Jayhawks overpower Showdown with Wildcats, 64-49
LAWRENCE, Kan. – An All-America-caliber performance from redshirt-junior Dedric Lawson along with stifling Jayhawk defense helped No. 15/16 Kansas to a 64-49 win over the No. 16/15 Kansas State Wildcats Monday night in the 291st edition of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown. Lawson led all scorers with 18 points and 14 rebounds for his 17th double-double of the season, while the KU defense held KSU to a Big 12 season-low 31.6 percent shooting from the field to pull within one game of its in-state rival in the conference standings.
The win, KU’s 20th-straight inside Allen Fieldhouse, improved the Jayhawks to 21-7 and 10-5 in the conference. K-State fell to 21-7 in its 2018-19 campaign and to 11-4 in league play.
The Wildcats jumped on the Jayhawks early, getting out to a 10-3 lead and holding Kansas scoreless for more than four minutes after the opening tip. After starting the game hitting one of their first eight tries from the field, Quentin Grimes’ 3-pointer at the 13:50 mark got KU offense rolling. That bucket sparked an 8-0 Jayhawk run over the next two minutes to give KU its first lead of the game at 11-10 just over eight minutes into the contest.
Mitch Lightfoot then gave his team a boost and helped Kansas put some distance between themselves and their in-state rival. The junior forward scored seven points during a 12-2 KU spurt, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key, his first of the season, to give the Jayhawks a 23-16 advantage with 6:23 left in the half. KU then went 6-of-7 from the free throw line in the last five minutes of the half, which included an and-one bucket from freshman Devon Dotson, helping KU take a 34-27 lead into the intermission.
The Kansas defense took the reins in the early minutes of the second half. KU kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard over the first four minutes after the restart, forcing K-State to start the half going 0-for-10 from the field. That stretch included two blocks from Lightfoot. Meanwhile, the KU offense continued to hum along. Grimes’ second 3-pointer of the night got the Jayhawks’ lead to 41-27 before four minutes were gone in the second frame.
The Wildcats finally got the lid off the rim and trimmed their deficit to eight points after Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade connected on back-to-back triples. With KU now ahead, 41-33, Dotson came up with his two biggest buckets of the game. The freshman out of Raleigh, North Carolina drove to the bucket for two points on the Jayhawks’ next possession, before shooting in his lone triple of the night one minute later to push his team’s lead back to double-figures at 46-33, with 13:40 remaining in regulation.
The Jayhawk lead never shrank to fewer than 10 points from there on out as KU limited the Wildcats to just six field goals over the final 13 minutes. The KU defense closed out the second half holding KSU to just 8-of-35 shooting from the field (22.9 percent) over the final 20 minutes and 31.6 percent shooting for the game, the Wildcats’ worst shooting night this season in Big 12 play.
Lawson finished the night with his league-leading 17th double-double, scoring 18 points and pulling down 14 rebounds to go along with five assists. Dotson added 16 points and 5-of-5 shooting from the free throw line. Grimes was the third player to score in double-figures, notching 12 points which included 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. It marked the fourth time this season Grimes has connected on three or more triples in a game.
QUOTES – Full Quotes
Kansas head coach Bill Self
“We competed. We’re not always that artistic to watch, but we did compete tonight. It’s amazing what a juiced building and everybody playing with the energy and focus that you need to play with (can do for a team). I don’t know if that’s because of youth or what it is … Our fans hung in there with us and they were terrific, and our players did compete. Dedric (Lawson) got numbers today, certainly, I’m not going to take anything away from that. We guarded differently than we (have) ever guarded this year. We switched and played him on the perimeter. Mitch Lightfoot and Devon Dotson, wow! … Really happy for those guys, happy for our guys to have some success after we got embarrassed on Saturday.”
On the play of freshman G Devon Dotson:
“We just told him to relax and go play. He didn’t play with a smile the whole first half, he was so intense and wanted to win. He loosened up a little bit (in) the second half, saw the ball go in the hole. He made some great plays getting downhill. K-State is really good defensively. Really good. Our guys made some really good plays to execute and score there, especially in the second half.”
Kansas redshirt-junior F Dedric Lawson
On what Mitch Lightfoot brought to the game tonight:
“Mitch brought great energy. He played great. (He) Knocked down shots, protected the rim. That is something that we need from him on a consistent basis and for the most part, he does it for us every night.”
NOTABLES – Full Notes
- The win gave KU 21 victories for the 30th-straight season, beginning in 1989-90.
- The win also gave KU 10 league victories for the 25th straight year, beginning in 1994-95 and would add to its nation’s longest active 10-win streak.
- Kansas is now 68-18 all-time on ESPN Big Monday (39-1 at home) including 50-12 under Self (29-0 at home). KU has now won 33-straight Big Monday games in Allen Fieldhouse.
- KU is now 91-12 following a loss in the Bill Self era, including 6-1 this season. Since the 2013-14 season, KU is now 41-4 following a loss.
- The Jayhawks held its opponent to under 59 points for the fourth time this season, the Jayhawks are 4-0 in those games with a 166-1 clip in the Self era.
- K-State’s 49 points marked the lowest by a conference opponent since the Jayhawks limited Texas Tech to 42 points on March 4, 2013. It was also the fewest points by a team in the KU-KSU series since Kansas held the Wildcats to 49 points in a KU win on January 4, 2012.
- KU’s eight personal fouls marked a season low and the fewest by the Jayhawks since committing seven against Iowa State on February 12, 2011.
- Kansas limited Kansas State’s three senior starters (Brown, Stokes, Wade) to 24 points while going 8-for-25 from the field. The trio entered the day averaging 38.9 points per game.
- RS-Junior forward Dedric Lawson tallied a team-high 18 points along with a team-high 14 rebounds, marking the 17th double-double of the season and the 53rd of his career.
- Lawson is now tied for eighth-place for most double-doubles in a single season by a Jayhawk with Dave Robisch who tallied 17 in 1971.
- Freshman Devon Dotson swiped his 40th steal of the season, moving him into a tie with Jeff Boschee for 10th all-time in a single season as a freshman.
- Junior forward Mitch Lightfoot recorded three blocks in a game for the 10th time in his career. He has now swatted three shots in three of his last four games.
Kansas will journey to Stillwater, Oklahoma for a date with the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday, March 2. Tip off from Gallagher-Iba Arena is set for 11 a.m. (CT) on CBS. The Jayhawks lead the all-time series with OSU, 115-49, which includes a 84-72 KU win in Lawrence on Feb. 9. The Cowboys narrowly hold an advantage inside Gallagher-Iba Arena at 35-34 and havr won four of the last five meetings against the Jayhawks in Stillwater.
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