No. 1 Jayhawks surge in second half, top Washburn 79-52

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Jayhawk juniors Dedric Lawson and Udoka Azubuike combined for 35 points, while senior Lagerald Vick added 16 of his own to help No. 1 Kansas sprint past the Washburn Ichabods, 79-52, Thursday night in exhibition play. The Jayhawks outscored the visitors 44-24 over the final 18 minutes of the contest to complete close out their 29th-consecutive exhibition victory.
The Jayhawks opened the game scoring six field goals on six assists. Kansas’ unselfishness continued as it ended the first half with 12 assists on its 13 field goals, helping the squad build a 35-21 advantage as the two squads head to the locker room. Vick had the hot hand early, knocking down a pair of first-half threes as he tallied 10 points to lead the team at the break.

It was a less than stellar start to the second frame for the Jayhawks as the Ichabods stormed out of the intermission on a fast 7-0 spurt to cut the KU lead to seven points, 35-28, less than two minutes into the half. From there, Kansas locked down defensively and kicked off a huge run to gain back the momentum. An Azubuike dunk sparked a 33-5 Kansas run over the next eight minutes to help the Jayhawks gain a 23-point edge just over midway through the half.  
A key to the KU run was precision passing, which led to open looks for Azubuike, who showed why he led the NCAA in field goal percentage a season ago, going a perfect 6-of-6 from the field. His dunks weren’t the only method of scoring for the junior center as he managed to knock down five of his six attempts from the free throw line.
The second-half surge was also fueled by some torrid Kansas outside shooting. In a five minute stretch early in the second frame, KU connected on six 3-pointers from three different Jayhawks as Lawson, Vick and freshman Quentin Grimes each knocked down shots from beyond the arc.
For the second-straight outing, Lawson led all scorers with 18 points, going 4-4 from three-point range. Azubuike and Vick showed the Kansas depth as they totaled 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Grimes led all Jayhawks with eight rebounds and was joined by four of his teammates to pull down five or more boards on the night.

KU ended the game with 23 assists on its 30 field goals. Sophomore Marcus Garrett led all players with five assists., with redshirt-sophomore Charlie Moore and Grimes tallying four dimes apiece.

That crisp passing led to a field goal percentage of 49 percent (30-61), and a three-point percentage of 42 percent (11-26), as the Jayhawks closed out exhibition play with a 79-52 victory. 

Opening statement:
“I thought we were bad in the first half. I thought our starters played well and when we subbed, it was about even. I think the second half, gosh dang, our starters had the best ten minutes they’ve had all year. The 22-0 run, that was good. There were good things that happened, obviously. Quentin and Devon weren’t getting shots in the first half but they were obviously better in the second half. But I thought Lagerald, Dedric, Doke and Charlie all had pretty solid games.”

On Dedric Lawson’s consistency and 3-point shooting:
Yeah, he got on a roll there. I think he and Lagerald made four threes in a row or something like that during that run. So you look a lot better when you make shots. So it starts for real now and it won’t be equal opportunity where everybody plays. We’ll stick with the guys that are playing well. We have six or seven out there that I think can go out there and play well. We need our bench to be able to fit in and give us a boost of energy but all in all, I think we have a chance to play well.”

Kansas sophomore guard Marcus Garrett
On if this year’s team has a different feeling to it compared to last year:
Of course, just playing with different guys. We’re still trying to learn (about) each other, we’re still trying to come together, find what players like to do, and what they don’t like to do, where they like catching the ball, things like that.”

Kansas junior center Udoka Azubuike
On his personal performance tonight:
“I definitely played better, I did. We worked on the double- and triple-teams in practice. Coach (Self) talked to me about it, and my teammates, they always talk to me about what I need to work on. After the game last week, the next day we were in practice, I spoke with the coaches (and) we tried to figure out what to do.”

Team notes

  • Improved Bill Self’s exhibition record to 56-2, including 32-0 in Allen Fieldhouse.
  • Kansas is now 61-5 in exhibition games in Allen Fieldhouse.
  • Kansas started the game with assists on the first six baskets totaling 12 assists on 13 baskets made in the first half. Finishing with 23 assists on 30 field goals made in the game.
  • Kansas shot 11-26 from three totaling a percentage of 42
  • Kansas junior Udoka Azubuike shot 6-6 from the field with five dunks. In addition, he shot 5-6 from the free throw line.
  • Kansas improved their overall record against Washburn 38-3 including 9-0 in exhibition games. This win made Kansas 88-10 all-time in exhibition games. 
  • This win extended Kansas’ home exhibition winning streak to 50 games dating back to the 1994 season. 
  • Gave KU its 29th-consecutive victory in exhibition play.
  • For the second straight game the Jayhawks shot in double digit three-pointers.
  • In KU’s two exhibition outings the Jayhawks hit 23-56 from beyond the arch (41.1 percent).
  • The 79 points made by the Jayhawks are the fewest in a pre-season exhibition game since Kansas scored 73 against Pittsburgh State on Nov. 14 2005.
  • The Jayhawk starters (Lawson, Azubuike, Garret, Moore, Vick) combined to shoot 20 of 32 for 62.5 shooting percentage.
  • The Jayhawks committed 20 or more turnovers in both of their preseason exhibitions. Only twice over the past two regular seasons (76 games) have the Jayhawks turned the ball over 20 or more times in a game.
  • Washburn scored the seven points of the first half, cutting the KU lead to 8 at the 18:13 mark. From that point the Jayhawks outscored the Ichabods 44-24. 

Individual notes

  • Redshirt-junior Dedric Lawson led the team in scoring for the second straight with 18 total points.
  • Lawson was a perfect 4-4 from the three-point range. Had this been a regular season contest the four three-point field goals would have tied a career high.
  • After scoring just two points against Emporia State (10/25) junior Udoka Azubuike rebounded with 17 points off a perfect 6-6 from the field. His 17 points tied his career high in an exhibition game.
  • Azubuike was 5-6 from the cherry stripe (83.3 percent). This is a promising sign for the Junior, who last season shot 41.3 percent from the free throw line.
  • Sophomore Marcus Garrett dished out seven assists to one turnover in his two exhibition outings.

Kansas will open the season against No. 10 ranked Michigan State in the Champions Classic. Tip-off at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. will be at 6 p.m. (CT). Michigan State leads the overall series with a 7-6 record. The last time the two teams matched up was in the 2017 NCAA second round with a Kansas victory, 90-70.



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