Junior forward Dedric Lawson recorded 25 points and 11 rebounds Thursday as No. 4-seeded Kansas trounced No. 13-seeded Northeastern 87-53 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Region at Salt Lake City.
The Jayhawks (26-9) extended their streak of first-round wins to 13 while making their 30th consecutive NCAA appearance, a tournament record.
Kansas advances to play No. 5 Auburn, a 78-77 winner over New Mexico State on Thursday. That second-round game will be Saturday.
Lawson, a 6-foot-9 transfer from Memphis, often played as the big man in a four-guard lineup that often beat Northeastern off the bounce for easy buckets at the rim. The double-double was the 21st of the season for Lawson.
Post-ups by Lawson and drives by his teammates accounted for a 50-16 advantage in the paint.
Kansas also was stingy defensively, holding the Huskies (23-11) to 28.1 percent shooting. Northeastern’s leading scorer, senior guard Vasa Pusica, was limited to one basket through the first 29 minutes.
Pusica finished with seven points (10 below his average) on 2-of-13 shooting. Junior guard Jordan Roland paced Northeastern with 12 points.
After the Huskies trimmed a 12-point halftime deficit to seven, a 10-0 Kansas run made it 47-30 Jayhawks with 14:50 remaining in the game.
Freshman point guard Devon Dotson scored 18 points for Kansas despite twisting his ankle and leaving briefly with 14:05 remaining.
Lawson’s brother K.J. came off the bench to add 13 points for the Jayhawks.
Dedric Lawson erupted for 16 points and seven boards in the first half as the Jayhawks raced to a 37-25 lead at the break. An 11-0 run enabled Kansas to gain separation and establish a 31-19 margin with 4:03 left. The run was capped with a 3-pointer by Dedric Lawson.
Northeastern canned three shots from behind the arc for its first three makes but finished the half 5 of 17 and added just three two-point makes. Roland scored eight first-half points, but none of the other Huskies contributed more than three. Pusica went just 1-for-8 shooting, connecting for a 3-pointer 12 minutes into the game.
Northeastern finished just 6 of 28 from 3-point range after averaging 9.8 makes while advancing as champions of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.
Only two Jayhawks, reserves Marcus Garrett and Mitch Lightfoot, had previously played in the NCAA Tournament. Still, Kansas improved to 32-2 all time in Round of 64 games.
—Field Level Media