Second half run pushes No. 2 Kansas past Marquette, 77-68
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – A commanding second-half performance by forward Dedric Lawson sparked the Jayhawks in a 77-68 victory over the Marquette Golden Eagles in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off Wednesday night inside Barclays Center. Lawson collected a double-double with a season-high 26 points and a team-leading 12 rebounds. Kansas advanced to the NIT final against No. 5 Tennessee on Friday, Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. (CT).
The win moved the Jayhawks to 4-0 on the year, while Marquette dropped to 3-2 in its 2018-19 campaign.
It was another shaky opening half for the Jayhawks who faced an eight-point deficit for the third-consecutive game, finding themselves trailing by 12 points, 42-30, with just over two minutes before the intermission. Marquette was able to build the lead with help from 11 first-half 3-pointers and headed to the locker room with a 47-38 advantage, the Jayhawks largest deficit at the break this season.
The Jayhawk the defense got to work in the second half though, while the offense quickly went into motion. Lawson shot in two of his 26 points within the opening 20 seconds after the restart to kick off a momentum-swinging KU run. Kansas amassed a 22-0 run over the first nine minutes of the half to turn what once was a 12-point hole, into a 13-point advantage, with 11:02 to play in the second frame.
From there, the Jayhawk defense took the reins, holding Marquette to a 25.9 field goal percentage in the second frame. Lawson added nine more points over the final 10 minutes of regulation.
In addition to Lawson’s double-figure scoring performance, three other Jayhawks scored in double figures. Senior Lagerald Vick collected 16 points, his third-straight contest in which he has scored in double-figures. Sophomore Marcus Garrett recorded 11 points, a season-high and freshman Devon Dotson netted 10 points of his own.
QUOTES // Full Quotes
Head coach Bill Self
On tonight’s game:
“I think it was a 22-to-nothing run to start the second half during the stretch. We were so bad in the first half, we were so slow and they were so quick and had us on our heels, and in the second half it was just a flip. We really defended and our offense was average at best, but we defended and were able to play through Dedric [Lawson], but we got enough easy baskets, attacking the rim either in transition or half-court but it was enough. Marquette is so dangerous because everyone can shoot but in the second half we did a much better job of taking the three away. I think they shocked us early on, to be honest.”
On if the team plays better in the second half:
“Probably not. I haven’t felt that. We probably played better the last three games in the second half than in the first half. But in the first game we played a much better first half than second half. But when you’re getting embarrassed and they’re punking you so-to-speak in the first half, you’d think guys would want to fight and come back and play with a little more fire.”
Kansas Forward Dedric Lawson
On halftime adjustments:
“Shout out to Marquette they came out firing away. Coach had got on us about being tough and just going out there. We made a couple of adjustments in the second half and I think it helped us a lot going on the 22-0 run and it started with Devon [Dotson] and he took Markus Howard out of the game. After that he cut the head off the snake and we started to roll.”
On his performance during tonight’s game:
“[I was focused on] not worrying about what happens and being aggressive, being in the lane, trying to make plays for others. At one point I think I looked around and we were down by 9 or 11 and I just wanted to get aggressive and try to get something going offensively and maybe it would start a spark defensively.”
NOTABLES // Full Notes
- The win made Kansas 4-0 for the second-straight season and eighth time in head coach Bill Self’s 16 seasons at KU.
- KU victory also made it19-3 all-time in the NIT Season Tip-Off and give KU its fifth NIT finals appearance in six NITs.
- After falling behind 42-30 at the 2:16 left the first half, the Jayhawks have now trailed by eight or more points in each of their last three outings.
- Kansas began the second half on a 22-0 run. In that span (first 9:15 of 2nd), KU forced Marquette to go 0-for-10 from the field and commit five turnovers.
- After falling behind by 12 points (42-30) with 2:16 remaining in the first half, Kansas outscored Marquette 30-5 over the next 11 minutes of game action to flip the score and give KU a 13-point lead (60-47) with 11:02 left in regulation.
- Marquette’s 11 3-pointers in the first half, marked the most treys by a KU opponent since Villanova connected on 13 from beyond the arc in the first half of the Final Four semifinal contest on March 31, 2018.
- After shooting a 54.5 percent (18-33) in the first half, Marquette was held to 25.9 percent shooting (7-27) in the second stanza.
- RS-Junior Dedric Lawson’s 26 points and 12 rebounds marked the 38th of his collegiate career and his second as a Jayhawk.
- The performance also give Lawson the second 20+ point outing as a Jayhawk and the 16th of his collegiate career, coming nine points shy of his career high (35 vs. Iowa, 11-26-16).
- After his 3-of-5 clip from 3-point range against Marquette, senior Lagerald Vick is now Entered game 18-of-25 (72 percent) from behind the arc in his last three games.
Kansas will face its second top-10 team of the young season when they Jayhawks take on No. 5 Tennessee in the final of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Friday, Nov. 23, at 8 p.m. (CT) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The contest will be broadcast on ESPN2. Kansas leads the overall series with Tennessee, 2-1.
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