Kansas grinds out 77-68 win over Marquette in NIT Season Tip-Off

Udoka Azubuike and the Jayhawks will face No. 5 Tennessee in the final on Friday night.
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NEW YORK — Top five teams Kansas and Tennessee were tested in the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals. Both passed and will face off in the championship game Friday night.

Dedric Lawson had a double-double with 26 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 2 Kansas to a 77-68 win over Marquette in the second semifinal of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Wednesday night. Earlier in the evening, No. 5 Tennessee topped Louisville 92-81.

Marquette (3-1) led by as many as 12 in the first half before taking a 47-38 lead into the break. Then came the Jayhawks run.

“Coach got on us,” said Dedric Lawson of Bill Self’s halftime message. “I won’t tell you the word he used, but coach got on us about being tough and going out there and defending our man. We had a couple adjustments in the second half and that helped us out in the 22-0 run.”

Marquette went 0-of-10 from the field to start second half as Kansas (4-0) retook the lead in commanding fashion. The Golden Eagles finally scored a basket nine minutes into the second half on Joey Hauser’s 3-pointer to make it 60-50. His brother, Sam Hauser, led the Golden Eagles with 20 points while Markus Howard had 18 points

“It definitely brought some awareness for us to see what we can do defensively, because that was a great offensive team that had great shooters, a great point guard and a great wing that could make shots,” Lawson said. “I think that was a pretty good offensive team, so to hold them to all those stops was pretty good for us going forward.”

The Jayhawks got 16 points from Lagerald Vick while Devon Dotson chipped in with 10 points, four assists and three steals.