EditorsNote: rewords last graf
Junior forward Dedric Lawson enjoyed his best scoring performance at Kansas with 26 points as the No. 2 Jayhawks overcame a nine-point halftime deficit Wednesday to down Marquette 77-68 in the Preseason NIT at New York.
Lawson, a transfer whose career best at Memphis was 35 points, overcame the inefficiency that plagued him in the Jayhawks’ first three games. The preseason All-American shot 9 of 16 from the floor and added 12 rebounds.
Kansas (4-0) will play in the tournament final Friday against No. 5 Tennessee, a 92-81 winner over Louisville in Wednesday’s other first-round game. Marquette (3-2), paced by junior forward Sam Hauser with 20 points and six rebounds, will meet Louisville on Friday.
After giving up 11 baskets from 3-point range in the first half, the Jayhawks stormed back with a 22-0 blitz to open the second half and gain a 60-47 advantage.
Senior guard Lagerald Vick, who was coming off career-bests of 30-plus points in each of his previous two games, added 16 for Kansas.
Junior guard Markus Howard, who came in as Marquette’s leading scorer with a 20-point average, added 18 but made just 6 of 23 attempts. Of the Golden Eagles’ 25 baskets, 14 were from 3-point range. They shot just 25.9 percent in the second half.
Marquette wasted no time finding openings along the arc, burying 11 of 21 shots from 3-point range in the first half.
The outburst helped the Golden Eagles claim a 47-38 halftime lead. They made five shots during a 17-7 run that pushed the lead to 12.
Hauser triggered the 3-point flurry by going 5 of 8 and scoring 17 first-half points. Howard added three treys and had 13 points at the break.
Vick started hot, making his first four attempts, including three 3-pointers, for 11 points eight minutes into the game. He did not score again, however, the remainder of the half.
Lawson also scored 11 before the break while reserve guard Marcus Garrett scored the Jayhawks’ last six points of the half to keep the margin to single digits at halftime.
—Field Level Media