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Saturday, December 3, 2005

Kansas defeats Western Illinois, 86-57

Jayhawk Julian Wright has career-high 14 points

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Kansas University's basketball team knocked off Western Illinois 86-57 Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks shot 49-percent from the field, while holding the Leathernecks to just 29.5-percent.

Kansas, which had 29 field goals off of 25 assists, had five players in double figures -- including a career-high 14 points. Senior Christian Moody also had a career night with 12 points, while fellow classmante Stephen Vinson tied his career-best with 5 points.

"There were some good things that happened. But to be quite candid, there were some individuals who I thought didn't play as good as they can," KU coach Self said. "The guy that sparked us more than anyone was Stephen Vinson."

Vinson said he was surprised when he learned that he had played 17 minutes.

"He (Self) was looking for a spark so we took that as motivation going in," Vinson said about coming in early in the second half. "We had a pretty good idea of why we were being sent in. We were doing the same thing we had been doing, we were just trying to execute a little better."

Sasha Kaun, C.J. Giles and Micah Downs rounded out the scoring with 10 points a piece.

Kansas had five players record four assists or more including five dishes by both Mario Chalmers and Wright, while Jeff Hawkins, Brandon Rush, and Vinson each had four handouts as the Jayhawks evened their season record at (3-3).

Wright, who played very sparingly in the loss to Nevada, said he was just trying to go in and play the way coach Self wants him to.





"I came out and tried to be active and run the floor," he said. "Coach wants us to run the floor because of our athleticism. When we run the floor, good things happen.

"In the offensive set, I am still trying to do exactly what coach wants me to do. He wants me to let the game just come to me and on the first or second touch get a basket."

KU outscored WIU 42-14 in the paint and held a 28-12 advantage on points off turnovers. The Jayhawks also got 50 points from bench players.

Western Illinois was led by guard David Jackson's 17 points, and Marlon Mahorn added 11 as the Leathernecks knocked down nine three-pointers.

"It's an honor to be able to coach here," WIU coach Derek Thomas said. "Growing up as a little kid, you always dream of being able to play or coach here.

"I wish we would have done a little better, and Kansas would have been a little more hospitable," Thomas joked. "But they have things that they need to get done too, and I understand that."

Now Kansas will travel to New York to play Saint Joseph's at 6 p.m. next Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

"I personally think we have already learned enough lessons," Self said about experiencing any more setbacks. "That's the one thing that would really help our team the fastest is with the young guys learning what it means to be a player. There are some things, but it is just a work in progress."

Second Half Action

Western Illinois' Troy Okeson, from Weskan, Kan., opened the second half with a three pointer and Jackson followed with a steal and lay-up to cut KU's lead to 45-36, which caused KU coach Bill Self to call a quick timeout.

Self substituded in three perimeter players, bringing in Mario Chalmers, Stephen Vinson and Micah Downs.

The move paid off when Chalmers found C.J. Giles for a no look pass. Giles got the basket but couldn't hit the free throw for a three-point player.

But Downs had no problem knocking down a three on KU's next trip down the floor to give the Jayhawks a 50-36 advantage with just under 18 minutes to go.

With 16:41 to go, WIU's leading scorer Jackson, who has 15 points, picked up his third foul.

Chalmers got in on the scoring, knocking down a three from the left side. The freshman guard followed that up with another big steal and a terrific pass to Sasha Kaun for a quick dunk to put KU up 55-36.

Downs couldn't get a floating leaner to fall off the glass, but he came right back forced a steal and scored a basket in the lane.

Ten Jayhawks have scored Saturday night.

Wright scored on a nice reverse to give KU a 59-37 lead with just under 12 minutes to go.

The freshman forward, who leads KU in scoring with 12, hit three free throws in a row o give kansas a 62-37 lead.

With 9:58 to go Jackson picked up his fourth foul for WIU on a charging call on his way to the basket.

Rush had a quick crossover that gave him an open lane to the basket for the lay-in.

Mahorn hit a three the other way for the Leathernecks to give him 11 points.

Downs wrestled away a steal flipped the ball to Vinson, who fired a three-quarters length pass to a wide-open Kaun who finished with a two-hand jam for the 71-47 KU lead with just under six minutes to play.

Moody doubled his season-high output in this game when he knocked down a pair of free throws.

Vinson followed with two more charities to tie his career high. The senior also has four assists as KU leads 75-47 with 5:16 to go.

Moody went back to the free-throw line and hit a pair to give him a career-high 12 points as KU took a 30-point lead.

Nathan Koster rattled home his first basket, a three-pointer with just over three minutes to go.

Matt Kleinmann scored on a nice feed from Wright. Every Jayhawk has scored except for Jeremy Case.

Case through a lob to Wright for the 83-54 lead with just over 40 seconds to go.

Case hit a three with just under 30 seconds to play to give every Jayhawk who played a point.

Kansas defeated Western Illinois 86-57 Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Halftime

Kansas, which played all four freshmen in the final moments of the first half, shot 56.7-percent from the field. The Jayhawks had 17 field goals and 16 assists.

Christian Moody led KU with eight points, with Julian Wright scoring seven, and C.J. Giles and Sasha Kaun each adding six points a piece.

Kansas held a 19-17 advantage on the boards.

David Jackson led the Leathernecks, which knocked down five three-pointers, with 13 first half points.

WIU had nine turnovers, while KU had five turnovers, but six steals.

Rush hit a pair of free throws and Giles responded with a ferocious block back the other way and another stuff. Then he ran back on offense and got a put back for the 66-42 lead with just over eight minutes to go. Kansas has nine blocks while the Leathernecks have none.

First Half Action

Kansas won the tip and C.J. Giles took a half court lob pass from Jeff Hawkins for a long alley-oop dunk to quickly put KU on top 2-0.

On the Jayhawk's next trip down guard Russell Robinson found Giles for another alley and the 4-0 advantage.

Fred Oguns put Western Illinois on the board with a single free throw.

Giles gave Western Illinois a basket because of a goal tending call and the Leathernecks trail just 4-3.

Russell Robinson knocked down a pair of free throws to put KU up 6-3.

WIU leading scorer David Jackson knocked down a three-pointer to tie the contest at 6-all with just over 16 minutes remaining in the first half.

Sasha Kaun got a good entry pass and was easily able to spin and bank in ahsort shot to give KU the lead back.

On the Jayhawks next possession, freshman Brandon Rush nailed a long three.

Robinson followed that with a break-away steal and so too did Rush who flipped a ball back over his head to Jeff Hawkins for a unconsted lay-up to cap a 9-0 run with 14:41 to play in the first half.

A block by Giles started another fast break by KU as freshman Julian Wright attacked the basket, but was fouled and missed both free throws.

With 13:18 to go, Giles caught a ball in the lane and finished with a one-handed leaner for his sixth points.

But Jackson answered with his second three-pointer to cut the score to 17-9.

Kansas, which now has Mario Chalmers in the line-up despite a hard foul against Nevada the other night, is shooting 50-percent, while WIU is shooting 23-percent.

Christian Moody scored his first two points on an easy lay-in and senior Stephen Vinson followed that with a three-pointer from the top of the key to give KU a 22-11 score with 10:17 to go in the first half.

Chalmers came up with a steal and threw a pretty alley-oop about his head to fellow freshman Wright, who slammed home a monster jam.

Moody added another basket, but the Leathernecks responded with their third three-pointer of the game to cut the score to 26-14.

Kaun hit a pair of free throws with 7:38 to go to put KU up by 14, then followed that the next trip with two more charities.

Jackson hit a pair of free throws to cut the score to 30-17.

Wright missed another free throw for KU, but hit his second from the stripe with 5:35 to go.

A three by WIU's Marlon Mahorn gave the Leathernecks their fourth triple.

KU's Hawkins followed with his own bomb from downtown to pu the Jayhawks back up by 14.

W. Illinois's Mahorn answered with a baseline basket, but Hawkins found a streaking Wright for a easy lay up.

Wright threaded a nice pass into Moody for an easy basket, but the KU senior couldn't convert the following free throw.

Jackson, who has 13 points, followed with his third three of the game to cut the deficit to 11.

With 2:36 left in the half Mahorn pumped in a medium range jumper to reduce the Jayhawks' lead to single digits.

Chalmers had a niffty steal and an even better lob pass that Wright skyed for and threw down for another alley-oop.

A wide-open three from the right wing by Micah Downs gave KU a 43-31 lead with under a minute left as Kansas played all four freshmen in the final moments.

Moody followed up with a lay-in off a feed from Wright and Kansas took a 45-31 halftime lead.

Kansas started C.J. Giles, Sasha Kaun, Brandon Rush, Russell Robinson and Jeff Hawkins.

The Leathernecks countered with Fred Oguns, NaVonta Kentle, David Jackson, Sammy Hunter and Nathan Koster.

Pregame

Kansas University's basketball team will try to rebound after its latest loss, a 72-70 heartbreaker to Nevada in Allen Fieldhouse on Thursday, when it takes on Western Illinois tonight at 7 p.m. from the Fieldhouse.

"It's going to be tough coming to Kansas. Everybody talks about how young they are. They are still Kansas, still have McDonald's All Americans," W. Illinois coach Derek Thomas, a 39-year-old Kansas City, Mo., native and the son of former Chiefs cornerback Emmitt Thomas.

The Jayhawks (2-3) are meeting the Leathernecks (2-2) for the first time ever.

Through its first three contest W. Illinois averaged 86 points per game. The Leathernecks are led by sophomore guard David Jackson, who is averaging 16.7 ppg.

Senior forward Fred Oguns is averaging 14 points per game and 5 rebounds a contest. As a team, WIU averages nine three-point field goals per game and is making 44.2 percent from beyond the arch.

Kansas is playing its second home game in three days, but will travel to New York to play Saint Joseph's at 6 p.m. next Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic in Madison Square Garden. The Jayhawks will then return and play California in Kansas City's Kemper Arena Saturday, Dec. 10 at 11 a.m.

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