SACRAMENTO — Big 12 powerhouse Kansas snapped its three-game losing streak to Pac-12 teams Thursday night at Golden 1 Arena, home of the Sacramento Kings.
The No. 14-ranked Jayhawks, who had fallen to Arizona State and Washington earlier this season and Oregon in the 2017 NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight, knocked off former KU guard Jerod Haase's Stanford Cardinal, 75-54, before a crowd that included former Jayhawk guard Frank Mason of the NBA's Kings.
Mason, in fact, made eye contact with Devonte Graham — who had 14 points and six assists — from Mason's courtside seat during the game. Mason was interviewed by ESPN2 and said of the Jayhawks: "I think we're going to win it all this year."
Mason also said he hoped to return to the KU campus during the NBA All-Star break.
Back to the actual game ... Kansas big man Udoka Azubuike scored 24 points (including KU's first 10) and grabbed seven rebounds as KU (10-2) defeated Stanford (6-7) for the second straight season. KU beat Stanford 89-74 in Allen Fieldhouse last season in the first game of a four-game, four-year series between the two schools. The victory dropped Haase to 100-77 in four seasons at UAB and two at Stanford.
Svi Mykhailiuk had 14 points and seven rebounds for Kansas on Thursday, and Lagerald Vick added 13 points for KU.
Stanford junior forward Reid Travis, who scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds last season at Allen, finished with 12 points and four boards. He had six points and two rebounds while playing all 20 minutes the first half as the Cardinal trailed 47-29 at the break. Stanford trailed by as many as 20 in the second half and cut it to 15 twice.
Azubuike scored 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the first half and grabbed five rebounds. He scored KU's first 10 points as the Jayhawks nabbed an early, narrow 10-8 advantage. But KU used an 18-2 run to turn an 11-10 deficit into a 28-13 lead at 10:22 of the first half. Vick and Graham had seven points apiece in that run. Graham and Vick had 10 points apiece the initial half, one in which KU hit 62.5 percent of its shots (including 6 of 13 3's) and held Stanford to 38.7 percent shooting (including 4 of 12 3-pointers).
For the game, KU hit 52.5 percent of its shots and Stanford 34.4 percent. KU attempted just 10 free throws, hitting five. Stanford was 6 of 11 from the line.
KU's players will now embark on a four-day Christmas vacation. They will return to Lawrence for a practice Tuesday in advance of a Dec. 29 Big 12 opener at Texas.
KU still has one nonconference game to play — vs. Texas A&M in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Jan. 27 at Allen Fieldhouse.
"They go home the 22nd," coach Bill Self said of his players. "They get home the 22nd regardless of where they are going and come back late morning the 26th. We'll practice that night. We open league play the 29th, earlier than ever. We can't afford to give them any more time off than that."
NOTES: Former KU guard Mason, by the way, took part in a halftime promotion. He missed six halfcourt shots then made his seventh to the delight of the crowd. ... IMG Academy senior forward Silvio De Sousa, who barring any unforeseen problems is expected to join KU for the upcoming Big 12 season, scored 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 74-71 victory over Huntington Prep on Thursday at the Chick-fil-A Classic in Columbia, S.C. He hit 1 of 2 3-pointers, 4 of 6 free throws and also had two steals in 36 minutes. ... Stanford returns to Lawrence on Dec. 1, 2018, and will play host to the Jayhawks at Maples Pavilion on Stanford's campus on Dec. 29, 2019. ... KU played in its third NBA arena this season Thursday. KU defeated Kentucky, 65-61, at the United Center in Chicago on Nov. 14, and beat Syracuse 76-60 at American Airlines Arena on Dec. 2 in Miami. ... Graham, during the game, passed Haase to grasp the 33rd spot on KU's career scoring list.