No. 3 Kansas defeats Emporia State in final exhibition, 104-62

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas basketball’s final exhibition game of the season ended with a resounding 104-62 win over Emporia State on Sunday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.

The third-ranked Jayhawks held the Hornets to 30.6 percent shooting with a 49 to 31 rebounding advantage. Kansas shot 61.3 percent from the field and scored 56 points in the paint to Emporia’s 16 points in the lane.

“We played better. I don’t know that we were great, but I thought they made shots early,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “They made six threes in the first half and a couple of them were really, really deep. If you take those things away I thought we actually defended decent, we rebounded better and I thought our big guys went after the ball pretty well. We shot well in the first half and the ball moved better – it was definitely a better outing.”

Senior guard Frank Mason III led the Jayhawks with 17 points on 7-of-7 shooting with five assists in just 20 minutes of action. In KU’s pair of exhibition contests this season, Mason totaled 38 points on 72.2 percent shooting with 14 assists.

A total of six Jayhawks reached double-figure points during KU’s 27th all-time 100-point exhibition contest. Junior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was KU’s second-leading scorer with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Junior guard Devonte’ Graham added 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting with four assists.

The freshman trio of guard Josh Jackson, center Udoka Azubuike and forward Mitch Lightfoot all reached double-figures in points. Jackson slashed and dashed to a balanced 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. All six of Azubuike’s six field goals came from dunks as he finished with 13 points. Lightfoot scored seven of his 12 points in the second half.

Senior center Landen Lucas contributed the first basket of the game and finished with six points, seven rebounds in a limited 16 minutes of action. Lucas’ first bucket was followed by a Jackson perimeter jumper and fast-break and-1 layup from Mason to put Kansas ahead, 7-0, at the 18:23 mark. Emporia State’s Jay Temaat made a pair of 3-pointers to cut KU’s lead to one, 9-8.

The Hornets’ Garin Vandiver, son of head coach Shaun Vandiver, made a 3-pointer to tie it, 11-11, at the 15:16 mark of the first half. Kansas responded as Mykhailiuk dished a behind-the-back pass to Mason for a contested fast-break layup which brought the crowd to its feet and sparked a 23-2 run over seven minutes to give Kansas control for the remainder of the game.

The Jayhawks continued to dazzle the sell-out crowd with dominance in the paint, outscoring ESU 24 to four in the lane, and a trio of alley-oops featuring a variety of connections – Graham to Mykhailiuk, Mykhailiuk to Carlton Bragg Jr., and Graham to Azubuike.

Kansas went into halftime with a 55-29 lead. Mykhailiuk paced KU with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including two 3-pointers in nine first-half minutes. Mason and Graham each contributed 10 points while dishing out a combined seven first-half assists – five from Mason and two from Graham.

KU’s freshmen Jackson and Azubuike shined in the second half as the Jayhawks surged to a 42-point victory. Azubuike connected on four alley-oops in the second period as Jackson displayed his explosiveness and vision with seven points, five rebounds and a pair of assists in the second half.

Kansas ventures on a grueling road stretch of playing two top-11 teams to begin the regular season. The Jayhawks’ season-opener is against No. 11 Indiana on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11 during the State Farm Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu. Kansas then travels to New York City to face No. 1 Duke in the State Farm Champions Classic in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Both games will be nationally televised on ESPN.

Kansas used a four-guard lineup on Sunday, featuring guards Frank Mason III, Devonte’ Graham, Lagerald Vick and Josh Jackson with center Landen Lucas. 

Sunday marked KU’s 27th exhibition game with at least 100 points scored. The Jayhawks’ last 100-point exhibition effort inside Allen Fieldhouse was a 109-56 victory over Emporia State on Nov. 11, 2014. In is KU’s 11th 100-point exhibition game under Bill Self.

80-9 all-time in exhibition games, including a 2-0 mark this season … 47-0 in exhibition games at home since 1994 … 58-4 all-time in exhibition games inside Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas leads the all-time exhibition series with Emporia State, 8-0. The Jayhawks are 13-3 against the Hornets during the regular season, dating back to 1904.


Kansas head coach Bill Self
On KU’s improvement in its second exhibition:
“We played better. I don’t know that we were great, but I thought they made shots early. They made six threes in the first half and a couple of them were really, really deep. If you take those things away I thought we actually defended decent, we rebounded better and I thought our big guys went after the ball pretty well. We shot well in the first half and the ball moved better – it was definitely a better outing.”

On correcting mistakes from the Washburn game on Nov. 1:
“No. I don’t think you can correct certain things. I think you can get better each day and then over the course of time you may get where you’re pretty good at it. We’re not at the point where we’re pretty good at it. We did take better care of the basketball, it wasn’t near as careless. Carlton (Bragg Jr.) had a rough night, he had five of our 11 turnovers. Hopefully we can get him back on track and have everyone going to Hawaii in good spirits.”

On Frank Mason III’s play:
“He got kind of nicked up. He jammed his thumb the other day and then he got kicked in the shin or something tonight. We have to get him and Devonte’ (Graham) where they can stay out there. Frank got nicked up and Devonte’ is cramping. It seems like he’s cramping most every day now. Our nutritionist and almost everybody is working with him, but we have to get him to where he can play 30-plus (minutes) along with Frank. That’s a big key for us. I thought Josh (Jackson) was better tonight. I thought he passed the ball really well. He got in a little bit of a flow offensively. I thought Lagerald (Vick) did some good things. I think Svi (Mykhailiuk) may have been as good as anyone we have. In the two exhibition games Svi has been very good.”

On Udoka Azubuike’s dunks:
“When you help uphill all you have to do is just throw it up and it should be an easy basket. On a lob they don’t have to be perfect passes, you can throw them anywhere. That one he had in the first half was very impressive from Devonte’. Still yet, he’s just figuring it out. I did think he was more aggressive and did better things. We still have to play through our post more. I thought Landen (Lucas) was better, I thought Dok (Azubuike) was better. Mitch (Lightfoot) did some good things and showed some athletic ability. The five perimeter players I thought all played fairly well.”

On the looming matchup with No. 11 Indiana:
“I know they can score. They’re very, very athletic. They are going to play four guards and one of their guards is about 6 (feet) 8 (inches) and he’s a lottery pick. OG (Anunoby) is a lottery pick. Thomas Bryant, their center is a really good player, he’s a first-round draft pick. James Blackmon has a chance to be a first-round draft pick. Their three best players are about as good as anybody’s. Then their other guys are really quick athletes and they can all shoot. We’re going to have to do a much better job on ball screen defense and certainly getting back in transition. They’re good, Tom (Crean) has a good team and certainly they can win the Big Ten. We need to go be ready to play.”

Kansas Guard Josh Jackson
On his comfort level increasing in the second exhibition game:
“Oh definitely, I felt a lot better this game than I did last game. I felt like it was natural for me to be nervous coming in as a freshman, but I’ve got my teammates behind me always helping me out and giving me advice so they help me get through it.”

On Udoka Azubuike’s game vs. Emporia State:
“I love watching Udoka play. He’s a force inside and definitely the biggest guy we’ve got on the team. The fouls he made last game were little small mistakes and we looked at it on film and he did a good job of not making the same mistakes today.”

On Udoka’s ability in the paint:
“It makes our (the guards) jobs really easy. We just put the ball up there and nine times out of ten he’s going to go get it no matter where the ball is. That’s a real good thing.”

On any extra motivation to rebound well in the second exhibition:
“Yeah definitely. We didn’t do that good on the glass against Washburn, that was one of the keys. We just focused a little bit more on defense today than offense. A lot of our guys sometimes get caught up in offense a little bit too much. Our point is really on the defensive end this year.”

Kansas Guard Sviatolslav Mykhailiuk
On doing a little bit of everything against Emporia State:
“I was trying to be aggressive, trying to rebound the ball. I was trying to play defense, just trying to do a little bit of everything. I’m just trying to whatever the team needs.”

On his aggressiveness this year vs. past years:
“Just like you said, I’m just trying to be more aggressive.”

On how playing with the Ukrainian National Team helped his aggressiveness:
“I would say so. I loved playing ball back home and I just feel more confident right now, more natural.”

Kansas Forward Udoka Azubuike
On playing with an emphasis to avoid fouls:
“Not really, I just kept tallies on what I did wrong the last game. I just went out there and tried to be better.”

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