Thursday, December 22, 2016

Josh Jackson leads KU to first road win, at UNLV

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) dunks against UNLV during the first half, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) dunks against UNLV during the first half, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.


The No. 3-ranked Kansas basketball team didn’t have to endure much of a fight until late in its first true road game of the season Thursday night at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

The Jayhawks took a permanent double-digit lead less than eight minutes in against the Runnin’ Rebels, who, like most KU opponents, had no answers for freshman sensation Josh Jackson in a 71-53 Kansas victory.

Though a couple of fouls kept Jackson on the bench for seven minutes of the first half, the 6-foot-8 guard from Detroit had a team-high of 14 points by intermission, well on his way to a game-leading 21 points.

The Rebels (7-6) tried to make a late comeback but only cut their deficit to 12 before KU junior Svi Mykhailiuk (20 points) hit a pair of key jumpers with less than 3:30 to play.

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

• The game turned when: The Jayhawks willed their way to high-percentage shots through a large stretch of the first half.

After early 3-pointers from Frank Mason III, Jackson and Lagerald Vick helped open the floor, KU’s ensuing seven baskets came at the rim.

With Kansas (11-1) already up 12, the stretch began with a Jackson tip-in and a Jackson jam. Before long, the star freshman was at it again with a layup and another dunk.

Finally, Mykhailiuk and Carlton Bragg broke up the run of inside dominance by Jackson with layups of their own. By the time Mykhailiuk put another lay-in through the net with 3:29 left in the first half, KU led by 21.

• Offensive highlight: As if the Rebels hadn’t seen enough of Jackson’s talent in the first half, it took all of 15 seconds of playing time after the break for him to demoralize them further.

Mason (game-high eight assists) threw a lob up toward the backboard, and even though the setup wasn’t perfect, Jackson, the freakishly athletic freshman, rose up, caught the ball with one hand behind his head, and emphatically threw down a jam.

• Defensive highlight: When UNLV’s Jovan Mooring swiped a second-half steal away from Devonte’ Graham, the Rebels guard saw a wide-open floor and two easy points in front of him.

What he didn’t see was KU sophomore guard Vick tracking him down from behind. By the time Mooring left the floor for his layup try, Vick had caught him and flew upward to swat the shot away.

Less than two minutes later, that pesky Jayhawk by the name of Jackson showed up near the rim for a blocked shot of his own. Just after Kris Clyburn tracked down a miss on the offensive glass, Jackson exploded upward to thwart another would-be easy basket.

• Key stat: 3-point defense. If the Runnin’ Rebels were going to have a chance, they needed to have a hot night from long range to help their cause.

However, Kansas limited the home team to 1-for-12 shooting (8.3 percent) from beyond the arc in the first half, and UNLV didn’t fare much better down the stretch. The Rebels went 4-for-12 in the second half, bringing their final 3-point shooting to 21 percent for the game.

• Up next: The Jayhawks remain away from their home floor in Allen Fieldhouse as they open up the 2016-17 Big 12 season on the road, at TCU (11-1), on Dec. 30.

By the Numbers: Kansas 71, UNLV 53.

By the Numbers: Kansas 71, UNLV 53.

— See what people were saying about the game during's live coverage.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. UNLV


Jay Scott 4 years, 2 months ago

Josh had a great game but he wasn't the best player on the floor.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 2 months ago

Svi really played the best, agree Jay. Josh did have a great game though. Still pretty troubled by our bigs....Bragg and Landen....6 points. That is going to bite us at some point. Dang, they just shuffle their feet and can't finish at the rim. Landen did have a great rebounding game, but we really need some low post scoring. another sub .500 game at the line. ughhhhh.. Coach did comment on how Dok was coming on strong and we will miss him. No lie.

Jay Scott 4 years, 2 months ago

Lucas had a great game. 12 boards, solid defense and excellent screens.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 2 months ago

Lucas has to stop fouling players outside of the three-point line. I agree that Lucas was very solid defensively and set solid screens but both him and Bragg seem to have picked up a little bit Perry Ellis's habit (at times) not to go hard to the rim and settle for bank shots.

Really thought that Colbey would rise to the challenge. I know he was out completely last year but he has 2 full seasons under his belt and in barely a minute picked up 2 fouls and completely slowed the Hawks down.

Not going to jump on Lightfoot but calling him a big doesn't make him one. Ellis, at the same height, was a big. Perry also had a very solid fundamental game.

Bragg needs to get mean. High school was too easy for him and his talent flashes at times but sometimes he needs a little of the meanness that Josh Jackson has in abundance - as does Mason.

Agree with both Barry and Jay.

John Tanner 4 years, 2 months ago

Jan 30 first Big 12 game ? Don't think so.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 2 months ago

Probably was corrected as it now says December 30. I would've liked to see the Hawks get off until after the new year..


John Tanner 4 years, 2 months ago

Like to see less fouls (4) other than that good game by Lucas.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 2 months ago

This helps take some of the sting out of losing Udoka for the season.

Jesse Johnson 4 years, 2 months ago

Hate to be negative but why are we so consistently bad at free throws this year? Frank Mason shoots 4/10 this game? WTH?

Mallory Briggans 4 years, 2 months ago

Lucas' job is to do the dirty work rebound set screens and the like he is not in there to score , so don't judge what he does by points . He can score but that has a lot to do with him getting good post position and most importantly the guards getting him the ball in a good place . Keeping plays alive on the offensive end as he did last night is vital, and if someone scores because he maintains the possession is just as important. Lucas will get his points but is like the 6th option at this point. Lucas knows what he needs to do and he will .

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