Out of action for the past 25 days and listed as “doubtful” by his head coach just two days ago, Udoka Azubuike started and led all scorers with 23 points as Kansas rolled through its final nonconference matchup of 2018.
One minute into the game, the Jayhawks trailed 5-2, but would go on an 18-4 run over the next six minutes to take a commanding 20-9 lead. Eastern would bring it back to 20-15 following an Elijah Minnie three-pointer, but that’s as close as the Eagles would get the rest of the way. A 15-4 run by the Jayhawks buried the Eagles, and KU would coast into halftime with a 46-25 lead.
The second half was all about experimenting with different lineups while trying to maintain that 20+ point advantage. Kansas coasted through the half, sometimes quite literally (much to the ire of Bill Self), but Eastern could never get closer than 17 points. Kansas emptied the bench over the final several minutes, and the Rock Chalk Chant rang throughout the Fieldhouse as KU completed an 87-63 victory.
As mentioned above, Udoka Azubuike made a triumphant return to the lineup, scoring 23 points on 10-13 shooting with 9 rebounds.
Quentin Grimes (16) and Devon Dotson (15) were the only other Jayhawks in double figures.
Dedric Lawson finished with just 8 points on 2-8 shooting, with 4 rebounds but 5 assists.
Lagerald Vick was ice-cold in this one, going 0-5 from three-point range and just 2-7 overall.
Kansas will open Big 12 play with Oklahoma coming to Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday, January 2, for an 8 PM tip on ESPN2.