It wasn’t always the prettiest showing, but No. 2 Kansas found a way to survive once again.
KU (8-0) struggled for much of its non-conference clash with New Mexico State Saturday night in the Sprint Center. Just like they have done a number of times during the young season, though, the Jayhawks made enough plays down the stretch to claim a 63-60 victory.
Junior Dedric Lawson scored 11 consecutive points for Kansas during a three-minute stretch late in the contest to help deny the upset-bid by NMSU. Lawson finished with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting in the win.
View a gallery of images from Saturday night's game between the Jayhawks and Aggies at Sprint Center.
With the win, the Jayhawks are 8-0 to start the year for the first time since the 2010-11 team opened the season with an 18-0 record. In addition, KU is now 39-9 in games played inside Sprint Center.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: Lawson drilled a go-ahead triple with 3:23 left in the game.
The 3-pointer capped an 11-point run by Lawson, which took place between the 6:40 mark and the 3:23 mark in the second half. The stretch by Lawson gave KU a 60-57 advantage late in the game after New Mexico State had led for much of the contest.
Meanwhile, prior to that stretch, Lawson had just six points in the first 34-plus minutes of action.
• Offensive highlight: KU coach Bill Self remains the best in sets after a timeout.
With 15:02 left in the game, Self drew up something to get a dunk. Even without starting center Udoka Azubuike, who is sidelined indefinitely with an ankle sprain, Self called a set to get a slam by his post.
Mitch Lightfoot, the team’s center at the time, was wide open near the rim when senior Lagerald Vick threaded a pass his way. Lightfoot capitalized with a slam, bringing KU within five points. The two linked up for a fastbreak slam with 12:01 left in the contest, which received the loudest cheer from the crowd at that point.
• Defensive highlight: It was all Kansas early on in the Sprint Center.
Charlie Moore, who got his first start of the season, displayed a ton of energy early on for the Jayhawks. Leading by eight points, Moore swiped the ball away from a driving New Mexico State player.
Moore wasted no time, heading to the other end before flipping a no-look pass behind him to a trailing Marcus Garrett, who flushed the transition slam home.
•Key stat: Vick was lighting the world on fire during a five-game stretch of where he seemingly couldn’t miss.
Since his heroics against Stanford, which included a game-tying triple at the end of the regulation, Vick had been a non-factor. Vick came off the bench in each of the last two games as well.
With 11:25 left in the game, Vick had a layup in transition that ended his longest scoring drought of the season. Prior to his layup, Vick had not scored since netting a 3-pointer with 2:22 left in overtime against Stanford. In fact, Vick had played 44 minutes between baskets.
•Up next: Kansas plays host to Villanova at 11 a.m. Saturday.