In a game of runs in the first half turned into the Lagerald and Dedric show in the second half as KU held on in a close one for a 74-71 win.
In a 180 reversal from the way the Final Four game started (22-4 in case you
forgot drank too much that night), Kansas opened up an early 8-1 lead. However, Villanova stormed back with a 12-0 run to take a 13-8 lead of their own. Kansas responded with another run, this time 11-0, to make the score 19-13 in favor of the Jayhawks. KU built a 9-point, 29-20 lead with just 2:42 to play until halftime, but Villanova’s Collin Gillespie took over, scoring 8 of ‘Nova’s next 11 points . The half would end with KU holding just a two-point lead at 33-31.
Villanova jumped out to a 39-35 lead following an Eric Pachall free throw, but Kansas quickly tied it back up a few minutes later on a Lagerald Vick jumper. The teams would go neck and neck the rest of the way until back-to-back jumpers by Vick and Lawson gave KU a five-point, 61-56 cushion with 3:39 to play.
An ill-advised NBA-ranged three by Villanova’s Phil Booth with lots of time on the shot clock near the two-minute mark didn’t help the Wildcat comeback attempt. However, Booth would make a crazy, well-guarded 30-footer with 20 seconds to play to bring Villanova within 71-68. Ultimately, Dedric Lawson would ice the game at the free throw line and Kansas held on for the 74-71 victory.
The game, and primarily the second half, was the Vick-Lawson show for Kansas. The pair scored all but eight of KU’s 41 points in the second half (and six of those eight came in the final 2:30 of the game). For the game, Vick and Lawson combined for 57 of KU’s 74 points.
As our very own fetch predicted, Villanova did not have anyone who could handle Dedric Lawson inside. The big man scored 28 points on 10-15 shooting while collecting 12 rebounds.
Lagerald Vick did one better, scoring 29 points on 9-15 shooting with 7 rebounds.
Devon Dotson was the only other Jayhawk in double figures, with 11 points on 3-6 shooting.
Kansas actually played good three-point defense for most of the game. Jay Bilas commented that most of Villanova’s open looks came from passes off of offensive rebounds. As a team, Kansas hit 5-15 (33.3%) three pointers while Villanova went 8-28 (28.6%).
The free throw line was key in this one, especially late. For the game, KU made 23-30 (76.7%) and Villanova hit 15-19 (78.9%).
Kansas will host the South Dakota Coyotes on Tuesday, December 18, at 7:00 PM in Allen Fieldhouse.