Jayhawks outdistance young Italian team, 90-56
Box Score (Unofficial)
ROME – Kansas men’s basketball opened its tour of Italy in fine fashion, outdistancing Stella Azzurra HSC Roma, 90-56, inside a sweltering Honey Sport City Wednesday evening.
With temperatures climbing above 100 degrees Wednesday afternoon, the capacity crowd of 1,000 in the non-air conditioned facility felt the heat as much as the Italian 18-19 year old all-star team did from the visiting Jayhawks. KU used its athleticism in big second and third quarters to pull away from the home squad.
KU senior guard Devonte’ Graham was the game’s most valuable player after scoring 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting with a game-high nine assists. KU sophomore Malik Newman led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Sophomore center Udoka Azubiuke scored 13 points, with five of his six field goals coming via the dunk. Three of his five were rim shaking as Azubuike’s third dunk of the contest stopped the game to realign the goal standard. KU improved to 80-9 all-time in exhibition winning its last 21 contests dating back to 2012.
Sophomore G Malik Newman led KU with 16 points.“Devonte’ and Malik made enough shots to ice that game,” KU head coach Bill Self said. “I thought we were bad early but were pretty good in the second and third quarter. I thought the ball was slick and everyone was slipping all over the place because it was so hot. I thought we shared it pretty good.”
Freshman forward Billy Preston added 10 points as he tied Graham, Newman and sophomore K.J. Lawson for the team lead with four rebounds. Lawson ended the contest with five points.
Kansas opened the game on a 10-2 run over the first three minutes with Preston scoring four of his six first-quarter points. Stella climbed back and cut the lead to 15-12, but the Jayhawks responded with a 7-2 run and ended the quarter with sophomore Charlie Moore nailing a 3-pointer as time expired to give KU a 22-15 advantage. Moore ended the game with seven points, including two 3-pointers.
KU kept the momentum rolling in the second quarter outscoring Stella 36-14. Graham and Newman each drained a pair of 3-pointers in the period, while Azubuike recorded three dunks. Early in the quarter KU went on a 10-0 run and with the score 42-26, the Jayhawks closed out the half with a 16-3 run to enter halftime up 58-29. Every Jayhawk saw action prior to intermission and all played 10 or more minutes for the game.
The Jayhawks spent halftime sitting in the shade outside of the venue since their locker room was also not air conditioned. The cooler breeze did not affect KU as it opened the second half on a 19-3 run over the first six minutes of the quarter to make the score 77-32 and, where it eventually cruised to the win.
Kansas will return to Honey Sport City for its second game on its Italy trip, Thursday, Aug. 3, at 6:30 p.m. local, 11:30 a.m. (CT) against the Players Group, a professional all-star team also based in Rome.
Earlier Wednesday the Jayhawks, staff and Williams Education Fund donor group toured the Colosseum, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. On Thursday the travel party will visit Vatican City before playing the Players Group.
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