Dedric Law­son switches to Bay­lor videos

The Kansas City Star - - Sports - BY GARY BEDORE [email protected]­

Dedric Law­son’s late-night TV and In­ter­net view­ing habits have changed the past cou­ple weeks in his McCarthy Hall apart­ment on Kansas’ cam­pus.

“I ran out of shows on Net­flix,” Law­son, KU’s 6-foot-9 ju­nior power for­ward from Mem­phis, said with a smile.

So, since scor­ing a mere eight points against East­ern Michi­gan on Dec. 29, 13 points against Ok­la­homa on Jan. 2 and 13 more ver­sus Iowa State on Jan. 5, Law­son has im­mersed him­self in films of him­self — and films of other col­lege bas­ket­ball play­ers and teams — rather than re­view any Hol­ly­wood re­leases.

“Like on our iPads … I stay up late and watch (tapes),” Law­son said. “I see where the guys on de­fense are com­ing from, just dif­fer­ent reads. It’s def­i­nitely some­thing I like to do, to break down the game, try to be a stu­dent of the game. I watch the way the guys on other teams are guarded. I try to eval­u­ate it like that, too.”

Law­son — he has said he’s the type of per­son who goes to bed late and

gets up early — be­lieves work­ing over­time on his game is pay­ing off.

He scored 31 points on 10-of-19 shoot­ing and grabbed 14 re­bounds in KU’s 77-68 vic­tory over TCU on Wed­nes­day night at Allen Field­house. Law­son — he av­er­ages a team­lead­ing 19.8 points a game on 50 per­cent shoot­ing — hit 13 of 36 shots (.361) dur­ing the three pre­vi­ous games.

He’s hop­ing to have busted a mini-scor­ing drought head­ing into Satur­day’s Big 12 bat­tle be­tween the No. 7-ranked Jay­hawks (13-2, 2-1) and un­ranked Bay­lor Bears (9-5, 1-1). Tipoff is 3 p.m. at Fer­rell Cen­ter in Waco, Texas, with a live tele­cast on ESPN.

“I saw (on film) Iowa State and Ok­la­homa dou­ble-teamed me a lot. I tried to get as close to the bas­ket as pos­si­ble,” Law­son said of strat­egy for the TCU game. “I tried to get into my moves quicker — be­fore the de­fense comes. When they (Horned Frogs) dou­ble-teamed, I tried to find the right team­mate, tried to play bas­ket­ball the right way,” he added.

Law­son re­al­izes his per­for­mance could be a huge fac­tor in de­ter­min­ing KU’s fate in the Big 12 race and the post­sea­son. KU has lost a dom­i­nant big in Udoka Azubuike to a sea­son-end­ing hand in­jury.

KU, which is vy­ing for a 15th straight Big 12 ti­tle, is 1-1 since Azubuike tore a lig­a­ment in his right hand at prac­tice the day be­fore the Iowa State game.

“Just keep try­ing to be an in­side pres­ence of­fen­sively and de­fen­sively,” Law­son said of per­sonal goals for com­ing games. “Not let guys get bas­kets easy around the rim, try to im­prove in all ar­eas of the game.”

KU coach Bill Self went with a four-guard (Lager­ald Vick, Devon Dot­son, Quentin Grimes, Mar­cus Gar­rett) start­ing lineup that in­cluded one big (Law­son) to open Wed­nes­day’s home vic­tory over TCU.

Things could change against Bay­lor.

“I haven’t watched a lot of tape on them. They’re play­ing more man (de­fense), but they’ll play a ton of that 1-1-3 zone,” Self said of Scott Drew’s Bears. “It’s so much eas­ier to at­tack the zone if you have two bigs, so they have big­ger tar­gets to throw to in the mid­dle. I do think we’ll maybe need to play two bigs more in that game. We have to do a good job at­tack­ing the zone.”

The Bears played both zone and man in their first two league games — Tues­day’s 73-70 vic­tory over Iowa State in Waco, and an 85-81 loss on Jan. 5 at TCU.

“I think we are 15 for our last 62 (from three for 24.2 per­cent; 33.3 per­cent from three on sea­son). That’s not good enough to beat any­body and un­for­tu­nately we are 2-1 in those games,” Self said. “When we go up against the zone on the road, we need to make 10 or 11 threes to give our­selves the best chance. I know we have it in us, but we need to shoot it bet­ter than we have.”

KU hit 5 of 21 threes to TCU’s 9 of 21. The Jay­hawks forced 20 turnovers play­ing their first game with ath­letic fresh­man guard Ochai Ag­baji, who had two of KU’s 10 steals.

“I think we were more ath­letic on the perime­ter for sure than we have been. Ochai brings some­thing to that,” Self said of the Oak Park High grad­u­ate who had his red­shirt sta­tus lifted be­fore the TCU game in re­sponse to Azubuike’s in­jury. “We’ve not been very good scor­ing the ball.”

RICH SUGG [email protected]­

KU’s Dedric Law­son (1) and Ochai Ag­baji block a shot by TCU’s Des­mond Bane dur­ing the first half of Wed­nes­day night’s game at Allen Field­house.

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