Kansas men’s basketball newcomers Dedric Lawson, Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson impressed in their debuts in the crimson and blue, propelling the Jayhawks past Michigan State in a 92-87 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Grimes, a freshman guard from The Woodlands, Texas, backed up his 2018 Gatorade Texas High School Player of the Year honor with 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting, leading the Jayhawks in scoring. Lawson, a redshirt junior transfer from Memphis, put up a double-double in his KU debut with 20 points and 14 rebounds while leading the team in assists with six in 38 minutes.
The Jayhawks came out slow in the second-half until the freshman duo of Grimes and Dotson combined for five threes in the first ten minutes. Dotson ended the game with 16 points and three assists, shooting 6-of-11.
KU’s 14-point halftime was cut down in the second as the Jayhawks only had a three point lead with 34 seconds left in the game. Grimes and Dotson each made one of two free throws to make it a two-possession game with under 20 seconds left to bolster the Jayhawks to a win.
The veteran play of junior big man Udoka Azubuike powered the Jayhawks down low in the paint, scoring 17 points, while leading the Jayhawks on defense with four blocks.
KU ended the game with 21 assists on its 31 made field goals. The Jayhawks shot 20-of-33 from the free throw line, with Lawson shooting an efficient 10-for-12.
The win marks the first for the Jayhawks against the Spartans in the Champions Classic, dating back to the event’s inception in 2011, and also marks the third-straight victory for KU, beating Kentucky 65-61 in 2017 and Duke 77-75 in 2016.