Courtesy of Kansas Athletics
LAHAINA, Hawaii – Career outings from sophomore Devon Dotson and senior Udoka Azubuike were enough to propel No. 4/5 Kansas past the Dayton Flyers in an overtime thriller, 90-84, and claim the Maui Jim Maui Invitational championship Wednesday afternoon inside the Lahaina Civic Center. Dotson and Azubuike combined for 60 points, the most by a KU duo in 28 years, as the Jayhawks won the program’s third Maui Invitational title.
The victory moved the Jayhawks to 6-1 on the year, while Dayton suffered its first loss of the young season, now at 5-1.
Facing an eight-point deficit with less than eight minutes to play in regulation, the Jayhawks responded with an 11-0 run over the next five minutes to reclaim the lead at 69-67. All 11 points were put in by KU’s top-three scorers of the game – Azubuike, Dotson and Marcus Garrett, as KU clung to the narrow advantage as the regulation entered its final seconds.
It appeared KU would take a 3-point victory as the second half clock wound down, but Dayton’s Jalen Crutcher sunk a deep triple, the Flyers’ 15th of the game, just three seconds before the buzzer to tie the game at 73-73. The Jayhawks found themselves headed to their first overtime of the season.
It was then when Azubuike put the team on his back in the overtime, scoring the Jayhawks’ first nine points in the extra stanza, which included a 3-point play that put KU’s lead to four points, 82-78, midway through the OT. Dayton managed to cut the KU advantage to a single point with less than two minutes to play, but back-to-back buckets from Dotson and Garrett helped increase KU’s lead back to five points, where it would eventually close out the 90-84 victory.
Dotson posted a game-, season-, and career-high 31 points via an 11-of-16 clip from the field, as well as an 8-of-10 mark from the free throw line. Azubuike was not far behind as the senior center also tallied a career-high with his 29 points. The KU duo’s 60 combined points were the most by two Jayhawks in a game since Terry Brown and Alonzo Jamison combined for 65 points in a win over N.C. State during the 1990-91 season.
Garrett added a season-high 18 points despite playing just 11 minutes in the second half due to foul trouble. The junior guard also added a team-high seven rebounds. The Jayhawks closed out the game shooting 55.6 percent from the field and connected on 20-of-28 of their tries from the free throw line.
The victory gave KU its third Maui Invitational trophy and its second in as many appearances. Azubuike and Dotson became the fourth and fifth Jayhawks to earn tournament MVP honors after Raef LaFrentz claimed the nod after KU’s win in 1996, and Wayne Selden and Frank Mason III took co-MVP honors in 2015.
Kansas returns home to host former conference foe Colorado, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. (Central). KU and CU were members of the Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12 Conferences before CU moved to the Pac-12 in 2012. The KU-CU series dates back to 1931 with Kansas leading 123-40. KU is 62-7 versus CU in meetings in Allen Fieldhouse. Colorado is coached by former Kansas forward Tad Boyle who lettered at KU from 1982-85 playing for coaches Ted Owens and Larry Brown.