The news of the day regarding the Kansas University basketball program has been related to off-court issues. But in tonight's exhibition finale against Emporia State at Allen Fieldhouse, the Jayhawks look to show no effect on the floor from the dismissal of junior C.J. Giles from the program.
What it all means for the Jayhawks is that the three-headed post monster of junior Darnell Jackson, sophomore Julian Wright and freshman Darrell Arthur which was so effective in last Thursday's 99-69 win over Washburn, will need a repeat performance. In fact, they'll need plenty of them until junior Sasha Kaun returns from a knee injury.
The trio combined for 54 points and 25 rebounds in the exhibition opener, and more importantly had just seven personal fouls between them.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Emporia State's exhibition opener was last Wednesday, and the result was an 87-62 loss at Wichita State.
Note: Sophomore Mario Chalmers is not playing tonight due to a toe injury. Freshman Sherron Collins will start in his place.
Emporia State's Wes Book started the night's scoring with a sweet baseline move to give the Hornets an early lead. KU, on hte other hand, started the game in rough fashion. Darnell Jackson just hit the first half of a free throw pair, and Brandon Rush missed a three from the corner off the miss.
Emporia State's Jordan Fithian scored on the ensuing possession, and an illegal pick on Russell Robinson left another KU possession empty. Sherron collins threw an errant cross-court pass on the the Jayhawks' next turn with the ball, and Emporia State responded in the form of a DeAndre Townsend floater in the lane to put the Hornets up 6-1.
Emporia State started the game 4-of-6 from the field, but KU finally got its first field goal on a Darrell Arthur jumper from mere feet away to cut the deficit at 8-3.
Arthur hit a pair of free throws to help KU creep closer on their next trip, and were given the ball back after forcing a travel on Book and Collins responded by tying the game with a three-pointer with a hand right in his mug, sending KU into the game's first full timeout having tied the contest, 8-8.
An Ed Desir free throw gave ESU the lead again, 9-8, but KU stayed aggressive on the offensive end, with Russell Robinson earning a trip to the stripe just moments later. He hit both of them to make KU 5-of-6 from the line in the early going, and also earned back the lead, 10-9.
Collins gave KU its biggest advantage so far on a fastbreak layup, which was set up by a smooth swat on the other end right underneath the hoop by Arthur. KU's freshman duo of Arthur and Collins are responsible for 9 of the team's first 12 points.
The lead grew even more with an emphatic Julian Wright two-handed stuff on the other end, thanks to a beautiful dish from Robinson, and KU leads 14-9.
Caleb Tegtmeier ended a scoreless drought with two points on the baseline for the Hornets. They benefitted from KU's sixth turnover in the game's first eight minutes to close within three points, and then Andrew Davison hit a three-pointer on the wing while being hacked by Robinson, sending Emporia State into the television timeout tied with the Jayhakws, 16-16.
Davison hit the free throw to put ESU back on top, but KU quickly regained the lead with a pair of Brandon Rush free throws. The Hornets then turned the ball over again, followed with a Rush jumper at the top of the key to put KU up 20-17.
Townsend answered with a three-ball on the other end from up top, showing that the Hornets were not going away any time soon.
After another KU score, ESU's Donta Watson responded again for the Hornets with a drive down the baseline.
Darnell Jackson hit his first field goal of the game in the form of a tip-in to put KU back on top, and he scored again on the Jayhawks' next offensive trip with a pair of field goals after being on the receiving end of an inside tip-drill. It put KU up 26-22.
Jackson missed a jumper on the next KU trip, and Arthur drew his second personal foul while attempting to rebound the miss.
Robinson picked Watson clean on ESU's next attempt to score. He did so while Watson was in elevation on his way to the hoop. On the opposite end, Julian Wright followed a pair of misses with an easy deuce under the basket, putting KU up 28-22 with 7:35 to go in the first half.
Dane Kelly showed a nice spin with a quick finish before Wright could swat the attempt right out of the timeout for ESU, cutting KU's lead to four points. On the opposite end, KU's offensive inefficiency continued, as Russell Robinson missed a layin inside, and Brandon Rush drew an offensive charging call off the miss.
Emporia State answered with a Desir hoop, but Julian Wright scored again for the Jayhawks, this time with a twisting effort right under the rim.
Wright continued his solid start by jumping a passing lane on the defensive end to get pssession back for KU, and Collins earned a free-throw trip by drawing a blocking call while slicing the lane. Both free throws clanked, however.
The score of 30-26, with KU holding out in front, stayed into the half's final television break, with 3:57 to play until halftime.
After a quick ESU bucket out of the half, Collins responded with his second trey of the game. Townsend answered for ESU with a twirling layup, but Rush was able to hit his first three of the game just moments later. Self whistled for a quick timeout after Fithian scored again in the paint, as Emporia State continued to expose Kansas' rough showing where post defense is concerned.
Russell Robinson helped settle Self on the sideline by hitting a three-pointer of his own out of the break to give KU it's biggest advantage yet at 39-32 with just over a minute to go.
Watson flicked back with an ESU three, and Darnell Jackson then earned his second tip-in of the game, which would be KU's final field goal of the first half. ESU milked the clock, and finished the half with a Townsend two, meaning KU heads into the locker room leading just 41-37.
In the first half, Sherron Collins and Julian Wright each had eight points for the Jayhawks. Wright is well on his way to a double-double, already snatching eight rebounds, five of which came on the offensive end. KU has outrebounded ESU 23-15, but ESU has the advantage on points in the paint, 18-14.
Darnell jackson opened the second half with a pair of buckets inside to double up the Jayhawks' halftime lead at 45-37.
Robinson and Rush each put home a pair of free throws to keep KU on par with Emporia's guard duo of DeAndrew Townsend and Donta Watson, keeping KU up 49-41. The four makes put KU ad 13-of-16 on the night from the line. Robinson added to the lead with a breakaway layup off of a steal at midcourt, and KU leads ESU 51-44 just over four minutes into the half. Robinson now has 11 points, tying him with Jackson, celebrating his 21st birthday today, for the team high.
Out of the timeout, KU matched its largest lead of the night at 10 points as Brandon Rush drove and scored on an and-one going against Caleb Tegtmeier. It earned the ESU forward his fourth foul, and Rush's ensuing free throw gave him 12 points on the night.
Sherron Collins put himself in double figures as well with a three-pointer to give Kansas a commanding 58-44 advantage. It was his third trifecta on the evening, and he is 100 percent from beyond the arc. His fellow Chicago native, Julian Wright, then earned a swipe at midcourt and fed Rodrick Stewart for an easy basket in transition. With KU's next possession, he fed Darrell Arthur underneath, who missed a layup but was fouled in the process, leading to another timeout with KU leading 60-44.
Julian Wright has certainly diversified tonight, with eight points, 12 rebounds and five assists at the moment. Those stats might get some more pad as a Rodrick Stewart free throw put KU up 63-44 as there is now less than 12 minutes to play in the game.
Stewart earned his way to the line again after being held in the paint and again made one of two to give KU its first 20-point lead of the night. After another defensive stand, Rush fed Wright with a beautiful over the shoulder lob, and Wright solidified his double-double with an easy dunk. Jackson scored again after an ESU turnover, and yet another steal, this time swiped by Stewart, led to Jordan Fithian fouling out for the Hornets. He joined Tegtmeier as the second Hornet to foul out in a span of just a couple of minutes.
Robinson dropped home another free throw to put KU up 69-44, with the game clock now under the 10-minute mark. ESU has struggled going just 3-of-12 from the field in the second half.
KU, after being outscored in the paint 18-14 in the game's first 20 minutes, has burnt the Hornets in that category 14-4 in the second half.
Sherron Collins scored yet again to keep KU's lead at 25 points, 71-46, and then hit his fourth three-pointer of the game to put KU up nearly 30 points. It has been nine minutes since Emporia hit a field goal.
Arthur banked in a turnaround jumper from 10 feet out to give KU a 30-point lead, and Stewart earned a tough two free throws after landing hard on his back underneath the basket following another Emporia State miss. He hit both, putting KU up 78-46.
With the backups beginning to mill into the game sophomore Matt Kleinmann earned his way into the scorebook with a basket to put KU up 82-49 as the teams head to the final full timeout of the game with 3:52 left and the conclusion all but written.
Darrell Arthur had a three-point play the hard way with less than three minues to go, and off of a steal, Collins registered his 19th and 20th points on an up-and-under layup on a fastbreak with only 90 seconds to play.
Freshman Brady Morningstar scored his first points of the game on a three from the wing with 30 seconds to play. Those turned out to be the game's final points, as KU finishes exhibition play with a 90-55 win. The Jayhawks outscored the Hornets 49-18 in the second half, and open the 2006-07 season officially Saturday at 7 p.m. with a home contest against Northern Arizona. Emporia State scored just one field goal in the game's final 10:58. Sherron Collins led all scorers with 20 points.