LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas faithful received their first chance to welcome KU basketball’s group of newcomers inside game-atmosphere Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night as the third-ranked Jayhawks defeated Washburn, 92-74.
Senior guard Frank Mason III led the Jayhawks in scoring, nearly reaching a triple-double, with 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Junior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk drained four 3-pointers to finish with 16 points, while freshman guard Josh Jackson poured in 14 second-half points.
Jackson was in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s contest, highlighting five Jayhawks who made their debut. Joining Jackson who ran under the tunnel to James Naismith Court for the first time were freshmen Mitch Lightfoot and Udoka Azubuike, and juniors Dwight Coleby and Tucker Vang.
“It was good for our freshmen to get an eye-opening experience,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “I’d say we labored; it wasn’t a great outing by our freshmen but certainly I don’t know that that is all bad because it opens their eyes to things we need to do a lot better.”
Kansas shot 54 percent from the floor, while holding the Ichabods to 38 percent shooting. The majority of Washburn’s 45-to-44 rebounding advantage came from pulling down 19 offensive boards off the glass.
Washburn struck first with a 3-pointer by David Salach just under a minute into regulation. KU junior Devonte’ Graham responded by making the first bucket of the season for the Jayhawks – a 3-point to tie the game at three. Azubuike was the first player off the bench for Lucas, who committed two fouls in the first two minutes of the game. The 7-footer from Nigeria contributed early with a blocked shot, followed by a dunk on the opposite end of the floor to put Kansas up, 7-3.
KU’s defense began to clamp down in the lane as Kansas began to pull away in the first half. Kansas held a 7-6 lead before going a 13-2 run to take a 20-8 lead at the 11:11 mark on a layup by sophomore guard Legerald Vick.
Washburn didn’t have a solution for Mason’s dribble-drive penetration, converting on a number of contested layups to pad the Jayhawks’ double-digit lead.
Graham connected with sophomore forward Carlton Bragg Jr., for a dunk to give Kansas a 26-16 lead at the 8:01 mark of the first half.
Jackson registered his third foul at the 5:37 mark of the first half, which limited his first-half playing time to nine minutes.
Lightfoot got fouled going to the bucket on three-straight possessions and converted three of his six free throws during that stretch as Kansas maintained a 39-28 lead.
Mason continued to go aggressive to rim as the first half was coming to a close, making an and-1 layup, 44-29. A late Washburn 5-0 flurry with a minute remaining in the first half cut KU’s lead to 10, but Graham and Mykhailiuk restored KU’s cushion to 16 points with a pair of 3-pointers with under 35 second to go in the half.
Mason headlined the opening half with 11 points, eight assists and four rebounds as Kansas went into the locker room with a 50-34 lead. The Jayhawks shot 61 percent from the floor in the first half.
Washburn started the second half on a run 9-2 run, cutting KU’s 16-point lead down to nine points with 17:01 left to play.
Jackson began to show glimpses of his offensive prowess which garnered him so much attention during the recruiting process as one of the top prospects in the country. The Detroit native scored his first basket as a Jayhawk on a layup with 13:50 reminding in the game, putting Kansas up 62-49.
Kansas pulled away in the closing stages of regulation with an 11-0 run, capped off by a pair of free throws by Mykhailiuk with 4:26 remaining which gave KU a 85-63 lead.
Fan-favorite, senior guard Tyler Self, checked in the game late and scored two points before ushering in a 92-74 victory for the Jayhawks.