Kansas University's No. 3-ranked basketball team looked a bit overrated at practice Friday - a day before the regular-season opener against Northern Arizona.
"We were pitiful. We were bad. Everybody was bad," KU coach Bill Self said.
He kicked the Jayhawks out of Allen Fieldhouse 70 minutes into what was supposed to be a two-hour workout, demanding his troops return for a 10 a.m. session Saturday.
KU's players worked out hard - "with (ankle) braces and everything," Brandon Rush said - for 90 minutes and returned seven hours later to drill Northern Arizona, 91-57, before 16,300 happy fans and one happy coach.
"It sent a big message. When coach gets mad, he gets mad," center Darnell Jackson said after scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds - one of five Jayhawks to score in double figures against the shell-shocked Lumberjacks. "We knew we had to buckle down tonight and get after it. We were juiced up."
Self, who had a big smile on his face after an opener in which the Jayhawks hit 10 of their first 12 shots in building a 26-13 lead, was not grinning Friday or at the day-of-the-game practice Saturday.
"I think they felt they should try really hard today," Self said.
Rush, who scored a game-high 21 points off 9-of-14 shooting and played strong defense on NAU three-point bomber Steve Sir (nine points, 3-of-5 trey shooting), wasn't happy Friday when told of the new game-day schedule.
"I was pretty mad. I didn't want to wake up that early," he said, acknowledging the early wake-up call worked.
"Today : we practiced pretty well," said Rush, who felt responsible for the entire team getting the boot from the gym. "He (Self) started off on me and then everyone else followed. He just told us to get the : out."
Rush was coming off a nonproductive exhibition season in which he averaged 11 points off 7-of-24 shooting (29 percent) with a team-leading 10 turnovers in two games.
"Brandon is a fabulous, fabulous kid," Self said. "He needed a wake-up call himself. (Against Emporia State on Tuesday) that's as bad as he's looked since he's been here. It was good for him. He was into it today."
Rush opened Saturday's game feeding Jackson for a pair of buckets, getting the junior big man involved. Rush finished the first half with 11 points in 18 minutes as the Jayhawks blazed to an insurmountable 51-25 lead.
"I wanted to come out and prove to everybody I'm what everybody says I am," said Preseason All-American Rush, who grabbed six rebounds with four assists. "I feel good about it."
He had one of the wildest plays of the game, losing his shoe after putting up a soft, errant driving left-hand layup try.
He did hustle back on defense with one shoe missing, getting his hand on a Lumberjack shot.
"A night like this : there's more highlights and top 10s on ESPN : and bloopers when they show my left-hand side," Rush cracked.
The Jayhawks had plenty of individual highlights in hitting 54 percent of their floor shots to the Lumberjacks' 33.3 percent mark.
Julian Wright hit seven of nine shots and scored 16 points with eight rebounds. Sherron Collins, who started for the injured Mario Chalmers, scored 14 points, while freshman Darrell Arthur had 12 points, including a vicious one-handed slam off a lob from Brady Morningstar.
Chalmers, who has a left toe injury, had five points, four boards and three steals in 15 minutes.
"We did a good job. I thought our effort was excellent," said taskmaster Self, who once made one of his Illinois teams practice two hours in the morning and another hour in the afternoon leading up to a 7 p.m. game.
"What we did today : trust me, what we did didn't wear them out at all," Self said with a smile.
The Jayhawks will meet Oral Roberts at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Allen Fieldhouse.