Jayhawks sprint past Oklahoma
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Six Jayhawks in double figures, 16 3-pointers and a 61 percent shooting clip highlighted an offensive clinic as No. 8 Kansas flew past the Oklahoma Sooners, 104-74, Monday night inside Allen Fieldhouse. Senior Devonte’ Graham led all scorers with 23 points, as he and the KU defense held the NCAA’s top scorer, Trae Young, to 11 points, the freshman phenom’s lowest scoring output of the season.
The win gave Kansas (22-6, 11-4 Big 12) a half-game lead in the league standings.
Any momentum built during the Jayhawks’ 76-69 win over West Virginia Saturday night was carried over into Monday, with Kansas jumping on the Sooners right from the opening tip. KU connected on seven of its first nine shots, three of which were from 3-point range, to stick the Sooners in an early hole. Graham scored eight of those early points, and his runner in the lane at the 14:29 mark gave his team a commanding 18-4 lead less than six minutes into the contest.
The KU defense was also locked in early, holding the league’s top-scoring offense to just two field goals over the first 7:38 of the game. The Jayhawks were able to handcuff Young; he scored just four points in the opening half.
Graham found sophomore Mitch Lightfoot on an alley-oop dunk to push the Kansas lead to 20-4 at the 13:08 mark before the Oklahoma offense started to find its rhythm.
The Sooners outscored KU 9-5 over the next three minutes; however, the Jayhawk shooters were still boasting a lethal touch from outside. Lagerald Vick, Malik Newman and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk each hit treys over the next four minutes to keep the visitors at arm’s length.
After holding OU silent from beyond the 3-point line for much of the first half, the Sooners found their range at the end of the half to decrease their deficit by the break. Oklahoma hit three 3-pointers over the final 3:19 to cut the Jayhawk lead to 49-39 at the intermission.
The Sooners cut the KU lead to seven, 49-42, less than 20 seconds into the second half, but that is as close as Oklahoma would get. The Jayhawks once again caught fire, responding with a 12-4 run to get the lead back to double-figures. Oklahoma mustered one more run, a 6-0 stretch that cut KU’s lead to nine points, but the Jayhawk offense wouldn’t slow down.
Vick’s third 3-pointer of the game kick-started a 16-5 Jayhawk run over the next four minutes to push KU’s lead to double figures permanently. Graham capped that stretch with his 269th-career 3-pointer, moving him to No. 2 on KU’s all-time 3-point chart, and gave Kansas its first 20-point lead of the night, 77-57, with 11:13 remaining.
Silvio DeSousa was a big lift for his team during that Kansas run, scoring six of his career-high 10 points within 65 seconds, highlighted by an emphatic alley-oop dunk that got the 16,300 fans in attendance on their feet. The freshman ended the game with career highs in points (10), rebounds (six) and minutes (13).
After DeSousa’s exploits, sophomore Udoka Azubuike entered the game and kept the KU offense rolling. He tallied two buckets within 21 seconds to start another impressive KU stretch that saw the Jayhawks end the game outscoring Oklahoma 27-12 over the final 8:47. During that span, Kansas sank three more 3-pointers to bring the night’s total to 16, its second-most ever in a conference game.
The Jayhawks’ final trey of the contest came off the hands of Newman with 2:37 to play and put KU over the century mark (100-70). It was the first time Kansas had scored 100 or more points against a conference foe since the Jayhawks and Sooners’ epic triple-overtime game on Jan. 2, 2016, a 109-106 KU victory.
A one-handed dunk from reserve guard Sam Cunliffe with just over a minute to play was a fitting end to Kansas’ offensive explosion. Kansas shot a blistering 61 percent (39-of-64) from the field to notch its largest league victory since the 2016 season.
Graham led all scorers with 23 points, his ninth time over the 20-point plateau this season. He was followed closely by Newman, who had 20, hit four 3-pointers and added seven rebounds and four assists. Vick and Mykhailiuk combined to go 12-of-21 from the field and notched 17 and 16 points, respectively. Azubuike and De Sousa rounded out KU’s double-figure scorers with 10 apiece. The two big men also combined for 14 rebounds.
Kansas will play at Texas Tech on Saturday, Feb. 24. The game will start at 3:15 p.m. (Central) and will be televised on ESPN. ESPN College GameDay will be on hand in Lubbock, which will mark the second-straight week for KU to be featured on the weekly show.
Kansas will then close out its home portion of the season when it plays host to Texas, Feb. 26, on ESPN Big Monday. Tip time from Allen Fieldhouse will be 8 p.m. Beginning in 1983-84, Kansas has won a mindboggling 34-straight home finales, which includes 33 Senior Nights. In 2007, KU did not have a senior on the roster.
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