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Monday, November 21, 2016

KU’s Jackson, Mason and Graham combine for 58 points in win over UAB

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) pulls up for a three o over UAB guard Dirk Williams (11) during the first half of the CBE Classic on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016 at Sprint Center.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) pulls up for a three o over UAB guard Dirk Williams (11) during the first half of the CBE Classic on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016 at Sprint Center.

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— Sure, the No. 5-ranked Kansas basketball team utilized its much discussed four-guard lineup options Monday night at Sprint Center against UAB. Really, though, the Jayhawks leaned on just three of their perimeter players on the first day of the CBE Classic.

Senior Frank Mason III, junior Devonté Graham and freshman Josh Jackson combined to score nearly 70 percent of their team’s points in a 83-63 victory in front of a pro-KU crowd.

The trio of guards combined for 33 of the Jayhawks’ 39 points in the first half and the trend didn’t change all that much down the stretch, as Jackson scored a game-high 22, Mason finished with 20 and Graham added 16.

Sophomore backup wing Svi Mykhailiuk got his three-point shot rolling late in the victory, finishing with 15 points on 4-for-5 shooting from deep.

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

The game turned when: It started.

You wouldn’t know it by the halftime score — KU 39, UAB 30 — but the Jayhawks dominated the game’s opening minutes, putting up the first 17 points, with dunks, layups and open three-pointers.

The Blazers didn’t even get a shot to fall from the floor until midway through the first half, when Chris Cokley’s layup ended an 0-for-12 shooting stretch that ate up the first 10 minutes.

The Jayhawks led 25-3 before that, and though UAB proved to be a far more formidable opponent than it showed early on, at one point trimming the deficit to five before intermission, the damage had been done.

With Jackson throwing down two slams and Bragg another in the opening run, both Mason and Jackson scoring inside on layups, and Graham cashing in from downtown three times, UAB would’ve needed a miracle to claw out of a 22-point hole.

Offensive highlight: Can the most electric play of the night really come less than 15 seconds after the opening tip?

Jackson seemed to think it could.

Kansas opened the game in a standard offensive set, involving some dribble-handoffs and a weave at the top of the key. You know the play.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self discusses fast start in 83-63 win over UAB, Josh Jackson's big day

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self talks about his team's quick start in an eventual 83-63 victory over UAB in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, Josh Jackson's career high 22 points and much more.

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When Jackson’s turn for a touch came, he spotted plenty of daylight in the last place one would expect to find it — right down the lane. The 6-foot-8 freshman gladly accepted the invitation and easily drove to the rim, taking off for an emphatic right-handed slam that set the tone.

Still, Jackson found a way to top himself late in the second half, challenging UAB big man Tosin Mehinti at the rim on a strong drive. Jackson drew the contact and hammered home a nasty jam on his way to a three-point play.

Defensive highlight: Carlton Bragg could’ve blocked the shot with his elbow if he liked. Or tried to catch it in his mouth. Or done just about whatever he so chose with it. He took the traditional route early in the first half, and swatted a Hakeem Baxter jumper toward KU’s end of the floor.

Next, a four-Jayhawk sprint broke out to see who might finish a transition opportunity with a highlight.

Jackson grabbed the ball off Bragg’s block on the move and a four-on-two finished as quickly as it began with Jackson getting the ball back from Vick for another one-handed rim attack, increasing KU’s lead to 22-3.

Bragg’s denial was one of just four blocks for the Jayhawks, and proved the most memorable.

Key stat: Three-point shooting. The Jayhawks had struggled from behind the arc so far this season, but found their bombs more likely to connect in Kansas City. With Graham, Mykhailiuk and Mason leading the way, Kansas shot 12-for-27 from long range, providing a nice cushion for its semifinal victory.

Up next: The Jayhawks are right back at Sprint Center Tuesday night to face Georgia, which beat George Washington, 81-73, in the other CBE Classic semifinal. J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten scored 18 points apiece to lead the Bulldogs (3-1).

By the Numbers: Kansas 83, UAB 63

By the Numbers: Kansas 83, UAB 63

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


More news and notes from Kansas vs. UAB


Comments

Tyler Capone 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Good win, Josh finally doing Josh things. We're gonna need the frontcourt to show up at some point to take the pressure off the guards, however.

Barry Weiss 8 months, 4 weeks ago

great game Jayhawks. 3 ball was much better, FT's still iffy. Udoka playing with heart. Keep pumping up his minutes. Rock Chalk! Josh was a beast!!

Joe Ross 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Lucas 2 pts. Azubuike 3 pts (on one conventional 3-point play). Bragg 5 pts.

10 points from the front court. Against UAB.

This is unacceptable.

Steve Zimmerman 8 months, 4 weeks ago

We'll have to get used to it. Time has changed, you won't see bigs dominant in scoring anymore these days. Kids are more athletic, they'll surround the bigs, steal, poke the ball from bigs easily. Unless our PGs find a way to consistently feeding the bigs through lobs, nice dishes under the rim. High-low entry pass is getting more and more challenging to produce from bigs, I'm afraid.

Joe Ross 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I dont expect the bigs to dominate, but I can assure you coach Self thinks they can do more to carry their weight.

Mick Allen 8 months, 4 weeks ago

The comparisons between Josh and Andrew are inevitable. One thing appears apparent however, and that is the fact that Josh is more aggressive and assertive going to the basket. He is better off the bounce and his court vision is exceptional. He is a complete player with a remarkable feel for and knowledge of the game. For the first couple of games I feel like he was just trying to fit in and "Be one of the guys" and share the adoration with his veteran teammates. It should be obvious now that he has the "game" to carry us when necessary. His free throw shooting is a bit concerning as he seems to short arm the shot with little follow threw. Lightfoot's mechanics are not good for the same reason. Josh will draw many fouls on his forays to the cup. He needs to shoot at least 70%. He is a clever passer. It should be clear after this performance that his abilities coming out of high school, were not exaggerated or embellished. He is the real deal. Let's enjoy him while we can.

Chris Shaw 8 months, 4 weeks ago

With Frank Mason's (1221 career points) 20 point and 5 assist performance, he just moved passed Jacque Vaughn (1207 points), Greg Dreiling (1209 points), and Scot Pollard (1209 points) for 33rd on the all-time scoring list.

Mason is currently 19 points behind Steve Woodberry (1240 points) for 32nd on the all time list. I will continue to update his climb to Top 10 scoring and Top 5 assists in the KU's All-Time list throughout the season.

Steve Zimmerman 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I have yet to see him emphasize on feeding teammates with easy oops and 3s. His number in scoring doesn't impress me until his assist goes up as well. Something is wrong if your PG only worries about scoring. A lot of time, he does not pass a guy that's ready to shoot 3 left alone, or he leaves his teammates waiting under the rim to dunk and challenges 2-3 defenders instead. He's got to have assist-first then score mentality to get the team productivity and efficiency up. He lacks that instinct. I prefer Graham run the offense.

Bernard Gregory 8 months, 4 weeks ago

what games are you watching and why are you always so critical of this young man. Who are you? Can he get better in some areas ,yes but this is the second time I have seen you make a post about him scoring . How many times has he lob the ball in to the post and the big either loses it or brings it down instead of going right up with it or how many times has he passed it to a wide open 3 pointer shooter and the shot didn't fall. You ever thought maybe he is playing the way his coaches want him to play.

Steve Zimmerman 8 months, 4 weeks ago

thanks for the reply Mr.Gregory. I apologize if my words has offended you in any way. of course I like Frank. I want him to be a successful PG, that's all. never thought it could be coach's play he had to follow.

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