The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels 71-53 in Las Vegas, NV on Thursday. KU took an early lead in their first true road game of the season and never looked back.
KU shot out to an early 9-2 advantage which stretched out to 18-7 with 11:56 remaining. The Jayhawks took a 42-20 lead into halftime.
The Jayhawks kept their distance until an 8-0 run from the Rebels cut the lead to 64-52 with 3:49 remaining in the game. Five straight points from junior guard Svi Mykhailiuk squashed any thoughts of a comeback for UNLV.
Freshman Josh Jackson led Kansas with 21 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Mykhailiuk was right behind him with 20 points off 8-for-14 shooting and 4-for-6 from behind the arc.
Senior Frank Mason had a rough night shooting, going 4-for-11 from the field and 4-for-10 from the free-throw line, but finished with 13 points, eight assists and five boards
Player of the Game
Jackson was a one-man show as the Jayhawks stretched the lead to 22 points at the half. With 7:00 to go in the first half, Jackson had outscored UNLV by himself, 14-12.
Play of the Game
The Mason alley-oop to Jackson for the tomahawk jam. It was not the best pass from Mason, but Jackson’s length and athleticism make him a can’t-miss target. The dunk looked effortless, as Jackson reached behind his head to grab the ball, then threw it down with fury.
KU’s assist advantage, 18-7, means the Jayhawks took a lot more open shots than the Runnin’ Rebels. The four-guard lineup, which Self might have to rely on even more after the Azubuike injury, opens up the floor as most of the KU players range from competent to lethal with the ball in their hands. On the other side, UNLV shot 3-for-17 from three-point range as the Jayhawks defense gave up few open looks.
What it means
A fairly dominate effort after losing freshman Udoka Azubuike just one day ago to a season-ending wrist injury. After building a sizeable advantage, Self got to experiment a little with both sophomore Bragg and senior Landen Lucas on the floor. The big-man duo combined for just four points, but did have 18 boards. The Jayhawks will need better production from these two going forward.
Next game information
The Jayhawks will begin Big 12 play against TCU on Dec. 30 in Fort Worth, TX @ 8 PM CT.