The first half of Tuesday's game in Allen Fieldhouse resembled that of a Harlem Globetrotters’ scrimmage far more than a competitive game. Then again, it wasn't really that either.
The Jayhawks got off to an explosive start in their 114-71 win over Texas Southern, putting together separate 8-0, 10-0, 11-0 and 15-0 runs in the first half alone. The highlights came early and often.
Less than three minutes into the game, Devonte' Graham introduced himself to the Tigers, poking the ball away from Demontrae Jefferson and starting a fast break the other way.
As Graham crossed the three-point line, he recognized he didn't have any open teammates so he bounced the ball backward to Malik Newman, who hauled in the no-look feed and drained a 3.
All-in-all, the Jayhawks scored 66 points in the first half. They hit 12 of 20 3-point attempts, shattering the previous school record for made 3s in a half (nine). Those weren't the only highlights.
Late in the first half, Udoka Azubuike caught a pass from Lagerald Vick in the post. The 7-foot, 280-pound sophomore from Delta, Nigeria wore a vicious look on his face as he took a dribble, faked and then slammed the ball in over Texas Southern center Trayvon Reed, sending him falling into the arms of a teammate.
Azubuike coolly stared down the camera under the basket after the play, which accounted for two of his career-high 20 points.
The Jayhawks controlled the action the rest of the way. Azubuike led the team with 11 points in the second half while Vick finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists in the win.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: KU took its first — and only — lead of the game.
View a gallery of images from Tuesday night's game between the Kansas Jayhawks and Texas Southern Tigers at Allen Fieldhouse.
Trailing by 3 early in the contest, Azubuike made a layup and Vick hit a 3-pointer to put KU in front. The Jayhawks would stretch that out to an 11-0 run on a pair of 3-pointers by Graham and Vick and continue to roll from there.
The Jayhawks totaled 66 points in the first-half, which marked a season high. Six KU players finished the first half with seven or more points, while three (Vick, Svi Mykhailiuk and Marcus Garrett) were already in double-figures.
• Offensive highlight: Graham didn't have to score to make the highlight reel.
On a steal late in the first half, the senior guard ripped the ball away from an opposing player and did a full pirouette as he gathered and bounced it on the ground. He drove down the court the other way, and lobbed the ball up to Vick, who slammed it in over Donte Clark.
Graham did plenty of passing in the first half, coming away with as many assists (seven) as the Tigers. He finished with his first double-double of the season, recording 17 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds in the win.
• Defensive highlight: It was an eventful first half, with several defensive plays leading to fast-break opportunities.
After already swatting a ball with both his forearms earlier in the half, Azubuike was the benefactor of a teammate's solid play, though the final result didn't quite make coach Bill Self happy.
On the defensive end, Malik Newman poked a ball away from a defender and into the hands of Graham. Graham threw a baseball pass down the floor to Newman, who lobbed it up to the streaking big man.
The only thing that didn't go right for KU on the play was a technical foul called on Azubuike for hanging on the rim after his dunk. Lucky for KU, it was just his first foul of the half, as Azubuike dodged foul trouble effectively with Billy Preston still out of the lineup.
• Key stat: After shattering the record for 3s in a half, the Jayhawks, well, kept making shots.
Graham started off the second half with a 3-pointer and Svi Mykhailiuk added two more to get KU to 15. Malik Newman tied the school record with his 3 with 12:15 to play and Devonte' Graham broke it with another at the 9:59 mark.
The Jayhawks finished with 19 3s, topping the previous school record of 16. Six different players recorded made 3-point field goals, including Garrett, who also tallied his second career double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) in the win.
• Up next: The Jayhawks will take on Oakland Friday in Allen Fieldhouse. The Golden Grizzlies are 2-2 on the year and are coming off a 24-point loss at Syracuse on Monday.