Final, KU wins 87-49
Four Jayhawks scored in double figures as KU routinely dispatched Florida Atlantic and spoiled Rex Walters' return to Allen Fieldhouse, meaning KU will go to Southern Cal as a 6-0 ballclub for Sunday's 1 p.m. tipoff in Los Angeles.
Brandon Rush led all scorers with 17 points, while Darnell Jackson hit a late three-pointer to give himself 13. He started in place of Sasha Kaun, providing instant energy as KU hardly ever trailed in this one. Darrell Arthur scored 12, Mario Chalmers had 11 and FAU shot below 30 percent for the game. Conner Teahan scored nine points late for KU, all of those coming from beyond the three-point arc.
2:36, second half, KU leads 86-46
With the walkons emptying the bench, the points continued to pile for KU, as Conner Teahan and Jeremy Case dropped threes from the right side to put KU up 76-40 with just over five minutes left to play and the stands beginning to empty.
Sasha Kaun, along with Rodrick Stewart as the only regulars left in the game, then threw down a two-handed slam to give himself seven points on the night with 4:24 to go. Florida Atlantic then called a full timeout, and it was followed by another Teahan three to put KU up by 40 with the game now in its closing minutes.
7:49, second half, KU leads 69-34
Darnell Jackson hit two free throws out of the timeout to make him the fourth Jayhawk in double figures with 10 points. He was then in a crowd under the hoop that swatted an FAU shot, and on the offensive end he stroked a three atop the key, giving him 13 points and erupting the Allen Fieldhouse crowd.
After that, Brandon Rush went on a five-point spurt of his own, giving him 17 on the night before taking a seat on the bench, making way for Conner Teahan.
Jeremy Case muscled his way into the lane for two, which went as the Jayhawks' final points before a media timeout at the 7:49 mark, with KU ahead 69-34.
11:49, second half, KU leads 57-28
Following Rodrick Stewart hitting one of two free throws to give KU 50 points on the night, Darrell Arthur scored for the third time in the first half to give himself 12.
Sasha Kaun then added an and-one layup in the paint, and the accompanying free throw was compounded by a pair of Brandon Rush free throws moments later, putting KU up 57-28 and giving Rush 12 points as well.
15:38, second half, KU leads 49-25
Darrell Arthur opened up hte second half with a 15-foot baseline jumper after forcing FAU's Jeff Parmer into a travel on the baseline. Carlos Monroe, FAU's leading scorer, came back down to score his first points of the game after putting up a goose egg in the first half.
Darnell Jackson then scored his seventh and eighth points of the game on a 15-footer of his own, this one coming from the right wing in front of Monroe. Arthur then used a nice pump fake while sliding towards the rim underneath to make himself the second Jayhawk in double figures in terms of points. Sandwiched around the bucket that gave him 10 points were Arthur's first two rebounds of the game. Rush gave himself double figures by throwing down an alley-oop lob before the second half's first full break.
Halftime, KU leads 28-19
FAU's strategy of slowing the game down some kicked in following the media timeout, as the possessions were minimized. Darrell Arthur scored on a short turnaround jumper, and an emphatic Sasha Kaun dunk moments later went as the final KU buckets of the first half.
The Jayhawks went into the halftime locker room holding a pretty steady 38-19 lead. Mario Chalmers led the way for KU in the scoring department. He had a game-high 11 points in the first 20 minutes, paced by a trio of three-pointers. The last of those was part of a key 9-0 Jayhawk run which gave KU some separation on the scoreboard in a slowed-down first half.
3:47, first half, KU leads 32-15
Jeremy Case slashed to the hoop and scored two right out of the timeout, and Darrell Arthur kept the crowd on its feet by smashing away an FAU shot under the rim. Arthur missed on the other end, but was cleaned up by Cole Aldrich with a hanging tip.
Russell Robinson then hustled to swipe the inbounds pass, eventually finding Mario Chalmers for his third three of the first half. On top of that came a Darrell Arthur fast break layup following an FAU missed three. The result was a quick 9-0 KU run, forcing Rex Walters to call a timeout with his team down by 19 and 5:22 to go in the half.
Sanchez Hughley scored two for FAU before the game went to the final full break of the first half with KU leading 32-15.
7:20, first half, KU leads 23-13
Perkins made one of his two free throw attempts, keeping FAU somewhat within range at 15-8 with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half.
Rush came back to score his second bucket of the game on a running leaner down the right side of the lane, thanks to a timely feed from Russell Robinson. Rush then tried to answer with his second threepointer of the game following an FAU turnover, but the possession came up empty after Darnell Jackson just missed on a turnaround jumper off the glass.
KU's defense held again, and Mario Chalmers hit his first three-pointer in two games by working off a screen on the left wing and putting one home with ease. FAU's Sean Alarcon came down to hit a three of his own, keeping FAU within nine points at 20-11.
FAU whistled a timeout to catch some air, and after swatting Russell Robinson underneath, the Owls came down to score two thanks to Derrick Simmons. But Chalmers one-upped Simmons with his second straight hit from three-point range, putting KU up 23-13 with 7:20 to go until halftime.
11:35, first half, KU leads 15-7
Carderro Nwoji missed a shot out of the games's first full break for FAU, but Sasha Kaun couldn't slip in a deuce in traffic on the other end, and as KU came to the other end for a defensive series, Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur checked in for Rodrick Stewart and Darnell Jackson, respectively.
After a handful of empty possessions - including Arthur missing long on a three attempt - Sanchez Hughley finally broke the silence for FAU, scoring inside to make it 10-7.
On the other end, though, Brandon Rush casually stroked a three from the corner, giving him his first points and putting KU up by six. It was then followed with an offensive foul on Hughley. Russell Robinson then took a high screen from Darnell Jackson and worked to the paint for two more off the glass, giving him his first points of the night.
Rush had a chance to extend the lead to 10 points on a one-on-two break, but saw his shot blocked by Xavier Perkins in the open floor. Perkins drew a foul on the other end, but not before the game went to its second full break with KU leading 15-7.
15:51, first half, KU leads 10-5
Russell Robinson controlled the gamge's opening tip, and after working the ball around a bit, the opening possession ended with Rodrick Stewart spilling in two in the lane. He then swatted an FAU shot on the other end, but off the deflection, Jeff Parmer ultimately hit a three, giving the Owls an early 3-2 lead.
Darnell Jackson, starting in place of Sasha Kaun, then corralled a Russell Robinson missed three and put it back in for his first points of the game, providing a spark in the game's opening moments.
A scary moment then came as Darrell Arthur was on the ground in pain momentarily following a tie-up under the FAU hoop, but play resumed, with Carlos Monroe missing a turnaround jumper for FAU. He got another shot at it after a KU turnover, but Jackson swatted it, turning it into two for Mario Chalmers on the other end. Jeff Parmer scored again to answer back, but Rodrick Stewart came down and slipped a pass underneath to Darrell Arthur, who put in two easily off the glass. Jackson then hit a baseline jumper following another FAU miss to give himself four early points and KU a 10-5 lead.
The highlights on the floor this week for the Kansas University men's basketball team, when it's all said and done, will include names like Rush, Arthur, Mayo and Budinger.
But one name looms as the best storyline tonight as the No. 4 Jayhawks welcome Florida Atlantic into Allen Fieldhouse for a 7 p.m. tip - Walters.
Rex Walters, who helped lead the Jayhawks to the 1993 Final Four in New Orleans is now in his second season as the Owls' head coach. FAU enters tonight's game with a 1-5 mark so far in the young season. The Owls have dropped three straight, including a 77-66 decision at UMKC Monday night in Kansas City. Leading scorer Paul Graham is indefinitely suspended for FAU, so the Owls will be leaning on fellow Philadelphia native Carlos Monroe, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, who so far this season is averaging 17.2 points and 10.7 rebounds per game for Florida Atlantic.
KU comes in as a heavy favorite, on the heels of a 76-72 overtime win Sunday night over Arizona. This game appears on paper as a pit stop in between the Arizona game and Sunday's trip out to Los Angeles to face Southern Cal and freshman sensation O.J. Mayo.
But KU has plenty to clean up tonight. Two areas in need of repair following Sunday night are on the glass and in the backcourt. The Jayhawks were outrebounded 38-29 by the Wildcats. On top of that, senior guards Russell Robinson and Rodrick Stewart were forced to sit their share of minutes due to foul trouble.