vick also moved past Rex Walters (151) and Kevin Pritchard (154) with threes made in a career. Vick now sits 15th all-time.
- In his last two outings, Vick has connected on 11-of-16 (69%) of his 3-point tries. In the five contests prior, he was 9-of-36 (25%).
- Marcus Garrett had a night to remember, posting a career high 20 points, 17 of which came in the first half. Garrett finished the first half 7-7 from the field including a 3-3 mark from deep.
- His three 3-pointers tied a career high. He also hit three triples against Texas Southern on Nov. 21, 2017.
Kansas hits to road to take on West Virginia, Saturday, Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. (Central). The game will be televised on ESPN. Kansas is 10-4 all-time against West Virginia with all 14 matchups in the Big 12 era. The Mountaineers hold a 4-2 edge over the Jayhawks in Morgantown meetings but Kansas did win at WVU Coliseum, 81-70, last season, ending a WVU three-game home winning streak in the series.
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