No. 3 Kansas routs Oakland behind Azubuike, Lightfoot
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Kansas sophomore center Udoka Azubuike missed more shots Friday night against Oakland than he had in the first four games of the season.
Azubuike’s numbers were still solid - 21 points (on 10 of 16 shooting) and 10 rebounds in just 20 minutes - as the third-ranked Jayhawks rolled to a 102-59 victory in their second HoopHall Miami Invitational campus game.
The Jayhawks’ inside duo of Azubuike and fellow sophomore Mitch Lightfoot dominated inside for 32 points and 18 rebounds as Kansas improved to 5-0 and rang up triple digits on the Allen Fieldhouse scoreboard for the second straight game.
Azubuike entered Friday night’s game leading the country in field goal percentage at 84.8 percent (28 of 33), but that will drop after his 10 of 16 performance. He played just six minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, but Lightfoot filled in with 11 points and five rebounds in 11 minutes.
“I thought Mitch was the best player we had in the game, especially in the first half,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “He played important minutes and played very well.”
Seven different KU players scored in double figures for the second straight game.
Lagerald Vick and Malik Newman each scored 15 points, while Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonte Graham added 14 points each. Marcus Garrett rounded out the double-figure scoring with 10.
“Some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug,” said Oakland coach Greg Kampe. “Today, we were the bug.”
The Jayhawks got nine early points from Azubuike in the first 4:10 and used an 11-0 run midway through the first half to open up a 22-point margin (36-14). They led by as many as 46 points in the second half.
“Coach says to give energy right from the jump and that’s what I tried to do,” said Azubuike.
“With the big fella, a bad lob is a good lob,” said Newman. “If we’re in trouble, just throw it up by the rim and have him go get it.”
Kampe was visibly disappointed with this team’s play throughout the game. His frustration reached the boiling point early in the second half when he called a pair of timeouts before the first TV timeout.
“I was thinking that I’d probably wouldn’t need them in overtime,” Kampe said. “If I would have had six, I would’ve used them all.”
Kendrick Nunn led Oakland (2-3) with 23 points. Redshirt senior Jalen Hayes, who missed the first four games of the season because of an NCAA suspension, scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds in his season debut for the Grizzlies. Hayes averaged 16 points and eight rebounds a game last year for the Horizon League champions.
After shooting 50 percent or better in each of its first four games (two exhibitions and two regular season), Oakland has shot a combined 33.8 percent from the field in its last three contests - road games against Toledo, Syracuse and Kansas.
“We play games like this all the time,” Kampe said. “To have seniors, a veteran-laden team like we do, and have Jalen back ... this was very, very disappointing. Offensively, we looked like a very, very poorly coached team.”
The Jayhawks return to action Tuesday night at home against Toledo. Oakland will travel to Oral Roberts on Monday.