Saturday served as a nice reminder that the Big 12 conference still runs through Lawrence.
Despite all the recent distractions, Kansas ended a two-game skid by trouncing one of its biggest threats to the throne. No. 11 KU led the for the duration of its 79-63 victory over No. 16 Texas Tech Saturday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks (17-5, 6-3 Big 12) halted a two-game win streak by the Red Raiders (17-5, 5-4), and gained some ground on them in an intense league race. Entering Saturday, both squads were one-half game behind conference leaders Kansas State and Baylor.
Kansas was in control from the start, jumping out to a 10-2 lead, and stretched its advantage to double-digits soon after. KU connected on 13 3-pointers against one of the best defensive teams in college basketball, connecting on nine triples in the first half alone.
Four players scored in double figures for the Jayhawks, including a game-high 25 points from Dedric Lawson. Devon Dotson poured in a career-high 20 points, while Lagerald Vick registered 13 points. Ochai Agbaji scored 10 points — recording a pair of powerful dunks — in the lopsided win.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: Let’s be honest, this game turned when the official launched the ball in the air for the opening tip.
The last 24 hours have not been ideal for the Jayhawks, as Silvio De Sousa was officially suspended by the NCAA and sophomore starter Marcus Garrett sustained an ankle sprain the night before Saturday’s game against Texas Tech.
And that is why the first few minutes were so essential for a team that has struggled out of the gate at home this year. The Jayhawks jumped out to a 10-2 lead in a matter of minutes. Dedric Lawson netted a pair of quick buckets, while Lagerald Vick and Ochai Agbaji each drilled a 3-pointer to get the fans involved early.
KU put a two-game losing streak to bed by being in control of the entire contest, and that was never more evident than in the first few minutes of the game.
• Offensive highlight: There were plenty to choose from on a day where KU made scoring look easy against one of the best defensive teams in all of college basketball.
Still, as always is the case, the crowd erupted the loudest for a dunk. With 4:47 left in the first half, Charlie Moore threw a back-side lob to Agbaji, who flushed the ball down in one smooth motion. The sequence gave the Jayhawks a 36-22 advantage at the time.
Yet, Agbaji one-upped himself with an even better slam midway through the second half, in which he dunked on his own teammate.
• Defensive highlight: We can argue over the technicalities of the call, but arguably the best defensive play by Kansas removed Texas Tech’s most-talented player from the game for a moment in the first half.
With 11:38 left in the first half, TTU sophomore Jarrett Culver went for statement dunk to silence the crowd. Agbaji slid over, and was ultimately granted the charge call, when Culver threw down an emphatic dunk.
It was reminiscent of another dunk that never was by a former Missouri Tiger in 2000. Culver, who leads TTU in scoring, was forced to sit for an extended stretch, and Kansas took advantage of his absence.
•Up next: Kansas travels to Kansas State at 8 p.m. Tuesday.