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Friday, November 25, 2016

Career days from Vick and Azubuike lift Jayhawks to 95-57 win

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) left, readies for a pass from Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0), right, in the Jayhawks 95-57 win against UNC Asheville Friday night, Nov. 25, in Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) left, readies for a pass from Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0), right, in the Jayhawks 95-57 win against UNC Asheville Friday night, Nov. 25, in Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas sophomore Lagerald Vick and freshman Udoka Azubuike both earned the first starts in their careers Friday and made sure to make the most of it in a 95-57 victory over UNC Asheville at Allen Fieldhouse.

Vick finished just short of a double-double with career-highs of 15 points and nine rebounds in a team-high 30 minutes.

Azubuike was a one-man highlight reel, finishing dunk after dunk on his way to a career-high 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting. He added three rebounds and three blocks in 23 minutes.

But career days from Vick and Azubuike were just the appetizer for the No. 5-ranked Jayhawks. Senior guard Frank Mason scored 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including 5-of-5 from behind the three-point line, with five rebounds and five assists. His partner in crime, junior guard Devonte Graham, added six points, six rebounds and a career-high 11 assists.

KU freshman Josh Jackson continued his dominant week with 14 points (5-of-11 shooting), seven assists and three blocks.

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

The game turned when: Midway through the second half, the Jayhawks scored on 11 of 12 straight possessions, shooting a red-hot 10-of-12 from the field. Mason cashed in three triples during the spurt that turned a two-point lead into a 38-19 advantage in about eight minutes.

During the stretch, Azubuike had three dunks. One of them, the 7-foot Nigeria native was challenged by 6-3 guard Ahmad Thomas, and he flushed the slam over him for a bucket-and-the-foul.

Jackson added four points and three assists in the decisive spurt, finishing an alley-oop after Devonte Graham drove down the middle of the lane.

Offensive highlight: Midway through the second half, Graham showed off how deadly his passing can be for opponents. On back-to-back possessions, Graham tossed alley-oops from behind the three-point line to Azubuike, hyping up the crowd. After Azubuike blocked two shots on the next Asheville possession, Graham made it three straight assists when he found Vick open in the corner for a three-pointer. Graham had 11 assists, setting a new career high after recording nine against Siena last week.

Beyond Graham’s magnificent passing and Azubuike’s earth-throttling slams, Mason scored a game-high 21 points on 5-of-5 shooting from deep — as if his drives and slashes to the rim weren’t tough enough to stop.

Defensive highlight: Midway through the second half, Graham reached on the perimeter for a steal, took a dribble and found Jackson streaking to the rim for a big dunk that forced an Asheville timeout and brought the Allen Fieldhouse crowd to its feet.

It was a bit of deja vu from the end of the first half. Graham dove for a loose ball and pushed it ahead to Vick from the ground, leading to an open-court dunk for Jackson.

KU had four steals, but the two from Graham brought the loudest cheers from the Jayhawk faithful.

Key stat: Shooting percentage. The name of the game is putting the ball into the basket and the Jayhawks were on fire from the floor. KU shot 62 percent (38-of-61), including a ridiculous 62-percent clip from behind the three-point line (13-of-21). Asheville was held to 36.5 percent shooting.

Up next: The Jayhawks return to Allen Fieldhouse, continuing a string of five straight home games, to face Long Beach State (1-6). The 49ers have played several Power Five schools to open the season, including North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA and Washington.

By the Numbers: Kansas 95, UNC Asheville 57

By the Numbers: Kansas 95, UNC Asheville 57

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


More news and notes from Kansas vs. UNC Asheville


Comments

Barry Weiss 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Dok tastic!!! Great game for his first start. Same with Vick! Dok was a force inside that we simply have not had all year. He is a dunk machine and his presence as a rim protector was bothering the opponent. So happy for him. You could tell he was getting winded, but if he keeps starting and playing big minutes, he is going to be the missing piece to this team. Awesome game Jayhawks!!

Noah Oone 8 months, 4 weeks ago

+1. Udoka has the girth, athleticism and potential to take on top big men in the tourney, like Kennedy Meeks, Marquis Bolden and the like - those teams (UK, Duke and UNC) are really the only teams that can hang with us when we're playing well. I like Landon and Carlton, but they are just out of sync with everything and should be subs behind Dok and Coleby. Glad to see our three point shooting return the last few games. If only we could have shot like this against Indiana.

Marius Rowlanski 8 months, 4 weeks ago

How could you watch Vick play and not see the potential this kid has. He could very well be one of those kids that caught Self's eye that others missed. Good post Barry.

Charles Copeland 8 months, 4 weeks ago

The best game of the season ..more balanced.

Gerry Butler 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Really good game, loved the overall performance , about the only thing we need to work on - -well continue to work on everything But our free throw shooting needs work. Now dead serious here I'm not trying to be the pessimist , the only thing is and I'm sure we all realize this was UNC -ASHVILLE, probably one of the weaker teams we will play this year. As good as we looked last night, we have to try and keep things in check and realize Udoka isn't going to be able to get dunk after dunk after dunk against some of these better teams later this season, needs to continue to work and develop some kind a little kind of offensive shot, he is working on his lil jump hook, I mean we had a huge height advantage on these guys, this was kind of expected. We not going to be able to have this big of rebound advantage against better teams - - we just got to curb our excitement just a hair - -BUT still a great game and definitely see the progress, looking good, and think we have a sweet season coming - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Mallory Briggans 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Overall everyone played well. Vick has solidified his time on the court. Not starting Lucas was Coach Self sending him a message to play at the level he can play. DOK is getting better each game but we still need Lucas to step up to the level he played last year . So Self is giving notice to Lucas......and I m pretty confident he will get it together .

Marius Rowlanski 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Maybe, but it just might be possible that Udoka is just a far more talented player. And to Gerry - FT's have killed this team in the past (02/03). I hope it isn't going to be a season long problem.

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