LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – Devonte Graham scored a career-high 35 points, Malik Newman added 17 and second-ranked Kansas ran roughshod over Toledo 96-58 on Tuesday night to extend the Jayhawks’ best start in seven years.
Svi Mykhailiuk hit five 3-pointers and added 15 points for Kansas (6-0), which built a 59-30 lead by halftime and pushed the advantage to more than 50 points before coasting down the stretch.
The Jayhawks were 12 of 20 from beyond the arc and shot 59 percent from the field, though emptying the bench early kept them from hitting the 100-point mark for the third consecutive game. They also forced 20 turnovers by a Toledo team that had committed 25 total over its last three games.
Tre’Shaun Fletcher and Nate Navigato scored 12 points apiece to lead the Rockets (3-3), who have lost three straight overall and 12 straight against ranked teams.
If you take away a 7-minute stretch of the first half, the Rockets actually hung with Kansas.
Hard to take away a 30-2 run, though.
The Jayhawks led 18-15 when Mykhailiuk knocked down a 3-pointer to get the streak going. Graham scored the next three baskets to make it a 10-0 spurt. Then, after Fletcher scored the only basket for the Rockets, Udoka Azubuike flushed back-to-back alley-oop passes for dunks to begin another 20-0 charge.
Mykhailiuk hit a pair of 3s. So did Graham. And by the time Newman drained a 3 with 3:55 left in the half, the Jayhawks had hit 8 of 9 from beyond the arc and built a 48-17 lead.
The second half wasn’t a whole lot better for Toledo.
Graham scored the first five points, the Jayhawks scored the first 13 and their lead had swelled to 72-30 before Navigato hit a 3-pointer for the Rockets’ first points of the half.
Graham finally substituted out for the first time in the game.
He didn’t get much of a break, though, considering the Jayhawks are still using a seven-man rotation with freshman Billy Preston sidelined indefinitely over an off-the-court matter. Neither did the rest of the Kansas starters as they tuned up for a game against Syracuse on Friday night.
Toledo abandoned the inside entirely, lofting up 29 shots from beyond the arc. They were just 8 of 21 everywhere else. One of those 2-point baskets in the closing minutes came from Justin Roberts, the son of Kansas assistant coach Norm Roberts.
Kansas was scorching beyond the arc, but the Jayhawks also had a 35-23 rebounding advantage and outscored the Rockets 38-12 in the paint. That inside-outside balance is what makes Kansas so dangerous.
Toledo gets an easier task with Texas Southern visiting Friday night.
Kansas heads to Florida to face the Orange in the Hoophall Miami Invitational.