Azubuike Powers Jayhawks Past Volunteers, 74-68

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Courtesy of Kansas Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Senior Udoka Azubuike’s eighth double-double and four blocks, including two key swats late, helped key the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks to a 74-68 over Tennessee, 74-68, Saturday afternoon in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Azubuike was joined in double-figures by sophomore Devon Dotson, who netted 22 points and added seven rebounds, and sophomore Ochai Agbaji, who knocked down a trio of 3-pointers en route to a 16-point outing.

The win improved the Jayhawks to 16-3 on the year, while Tennessee fell to 12-7 in its 2019-20 campaign.

With less than two minutes to play in regulation, Azubuike made plays on both ends of the floor after Tennessee cut the Jayhawk lead to 69-66. The senior made a key free throw at the 1:51 mark, before nabbing a steal and a pair of blocks on Tennessee’s next two offensive possessions to keep the upset-minded visitors off the board. The Volunteers managed just one field goal after pulling within three points while Devon Dotson and Ochai Agabji hit three free throws to seal the Jayhawk victory. Azubuike’s 18-point, 11-rebound, and four-block performance marked the fifth time in his last seven outings he has posted a double-double and four or more blocks in a game.

12-0 – Trailing by seven points with under six minutes to play in the opening half, Azubuike reentered the game after being sidelined with foul trouble and turned the game on its head. The senior center scored seven points, six of which came via dunks, during a 12-0 Jayhawk run that saw the home side regain the lead before the intermission. KU turned the seven-point deficit into a seven-point halftime lead, 37-30, and never relinquished its advantage.


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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.