Kansas registers 70-56 road victory at K-State

The seventh-ranked Kansas Jayhawks limited Kansas State to 32.3 percent shooting Monday night and held on to sole possession of the lead in the Big 12 men’s basketball race with a 70-56 road victory.

Guard Svi Mykhailiuk hit five 3-pointers and scored 22 to lead the Jayhawks, who improved to 18-4 and 7-2 in conference.

Coming into their home arena with a chance to tie for the conference lead, the Wildcats lost to the rival Jayhawks for the second time this season and fell to 16-6 and 5-4.

Kansas coach Bill Self pointed out a few statistical oddities in his team’s 40-27 burst to the first-half lead.

“If you’re going to be up 13 on the road, have 12 turnovers and go 6 for 13 from the foul line, you wouldn’t think that would be the case,” Self told the Associated Press. “Somehow we were able to keep the lead and win both halves.”

Wildcats forward Dean Wade had 20 points and eight rebounds but guard Barry Brown, the team’s leading scorer, struggled with 4 for 16 shooting.

Averaging 17.3 points coming in, Brown finished with nine as K-State’s four-game winning streak came to an end.

Kansas beat Kansas State 73-72 in Lawrence on Jan. 3.

“I told the guys we had to play better than we did in Lawrence, because they’re a great road team,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “They have good poise. They understand each other, their roles. I expected them to come at us and they did.”

Kansas guards Devonte’ Graham and Malik Newman both posted double doubles to aid the Jayhawks.

Graham had 16 points and 11 assists. Newman came alive offensively in the second half and finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Big 12 race

Kansas leads at 7-2. Texas Tech, Oklahoma and West Virginia trail at 5-3. Kansas State is 5-4 and Texas 4-4.

Kansas erases 16-point deficit, downs West Virginia

Trailing by 16 points twice in the first half, the 10th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks started to play with a resolve.

Some might argue that they started to beat the No. 6 West Virginia Mountaineers at their own game.

Kansas came all the way back Monday with a strong defensive effort and timely shooting from Sky Mykhailiuk and Devonte’ Graham to take down West Virginia, 71-66.

As a result, the Jayhawks (15-3, 5-1) assumed sole possession of first place in the Big 12, all while breaking a three-game road losing streak to West Virginia (15-3, 4-2) in Morgantown.

A big play came with less than eight minutes left, with Kansas still down by 10. Graham went to the basket to score, drawing a fourth foul on West Virginia’s best player, Jevon Carter.

As Carter went to the bench, Graham made the free throw to cut the Mountaineers’ lead to seven.

By the time West Virginia was able to get Carter back onto the floor three minutes later, Kansas had the momentum and soon took the lead.

“I feel like when he’s in the game, their offense flow way better,” Graham told ESPN. ‘He create and make plays for others. He’s just an offensive threat. Without him in in the game, they really struggled, and we kind of made a run.”

In the end, Mykhailiuk and Graham carried the Jayhawks down the stretch, combining for 26 points in the second half, when Kansas outscored West Virginia 43-25.

Defensively, Kansas held West Virginia to 10 for 28 percent and 1 for 13 on threes after intermission.

On Saturday, both teams get back into action, with the Jayhawks hosting the Baylor Bears, while West Virginia hosts Texas.

Texas Tech makes history with first victory at Kansas

The Texas Tech Red Raiders guarded the three-point line effectively and came away with an impressive 85-73 Big 12 road victory at Kansas Tuesday night.

It was the first win by the Red Raiders at historic Phog Allen Fieldhouse in 18 tries, the Associated Press reported.

A good argument can be made that the Red Raiders won the game with their perimeter defense.

Kansas hit 17 of 35 three-point shots in a 92-86 win at Texas on Friday night.

Texas Tech didn’t allow the defending conference champions to shoot like that two games in a row, limiting the Jayhawks to 6 of 26 from long distance .

As a result, the 18th-ranked Red Raiders improved to 13-1 overall and 2-0 in conference under second-year coach Chris Beard.

The 10th-ranked Jayhawks, under veteran coach Bill Self, fell to 11-3 and 1-1.

“It’s impossible to stop ’em,” Beard said. “You just try to contain ’em, and you try to contest shots.

“Like, the way they shot the ball in Austin the other night, they’re not going to get beat, cause Texas did a good job contesting most of ’em. They’ll play on the final Monday (of the NCAA tournament, if they shoot well).

“You got to be fortunate and tonight, we were. They got some good looks. We made some mistakes on switches. So we were fortunate tonight. But you got to give our guys credit. I did feel like there was a sense of urgency to guard the three-point line.”

Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham led all scorers with 27 points, but he didn’t have much help.

In contrast, ten players played for the Red Raiders and nine of them scored.

Senior Keenan Evans led Texas Tech with 15 points. Justin Gray, Norense Odiase and Jarrett Culver added 12 apiece. Zhaire Smith scored 11.

Guard Devonte’ Graham lighting it up for No. 2 Kansas

Second-ranked Kansas will play on national television twice this week, which is a good thing for fans aching to see more of Jayhawks senior point guard Devonte’ Graham.

The undefeated Jayhawks will take on Washington on Wednesday night in Kansas City, followed by a home game in Lawrence on Sunday against Arizona State.

Graham has been nothing short of sensational lately, scoring 35 in back-to-back victories last week.

In the wake of a 76-60 victory over Syracuse in Miami on Saturday night, Graham took over at the end of the first half in a tight game, scoring 14 in a row.

Afterward, a question was raised about the concept of a point guard on such a talented team taking 17 shots.

“The thing with Devonte’ is, he is a point guard, but he is also a scoring point guard,” Kansas coach Bill Self said, in notes posted on Kansas’ web site. “He’s a guy that can score or make a pass to finish a play.”

Self said it’s not a negative for his team when it goes to Graham for a spark.

“17 (shots) isn’t a lot of shots to get 35 (points),” Self said. “I don’t think that will be a negative at all but I don’t think it will be a nightly thing.

“I think we’re better when we have balance. On a night when we didn’t have anything going on, he needed to do that (score).”

In offensive outbursts against Toledo and Syracuse, Graham became the first Kansas player since Andrew Wiggins in 2014 to score 30 or more points in back-to-back games.

Wiggins scored 41 against West Virginia and 30 against Oklahoma State in March 2014.

Graham, from Raleigh, North Carolina, said he lets the flow of the game dictate when he elects to shoot or pass.

“We’re just trying to be aggressive, and if I can get in the paint and make plays for others, than I’m going to try to do that and make the right plays,” he said. “My shot was just falling tonight (and last game).

“The previous game before that, my shot wasn’t falling as well. It’s just good to see the ball go in.”