LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — After struggling to score in the first half, Lagerald Vick came through in a big way to rally No. 2 Kansas to a big win over Stanford.
Vick hit the tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation and had eight of his 27 points to start overtime and lead the Jayhawks to a 90-84 victory over Stanford on Saturday night.
“He was nonexistent for a while . but he was great down the stretch,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “We needed every one of (his points).”
Daejon Davis hit two free throws with 13.3 seconds left to push Stanford’s lead to 75-72 after driving in and drawing a foul on Dedric Lawson. Kansas then ran its “chop” play — the same one it ran when Mario Chalmers sent the 2008 national championship into overtime — and Devon Dotson found Vick for the tying 3 with just 7 seconds left.
Vick almost single-handedly put the game out of reach in overtime, opening up the extra period with a 3 and following it up with a poster dunk that sent the crowd into a frenzy. He built on that the next time down, hitting his seventh 3 to make it an eight-point game and put it out of reach.
“That was an Allen Fieldhouse win,” Self said.
Vick, who had just two points in the first half, wasn’t worried about whether he was going to put it together and play to the level he has all season. It was a matter of when.
“It was just really letting the game come to me . when it came, it came,” Vick said.
The tying play was actually designed to get the ball to Lawson, who was wide open at the top of the key. Naturally, though, Self didn’t mind Vick putting it up.
“When you look at our stats, and we make seven threes as a team, I’ve got no problem with the guy that made all of them actually shooting it,” Self joked.
Lawson finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Udoka Azubuike had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Jayhawks.
KZ Okpala had 22 points and eight rebounds to lead Stanford. Davis added 19 points and eight boards, and Isaac White had 15 points on five 3s.
Cardinal coach and former Jayhawk star Jerod Haase was certainly impressed by Vick’s performance, tipping his hat to the senior forward.
“He’s fantastic,” Haase said. “Made big time plays. There’s only a few guys in the country that can probably do that.”
But even then, the shot only tied the game, it didn’t win it. The Cardinal had the ball with 7 seconds left, but couldn’t execute as Davis hoisted a missed 3.
“The fact is we had quite a bit of time,” Haase said. “We didn’t work really effective when we got the ball back.”
Davis was happy with how the possession played out, though.
“I always want the ball in my hands in that situation,” Davis said. “I felt like I had a good look, just didn’t go in.”
The Cardinal’s top-tier perimeter defense stifled the Jayhawks early, holding them to 0 for 6 in the first half and not allowing a 3 until four minutes into the second half. But down the stretch, that all changed, and erased their early success.
Conversely, Stanford overcame its poor shooting from deep this season, hitting a season-high 12 3s. The Cardinal entered the game averaging just 5.7 3’s per game on 30.1 percent shooting.
Kansas now leads the all-time series over Stanford 11-3. The teams will conclude their four-game series next December at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion.
TO FOUL OR NOT TO FOUL
Stanford could’ve easily fouled Dotson before Vick was able to get the ball, preventing Kansas from tying it. However, Haase said at the time, he thought there was too much time left to do so.
“I do have a plan, a personal belief in when to foul, and it was well over that number (on the clock),” Haase said. “If we go out there and do it again, I’ll probably foul.”
It was Haase’s second return to Allen Fieldhouse as coach of the Cardinal, the first coming in December 2016. While emotions were undoubtedly riding high, he said it was easy to get past that once the game got going.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been back . certainly emotional, but I think once we got into the game I was certainly locked in,” Haase said.
In his three years with the Jayhawks, Haase started 99 of 101 games and helped lead them to three straight conference championships. He currently sits at No. 33 all-time in scoring with 1,264 points, and is No. 11 all-time in both 3’s (156) and steals (174).
New Kansas football coach Les Miles was introduced to the public for the first time during halftime, and received a roaring ovation. Miles signed on to be the savior of the Jayhawks’ lowly football program back in mid-November.
Stanford has now lost all three games to ranked opponents this season, although their resilience against Kansas is a good sign moving forward.
Kansas remains undefeated, but its sloppy play early is telling of its inconsistency. The Jayhawks have yet to have a true blowout win, uncharacteristic for them in nonconference play.
Stanford has a two week break to regroup before hosting Eastern Washington on Dec. 15.
Kansas returns Tuesday at home against Wofford, a potential chance for that first blowout victory.
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