Monday, January 14, 2019
On its first Big Monday of the season, No. 7 Kansas was tested by Texas in a game that came down to the wire.
Despite being in control for much of the night, the Jayhawks surrendered multiple 3-pointers down the stretch to make things close at the end. In the end, KU made enough plays to secure a 80-78 victory over UT Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse. The win marked KU’s 31st consecutive victory at home on Big Monday.
After Texas tied the game at 73-73 with 2:26 remaining, Kansas responded by scoring the next five points. Junior Dedric Lawson netted a pair of free throws to reclaim the lead, and senior Lagerald Vick nailed a 3-pointer to follow suit. Texas’ Jase Febres ultimately missed a game-winner at the buzzer.
Kansas (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) has now won three consecutive games since suffering a 17-point loss at Iowa State, while Texas (10-7, 2-3) has dropped its last three contests.
The Jayhawks started the game off with an 8-0 run to set the tone. Freshman Quentin Grimes drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing on the team’s first offensive possession. Vick responded with a step-back triple on the next trip, and Lawson connected on a pull-up jumper shortly after that.
Vick led the way with 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Sophomore Marcus Garret produced a career-high 20 points on an 8-for-11 effort. Lawson finished with 17 points, while freshman Devon Dotson chipped in 10 points to join his teammates in double figures.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: The Jayhawks came out on a mission to start the second half.
Vick drilled a 3-pointer on the baseline in the final seconds of the first half, trimming the deficit to two points. Due to poor transition defense, the Longhorns missed a dunk attempt on the other end at the buzzer and KU coach Bill Self was vividly upset with the near blunder.
KU put that stretch in the rearview mirror, however, as freshman Devon Dotson canned a 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half with the shot clock winding down. It gave Kansas a 41-40 advantate, which it would not relinquish again.
On the next trip down the floor, Vick buried a 3-pointer from the left wing to stretch KU’s lead to four points.
• Offensive highlight: KU found ways to get good looks along the perimeter all night against Texas.
With 15:51 left in the first half, Vick hit a 3-pointer right in front of KU’s bench that gave the hosts a 51-44 advantage. It was a smart play across the board for the Jayhawks during a stretch that really got the crowd into the game.
Garrett got the ball at the top of the key and Vick’s defender tried to cut the next passing lane on the left wing. Vick, though, drifted toward the corner and Garrett pump faked the aggressive defender. Garrett then fired a pass to Vick, who buried the triple and celebrated in front of the Kansas bench.
• Defensive highlight: Garrett was all over the place against UT, which included his routinely active presence on the defensive end.
The Longhorns are not known for their 3-point shooting, so they focus on attacking the rim and trying to create off the dribble. Late in the first half, Texas did this and Garrett was in the right place at the right time, as he so often is.
Garrett ended up with the steal, and immediately threw it to Dotson, who started racing to the other end when he noticed his teammates grabbing the ball. Dotson, who is often lauded for his speed, was never going to be caught.
Dotson netted a layup in transition at the 3:52 mark, which gave KU a one-point lead at the time.
•Up next: Kansas travels to West Virginia at 1 p.m. Saturday.