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No. 2 Kansas ready to face Louisiana at home

Sports Xchange
16 Nov 2018, 15:21 GMT+10

Kansas did not figure on having a senior on this year's basketball roster.

Without 6-foot-5 guard Lagerald Vick, no one else could have filled that role, or gained the adulation of fans in what has become one of the most celebrated sendoffs in college basketball, Senior Night in Allen Fieldhouse.

But no one needs to dwell just yet on the eventual departure of Vick, who initially intended to turn pro after last season but was then allowed to return by Kansas coach Bill Self. If Vick's first performance at home is any indication, there will be much to enjoy.

Especially after Self labeled the 32-point outing Vick enjoyed against Vermont as "the best offensive game that I've ever had a player have."

Included in Vick's career high was the most accurate 3-point performance in Kansas history, an 8-for-8 salvo, as the No. 2 Jayhawks rallied from an early deficit. Kansas (2-0) resumes action at home Friday against Louisiana (1-1).

One long-range swish inside the first 30 seconds of the Vermont game provided all the confidence Vick needed.

"After the first one I just heard coach say, 'Just keep shooting the ball,' " Vick said.

So, with each consecutive make, Vick convinced himself to "shoot the next one."

Before he was through, teammates encouraged him to keep shooting.

"We were all pumping him up like, 'Man, you're probably the best shooter in Kansas history, going 8-for-8,' " said freshman guard Quentin Grimes. "So just little things like that. But yeah, we did give him a hard time for sure."

Considering that Vick netted just two points in the Jayhawks' season-opening win against Michigan State in the Champions Classic, his outburst in the home opener was additional proof of the depth Self can tap.

Consistency, however, could be an issue. A teammate who bagged a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds in the opener, junior forward Dedric Lawson, went scoreless against Vermont.

"He played very unathletically. He got every shot blocked it seemed like," Self said. "When they had him pushed off the spot, he shot some marginal shots. ... The biggest thing is that he wasn't engaged. We have got to have him engaged. He's way too good of a player to have nights like that."

Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike is someone the Jayhawks can feed for low-post production after he led the nation with 77 percent shooting last season. Azubuike is coming off a double-double. So too is Grimes, who had 10 points and 10 assists against Vermont.

For Louisiana, the visit to Kansas will mark its second game in a row against a top 10 opponent after falling 87-65 at Tennessee. The Ragin' Cajuns led 13-10 before they were overtaken by the Volunteers, despite a team-high 18 points from senior forward Jakeenan Gant.

"We just missed too many (3-pointers) and did take better care of the ball in the second half, but we just couldn't get it in the basket," Louisiana coach Bob Marlin said.

The Ragin' Cajuns are still averaging 11 3-point makes and a 93-point average behind Gant's team-high 18.5-point average.

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