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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Jayhawks cruise past Nebraska, five players score in double figures

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) turns to the bench after a deep three to end the half against Nebraska on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) turns to the bench after a deep three to end the half against Nebraska on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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The No. 3-ranked Kansas basketball team avoided any potential distractions that might have come with the Friday arrest of forward Carlton Bragg by cruising past Nebraska, 89-72, Saturday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.

Five Jayhawks scored in double figures, including two key performers off the bench. Backup senior big man Landen Lucas contributed a personal season-best of 12 points, while adding seven rebounds and a blocked shot. Junior wing Svi Mykhailiuk, too, provided KU (9-1) with a boost against the Big Ten’s Cornhuskers (5-5), putting up 15 points as a reserve, on 6-for-11 shooting.

As usual, the Jayhawks’ three starting guards, Frank Mason III (18 points, seven assists), Devonté Graham (14 points) and Josh Jackson (17 points, six rebounds, five blocks) gave their foes fits.

Bragg, suspended by coach Bill Self as the program and university “gather facts” on a case in which the sophomore forward was charged with battery, watched the game from the KU bench.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

The game turned when: The Jayhawks’ relentless pursuit of getting the ball to the paint began wearing the Huskers down. KU might have been operating with a four-guard lineup, but that didn’t mean Self had any less interest in making sure Kansas got its paint touches.

Whether via entry pass to the lone big on the floor or by pushing the ball in transition or having one of KU’s guards drive the ball out of a set, Kansas kept coming at Nebraska and a little more than midway through the first half, the visitors’ ability to put up a fight began to fade.

A single-digit advantage ballooned to 20 by halftime as Kansas remained assertive the final eight minutes. A Mason layup gave Kansas its first double-digit lead of the game and from there Jackson, Mykhailiuk and Lucas scored inside, too, In fact, the Huskers’ defensive reaction to the KU run opened up more three-point opportunities, and Mykhailiuk, Mason and Graham each hit one from downtown in the final stretch of the first half, as well, allowing Kansas to head to the locker room up 54-34.

Offensive highlights (and lowlight): Two of KU’s 26 first-half points in the paint came in transition with Mykhailiuk pushing the ball one-on-three against Nebraska. The 6-foot-8 junior wing took a classic Euro-step at the free-throw line to evade Glynn Watson and took the ball strong to the rack to finish.

It appeared Mykhailiuk would have a chance to top that highlight in the second half when he chased down an errant Nebraska pass near mid-court. With Jackson sprinting down the opposite side of the floor, Mykhailiuk saw a poster in the making and floated a pass off the backboard from the right side for KU’s high-flying freshman. Jackson, though hammered the dunk attempt off the back of the rim for a miss that ricocheted high into the air above the court. As one would expect, Self was not a fan of the play.

Jackson made up for that miscue in the final minutes, though, by throwing down a wicked one-handed dunk, courtesy of a perfect setup from Graham.

Defensive highlight: Always aware of everything transpiring on the court, Graham saw an entry pass coming before Michael Jacobson even threw it in the first half. KU’s heady junior guard took the pass the other way in transition in a flash. As Graham closed in on the paint, he gave a fake pass (think Magic Johnson highlight reel) to confuse the only defender in his way, and finished at the rim for a pretty lay-in, giving KU a 27-18 advantage.

Key stat: Field-goal percentage. Late in the first half, KU hitting 70 percent the first 20 minutes seemed in play. The Jayhawks settled for 64.7 percent though before the break, as they converted 22 of 34. Kansas shot 60 percent overall in the win, while limiting Nebraska to 39 percent.

Up next: The Jayhawks have a week off before returning to the court in their home away from home, Sprint Center, in Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 17 for a matchup with Davidson.

By the Numbers: Kansas 89, Nebraska 72.

By the Numbers: Kansas 89, Nebraska 72.

Comments

Suzi Marshall 1 year ago

Perhaps it was just me feeling like being kicked in the gut because of the Bragg ordeal, but I thought the 'Hawks looked a bit flat and unenergetic despite the easy victory margin.

I don't know about anyone else but I'm glad for the break. It's going to take a bit to get over the loss of Bragg.

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 1 year ago

I hope it is a good sign that he was at the game. Did J.R. show up at the next game that fast?

On another note, flat and unenergetic is great for having Landen back. It is a smarter play than having two frosh on the floor starting.

Kent Richardson 1 year ago

It was uninspired looking a lot of the time. Svi looked pretty good while Vick is being inconsistent again.

Marius Rowlanski 1 year ago

Vick was good on defense but he passed on so many shots... I'm sure Svi will be happy to take Vick's starting position.

Bob Zielinski 1 year ago

I was glad to see KU wearing their traditional home whites. Alternate jerseys are fine but they were wearing them in almost every game it seemed.

Steve Zimmerman 1 year ago

Lucas showed some signs of progression!! Let's hope this is a steady improvement from this point on. Nice catch & dunk on Mason's lob, nice jump hook, good foot work, and nice to see some pick and roll going. Defense is pretty good. It's about time!!

Nick Kramer 1 year ago

Here's a few minor quibbles/questions/2nd guesses for the board to chew on. Every February and March, Coach always talks about 'tired legs and 'it's a long season and 'we've cut back practice,' etc. Yet, we're playing Frank, Devonte, and Josh 35+ in games that we win by 19. Yes, young kids in peak condition, shouldn't be an issue, but would it help in March to be judicious with minutes in December when score allows? It doesn't appear that lightfoot will be playing in March, however, Coleby might, so shouldn't he get more than mop-up? And, last I promise, why is Jackson listed as a guard? Plays offense inside, leads the team in rebounds, 5th in trey attempts, defends the other team's 4 a lot. Guard? He's at least a small forward and sometimes a stretch 4. Love his intensity and versatility by the way.

Jerry Walker 1 year ago

Playing a 4out/1in offense means that there are 160 minutes to cover on the perimeter...with Frank, Graham, Vick, Jackson and Svi. That's all we have unless you think Tyler should get more minutes.

Bob Thompson 1 year ago

I love it that KU has played Colorado, and Nebraska, yet still doesn't want to reward Missouri by playing them.

Bryce Landon 1 year ago

I don't think we should be playing any former Big 12 teams - Colorado, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Missouri - but if we do, I hope we crush'em like we did to Nebraska yesterday.

Barry Weiss 1 year ago

great games by Svi and Landon. 56% at the line??? This is killing me!!! There are going to be close games where we need 75%.

Gerry Butler 1 year ago

Agree Barry, one of these games unless we get this fixed our ft % is gonna jump u and bite us, & bite us hard - - -it's about repetition however and yes yesterday Frank missed a couple but for like 90% of it it is 2 players that's dragging the pct down and that's Udoka big time and then Josh, howeverJosh is getting better. That plus the fact Devonte is not making it to the stripe drawing fouls as much as for his position needs to. They just need to work hopefully doing this more quiet time we can get this straightened out. - -Udoka needs a lot of work on his free throw just terrible but hoping for the best

Mallory Briggans 1 year ago

hey Nick .....just chiming in on your post......i get that we dont want to wear out mason and graham.....although we won by 19 and were up by 24 they got it back down to 14......they had a lot of 2nd chance attempts in the 2nd half ......if you see we only had 1 more rebound than nebraska ....fortunately they didnt convert on many put-backs ....had they done so ......the game would have been closer .....Self had to keep them in because you cant let a team hang around.....up 40 ....sit them down .....up 14 .....no way.......

Mike Greer 1 year ago

Plus, as strong as we are at guard, five really good ones, playing four at a time uses these guys up in a hurry, so who do we have to sub in that is going to be competitive? If the bigs could get it all together and we could play more 3/2, then there would be more time for the starters to rest.

Marius Rowlanski 1 year ago

Certainly glad that Self isn't concerned w/free-throws.

Bryce Landon 1 year ago

Kansas crushes Nebraska again. The more things change, the more they stay the same. HUCK THE FUSKERS!

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