Charlie Moore got the surprise start over Lagerald Vick tonight, and got things started with a three and layup early on as Kansas jumped out to a 12-2 lead. It looked like it might be off to the races for the Jayhawks, who seemed due for an easy victory after spending at least one half struggling with nearly every opponent so far this season.
Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to last. The shots, even wide open looks, simply stopped falling for Kansas, and eight first half turnovers certainly didn't help their cause. New Mexico State took the lead with just over a minute left before halftime, and carried a 28-26 lead into the locker room.
In some games this year, Self has had his team come out of the half-time break firing, which has led to some comfortable margins in games that had been tight. That was not the case in Kansas City tonight. NMSU slowly extended their lead to 7, prompting a Bill Self timeout. Kansas avoided falling down by too much, and responded by chipping away at that small lead.
Ultimately, they would never truly take over. This was a back and forth fight until Dedric Lawson decided he'd seen enough at about the seven minute mark. Lawson would score the Jayhawks' final 13(!) points, and Kansas held on for a narrow 63-60 victory.
Lawson finished with 20 points and 10 boards. Marcus Garrett had a nice game, playing solid defense and scoring 10 points, shooting 2 for 4 from outside. Hopefully this will help make him a player opposing defenses can't totally ignore on the perimeter moving forward. Moore never scored another point after his hot start, while Vick came in to score a meager 5 points, bolstered by 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Jayhawks next play Villanova in Lawrence next Saturday morning.