LAWRENCE, Kan. – After a 25-day hiatus, junior center Udoka Azubuike showed little signs of rust as his game-high 23 points helped kead No. 5 Kansas to an 87-63 win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles Saturday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse. Azubuike was joined by freshman guards Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson to score in double-figures, tallying 16 and 15 points, respectively.
The Jayhawks moved to 11-1 on the year, while Eastern Michigan dropped to 6-7 in its 2018-19 campaign.
Seeing his first action in three weeks following an ankle injury on Dec. 4, Azubuike wasted little time in making his presence known. The 7-0 foot center scored 14 of his 23 points in his 11 minutes on the court during the opening frame. He was joined by six of his teammates to enter the stat sheet during the first half, which helped Kansas jump out to a 21-point halftime advantage, 46-25, its largest lead at an intermission this season. The Jayhawks connected on over 65 percent (17-of-26) of their shots in the opening 20 minutes of action, while their defense limited the Eagles to just a 23.5 percent clip (8-of-34).
As sharp as the Jayhawks were on both ends in the first half, there were some dull minutes for KU to start the second half. Kansas went without a field goal for the first 4:30 after the restart and the Eagles managed to cut the Jayhawk lead down to 16, 46-30. But KU’s freshman point guard, Dotson, ignited the Kansas attack with a fastbreak lay-up and followed that with a 3-pointer. Dotson’s five-point spurt began a 12-4 Jayhawk run that got their lead back to over 20 points at 59-34, with just over 11 minutes to play.
From there, the two sides traded baskets the rest of the way. KU closed out the contest on an 11-4 run thanks to a lay-up from Grimes and a trio of 3-pointers from KU’s redshirt sophomores, one from Charlie Moore and a pair from K.J. Lawson.
Azubuike ended the contest with another efficient shooting day, hitting 10 of his 13 tries from the field as he tied his season-high with 23 points. The junior was also a rebound shy of posting his ninth-career double-double, pulling down nine boards. Grimes hit a pair of 3-pointers and connected on all six of his free throw attempts to total 16 points, his highest output since the season opener. Dotson was the only other Jayhawk to score in double figures, notching 15 points to go along with four assists and three steals.
The Jayhawks’ connected on a season-high 55.4 percent (31-56) from the field and held the Eagles to 30 percent (21-70), including an 18.8 percent clip from beyond the 3-point line. Kansas also pulled down 33 defensive rebounds, the most by the Jayhawks in a game this season.