No. 3/2 Kansas outmuscles Oakland, 102-59
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Another balanced and efficient offensive attack from No. 3/2 Kansas helped propel the Jayhawks to a 102-59 win over the Oakland Golden Grizzlies Friday night inside Allen Fieldhouse for game two of the HoopHall Miami Invitational. Sophomore Udoka Azubuike led the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double of the season, as seven Jayhawks scored in double-figures for the second-straight outing.
The victory moved Kansas to 5-0 on the year, helping KU to its first 5-0 start since the 2013-14 season. Oakland dropped to 2-3, suffering its third-consecutive loss.
Three days removed from setting the school’s single-game record for 3-pointers, the Jayhawks switched from the air-raid to the ground game, muscling up to collect 58 points in the paint along with a career-effort from their sophomore center, Azubuike.
The second-year center could not be stopped right from the opening tip-off. The 7-footer from Delta, Nigera, tallied nine of the Jayhawks’ first 11 points, six of which came from a trio of thunderous dunks that gave his team an 11-5 lead less than five minutes into the contest. A quick foul on the other end forced Self to put his big man on the bench, but a host of Jayhawks were there to carry over Azubuike’s hot start.
After Azubuike headed to the sideline, senior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s first 3-pointer of the game kicked off a stretch that saw Kansas hit its next 9-of-10 shots from the field. The Jayhawks used that torrid stretch to put together a 25-9 run and build their lead to 36-14 when sophomore forward Mitch Lightfoot connected on a 3-point try from the top of the key with just over 12 minutes gone in the opening stanza.
The Kansas defense was also in lock-down mode in the opening period, holding the Grizzlies to just 10-of-34 (29 percent) from the field and forcing 12 turnovers. The Jayhawks converted those Oakland giveaways into 13 points, which included a half court alley-oop from senior point guard Devonte’ Graham to Mykhailiuk to give the Jayhawks a 44-20 lead with four minutes left before the intermission.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Malik Newman scored five-straight points to close out the half and give his team a 55-26 lead as it headed to the locker room. It marked the fifth-straight half that the Jayhawks shot 50 percent of better.
The Grizzlies found their shooting form for a brief portion in the second half as the visitors hit 11 of their first 20 attempts to start the second half and cut a 36-point KU lead down to 28 at the 11:10 mark.
However, back in the game and out of foul trouble, Azubuike continued to dominate in the paint and quickly extinguished any of the Grizzlies’ hopes of clawing their way back into the contest. He tallied 12 of his 21 points in the second half and pulled down eight rebounds. His final bucket of the night, a lay-in with 5:51 remaining, pulled the KU lead to 35 at 87-52.
Freshman guard Marcus Garrett ended the game on a tear as the Dallas native scored eight points over the final 5:12 to make himself the seventh Jayhawk to score in double figures. Freshman Chris Teahan netted KU’s 101st and 102nd points of the contest with 11 seconds to play to close out another dominating Kansas victory, 102-59.
In addition to Azubuike’s 10 rebounds, four of his teammates pulled down five or more rebounds as the Jayhawks outrebounded Oakland 45-34, which included a 35-23 edge on the defensive boards.
Joining Azubuike in double-figure scoring were Lagerald Vick and Newman, who each tallied 15 points. Graham and Mykhailiuk were close behind with 14 apiece, while Garrett added 10 points.
It was another efficient shooting night for the Jayhawks, who entered the game among the top-25 teams in the NCAA in field goal percentage. Kansas shot over 55 percent from the field (39-of-70) and has now shot better than 50 percent in six-straight halves dating back to its game vs. South Dakota State (Nov. 17). KU also ended the game forcing 20 Oakland turnovers, a season-high for the Jayhawks.
The Jayhawks play their final campus-round game of the HoopHall Miami Invitational when the Toledo Rockets come to Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday, Nov. 28. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m., and the contest will be broadcast on Jayhawk TV and ESPN3. Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Chris Piper (analyst) will call the action.
Kansas will face the MAC foe for the third time in the series’ history. KU currently leads the series, 2-0. The Jayhawks and Rockets last met on Dec. 30, 2013, a 93-83 KU win in Lawrence.
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