It took 20 minutes to get going, but the Jayhawks came back from a 12-point first half deficit to knock off Marquette, 77-68.
Kansas started off well enough in this one, building up first half leads of 19-11 and 22-17 before Marquette started hitting everything from behind the arc. However, Kansas struggled in the first half with its defense - help defense, defending the pick and roll, leaving shooters, you name it.
Marquette took advantage; with just 2:20 to go until halftime, MU’s Joseph Chartouny made a three-pointer to give the Eagles their biggest lead of the game at 42-30. Marquette would take a 47-38 lead into the break after averaging 1.38 points per possession in the first half. 10 of Marquette’s first 14 shots were three point attempts.
The second half was a completely different story. KU came out with more intensity, and began switching more on ball screens. The open threes for the Eagles weren’t available anymore, and Marquette went scoreless for the first 9:15 of the second half as Kansas ripped off a 22-0 run to take a 60-47 lead. KU’s first six baskets in the second half were all at the rim while Marquette went 0-10.
Marquette wouldn’t get any closer than seven the rest of the way, and KU cruised to a 77-68 win.
Dedric Lawson led all scorers with 26 points on 9-16 shooting, including making his only three-point attempt. Dedric also hauled in 12 rebounds.
Lagerald Vick (16), Devon Dotson (10), and Marcus Garrett (11) were the other Jayhawks in double figures, but Garrett’s came on 4-13 shooting from the floor.
Udoka Azubuike only played 15 foul-plagued minutes, scoring just 6 points while notching 4 fouls and going 0-3 from the free throw line.
As a team, Kansas only shot 10 three-pointers, but made 5 of them (50.0%). The Jayhawks were 16-24 (66.7%) from the free throw line.
Marquette took over 51.6% of their shots from 3-point range, hitting 14-31 (45.2%). That’s a bit misleading, because as we mentioned the game was a tale of two halves. In the first half, Marquette took 63.6% of its shots from behind the arc, making 11-21 (52.4%). But in the second half, the Eagles had just 37.0% of their shots from three-point range, and made just 3-10 (30.0%).
Kansas take on #5 Tennessee in the championship game of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off on Friday, November 23. The game is scheduled for an 8 PM (Jayhawk time) tip on ESPN2. Tennessee beat Louisville 92-81 in the other semifinal.