Senior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk erupted for 24 points Saturday, including 17 during a sizzling first half, as No. 5 Kansas tripped Texas A&M 79-68 at the Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.
The Jayhawks (17-4) led by 18 at the break and then cruised throughout the second half while recovering from a loss at Oklahoma earlier in the week.
Texas A&M (13-8) crawled within nine inside the final media timeout of the second half, but could get no closer despite 18 points and nine rebounds from junior center Tyler Davis.
Sophomore guard Malik Newman added 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds for the Jayhawks, who lost two nonconference games earlier in the season against Washington and Arizona State. The game against Texas A&M, a former Big 12 rival, was part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
The loss was the seventh in nine games for the Aggies, who also got 11 points and nine rebounds from sophomore forward Robert Williams. Texas A&M managed a 40-33 advantage on the boards, but was outscored 15-2 on fast-break points.
Kansas used an 18-3 run, which included 9-for-13 shooting from 3-point range, to gain a 38-21 margin in the first 15 minutes. The Jayhawks went on to grab their biggest lead of the half, 45-27, on a 3-pointer by Mitch Lightfoot just 3 seconds before the break.
Mykhailiuk netted 17 first-half points as one of five Jayhawks to drain 3-pointers. Kansas hit 10 of 19 from that distance for the half while holding Texas A&M to 36.4 percent shooting.
The victory was the 200th at home for Kansas against nonconference opponents in 15 seasons under coach Bill Self. The Jayhawks have lost just nine nonconference home games during that stretch.
Kansas stands 4-1 all-time in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Jayhawks sit atop the Big 12 with a 6-2 record and take a one-game lead into a Monday matchup at Kansas State, which has won four straight and sits in a four-way tie for second at 5-3. Kansas claimed a 73-72 home win over Kansas State in the first meeting on Jan. 13.
--Field Level Media