Kansas thrashes Pitt State in exhibition basketball

Courtesy: KU Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Five Jayhawks chipped in double-figure scoring efforts as No. 3 Kansas dispatched of the Pittsburg State Gorillas Tuesday night inside Allen Fieldhouse. Redshirt sophomore guard Malik Newman led all scorers with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting to treat the 16,300 fans in attendance to an exhibition win on Halloween night.

The win marked the second exhibition victory of the 2017-18 season for Kansas as it preps for its regular-season opener on Nov. 10. KU dispatched of Missouri in the Showdown for Relief on Oct. 22 and will play one more friendly when the Fort Hays State Tigers come to Lawrence on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Kansas got out to quick starts in both halves, outscoring the visitors by a tally of 53-11 in the opening eight minutes of each stanza.

Billy Preston got the Allen Fieldhouse crowd on its feet less than five minutes into the game with a fastbreak one-handed jam. That dunk, paired with a trio of three-pointers from Devonte’ Graham, Lagerald Vick and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk KU’s next three possessions capped a 22-0 Jayhawk run that put KU ahead 26-3 less than seven minutes into the game.

Newman then took the offensive reins, scoring seven of the Jayhawks’ next 10 points with the help of a jumper, a pair of three pointers and his first of three 3-pointers on the night.

Kansas stretched its first-half lead to 30 points when Vick flew through the air for a put-back dunk to give his team a 40-10 edge with 8:26 left before the break.

The KU offense hit a lull over the final stages of the first half, converting on just three field goals in the last eight minutes. Pitt State took advantage, cutting into the KU lead with the help from an 18-7 run over the next seven minutes. That stretch shaved a 40-point Jayhawk lead to a 58-23 KU advantage at halftime.

Much like the first half, the Jayhawks kicked off the second half on a surge, using a 16-0 run to once again put some more distance between themselves and the Gorillas. KU took a 69-31 lead into the first timeout of the second stanza with KU big men Udoka Azubuike and Preston taking control in the paint and netting nine Jayhawk points right out of the locker room.

The Kansas defense also tightened its grip on PSU and allowed just four Gorilla field goals over the final 9:39 of the game. KU used that stretch to once again build its lead to 52 points when senior Clay Young drive through the lane for a lay-up to put his team up 96-44 with five minutes remaining.

The Jayhawks cruised from there, surpassing the century mark and notching the exhibition win, 100-54. The margin of victory was KU’s largest in exhibition play since July 7, 2015, when the Jayhawks downed Chile, 106-41, in group play of the World University Games in Gwanju, South Korea.

Newman led all scorers with 19 points, shooting 70 percent from the field and connecting on 3-of-5 from the 3-point line. Mykhailiuk added 17 points while Azubuike and Vick both tallied double-doubles, Azubuike scoring 17 points and 14 rebounds and Vick tallying 15 points and 11 boards. Preston rounded out the Jayhawks who scored in double figures after the freshman connected on 10 points with a perfect 5-of-5 clip from the field in just eight minutes of action.

UP NEXT
Kansas will conclude exhibition play on Tuesday, Nov. 7, when it hosts Fort Hays State at 7 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse. That contest will be televised on Jayhawk TV. The Jayhawks will open regular-season play when they host Tennessee State on Friday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.

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