By Matt Tait ---- firstname.lastname@example.org
Six players reached double digits in scoring and the Kansas University men's basketball team improved to 9-1 with a 96-69 victory over a scrappy Lafayette team Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas raced out to a 24-11 lead during the first 10 minutes of the game and looked to be on its way to an easy victory. But the Leopards (7-3) never got discouraged and just kept shooting. Eventually, those shots started falling and KU's lead was in the 8- to 10-point range for much of the next 15 minutes.
Hunter Mickelson's energy off the bench (8 points, 7 rebounds), Frank Mason III’s signature toughness (14 points, 9 assists) and Wayne Selden Jr.’s leadership (12 points, 6 assists) helped spark the victory.
It was Kelly Oubre Jr., however, who led everyone with 23 points in 25 minutes. Oubre was 9-of-15 from the floor and 4-of-7 from three-point range. He also grabbed 10 rebounds in what was by far his best game as a Jayhawk.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: KU responded to the Leopards cutting the lead to 57-49 with 13:01 to play with a 10-3 run to push the Jayhawks' lead back to 15. That run eventually turned into a 28-8 run and KU led 85-57 with five minutes to play. KU's defense was a big part of the run. Lafayette opened the first nine minutes of the second half shooting 69 percent or above. That number dropped by nearly 20 percent during the stretch that clinched the game.
• Offensive highlight: A harmless inbounds play by Lafayette under the KU bucket quickly turned into a highlight-reel slam on the other end by Selden. As Lafayette's Bryce Scott broke down the lane and looked to be wide open for an easy connection, Evan Manning jumped in front of the pass from out of nowhere, grabbed the ball and quickly pushed it ahead to Selden, who went right to the rim and finished with a double-clutched slam dunk to give KU 96 points and Selden 12.
• Defensive highlight: We all know that Mason's not afraid to get in there and rebound, but now we know the KU point guard is willing to play the role of the rejector, as well. Early on in Saturday's victory, Mason stalked Lafayette guard Nick Linder as he drove to the rim on the right side of the lane. After getting all the way to the basket, Linder went up for what looked like it might be an easy layup, but Mason went up with him and swatted the shot off the backboard and grabbed the rebound himself. That led to an easy bucket on the other end for Kansas and was the start of KU's run to a double-digit lead.
• Key stat: KU's first-half three-point shooting was lights out. The Jayhawks hit 6 of 11 three-point attempts in the first half (55 percent) and matched Lafayette's first-half total in four fewer attempts. Lafeyette came in boasting 42 percent team three-point shooting and shot 46 percent against the Jayhawks.
• Up next: The Jayhawks will travel to Philadelphia for their final game before Christmas on Monday against Temple, at the Wells Fargo Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game will be shown on ESPN2. After that, KU will close out 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 30, when the Jayhawks welcome Kent State to town for a 7 p.m. game on Jayhawk TV.
No 7 of last 7 FGS for Lafayette