Following a drilling of UNC-Asheville, Kansas kept its hot pace on Tuesday night against Long Beach State, beaching the 49ers, 91-61. Perimeter play and Lagerald Vick’s 23 points guided the Jayhawks to victory.
Kansas got off to a hot start on Tuesday. The Jayhawks made it hard on Long Beach State, as the 49ers were unable to make any stops or shots, settling for just 25 first half points. Kansas’ offense didn’t make the night any easier for Long Beach. After a 7-2 start in favor of Long Beach, Kansas found its groove. With the four-guard lineup we saw against UNCA, the Jayhawks were able to ice the Niners and heat up on their own end.
Lagerald Vick posted a career high last Friday. He extended that career high against Long Beach, as he torched the Long Beach State defense and hung up 15 points in the first half. Extra passes and unselfish basketball contributed to the Jayhawks shooting over 60% from three. KU’s perimeter offense left all of its opponents scratching their heads. Long Beach was stuck in the sand all night as the Jayhawks found a rhythm from downtown. Frank Mason and Josh Jackson combined for most of Kansas’ points in their first three games, but an equilibrium has been reached with Vick and Svi stepping up.
Kansas kept a scoring pace in the first half, but early in the second, Long Beach gave the Jayhawks a taste of their own scoring medicine. Kansas pushed a 8-9 shooting start in the second half, with Svi heating up while draining four out of his five threes. Again, more unselfish basketball. KU distributed the basketball faster on Tuesday as the Jayhawks shot 72% from three at the 14 minute mark. The remarkable aspect of that statistic is that the Jayhawks had shot the ball 18 times from three at that point. At the ¾ point of the game, Kansas held a 75-41 advantage over the 49ers. Kansas had offensive rebounds galore, as KU held a 17-1 second-chance point advantage.
Long Beach State would never fully control Kansas’ tempo. Despite missing four consecutive threes, a Udoka Azubuike dunk kept the Jayhawks’ side of the scoreboard moving. Carlton Bragg and Azubuike threw down two more dunks, and Kansas was off with a 84-49 lead.
Svi suddenly had 14 points and Josh Jackson had 13. Jackson slid into a 49er under the basket, and that lead to a bench clearing from Bill Self. Mitch Lightfoot threw it down with the secondary, and Tyler Self buried a three to even his career high. The Jayhawks walked off the court with a 30-point victory, beating the 49ers, 91-61.
Lagerald Vick was fantastic. The sophomore set a new career high with 23 points on 9-9 (4-4 from three) shooting. Svi Mykhailiuk tallied 14 points off of 4-8 three point shooting. In yet another game, Kansas saw most of their scoring come from the perimeter players. Jackson and Mason, the Jayhawks most influential starters as of late, combined for just 21 points and 12 assists. We’ve addressed problems with overall team consistency, but it looks as if all the Jayhawk backcourt is starting to click. Kansas’ frontcourt is still a work in progress, with Azubuike scoring 8 and Bragg contributing 6. The eye-popping statistic of the night comes from field goal percentages, as Kansas shot a blistering 53% (14-26) from downtown, and 59% (34-57) overall.
One of the most memorable moments from the night didn’t come from a dunk or a fast break play. It came from a Tyler Self three, as Allen Fieldhouse erupted like a mega-volcano. Now, Long Beach State has fallen into lava, as the 49ers start the year at 1-8. Give them the benefit of the doubt, as their schedule has consisted of UCLA, UNC, and Wichita State so far. After the game one loss to Indiana, Kansas has bounced back nicely, jumping back into the AP top five and is winner of its last six contests.
The No. 4 Jayhawks play host to Stanford (6-1) on Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse. Tip is set for 2:30 p.m. on ESPN.