Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III scored 18 points apiece, helping third-ranked Kansas overcome a sluggish, sloppy first half to beat Davidson 89-71 Saturday night at Sprint Center.
Svi Mykhailiuk also had 13 points for the Jayhawks (10-1), who extended their nation-leading home winning streak to 49 games. Kansas considered the matchup with the Wildcats (5-4) a home game even though it was played just down the road from its campus in Lawrence.
It was the Jayhawks’ eighth straight win in the building, including the Big 12 tournament last season and the CBE Classic a few weeks ago. It’s also the same building where they will not only contest the league tournament in March but hope to land in the NCAA tournament with a spot in the Final Four on the line.
Peyton Aldridge hit five 3-pointers and had 22 points to lead the Wildcats, while Jack Gibbs – the nation’s fourth-leading scorer coming into the game – had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
"We had a great opportunity in front of us and for about 25 minutes I thought we handled it very well," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said, "and then I think the statistics bear out they just annihilated us in the paint, and they annihilated us in transition."
Davidson spoiled the holidays for the Jayhawks nearly five years ago to the day when it rolled into the same building and upset a team that would reach the Final Four. And just like that night, the Wildcats relied on superior toughness and a bevy of 3-pointers to cause all kinds of problems Saturday night.
Davidson hit seven 3-pointer in the first half alone, taking a 43-42 lead into the locker room. The only other time the Jayhawks have trailed at the break this season came in a win over Duke.
Kansas was 0 for 8 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Wildcats extended their lead to five early in the second half before Jackson finally hit from the perimeter. Mason added another 3-pointer, and the Jayhawks clawed their way back in the game.
It was tied at 58 with just over 11 minutes left when Landen Lucas converted an alley-oop dunk, triggering a 10-2 run that allowed Kansas to seize control. Mykhailiuk hit a 3-pointer during the run, and Carlton Bragg Jr. – just back from suspension – made a parade of free throws to cap it.
Kansas later pushed the decisive charge to 20-4 as it wrapped up its 10th straight win.
Davidson finally gets a break in the schedule. The Wildcats lost to fifth-ranked North Carolina their last time out, the first time they’ve played back-to-back games against Top 5 opponents since 2008.
Kansas showed that it could overcome a lethargic outing to win a game. The Jayhawks have barely been challenged since their win over Duke on Nov. 15 in New York.
▪ Davidson plays Jacksonville Wednesday night in its first home game since Nov. 26.
▪ Kansas visits UNLV Thursday night in its last game before Big 12 play.