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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Quick recap: No. 2 Kansas rolls past Kansas City

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) gets inside for a bucket past UMKC guard Brandon McKissic (3) during the first half, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) gets inside for a bucket past UMKC guard Brandon McKissic (3) during the first half, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

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Kansas City — Even if it wasn’t always pretty, No. 2 Kansas took care of business Saturday night at the Sprint Center.

After a sluggish start, KU eventually led for the final 28 minutes of its 98-57 victory over Kansas City. The Jayhawks have now won nine games in a row following their loss to Duke in the season opener, while the Roos have suffered three consecutive defeats.

Kansas is now 8-0 all-time against Kansas City, including 3-0 in Kansas City meetings.

The Jayhawks (9-1) had three players score in double figures in the win. David McCormack led the way with a career-high 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting. Devon Dotson finished with 18 points, while Marcus Garrett registered 13 points.

Kansas, which could be on its way to earning a No. 1 ranking in the next AP poll, will have two road games over the next two weekends before the start of Big 12 play.

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

•The game turned when: As has been the case in these Sprint Center matchups, it was a sleepy showing out of the gate by the Jayhawks.

Kansas was down by a 13-10 margin at the 11:52 mark in the first half before a decisive stretch that ultimately swung the momentum. The Jayhawks scored 11 unanswered points over the next four-plus minutes to take a double-digit advantage and never looked back after that.

The run was made possible by Kansas getting out in transition and attacking the rim. Tristan Enaruna netted a layup to start the run, and Devon Dotson made a layup shortly after that. Marcus Garrett and Dotson then both got to the free-throw line off fastbreak opportunities.

• Offensive highlight: Early on, the Jayhawks struggled to get the ball inside.

In fact, Kansas City actually had a 10-6 advantage on points in the paint within the first nine minutes of action. KU was losing that particular battle due to its inability to get the ball to the posts, who were often in good position on the block.

That all changed when Garrett checked back into the game at the 10:41 mark. Just 12 seconds later, Garrett threw a lob to Udoka Azubuike on a set play. Azubuike finished the sequence with a slam, trimming the deficit to 1 point at the time.

• Defensive highlight: Azubuike served as the rim protector in Saturday’s nonconference tilt.

Azubuike swatted three shots in the first half alone against a smaller Roos squad. For comparison, Azubuike entered the game with an average of 1.9 blocks per contest. It was just the 18th time in his career that Azubuike has blocked at least three shots in a game.

That type of showing was somewhat expected, however, considering how the Roos have done in that area this year. Opposing teams have posted a 14.9% block rate on Kansas City this year, which ranks 350th in the nation via KenPom.

• Up next: Kansas will travel to Villanova at 11 a.m. Saturday.

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