LAWRENCE, Kan. (KU Athletics) – Kansas basketball’s final exhibition game of the season ended with a resounding 104-62 win over Emporia State on Sunday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.
The third-ranked Jayhawks held the Hornets to 30.6 percent shooting with a 49 to 31 rebounding advantage. Kansas shot 61.3 percent from the field and scored 56 points in the paint to Emporia’s 16 points in the lane.
“We played better. I don’t know that we were great, but I thought they made shots early,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “They made six threes in the first half and a couple of them were really, really deep. If you take those things away I thought we actually defended decent, we rebounded better and I thought our big guys went after the ball pretty well. We shot well in the first half and the ball moved better – it was definitely a better outing.”
Senior guard Frank Mason III led the Jayhawks with 17 points on 7-of-7 shooting with five assists in just 20 minutes of action. In KU’s pair of exhibition contests this season, Mason totaled 38 points on 72.2 percent shooting with 14 assists.
A total of six Jayhawks reached double-figure points during KU’s 27th all-time 100-point exhibition contest. Junior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was KU’s second-leading scorer with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Junior guard Devonte’ Graham added 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting with four assists.
The freshman trio of guard Josh Jackson, center Udoka Azubuike and forward Mitch Lightfoot all reached double-figures in points. Jackson slashed and dashed to a balanced 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. All six of Azubuike’s six field goals came from dunks as he finished with 13 points. Lightfoot scored seven of his 12 points in the second half.
Senior center Landen Lucas contributed the first basket of the game and finished with six points, seven rebounds in a limited 16 minutes of action. Lucas’ first bucket was followed by a Jackson perimeter jumper and fastbreak and-1 layup from Mason to put Kansas ahead, 7-0, at the 18:23 mark. Emporia State’s Jay Temaat made a pair of 3-pointers to cut KU’s lead to one, 9-8.
The Hornets’ Garin Vandiver, son of head coach Shaun Vandiver, made a 3-pointer to tie it, 11-11, at the 15:16 mark of the first half. Kansas responded as Mykhailiuk dished a behind-the-back pass to Mason for a contested fastbreak layup which brought the crowd to its feet and sparked a 23-2 run over seven minutes to give Kansas control for the remainder of the game.
The Jayhawks continued to dazzle the sell-out crowd with dominance in the paint, outscoring ESU 24 to four in the lane, and a trio of alley-oops featuring a variety of connections – Graham to Mykhailiuk, Mykhailiuk to Carlton Bragg Jr., and Graham to Azubuike.
Kansas went into halftime with a 55-29 lead. Mykhailiuk paced KU with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including two 3-pointers in nine first-half minutes. Mason and Graham each contributed 10 points while dishing out a combined seven first-half assists – five from Mason and two from Graham.
KU’s freshmen Jackson and Azubuike shined in the second half as the Jayhawks surged to a 42-point victory. Azubuike connected on four alley-oops in the second period as Jackson displayed his explosiveness and vision with seven points, five rebounds and a pair of assists in the second half.
Kansas ventures on a grueling road stretch of playing two top-11 teams to begin the regular season. The Jayhawks’ season-opener is against No. 11 Indiana on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11 during the State Farm Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu. Kansas then travels to New York City to face No. 1 Duke in the State Farm Champions Classic in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Both games will be nationally televised on ESPN.