It’s been 11 years since the first meeting all time between Kansas and Tennessee State. On Nov. 21, 2006, KU rolled the Tigers 89-54 at Allen Fieldhouse. That game was a blowout, as was the beating the Jayhawks doled out on Friday night, running the Tigers out of the gym 92-56.
Junior guard Lagerald Vick opened the scoring for Kansas with a three pointer on the Jayhawks’ first possession, and that set the tone for a monster night from the Memphis native. After receiving high praise from ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla on Twitter early on Friday, Vick showed out with 23 points on 8/12 shooting.
While Vick’s flashy scoring kept the cheers coming from the KU fans all night, senior guard Devonte’ Graham had the most complete game of anyone on the floor. The triple-double watch was on early for Graham’s performance, before he eventually finished with 10 points, 12 assists and 7 rebounds.
In the end, six Jayhawks finished in double figures. That includes sophomore forward Udoka Azubuike, who was a menace all evening under the basket. He complemented his 13 points with 6 rebounds and a seemingly endless supply of moves, showing off a limber nature despite his frame.
Overall, Kansas shot 60 percent from the floor for the game, including 42.9 percent from three-point range. The Jayhawks also owned the glass throughout the game, netting a +22 rebounding margin.
Another key performance for KU came from freshman guard Marcus Garrett, who picked up a double-double in his first career game. Along with his 10 points and 10 rebounds, he played a brand of defense that continues to impress coach Bill Self.
“Then thing about Marcus, he does what he does,” Self said. “He’s probably as good of a defender as we have. He reminds me so much of Travis [Releford].”
Tennessee State never got off the ground, neither on offense nor on defense. In a microcosm of the relative disaster of a performance for the Tigers, forward Ken’Darrius Hamilton fouled out of the game with 13:16 on the clock in the second half. Darreon Reddick led the Tigers in scoring with 20 points.
Tennessee State coach Dana Ford was blunt about Kansas’ athleticism and speed and the kind of problems it caused his Tigers throughout the game. He said that his program paid to watch KU’s scrimmages in Europe and against Missouri to scout them.
“We wasted a lot of money,” Ford said.
Despite the on-court dominance from KU, the game started with a bit of drama. Freshman forward Billy Preston was held out of the game due to missed curfew and a missed class. Adding on to the intrigue, Garrett got the start in place of sophomore guard Malik Newman.
Kansas will head north to Chicago for its second game of the season, as it will face Kentucky in the annual Champions Classic on Tuesday. The Jayhawks beat the Wildcats in each of the last two seasons, but lost the last Champions Classic showdown between the two programs back in 2014.