The Kansas Jayhawks clinched sole-possession of first place in the Big 12 with a 77-67 win over the Texas Longhorns on Saturday.
This was a game that Kansas led almost the entire way. Josh Jackson got the Jayhawks out to an early 5-0 lead as the Longhorns came out in a zone defense, and a steal and a dunk by Devonte’ Graham extended the lead to 9-2.
Texas fought back, mostly inside with Jarrett Allen, to take a 21-20 lead. Kansas responded with a 16-2 run to take the lead for good.
Texas managed to get the score within five in the second half, but seemingly every time Texas put a run together, Kansas came right back with a run of their own. While it’s been nice to watch the Frank Mason show for much of the season, it was equally refreshing to see the Jayhawks handily win a game with some balanced scoring.
Jackson got Kansas off to a good start while the game was still close early in the first half, and later in the half it was Dwight Coleby who provided some very good minutes off of the bench. Coleby came into the game with just four total points in all of the Big 12 conference season, but managed 12 points and 4 rebounds.
Jackson finished with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, despite shooting just 5-14 from the floor.
Graham hit a couple of threes early in the second half to open up a 10 points lead, and it was Mason that hit some big shots down the stretch to put the game away. Graham put in 12 points and 4 assists, while Mason had 16 points on 5-15 from the floor.
Lagerald Vick also continued his good play, knocking down a three, and throwing down some athletic dunks:
Vick finished with 7 points and 4 rebounds on 3-4 shooting from the floor.
Texas was led by Allen, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds after having 22 and 19 in Lawrence last month. Andrew Jones also put in 18.
Clunker of the game: Svi Mykhailuk/Carlton Bragg
Svi finished with 2 points on 0-5 shooting from the floor (all of those shots came from behind the arc). Since February 6, he’s shooting just 29.6 percent from three, 20 percent from two, and is scoring just over five points per game.
His defense, while it was pretty good today, has also been a bit suspect. Svi, I think, will ultimately be ok. However, it’s a bit frustrating to see him struggling like this right now, as the season comes to a close, and the NCAA Tournament is right around the corner.
If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that Lagerald Vick has been trending in the opposite direction. His jump shot hasn’t been quite as good as we may have thought, but he’s been great at cutting to the rim, and defensively he’s always been better than Svi.
As for Bragg, he wasn’t necessarily bad, but he lost playing time to Coleby. Which is fine, since Coleby was playing so well, but finishing with 2 points and no rebounds after having the best performance of your season earlier this week is not a good thing. I’m going to have to keep reminding myself not to get excited every time Bragg has a good game for the rest of the season.