Much of the discussion coming into this game, in which No. 5 Kansas (17-4) defeated Texas A&M (13-8) by a final score of 79-68, was focused on the question of how KU would handle the big front line of Texas A&M, featuring two prominent 6-foot-10 players in Tyler Davis and Robert Williams.
On offense, Kansas did what they have done all season long — shoot three-pointers. This strategy worked wonders in the 1st half, as Malik Newman and Svi Mykhailiuk both drained a pair of outside jumpers before the first media timeout.
By the 9:58 mark in the 1st half, KU had a double digit lead, 30-18, after a Devonte’ Graham three-pointer. That would remain the case for the remainder of the game, as the Jayhawks never let up enough to allow the Aggies back into it.
Mykahiliuk was ultra-aggressive and led the game in scoring with 24, connecting on 4-8 three pointers. His early scoring output was huge in getting KU out to an early lead, and essentially allowed them to coast for the rest of the game.
Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike also played a huge role in the early advantage, his part being played on defense, finishing the first half with 6 rebounds and 4 blocks. For the game, Azubuike had 8 points and 6 rebounds.
For the 4th straight game, Graham played all 40 minutes, and he once again struggled from the field, finishing 2-11 and 2-5 from distance. He also went just 2-4 from the free throw line and scored 8 points while adding 7 assists.
For Texas A&M, Davis and Williams did combine for 29 points on the inside, but it wasn’t enough, as turnovers and poor outside defense spelled defeat for the Aggies in this Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup.
Next up for the Jayhawks is the 2nd installment of the Sunflower Showdown, as they’ll face off with Kansas State in Manhattan on Monday at 8 pm. A victory would maintain KU’s one game lead in the Big 12, but a loss would move them into a tie with the Wildcats atop the conference.