Mykhailiuk speeds Kansas past Texas A&M, 79-68
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A game-high 24 points from senior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, 17 of which came in the first half, powered No. 5/5 Kansas past Texas A&M Saturday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse. Mykhailiuk sunk four of the Jayhawks’ 12 3-pointers on the day as KU won its fourth-straight game as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
The win moved Kansas to 17-4 on the year, while Texas A&M fell to 13-8 in its 2017-18 campaign.
In what has become commonplace inside Allen Fieldhouse this season, Kansas came out of the blocks quickly. The Jayhawks got the 16,300 gathered inside Allen Fieldhouse on their feet less than five minutes in, sprinting to an early 14-7 lead with help from some hot shooting from redshirt-sophomore guard Malik Newman and Mykhailiuk, who combined to score each of the Jayhawks’ first 14 points.
The Aggies worked to make it interesting, clawing back over the next four minutes to within two points, 20-18, at the 11:41 mark.
But the KU shots continued to drop. Junior guard Lagerald Vick responded with his first trey of the day 15 seconds later to ignite a 25-9 Jayhawk run to close out the first half. In that span, Mykhailiuk tallied 10 of his 17 first-half points and Kansas saw its lead grow to double figures.
Sophomore forward Mitch Lightfoot handed his team its largest lead of the game just before the break when he buried the Jayhawks’ 10th 3-pointer of the opening stanza right before the buzzer, giving KU a 45-27 lead as it headed to the locker room. Lightfoot’s exclamation point highlighted a half that saw the Jayhawks outscore the Aggies 13-0 in fast-break points.
The KU lead ping-ponged between 13 and 17 points for the majority of the second half, but Mykhailiuk continued to lead the way. His fourth 3-pointer, followed by a steal and a dunk a minute later, moved his point total to 20 points with 17 minutes still left in the game.
Marcus Garrett also gave the Jayhawks some big minutes as TAMU tried to get back into the game. The freshman guard from Dallas, Texas netted all of his nine points over the final 13 minutes of regulation, hitting each of his four attempts from the field. That included a 3-pointer from the right corner to get KU’s lead to 16 points, 63-47, with 11:41 mark.
The Aggies got their deficit down to 10 points on two occasions over the final five minutes of regulation, but Kansas refused to let their lead shrink into single digits. A driving lay-up from Garrett, followed by sophomore center Udoka Azubuike’s fourth bucket of the day stalled any hopes of a late Texas A&M comeback. Newman added a lay-up and a free throw down the stretch to put the final nail in the coffin and secure the 79-68 Jayhawk win.
Mykhailiuk’s team and game-high 24 points marked the fifth time in his last nine game the senior has surpassed the 20-point plateau. Newman added 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds, marking the fourth time this season he has led the squad in rebounds. Vick was the third Jayhawk to hit double-figure scoring. He posted 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, which included a pair of 3-pointers.
Azubuike added eight points along with six rounds and notched four blocks, all of which came in the first half. Azubuike, the NCAA’s leader in field goal percentage, was 4-of-8 from the field.
KU ended the game with a 12-of-26 clip (46.2 percent) from 3-point range, marking the 13th time in its 21 outings this season the Jayhawks have hit double-digit treys.
Kansas returns to Big 12 Conference play when it travels to Kansas State for ESPN Big Monday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m. (Central). Kansas leads the overall series with Kansas State, 194-93, including a 77-47 mark in games played in Manhattan (25-4 in Bramlage Coliseum). KU has won 55 of the last 60 meetings with Kansas State dating back to Feb. 12, 1994.
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