Tom Keegan: Lagerald Vick begins crawling out of his funk
TCU wasn’t about to let the Big 12’s most prolific 3-point shooter not named Trae Young shoot them out of the gym.
Everywhere Svi Mykhailiuk went, underrated Horned Frogs senior Kenrich Williams shadowed him, determined not to let him get the ball, much less a good look at the rim. Teammates were on time switching on every screen.
Svi came into the game with 1,003 career points and came out of the 71-64 Kansas victory in Allen Fieldhouse with 1,004.
Somebody had to take on some of Svi’s scoring load and it couldn’t all come from Devonte’ Graham on the perimeter and Udoka Azubuike punishing the rim with dunks, though they both answered those calls impressively.
Malik Newman tried, but couldn’t get anything to drop. He set up teammates well with four of his five assists in the first half. Not bad for a player who had just nine assists in his previous 10 conference games. But Newman made just 1 of 9 shots and clanked all five 3-point attempts.
Someone had to lend Graham (24 points) and Azubuike (16 points) a hand.
Slowly, Lagerald Vick crept out of his hole, not all the way out — not yet — but just enough to at least make TCU pay a little for sending extra attention the way of Azubuike and for not leaving Svi.
Benched by coach Bill Self, who had grown weary of wasting valuable practice time coaching his effort, Vick was the first player off the bench for Kansas.
During 13 first-half minutes, Vick’s confidence remained in hiding, his focus not a great deal better. He failed to keep his man off of the offensive glass a couple of times and shot the ball tentatively, missing all three of his first-half 3-point attempts.
Vick brought his game closer to the hoop in the second half, cutting and driving to try to score. He didn’t have a game or even a half that reminded anybody of his early season contributions, but he did pitch in with eight second-half points in 16 minutes and made it to the line for four free throws, all of which went in.
He didn’t start, but his night amounted to a possible start toward better days. Vick totaled 10 points, one rebound, one assist and one steal and shot 3 of 9 in 29 minutes, nothing about which to boast, but he put together a decent half and joined teammates in playing well defensively.
“He tried hard tonight,” Self said. “His energy level was a lot better. Certainly we need him to play with a higher energy level and play with some personality. I actually thought it was one of his better outings in recent memory. Even though he didn’t make shots. I thought he played pretty well.”
More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU
- Just Enough: Jayhawks sink key shots, shake past TCU
- Tom Keegan: Lagerald Vick begins crawling out of his funk
- Notebook: Mitch Lightfoot makes first start; a look back at how KU players fared in first starts
- The Keegan Ratings: Devonte’ Graham leads Kansas past TCU to top ratings again
- Matt Tait’s Postgame Report Card
- Jayhawks recover in 2nd half to beat TCU