LAWRENCE, Kan. — In the 2022-23 season opener, the defending national champion Kansas Jayhawks won their 50th straight home opener by defeating the Omaha Mavericks 89-64 in Allen Fieldhouse on Monday night. Freshman Gradey Dick led KU with 23 points in his first career game, while redshirt junior Jalen Wilson posted a double-double with 19 points, a game-high 11 rebounds and a career-high seven assists in the victory.
After a back and forth start to the game, KU built a 13-10 lead. Kansas went on to stretch that lead with a 12-2 run to make the score 25-12 with 8:57 remaining in the half. The Jayhawks would lead by as many as 16 points in the first half and go into the break with a 46-33 advantage. Wilson had 15 points at the half, while Dick added 12 points of his own.
Omaha (0-1) cut its 13-point halftime deficit down to seven points by making the score 50-43 with 16:55 left in the second half. Kansas would not let it get any closer than that for the remainder of the game.
Kansas went on a 10-0 run over the next 3:21 to push the score to 60-43, which included electrifying dunks by redshirt senior Kevin McCullar Jr. and Dick. KU would go on another unanswered run a short time later, scoring 15 straight points. Dick, sophomore Bobby Pettiford Jr. and redshirt junior Dajuan Harris Jr. each hit three-pointers during a 3:30 stretch to make the score 83-55 with just more than five minutes to play.
KU had five players score in double figures with Dick (23), Wilson (19), Pettiford Jr. (13), Harris Jr. (11) and McCullar Jr. (10) all reaching double-digits. The Jayhawks shot 36-for-69 (52.2 percent) from the field and 9-for-22 (40.9 percent) from beyond the arc. Dick’s 23 points are the most by a KU freshman in his debut since Xavier Henry scored 27 points to open the 2009-10 season.
KU assisted on 24 of its 36 made baskets, with Harris Jr. dishing out a career-high-tying eight assists and Wilson finishing with a new career high of seven assists. Kansas also held a 43-28 edge on rebounds over the Mavericks, which included 16 offensive rebounds. Sophomore KJ Adams Jr. had a career-high nine rebounds, eight of which were offensive rebounds.
Kansas (1-0) will conclude its two-game homestand when it plays host to North Dakota State on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. (Central). The game will be televised on Big 12 NOW via ESPN+.