Thursday, December 21, 2017

No. 14 Jayhawks pound Stanford in Sacramento

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) delivers a dunk before the Stanford defense during the first half, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) delivers a dunk before the Stanford defense during the first half, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.


The Kansas basketball team jumped — and slammed and shot — out of its December Pac-12 funk Thursday night in Sacramento, Calif., where the Jayhawks rolled past Stanford, 75-54, a little less than two weeks removed from back-to-back losses to Washington and Arizona State.

No. 14 KU established its dominance from the get-go, force-feeding big man Udoka Azubuike inside and letting him go to work in the paint. The sophomore center scored the first 10 points for Kansas (10-2) en route to a 24-point, seven-rebound night.

And once the entire Cardinal defense learned how devastating Azubuike could be inside, his teammates began to feast, too, at Golden1 Center, home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and rookie Frank Mason III, who watched from a courtside seat.

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

• The game turned when: Azubuike’s teammates started attacking, and Stanford (6-7) responded by struggling on both ends of the floor for a stretch.

Lagerald Vick (13 points) and Devonte’ Graham (14 points, six assists) were the first Jayhawks to turn up their aggressiveness, as Vick threw down a pair of dunks and Graham knocked down a couple of 3-pointers to open a massive run.

In a span of six-plus minutes, Stanford turned the ball over three times and missed eight shots, as Kansas pushed its lead to 31-15, versus former KU guard Jerod Haase, now in his second season as the Cardinal’s head coach.

• Offensive highlight: While KU’s first-half flurry included plenty of slams — nine to be exact — one from Svi Mykhailiuk (14 points, seven rebounds) actually stood out due to its level of wow factor.

The senior from Ukraine not only looked quicker off the dribble than usual, he also appeared to have extra spring within his legs.

Mykhailiuk drove in from the left elbow, took off from beyond the NBA restricted area semi-circle in the paint and held the ball high with his right hand before finishing with a powerful one-handed jam.

• Defensive highlight: Give this one to KU’s half-court efforts as a unit.

The Jayhawks often looked in sync in terms of focus and energy exerted on the defensive end of the floor.

Their collective work meant Stanford missed 14 of their first 20 field-goal attempts, not only in the first half, but also in the second.

The Cardinal turned the ball over 14 times on the night, and KU held its opponent to 12-for-31 shooting before intermission (38.7 percent) and 21-for-61 (34.4 percent) in the victory.

• Key stat: Points in the paint. Azubuike opened the floodgates for the Jayhawks inside.

The sophomore center’s dunks, layups and jump-hooks around the rim established the tone for KU, which finished the neutral-court win by dominating the Cardinal, 48-20, in the paint.

• Up next: The Jayhawks commence Big 12 play before the calendar flips to 2018, when they take on the Longhorns at Texas, on Dec. 29.

By the Numbers: Kansas 75, Stanford 54

By the Numbers: Kansas 75, Stanford 54


Barry Weiss 3 years, 3 months ago

Jayhawks looking good on the road. Real nice defense I thought. Dok continues to improve each game just like last year. Should be a real beast by the end of conference. Actually he's a beast now, but even better.

Tony Bandle 3 years, 3 months ago

Seeing Billy on the bench suddenly sparked a thought in my mind that no one has yet voiced. WHAT IF PRESTON HAD NOT HIT THAT CURB?

Let's say Preston plays and KU is 12-0 after tonight and ranked #1. Possibly some time down the line of the season, the vehicle thing comes forward and suddenly KU has to forfeit all the games he has participated in and there goes the 14th Conference title and maybe a NCAA bid.

His absence has been a hardship but it has made the team stronger to compensate and now, if and when he returns, his contribution will be a double benefit by both him being there and having not been there. Better to have him for the second half of the season than not.

Sorry, my mind kinds of wander after midnight. Just like they say, nothing good happens after midnight, also, not much logical happens either. I would be interested in any comments, however.

Oh by the way, nice win I predicted go through DOK. pressure their guards, win by at least 15.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 3 months ago

Tony. Plenty of fans have fought about that and very glad it happened before the UK game. It would have been a bitter pill to give back a UK win, let alone the others as we chase UK for all time wins. With regards to tonight’s Stanford game, it was nice to get the win, although both teams checked out at halftime. Even better the game finished on the same day it started, sans Eastern time zone.

Mike Greer 3 years, 3 months ago

Tony, I mentioned that the other day in my comment the University and Coach had three options with Billy, option two (the worst in my opinion) was to play Billy and have vacating wins looming over the season.

I agree, if he gets cleared to play soon he will be a welcome positive to the team. I couldn't tell from what the announcers were talking about if he's practicing as if he were part of the rotation or just still practicing with the team in some other capacity. Hopefully two new faces are on the court after Christmas, at least eligible and available off the bench.

I thought the defense was perhaps the best it's been for this game, perhaps a sign of things to come.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for the early Christmas present, Jayhawks! Merry Christmas! And have fun in Texas with your new granddaughter, Coach Self! (You don't look at all old enough to be a grandpa!)

Roger Ortega 3 years, 3 months ago

Gotta say aside from the actual game I also enjoyed the announcers! I don't know who they were but it wasn't about them. They focused on the game, go figure. The fact they brought BIFM on during the broadcast put it over the top. It was good to see him. We also scored more when Frank was "commentating". So Frank is helping us even AFTER he graduated. I say we have him broadcast every game.

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