No. 14 Jayhawks run past Omaha in 109-64 victory
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Svi Mykhailiuk struggled to get his shot to drop for three straight games, two of them losses and a third that easily could have been had the Kansas sharpshooter missed one more 3-pointer.
Instead, Mykhailiuk hit the shot to beat Nebraska.
He kept hitting them against Omaha.
Mykhailiuk knocked down six more 3s and poured in 26 points, Devonte Graham added 17 points and the No. 14 Jayhawks rolled to a 109-64 victory over the Mavericks on Monday night.
“Everybody has bad games. Everybody has good games,” Mykhailiuk said. “The last three games I didn’t shoot it well. Today I did shoot it well. That’s basketball, up and down.”
Lagerald Vick added 15 points and Malik Newman had 14 for the Jayhawks (9-2), who enjoyed a breather after gritting out a win over Syracuse and dropping back-to-back games to Washington and Arizona State.
But it was Mykhailiuk who got the offense going. He was 6 of 7 from beyond the arc, 10 of 13 from the field and added four rebounds and four assists to fill his stat line.
“He can play off a screen, spot up, drive it,” Omaha coach Derrin Hansen said. “When he gets his feet set, he not only makes them, it’s like, in-the-middle makes them. He’s hard to guard.”
Daniel Norl had 13 points and Zach Jackson had 10 to lead Omaha, which went 9 for 28 from beyond the arc, shot 33 percent from the field and was outrebounded 49-26 by the Jayhawks.
“I think we were just a little overwhelmed,” the Mavericks’ Matt Pile said.
The Jayhawks toyed with Omaha throughout much of the first half, but their hot outside shooting and massive size advantage in the paint allowed them to easily draw away.
Arizona State transfer Sam Cunliffe, who became eligible after the fall semester and was playing his first game in Allen Fieldhouse, started the first big surge by knocking down a 3 late in the first half.
Mykhailiuk and Graham added 3s and the Jayhawks took an 11-0 run into the break.
Cunliffe also had a couple of nifty alley-oop dunks, leaping up to spear the ball with one hand for his first points with the Jayhawks. He finished with nine points in 19 minutes.
“To be honest with you, I kind of imagined it being a 3, the first one, but I always knew if I got out and ran, someone would throw it,” he said. “Devonte happened to throw it.”
It didn’t help the Mavericks’ cause that they rely on an up-and-down style predicated on 3s, one that plays right into the Jayhawks’ hands. Their superior speed and talent showed as the Jayhawks hit the 100-point mark before the final media timeout, allowing them to empty the bench.
Even walk-on James Sosinski got into the game. The tight end was plucked from the Kansas football team to provide depth in practice, and he wound up scoring four points in the final minutes.
“I would like for us to put the clamps on somebody and we still haven’t done that,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “But we’ve played consistently well this year except for back-to-back games, a four-day stretch where we weren’t very good. Other than that we played consistently well.”
STATS AND STREAKS
Udoka Azubuike had 11 points and 12 rebounds in 22 minutes for Kansas. The nation’s field-goal percentage leader was 5 of 7 from the floor. … The Mavericks were facing their highest-ranked opponent in their Division I era. … Vick also had nine rebounds. … Omaha was outscored 21-7 on the break.
Omaha faced its fourth opponent that was ranked or currently resides in the Top 25, though that’s only part of a difficult schedule. The Mavericks also played on the road for the 11th time in 14 games.
Kansas has done just fine against members of the Summit League, beating South Dakota State earlier this season. Now the Jayhawks need to prove they can beat someone from the Pac-12. They lost to Oregon in last year’s NCAA Tournament, and to the Huskies and Sun Devils this season. Stanford is next.
Omaha plays Montana State on Thursday night, its fourth game in nine days.
Kansas plays the Cardinal on Thursday night in Sacramento, California.