The Jayhawks came out firing on all cylinders, improving to 3-0 in their 98-64 shellacking of South Dakota State.
After defeating Kentucky just three days ago in the Champions Classic, the Kansas Jayhawks returned to action to face the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State University. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk came out with a purpose scoring 19 of his game-high 27 points in the first half. Svi looked to have the total package with everything from deep triples to tuff drives to getting in the passing lanes. Svi was a monster.
The Jayhawks looked to be a lot more cohesive on offense as well. They had great spacing running their dribble-weave offense and were able to get everyone involved. Devonte’ Graham looked under control, not forcing shots and running the offense like we saw against Kentucky. He finished with eight points and 11 assists. This marks his second double-digit assist game of the year after posting 12 against Tennessee State. Lagerald Vick continued to stay aggressive in all facets of the game, scoring 22 points and pulling down seven rebounds. Malik Newman also chipped in with 13 points of his own.
It was a fairly easy night on the block for Udoka Azubuike. Azubuike was able to man-handle the Jackrabbits down low, scoring 17. Although some improvement has been evident, Udoka still has some work to do offensively. He his great once he is using his big frame to push his man up the lane, but he still has some work to do recognizing angles, double-teams and where the open man is. Also, two rebounds is not enough for a 7-foot, 280-pound center against a smaller lineup.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the game was the first-half production Kansas received from senior walk-on Clay Young. After having Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot sidelined with foul trouble, Young blended in with a talented KU lineup. It’s not going to show in the box score, but Clay Young delivered when Kansas needed him.
Tonight’s victory marks Bill Self’s 419th win at the University of Kansas. He and the Jayhawks will look to add another one Tuesday, November 21st, when they host Texas Southern.
1) No Billy
For the third straight game, the Jayhawks were without freshman Billy Preston. Although he has not yet played a regular season game for the Jayhawks, Preston’s presence has been missed. Tonight it was even more evident early on as Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot struggled guarding SDSU’s smaller bigs on the perimeter. Preston is an athletic forward with an NBA-ready body and great agility for his size. He also has a face-up skill set that no other big on KU’s active roster has. Hopefully the matter with KU’s Compliance Department gets resolved quickly so Jayhawks fans can enjoy this young man’s talent.
2) Marcus Garrett can guard
It has always been evident with Bill Self that if you can’t guard, you won’t play. Bottom line: Marcus Garrett can flat-out guard. Garrett moves his feet well and uses his lengthy 6-foot-5 frame to get his hands on the ball. He does an excellent job playing the passing lanes, seeing the ball and the man, and he seems to always be where he is supposed to be on the court.
3) Villanova 2.0?
I know it’s early, but in some ways, this team is starting to remind me a little of the 2016 National Championship Villanova squad. Yes, the same team that knocked Kansas out in the Elite Eight. That Nova squad featured a four-guard lineup that could really shoot. It was also equipped with a senior point guard that could affect the game on both sides of the ball and in multiple ways. That team forced lineups to go small or risk bigs getting beat off the dribble or pulling bigs away from the basket creating back cut lanes for easy buckets. They had a lot of ways to beat you on that team just like these Jayhawks do.