Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Notebook: Lagerald Vick takes advantage of ISU’s matchup problem in road victory

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) gets to the bucket against Iowa State forward Cameron Lard (2) during the second half, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) gets to the bucket against Iowa State forward Cameron Lard (2) during the second half, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.


AMES, IOWA — The first time Iowa State faced Kansas this season, they put 6-foot-9 freshman power forward Cameron Lard on 6-foot-3 shooting guard Malik Newman and dared the Kansas sophomore to beat them.

Newman did, scoring 27 points on that early January afternoon to lead Kansas to a five-point victory.

Tuesday night at Hilton Coliseum, the stage was set for a similar matchup, and this time Iowa State coach Steve Prohm elected to put Lard on KU's slumping junior Lagerald Vick instead of Newman.

Vick did not put up quite the same kind of numbers that Newman did, but he had just as big of an impact on the outcome, scoring 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting to lead the 13th-ranked Jayhawks to an almost-identical 83-77 victory over the Cyclones.

The score of that first meeting? Kansas 83, Iowa State 78.

“We kind of figured it was going to be either me or him again,” Newman said after Tuesday's victory. “And we just said whoever he guards, we have to attack him, put pressure on him and that's the mismatch of the game.”

Added KU senior Devonte' Graham: “We talked about that actually. We didn't know who he was going to start out on. I think because Malik was shooting the ball so well, I heard them early when Malik caught the ball they yelled out, ‘Shooter,’ so they definitely weren't going to put No. 2 on him.”

Vick's big night looked much more like the Vick who showed up during KU's first 15 games than the one who has struggled so often since the start of Big 12 play.

His 4-of-7 shooting performance from behind the arc featured a stretch early in the second half of three makes that allowed Kansas to stretch its lead to double digits. And from there, Vick started attacking the rim with more confidence, looking to score whenever he could.

“You have to put (Lard) on somebody if you start four guards and we thought it would be Lagerald, obviously,” KU coach Bill Self said. “And we thought the advantage that we would have would be being able to play through Lagerald.”

The always-quiet Vick credited his teammates for most of his success.

“Just playing off my teammates,” he began. “They were getting in the lane and finding me and I was able to make shots. I've just been trying to be more aggressive and just trying to get that focus and doing the small things.”

Although a good chunk of that had to do with his play on the court, perhaps even more of it had to do with his attitude off of it. Self has said in the past week that Vick's attitude has been much better of late and his teammates agreed.

“I think his attitude has always been good,” said Newman of Vick. “But the last week or so I think it's just been outstanding. Credit to him for that, for not letting his little slump interfere with his attitude. I think this is kind of the game that he needed. He shot the ball with confidence. He played aggressive. And that's what we wanted him to do.”

Asked after the victory if he was back, Vick looked straight ahead and said simply, “Yeah definitely. I don't feel like I never left.”

De Sousa shines

It may have been just 2:44 of game time at the end of the first half, but for a player who has had a hard time staying on the floor for even 30 seconds, it seemed like a major step forward.

Playing in place of Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot, who each sat with two fouls, freshman forward Silvio De Sousa snagged three points and three rebounds — two offensive — in just under three minutes to help Kansas take a five-point lead into halftime at Hilton Coliseum.

“He came up big for us,” Azubuike said. “That was big. He came in the game, made a bucket, played defense. That was outstanding for him. Coach said everybody's got to play. When your number is called you just have to go out there and play hard and he really came up big for us in that moment.”

Added Self of De Sousa: “He hasn't had anything go right in quite some time so to see some good things happen for him, that was very positive. Hopefully he can get some more confidence and we can use him more and more down the stretch.”

No magic this time

Tuesday's victory evened the mark of KU seniors Devonte' Graham and Svi Mykhahiliuk at Hilton Coliseum at 2-2 for their careers, a reality that was not lost on Graham before leaving the building for the final time.

“It's a good bounce-back win,” said Graham, who won in Ames as a junior and lost as a freshman and sophomore. “It's not easy to win here, and we had guys step up and make huge plays and contribute and do the little things to help us win.”

Kansas now owns a 26-21 edge all-time in games played at Iowa State's famed home arena, including victories in four of the last six games.

Still a game back

KU's victory over Iowa State helped the Jayhawks keep pace with first-place Texas Tech, which knocked off Oklahoma, 88-78, on Tuesday night in Lubbock, Texas.

The Red Raiders (22-4 overall, 10-3 Big 12) lead the Jayhawks (20-6, 9-4) by one game in the conference standings with five games to play.

Tech limited Oklahoma freshman Trae Young to 19 points on 4-of-16 shooting and held him without a 3-point make for the first time in his college career.

The Red Raiders will play at surging Baylor (16-10, 6-7, winners of four in a row) on Saturday while Kansas plays host to third-place West Virginia (19-7, 8-5).

This and that...

Tuesday's victory improved KU to 20-6 overall and gave the Jayhawks their 29th consecutive 20-win season, adding to its record among active Div. I teams... The Jayhawks are now 9-4 or better in Big 12 play for the 14th consecutive season and improved to 83-11 following a loss during the Self era... KU leads the series with Iowa State 181-64, including a 70-39 mark in games played in Ames... Kansas is now 6-2 in true road games this year and 8-3 in games played away from Allen Fieldhouse.

By the Numbers: Kansas 83, Iowa State 77

By the Numbers: Kansas 83, Iowa State 77


Bryce Landon 11 months, 1 week ago

Nice to see KU in throwback 1952-style uniforms. I hope someday Kansas will wear crimson uniforms again like they did early in the Bill Self era.

Tom Jones 11 months, 1 week ago

Bugger that. Too much red in the conference already and...Duke/FinalFour/86.

Bill doesn't like them, either. His early teams wore them because KU was contractually obligated to do so.

Harlan Hobbs 11 months, 1 week ago

Exactly my first thought, Tom, about the 1986 Final Four. Had we beaten Duke, we would have played Louisville for the title after having already beaten them in the regular season.

That team with Manning, Dreiling, Kellogg, Thompson, and company was one of KU's all-time best teams.

Marius Rowlanski 11 months, 1 week ago

Yes, it was. I would say better than the '88 team that won it all. That's how it goes in the NCAA. It's very rare that all 1 seeds get to the Final 4. Just as rare that all the #1 seeds are the best 4 teams.

David Robinett 11 months, 1 week ago

Harlan, you didn't include Turg on that list ! :) I remember he was a useful back up to I guess it was Cedric Hunter. I was actually in Dallas in the arena for that game. I also remember Danny (a freshman) and Dreiling both had under 10 points each (sub-par) and that Johhny Dawkins had a good game. Darn.

Tom Jones 11 months, 1 week ago

Danny was a sophomore.

KU had the most and the loudest fans in that Final Four.

Tom Jones 11 months, 1 week ago

Yeah, Manning, Dreiling and Hunter all fouled out (the beginning of the Duke/ref conspiracy theory) and Manning and Dreiling were both having their worst games of the year at the wrong time. Hunter was our leading rebounder...sigh. Marshall was having a stellar game before the injury.

I would probably rank that team either 3rd or 4th in the tournament era behind 96-97, 01-02 and (maybe) 2008. They were much better than the 88 team. If there had been a 3 point line in 86 we would have won it all.

Marius Rowlanski 11 months, 1 week ago

Nice to see Vick impacting the team w/energy and making plays.

Jonathan Allison 11 months, 1 week ago

Vick is a freak athlete. The fact that ISU tried to guard him with Lard... well, let's just say that it writes its own jokes.

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