Monday, February 26, 2018

KU seniors shut down fieldhouse for season with 80-70 win over Texas

Jayhawks seal outright Big 12 title

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) celebrates a dunk from Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) during the first half on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) celebrates a dunk from Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) during the first half on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas seniors Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk already experienced three losses inside Allen Fieldhouse this season, so a repeat performance of that variety wasn’t an option Monday night in the final home game of their careers.

The No. 6-ranked Jayhawks took the lead for good with more than 13 minutes left in the first half against Texas, and though the Longhorns made sure it didn’t end in a rout, KU sophomore center Udoka Azubuike helped Graham, Mykhailiuk and the rest of his teammates close the fieldhouse for the season with an 80-70 victory.

Kansas wrapped up an outright Big 12 title with the win, two days after clinching a share of an NCAA record-breaking 14th consecutive conference championship.

Azubuike was nearly perfect from the floor for KU (24-6 overall, 13-4 Big 12), making 10 of 11 shots inside to lead all scorers with 20 points.

Graham posted a double-double in his fieldhouse finale, going for 10 points and 11 assists.

Mykhailiiuk nailed 3 of 5 from 3-point range, 7 of 11 from the field and scored 17 as Kansas shot 60 percent from the floor in the win.

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

• The game turned when: Mo Bamba injured his toe.

With the paint absent of an athletic defensive stopper with a 7-foot-9 wingspan, the Jayhawks knew they could attack UT’s defense all night and came out appropriately confident in their ability to seek out high-percentage shots inside.

KU had 28 points in the paint by halftime, and made 61 percent of its shots in the first 20 minutes, as more than half of its offensive production came via layups and dunks.

Seconds into the Senior Night win, Mykhailiuk saw how inviting the paint looked and used a Clay Young screen to swoop in for a layup. Three of KU’s first four baskets came at the rim, as an Azubuike jam and a Graham layup soon followed.

The Jayhawks closed the half even more assertively, with three layups and two dunks in the final 4:54, as they built a 45-32 halftime lead.

Freshman backup Silvio De Sousa even got involved with an offensive rebound and putback.

Kansas scored 10 points off slams and 14 more off layups in the first half alone, with no deterrent awaiting them at the rim.

The Jayhawks finished with 52 points in the paint.

• Offensive highlight: Two of those easy point-blank points came on a fast break, late in the first half, with Graham delighting the home crowd in his finale whenever possible.

After grabbing one of his three first-half rebounds, the senior from Raleigh, N.C., dropped a memorable dime in transition.

After dribbling the length of the court, Graham had Jericho Sims convinced he was about to challenge him with a layup. Wrong.

Graham instead dropped a pass behind him to a trailing Mitch Lightfoot, who finished the break with a two-handed slam.

Graham not only scored 8 points in the first half, he also dished 7 assists, none more fantastic than his feed for Lightfoot.

• Defensive highlight: With no Bamba in the building somebody had to swat some shots.

Fortunately for Kansas, the man for that job was wearing crimson.

Azubuike tied his career high with five blocked shots versus Texas.

An equal opportunity shot-blocker, the 7-footer from Delta, Nigeria, caught Dylan Osetkowski, Sims, Matt Coleman, Kerwin Roach II and James Banks III with a denial apiece.

• Key stat: Rebound margin.

Kansas out-rebounded its opponent for just the third time in league play, winning the battle of the boards, 37-30, against the Longhorns.

Azubuike (8 rebounds) did most of the work, while five of his teammates contributed at least 4.

Entering the night, Bamba led all Big 12 players in league action, with 10.9 rebounds a game.

• Up next: The Jayhawks will close the regular season on the road Saturday, when they get a revenge rematch at Oklahoma State (3 p.m., ESPN).

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Texas

By the Numbers: Kansas 80, Texas 70.

By the Numbers: Kansas 80, Texas 70.


Bill Corrigan 3 years, 1 month ago

KU seals the 2017-18 OUTRIGHT Big XII Conference Championship.

Benton: When was the last time Kansas wore RED unis at Allen Field House?

Bryce Landon 3 years, 1 month ago

Farewell, fellas, we hardly knew ye!

And how 'bout those red uniforms? They look awesome! We ought to wear them more often, during the upcoming postseason!

Brett McCabe 3 years, 1 month ago

Marcus Garrett was quite impressive tonight. I foresee a huge step forward for him next year. He's a defensive animal and is getting more and more confident with his offense.

Congrats to Devonte, Svi and Clay. Great careers. Great Jayhawks.

Tim Orel 3 years, 1 month ago

I know there are some incoming point guards, but I'm hopeful Garrett can be an experienced point guard for the team next year. KU seems best when it has multiple point and/or combo guards. Not sure if Vick or Newman will be around, but they both seem to be shooting guards rather than point guard distributors.

My summer hopes for the team - Garrett learns to shoot three pointers better and Dok learns to shoot free throws.

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 1 month ago

Agreed, and I see flashes of Tyshawn Taylor with him. Opposing defenders have been incapable of keeping him in front of them. He has developed quite the knack for getting in the paint and finishing at the rim.

And he continues to look like a very seasoned defender. A special kid no doubt. He could be the star of the team by the time he's a Jr. Especially when he starts knocking down the jumper with confidence on a regular basis.

Bill Corrigan 3 years, 1 month ago

Sorry for the reference to KU's red uniforms -- should have said CRIMSON unis.
Whatever, they looked really sharp.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 1 month ago

No Bamba, mo Samba for Doka! What a great show!

Gerry Butler 3 years, 1 month ago

To the rest of the Big 12-- - - -Our Boys say - - - " - - -H O L L A " and just have to put awesome phrase - a little shout out to the rest of the Big 12 the phrase " You take a swing at THE KING - - you better not miss " - - - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Linda Schnoebelen 3 years, 1 month ago

I sure would like someone to remind that guy from OU that he failed to complete his mission!!! "One man does NOT a team make" 14 Straight!!!!!

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