No. 14 Kansas crushes Omaha
LAWRENCE, Kan. — One crucial shot may have ignited Svi Mykhailiuk. Or, it could be the Kansas senior guard is a good shooter capable of getting hot anytime.
Whatever the case, he was on fire Monday, leading the No. 14 Jayhawks with 26 points in a 109-64 rout over Omaha in Allen Fieldhouse.
Just two days earlier, a 3-point jumper for the corner by Mykhailiuk with 25 seconds remaining provided the decisive points in a one-point victory at Nebraska.
“Everybody has bad games, everybody has good games. Basketball is up and down,’’ said the Ukraine native. “Today I just felt confident after I made my first couple of shots.’’
Mykhailiuk made 10 of 13 shots and went 6 of 7 from 3-point range as Kansas climbed to 9-2 behind five scorers who netted double figures.
“I’m sure that shot at Nebraska gave him some confidence,’’ Kansas coach Bill Self said.
The Jayhawks (9-2) bridged the two halves with an 18-0 run, scoring to seven straight points to launch the second half after leading 55-29 at the break.
The Mavericks’ drought lasted almost eight minutes before senior guard Daniel Norl netted a 3-pointer with 17:37 remaining.
The win completed an unusual double against Nebraska teams after the Jayhawks won by a point over the Cornhuskers on Saturday and then whipped the outmanned Mavericks (3-11).
“We’ve seen a little bit of length, a little bit of athleticism, but we haven’t seen a team spread the floor and make shots the way KU can, and consistently make shots,’’ Omaha coach Derrin Hansen said.
Senior guard Devonte’ Graham added 17 points and a team-high eight assists for Kansas, while junior guard Lagerald Vick had 15 points and sophomore guard Malik Newman scored 14. Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike notched his third double-double, and second in as many games, with 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Jayhawks.
An 11-0 run to close the first included 3-pointers by Mykhailiuk, Graham and Sam Cunliffe.
Cunliffe, a sophomore guard who transferred from Arizona State, was playing in just his second game after becoming eligible at the end of the first semester. He scored nine points and dunked for his first field goal off a lob feed from Graham.
“I kind of imagined (his first basket) would be a 3, but I knew if I got out and ran someone would throw it up there,’’ Cunliffe said. “I felt really relaxed. I was more nervous before the game than when I got in.’’
The Jayhawks led the entire game and shot 62.3 percent from the floor while going 16 of 27 from 3-point range.
Kansas’ James Sosinski, a 6-foot-7 sophomore added for depth, played for the first time and scored four points.
Junior guard Zach Jackson, a Kansas native from Wichita, scored 10 points for Omaha, but fell short of his team-high average of 17.5 points. Norl led Omaha with 13 points.
The Mavericks have not yet won the road while playing just three home games in Baxter Arena, which was used for the U.S. Olympic curling trials. That scheduling conflict caused Omaha to play its first seven games on the road, a stretch that included losses against Big 12 members Oklahoma and TCU before facing Kansas.
NOTES: Although Kansas won its only true road game of the season last Saturday, using a late 3-pointer and blocked shot to pull out a 73-72 win at Nebraska, the Jayhawks dropped a spot to No. 14 in the AP rankings. The rating is the lowest for Kansas since January 2012. ... The Jayhawks entered the night as the top team in the nation in assists per game (20.0). ... Despite the lower rating, Kansas was still the highest-ranked foe Omaha has faced since moving into Division I in 2015-16. ... Omaha tipped off 29 hours after completing a home game Sunday against Cornell College, a Division III program. ... Kansas concludes its December schedule against Stanford on Dec. 21 in Sacramento, Calif., and at Texas on Dec. 29. The Jayhawks are looking to avoid losing three times in December for the first time since 1998-99.