It took a while for Kansas to play like the No. 1 team in the nation Thursday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
But once the Jayhawks started rolling in the second half of their final preseason exhibition, a feisty Washburn team finally buckled and KU cruised to a 79-52 victory.
Junior forward Decric Lawson again led KU in scoring, putting up 18 points in 23 minutes off 7-for-10 shooting.
Unlike the Jayhawks’ previous exhibition, junior center Udoka Azubuike became a focal point of the offense, too, scoring 17 points by not only making all six of his field goal attempts, but also hitting five of six at the foul line.
Senior guard Lagerald Vick added 16 points as Kansas closed the preseason.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: The Jayhawks got over what led to their sluggish start to the second half.
Box score: Kansas 79, Washburn 52 ( .PDF )
Washburn returned to the floor after intermission focused and executing. A pair of easy layups and Charlie Moore’s foul on Javion Blake as the senior guard attempted a 3-pointer allowed the Ichabods to cut KU’s lead to seven.
Following a timeout by Bill Self, though, the Jayhawks rattled off 27 points to WU’s five over the course of the next six minutes, with most of the Jayhawks’ buckets coming from long range.
KU buried six 3-pointers in a row after Vick missed one in the opening minute of the second half.
Vick connected on his next two tries, then Lawson stroked three in a row, with a Quentin Grimes 3-pointer mixed in for good measure.
When Devon Dotson set up Lawson for his last 3-pointer of the flurry, KU led 62-33.
• Offensive highlight: With assists on each of their first six baskets against Washburn, the loudest play of KU’s earliest spurt came in transition.
Handling the ball off a stop, Marcus Garrett (five assists) surveyed the floor in front of him long before he reached half court.
On the move, the sophomore guard spotted Vick unguarded along the right wing.
By the time Garrett got to the giant Jayhawk on the middle of James Naismith Court, it was too late for the Ichabods’ transition defense.
Garrett lofted an easy pass toward the rim and senior Vick caught it mid-flight for a two-handed alley-oop, putting KU ahead 8-5.
• Defensive highlight: The Washburn coaching staff jumped off the bench in response to this one.
But it wasn’t because they were blown away by Quentin Grimes’ vertical.
A 6-foot-5 KU freshman guard, Grimes chased down Washburn’s Tyas Martin from behind, pinning his layup attempt against the glass for a blocked shot that was loved by KU fans and lathed by the Ichabods.
• Key stat: Turnovers. After giving the basketball away regularly in their exhibition opener a week earlier, the plan was for the Jayhawks to address those issues and improve upon them versus Washburn.
However, the 22 turnovers that piled up versus Emporia State seemed very much in reach early on against the Ichabods.
Four different Jayhawks — Azubuike, Grimes, Dotson and K.J. Lawson — had turned the ball over twice by halftime, and KU logged 11 giveaways before the break, even though Washburn stole the ball just four times.
With 11 empty offensive trips on 38 first-half possessions, KU only led 35-21 at halftime.
In the second half, KU gave the ball away nine times, finishing with 20 turnovers in the rout.
• Up next: The Jayhawks head to Indianapolis, to open their season on Tuesday at the Champions Classic, against No. 10 Michigan State.