Graham leads No. 11 Kansas past Texas 92-86
By MARK ROSNER
Dec. 30, 2017
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Kansas players saw Mohamed Bamba, Texas' long-armed shot blocker, stationed near the basket and figured there were easier ways to score than to challenge him.
So the 11th-ranked Jayhawks shot 3-pointers, converting 17 of 35, and defeated Texas 92-86 on Friday night in the Big 12 opener for both teams. They made 11 3-pointers in the second half.
"We definitely weren't getting any layups with him down there," Kansas guard Devonte' Graham said.
Graham had 23 points and eight assists, converting six 3-point baskets.
Lagerald Vick scored 21, making a career-best five 3s. Svi Myhailiuk added 20 points, hitting five 3-pointers.
Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike had 13 points and career-best 13 rebounds for Kansas (11-2, 1-0 Big 12).
Kansas has won 13 of its last 14 games against Texas, including eight in a row. The Jayhawks won a conference opener for the 27th straight season.
Bamba, a 6-foot-11 freshman with a 7-9 wingspan, led Texas (9-4, 0-1) with 22 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocks, all season bests.
"The guy could have blocked the sun," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "We shot the heck out of the ball. We needed to, though. I told them before the game we were going to shoot 35 3s."
Dylan Osetkowski scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half for Texas. Matt Coleman scored 17 for Texas.
Kansas could not pull away despite making seven 3-point baskets in the first 9 minutes of the second half and leading by 13. They had another three-point play - a dunk and free throw - by Azubuike during that stretch.
"I just thought there was a few stretches in the game when we didn't have the defensive energy that we needed to stop a team like Kansas during those runs," Texas coach Shaka Smart said.
Osetkowski, after missing six of seven shots from the field in the first half, scored 10 points during the first 9 minutes of the second half to help Texas stay within reach. Coleman and Eric Davis Jr. also helped with 12 points apiece in the second half.
Graham made four-3-pointers in the first half, including one with a minute remaining to give Kansas a 37-34 lead.
Before Friday, Texas limited opponents to 28.2 percent on 3-pointers, 11th best in the country.
"They got a few open looks, they knocked down a couple with hands in their face," Coleman said. "I give them a lot of credit, a lot of respect. It was almost like playing the (Golden State) Warriors."
Kansas: Self's thin seven-man rotation could expand if freshman Silvio De Sousa has his eligibility approved by the NCAA. De Sousa, a 6-9 forward, arrived in Lawrence this week and practiced with the team after recently graduating from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Self told reporters the NCAA must vet "amateurism stuff," as it routinely does with incoming athletes. Self hopes to have De Sousa available soon. Kansas is still awaiting resolution in the case of freshman forward Billy Preston, a five-star recruit who has yet to appear in a game while the school and the NCAA investigate the financial situation with a car he drove during the fall semester.
Texas: Guard Andrew Jones, the Longhorns' leading scorer and by far their most accurate 3-point shooter, returned after missing four games with hairline fracture of the right wrist. Jones, who started the first eight games before his injury, served as a reserve scored five points in 9 minutes.
"He didn't quite have his wind the way he did before he got hurt," Smart said.
NOT THEIR BEST NIGHT, ACTUALLY
The 17 3-pointers Kansas made were not even a season high. The Jayhawks hit 19 of 36 against Texas Southern. They average 11 3-point baskets a game with 42.2 percent accuracy, 13th-best in the nation.
SMART T'd UP
Smart said he was surprised to receive a technical foul with 3:43 remaining. Kansas led by 12 at the time.
Asked if he received an explanation from the official, Smart said, "Just that I deserved it. I'm not allowed to comment on that stuff. I'm disappointed."
Kansas hosts No. 22 Texas Tech on Tuesday night. The Jayhawks have won 16 straight against Tech, the last one by a single point in Lubbock.
Texas is at Iowa State on Monday night. The Longhorns have lost six straight in Ames, last winning in 2010.
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