If exhibition games truly are tune-ups for the regular season, the Kansas men’s basketball team appears to be in for a fun season after Thursday night.
One week after a sluggish, 30-point win over Fort Hays State, the Jayhawks had no desire to let visiting Pittsburg State hang around in this one, rolling to a 102-42 victory.
Sophomore guard Ochai Agbaji, who hit 7-of-8 from the floor, led the Jayhawks with 19 points. He also added six assists and four rebounds.
Sophomore point guard Devon Dotson (12 points, 7 assists), who missed the Fort Hays game because of an ankle injury, returned to the starting lineup and looked like his usual self, pushing the pace and attacking the rim off the dribble throughout the night.
Twelve Jayhawks scored in this one, with senior grad transfer Isaiah Moss being one of them. Moss, who has been bothered by a bad hamstring, hit one of four shots in five minutes of action during the first half.
Here’s a quick look back at the rest of the action:
• The game turned when: Kansas opened the night with a 24-4 advantage in the game’s first seven minutes. Sophomore David McCormack (13 points), starting at the 4 in place of Silvio De Sousa, scored the game’s first bucket and the Jayhawks poured it on from there. McCormack scored six of KU’s first eight points.
• Offensive highlight: After Udoka Azubuike knocked the ball away from a Pitt State player after an inbounds play midway through the second half, he fed the ball ahead to freshman Tristan Enaruna, who had nothing but open court ahead of him. Enaruna, the long, athletic, high-flying freshman who Self said earlier this week he would like to see amp things up just a bit, did just that on the breakaway. After a couple of dribbles to size up his steps, Enaruna took off inside the paint and hammered a left-handed jam from the side. That one topped a first-half windmill dunk by Agbaji, only because we haven’t seen it before.
KU cruises past Pittsburg State in exhibition finale
• Defensive highlight: Although it mattered little in the flow of the game or to the outcome, Azubuike picked up an aggressive blocked shot during the early portion of the second half. It makes sense that the biggest man in the building would be able to swat a few shots (he finished with three blocks) but the way this one came showed that Azubuike, with depth behind him, is not afraid to play with a little more aggression while protecting the rim this season.
• Key stat: 3-point shooting. A big question mark entering the season, the Jayhawks moved the ball well, got open looks and knocked a bunch of them down. KU finished 17-of-37 from behind the arc in this one, outscoring PSU by 30 from 3-point range alone.
• Up next: The third-ranked Jayhawks will open the regular season at 6 p.m. Tuesday night against No. 4 Duke at Madison Square Garden in New York City in the Champions Classic.