The only person who could stop Svi Mykhailiuk was Svi Mykhailiuk.
Early in the first half against South Dakota State, a 98-64 KU win, the senior caught fire. Mykhailiuk’s first basket, a two-point jumper from the left wing, fell through the net just 90 seconds into the game. Six-and-a-half minutes later, he was already up to 14 points.
He’d finish the half with 19 and the game with a career-high 27.
In similar fashion, the No. 4 Jayhawks started the game on a 20-4 run, but Mykhailiuk started to show signs of fatigue shortly after. He was slow getting down the court a few times and had to check out of the game.
Lucky for the Jayhawks, they couldn’t miss.
KU put up 57 points in the first half, its highest of any period this season. Three different Jayhawks — Mykhailiuk, Malik Newman (13 points) and Lagerald Vick (13) — reached double figures in the period, while the team shot 63.6 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3.
The Jayhawks closed the half on a 10-0 run and continued to scorch the nets into the second. Vick finished the game with 22 points while Udoka Azubuike tallied 17 despite playing through foul trouble.
Kansas basketball v. South Dakota State
View a gallery of images from Friday night's game between the Jayhawks and Jackrabbits at Allen Fieldhouse.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: Mykhailiuk put KU ahead by double-figures for good.
After watching KU jump out to a big lead, the Jackrabbits began to cut into the deficit. Forward Mike Daum converted on a 3-point play, Reed Tellinghuisen made a layup and David Jenkins Jr. knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the KU lead to eight. Mykhailiuk wouldn't let it get any closer.
The senior scored seven straight points to put KU ahead by 15. By the end of the half, KU would lead by 29. SDSU would never get closer than 27 after that.
• Offensive highlight: With Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot in foul trouble, and freshman forward Billy Preston unavailable, walk-on Clay Young was called into action, playing 11 first-half minutes.
Young held his own in the period and even started to fill up the stat sheet. After getting his first assist of the game on a pass to Lagerald Vick, Young executed a perfect off-ball cut and Devonté Graham found him for the easy layup. Later, with KU already ahead by 18, Young received a pass in the post and fired the ball to Malik Newman in the left corner. Newman knocked down a 3 to give the Jayhawks a 50-point half.
Young was not the only walk-on to score in the game. Freshman Chris Teahan, brother of former Jayhawk Conner Teahan, hit a 3-pointer late in the second half, sending an already raucous Allen Fieldhouse into a frenzy.
• Defensive highlight: Marcus Garrett may be a freshman, but there was nothing freshman-like about his effort guarding one of the most difficult matchups in college basketball.
With two bigs in the game for the Jackrabbits and Garrett playing the four, the freshman was tasked with guarding Daum despite being at a 4-inch, 70-pound size disadvantage.
With just over 7-and-a-half minutes to play in the first half, Daum tried to bully Garrett in transition. He crossed over in an attempt to drive into the paint, but the freshman stayed composed, poking the ball away, saving it from going out of bounds and starting a fast break that resulted in a Vick 3-pointer.
• Key stat: After committing 31 turnovers in their first two games, the Jayhawks were significantly improved in that area.
The Jayhawks didn't commit a turnover until the 11:27 mark in the second half. The last time the Jayhawks played a half without committing a turnover before Friday was January 24, 2015, when they tied a school record with just three in a game against Texas.
• Up next: The Jayhawks will remain home, taking on Texas Southern (7 p.m., Jayhawk TV/ESPN3) on Tuesday. Entering Friday the Tigers were winless (0-3), with losses coming against Gonzaga, Washington State and Ohio State.
More news and notes from Kansas vs. South Dakota State
- The Svi Show: Mykhailiuk shoots Jayhawks past South Dakota State, 98-64
- Tom Keegan: Walk-on Clay Young fit right in during KU’s win over SDSU
- Notebook: Bill Self passes Roy Williams with win over SDSU, KU commits 0 turnovers in 1st half
- Billy Preston sits for third straight game, Self says no update
- The Keegan Ratings: Svi tops ratings with career-high 27 points
- Svi Mykhailiuk catches fire, sparks blowout win over South Dakota State