No. 3 Kansas defeats old foe Nebraska, 89-72

On Saturday, No. 3 Kansas met their old Big 12 conference rival: Nebraska.

The Jayhawks snatched their 18th consecutive victory against the Huskers in a 89-72 win, the two teams’ first meeting since conference play in 2011. Without Carlton Bragg, the 8-1 Jayhawks found good minutes from Svi Mykhailiuk and Landen Lucas.

Carlton Bragg has been on and off the bench all season. Today, Bragg was watching in street clothes in KU’s first game after his arrest. The Jayhawks shook off an early deficit with Landen Lucas, Bragg’s replacement, giving the Jayhawks their first lead.

Nebraska had lost 17 consecutive games against the Jayhawks coming into today’s meeting, and by the looks of the first half, they would come out with yet another loss. Kansas had completely outrebounded the Cornhuskers in the first ten minutes. By the second media timeout, the Jayhawks held a 22-17 advantage.

Nebraska, much like UMKC, found the basket early on. Landen Lucas found his groove, scoring six quick points and helping the Jayhawks to a 8-0 run. With the absence of Carlton Bragg, Mitch Lightfoot received some early minutes before Bill Self shifted back into his four-guard lineup. With the extra wing spot built into the KU lineup, Svi Mykhailiuk took advantage of his extra opportunity, pouring in nine early points to give the Jayhawks a 41-26 lead with five minutes left in the half.

The Jayhawks’ point distribution was superb. By the end of the half, seven Jayhawks had their name on the stat sheet. Devonte’ Graham sent the Jayhawks to halftime, drilling a 26-foot three-pointer at the horn. The No. 3 Jayhawks were able to shut down their old Big 12 foe in the first frame, leading 54-34 at the break.

A smooth Graham layup kicked off the scoring in the second half, and then he followed it up with another three. Nebraska then cooled the Jayhawks and go on a 7-0 spurt of their own, prompting Bill Self to get upset on the sidelines. Nebraska’s Glynn Watson drilled another three for the Cornhuskers, and the Jayhawk lead was suddenly down to 15, 63-48. Kansas hasn’t been too streaky as of late, but this second half certainly wasn’t the start the Jayhawks were hoping for.

We all know Kansas likes to distribute the ball, but sometimes, it’s just best to put it in the hoop. Svi Mykhailiuk threw a ball up on the glass for Josh Jackson to throw down, but the dunk was a total failure, even embarrassing Bill Self.

By the looks of the game, Frank Mason was having a quiet day. But on the statsheet, Mason was at 14 points, coming near his season average with five minutes left in the game. Meanwhile in Lawrence, Josh Jackson jammed down a lob from Landen Lucas, and Kansas was suddenly back up by 19 with a 81-62 lead. At times, the Jayhawks might not look so hot, but hey, how about that dunk?

Lucas, for the first time all year, played a game that won’t be ridiculed on next week’s Inside the Paint podcast. The fifth-year senior tallied a season high 12 points, along with eight rebounds. Speaking of rebounds, the Cornhuskers were having a day off the glass, as Nebraska had collected an inexcusable 15 offensive rebounds. Rebounding is really the only category that hurts the Jayhawks. With the four guard lineup, you can’t expect four “littles” to get all of the rebounds.

Kansas would hang on in the final minutes, even throwing in Tyler Self, and the walk-ons would would walk the Jayhawks to their ninth consecutive victory in an 89-72 victory over the ex-Big 12 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Kansas was guided by their bulldog once again, as Mason tallied 18 points and seven assists. Josh Jackson had 17, Svi with 15 and Devonte’ Graham with 14 to cap the majority of the scoring list. While Lucas’s performance wasn’t as big as Svi’s, he still put on his best show of the season for the 8-1 Jayhawks. Kansas with play Davidson in the Sprint Center on Saturday, getting a full week of rest before the game against the 5-3 ex-Steph-Curry’s.

No. 3 Kansas defeats old foe Nebraska, 89-72. Graphic by Nick Weippert.