No. 4 Kansas pummels Long Beach State
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Just one more basket was required Tuesday for Lagerald Vick to tie a Kansas record for most field goals in a game without a miss.
The record was within sight for the sophomore guard when Vick darted down floor for a breakaway layup, only to hear a late whistle for a foul at the other end on teammate Carlton Bragg.
“I think Carlton must have been mad at him,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “That was probably the worst foul we’ve had since I’ve been here, or else he’d have got the record.”
Vick settled for a 9-for-9 performance, just shy of the Kansas mark (10-for-10) set by Norm Cook and tied by Danny Manning, but his career-high 23 points helped the No. 4 Jayhawks wallop Long Beach State 91-61 in Allen Fieldhouse.
“My shot feels pretty good, especially (after) not shooting the ball well starting off the season,” Vick said. “I knew it was just mental things.”
In particular, Vick shot poorly in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic on a neutral floor in Kansas City, Mo., going 3 of 14 in two games. He was then inserted in the starting lineup against North Carolina-Asheville on Nov. 25, and went 6-for-7 before his hot shooting against Long Beach State included 4-for-4 accuracy from 3-point range.
The Jayhawks (6-1) made nine of their first 14 attempts from that distance and rode 59.6 percent overall shooting to coast to their sixth straight win. They extended the nation’s longest active homecourt win streak to 45 straight.
Junior guard Svi Mykhailiuk added 14 points off the bench, while a pair of starting guards, Josh Jackson and Devonte’ Graham, netted 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Senior point guard Frank Mason, who came in as the Jayhawks’ leading scorer, managed just eight points, but added eight assists and six rebounds.
The 15,000-plus miles Long Beach State will cover on its current nine-game road swing has piled up the frequent flyer miles.
And, frequent defeats.
The weary 49ers (1-8) were never in it, surrendering an early 13-0 run to the Jayhawks, who established early control. Long Beach State suffered its eighth consecutive loss and will mercifully see the road trip end Saturday at New Mexico State.
“I‘m disappointed in our guys,” 49ers coach Dan Monson said. “Not by how we played but how we fought.”
That problem has recurred throughout the lengthy road trip.
“I don’t think you’re going to evaluate (an opponent) until you knock them backward a bit,” Monson added. “Unfortunately, we didn’t make any of those teams we’ve played, including Kansas, feel uncomfortable. We never saw how they faced adversity.”
Junior guard Justin Bibbins led Long Beach, the preseason pick to win the Big West, with 13 points. Junior forward Gabe Levin added 11, but the Niners shot just 40.4 percent from the field and were outrebounded 41-24.
The pace of play obviously favored the Jayhawks too. They managed a 16-4 edge in fast-break points, while scoring 90-plus points for the second straight game.
“Coach still thinks we can play a lot faster. We do too,” Mason said. “We’ve just got to find ways to pitch the ball ahead and attack.”
One disappointment for Self remained his ongoing frustration with big men. They accounted for just one first-half point, though senior forward Landen Lucas was held out with a strained oblique after participating in pregame warmups.
Bragg drew two early fouls and played just one minute in the first half, but the 6-10 sophomore recovered in the second half for six points and six rebounds.
“We have to have him playing at a higher level,” said Self, “and hopefully tonight was a start to get a little bit of confidence back.”
Starting center Udoka Azubuike led Kansas with seven boards, and scored eight points.
NOTES: As expected, freshman C Udoka Azuibuike and sophomore G Lagerald Vick remained in the Kansas lineup after each drew his first start in the Jayhawks’ previous game. ... Former Kansas coach Larry Brown was in attendance at Tuesday’s game. Brown guided the Jayhawks to the 1988 national title. ... One oddity for Long Beach State going into the game was the presence of players committing the fewest and most fouls in the country when extrapolated over 40 minutes -- freshman guard Jordan Griffin (0.3) and freshman forward LaRond Williams (15.3). Williams limped off with an apparent ankle sprain late in the Kansas game. ... Allen Fieldhouse remains the site of one of the 49ers’ all-time great wins, a 63-49 upset of Roy Williams’ Jayhawks. It was one of 18 wins all-time for Long Beach against ranked opponents and achieved under Seth Greenburg. ... Of the eight teams Long Beach has played on its nine-game road swing, four were ranked -- No. 3 North Carolina, No. 4 Kansas, No. 11 UCLA and No. 14 Louisville. ... One factor behind the 49ers’ slow start has been the cold shooting of junior G Justin Bibbins, a preseason All-Big West pick, although he bounced back a bit by making 5 of 9 from the field Tuesday. He came into the Kansas game shooting only 28 percent, including a 23 percent clip from 3-point range, after shooting 44 percent from inside and outside the arc last season.