Mens Basketball: Kansas 92, Tennessee State 56 - D1SportsNet


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Mens basketball

Kansas 92, Tennessee State 56

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- A speed rating was not something Kansas coach Bill Self wanted to assess Friday about his No. 4 squad after the season opener.

No one really times basketball with a stop watch anyway, but the Jayhawks certainly showed a certifiable level of aggression, whipping Tennessee State 92-56 at Allen Fieldhouse.

"When you're in attack mode, you're obviously going to look quicker and faster," Self said. "I don't know if we're a real fast team, but I do know we can play fast and we played fast tonight."

The Jayhawks (1-0) wasted no time exerting their offensive authority, making their first nine shots and rolling to a 25-7 advantage. They led by as many as 32 points in the first half.

Junior guard Lagerald Vick scored a team-high 23 points, while senior guard Devonte' Graham added a double-double with 10 points and 12 assists, five more assists than Tennessee State recorded.

Freshman guard Marcus Garrett earned a surprise start and also managed a double-double, with 10 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

Six Jayhawks scored in double figures; senior guard Svi Mykhailiuk scored 15.

"You don't expect to start your first year, especially at a high major like Kansas," Garrett said. "I feel like I'm always ready for an opportunity, though."

The move was made after another expected starter Malik Newman, a sophomore guard, was benched after not meeting defensive standards that Self wanted in practice. Another Jayhawk, freshman forward Billy Preston, was suspended for the opener after breaking curfew and missing a class Friday.

"The thing about Marcus is he does what he does," Self said. "He doesn't have to shoot it, but it was nice to see a couple of them go in the hole. He's probably as good a defender as we have, too."

The absence of any Jayhawk potentially places limitations on Kansas, which carries just 10 players on its roster.

Still, the opening salvo left Tennessee State on its heels.

"It was exactly what we were looking for," Graham said. "We've got to try to start every game like that, because it gets us going and sends a message to the other team."

Tennessee State coach Dana Ford could vouch for that.

"I've been preaching to my team that they're not aggressive enough," Ford said. "This is by far the most aggressive team I've coached against, so hopefully they got a taste for what a team can do when it plays downhill. With all due respect to the (sellout) crowd, we got beat by their players."

Graham, who added seven rebounds, was instrumental in leading the early charge. He netted a 3-pointer and then swiped steals on consecutive possessions, one of which led to his own dunk in transition.

The Jayhawks extended their margin to 40 after the break and shot 60 percent in their only regular-season tune-up before facing No. 5 Kentucky in the Champions Classic in Chicago on Tuesday.

"I anticipate it won't be very pretty, but I anticipate both teams will play very, very hard," said Self, who was pleased with the Jayhawks' first-half production but disappointed with their 20 turnovers.

For good measure, Kansas opened the second half with a 10-1 run and did not allow Tennessee State to make a field goal until the 14:35 mark -- on a stick-back by junior forward Stokley Chaffee.

Senior guard Darreon Reddick led Tennessee State with 20 points. Senior guard Delano Spencer added 14 points for the Tigers, who lost a season opener for the first time under Ford, their fourth-year coach.

The victory was the 417th at Kansas for Bill Self, who began his 15th season as the Jayhawks' coach.

With a win Tuesday against Kentucky, Self can tie Roy Williams for second on the Kansas wins list. Williams coached 15 seasons before moving to North Carolina. Phog Allen is the all-time Kansas leader, with 590 wins over 39 seasons.

Kentucky comes into the Chicago doubleheader after rallying to beat Utah Valley 73-63 on Friday.

NOTES: Five-star prospect Silvio De Sousa, a 6-foot-9 forward in the Class of 2018, is attempting to reclassify into this year's class to be eligible for the second semester at Kansas. That process with the NCAA has begun, though De Sousa remains enrolled at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The Jayhawks lack frontcourt depth and could greatly benefit if De Sousa is declared eligible and enrolls in time. ... The victory was the 44th in a row for the Jayhawks in home openers. ... Tennessee State fell to 1-35 against opponents ranked in the Top 25 since moving to Division I before the 1977-78 season. The Tigers are 0-12 against current Big 12 members. ... John McLendon, the first African-American to graduate (1936) from Kansas with a physical education degree, coached at Tennessee State from 1954 to 1959. McLendon was the first person enshrined as both a coach and contributor to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.