Vick, Lawson Carry Kansas past Villanova in Final Four Rematch

When Kansas needed their stars to make plays, Dedric Lawson and Lagerald Vick came through.

With a combined 57 points and 19 rebounds, the duo carried KU to a 74-71 win over Villanova at the Phog, remaining unbeaten and going 9-0 for the first time since the 2010-2011 season.

“Those two headliners were terrific, they were both terrific,” head coach Bill Self said after the game.

Vick led the team in scoring with 29 points on 9-of-15 shooting, while Lawson poured in 28 and grabbed 12 rebounds. The senior from Memphis now has scored in double figures for six of the team’s nine games, including four games with more than 25 points.

“I haven’ quite figured out everything concerning Lagerald Vick in the last four years, so that’s another one, but he was terrific today,” Self said.

“We’ve had great Lagerald and not-so-great Lagerald. Who over a nine-game period has had six games like this in America?”

“He’s been making them all year,” Lawson said of Vick’s performance. “I had a feeling that step back in the corner was going to go in because that’s what we expect out of him now to make tough shots to get us out of tough situations.”

With his performance tonight, the Memphis-transfer Lawson has now eclipsed 20 points in every game but two this season. It’s his sixth straight 20-point game, the second-longest streak during Self’s tenure behind Frank Mason’s run in 2017.

To clinch the game, Kansas – after only hitting 12 of their first 18 free throws – sank 11 of their final 12 from the charity stripe, all coming with under two minutes to play.

“We went from being a crappy free throw shooting team during the game to a really good one down the stretch,” Self said.

Villanova came into the game averaging 29.45 three-point attempts per game. Prior to the game, Kansas was 337th in limiting opponents three-point attempts. However, the Jayhawks held the Wildcats to 8-of-28 from beyond the arc. Villanova set a Final Four record against Kansas back in April draining 18 threes on 40 attempts.

To match the offensive output of Vick and Lawson, Phil Booth led his team in scoring with 29 points in 38 minutes while shooting 11-of-21.

“I didn’t know he had 29 but he was hoopin’ though,” Dedric Lawson said regarding Booth’s performance.

“Well I think he’s pretty damn athletic. …He was terrific tonight,” Self said.

With their win against the Wildcats, KU now has wins against three Top-25 ranked opponents. Still, Self believes his team can play better: “I don’t think we’ve played great by any stretch, but I think we played a lot better today than we’ve been practicing. I’m optimistic.”

Fans of the program may feel like KU enacted revenge on Nova after the Wildcats eliminated them from the Final Four last season. However, to Self, the rest of the coaching staff and the players, this wasn’t a revenge game in the slightest.

“If you guys want to look at it, and you guys don’t do this, we’re 1-2 against Villanova because we beat them in the Sweet 16 and they beat us in the Elite 8 and the Final Four,” Self said. “That makes us 1-2. The game today was nice, the game in Atlantis where they won was nice. It wasn’t a real game like those others are real games.”

“[Villanova head coach] Jay [Wright will be the first to tell you we’re both going to be playing in bigger games than this.”

Kansas will play South Dakota on Tuesday at home before facing off against another Top-25 ranked opponent in Arizona State.

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