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Kansas defeats Emporia State, 86-60

  • 7 p.m., Nov. 3, 2021
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Originally published November 3, 2021 at 09:01p.m., updated November 3, 2021 at 10:02p.m.

Delayed debut: KU guard Remy Martin brings fire, production off the bench to lead Kansas past Emporia State, 86-60

Kansas guard Remy Martin (11) flashes a tongue as he heads to the bucket during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Remy Martin (11) flashes a tongue as he heads to the bucket during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Wednesday night was a night of so many firsts for the third-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team in its lone exhibition game of the season, an 86-60 victory over Emporia State.

But none of them quite popped like seeing transfer guard Remy Martin in action — off the bench, no less.

The former Arizona State Sun Devil, who beat Kansas twice in his ASU career, finished his unofficial KU debut with 15 points, four assists and one turnover in 18 minutes.

More important than any of those numbers, though, was the fact that he delivered in exactly the way Kansas coach Bill Self said this team needed him the most. With energy.

Rather than starting, the preseason Big 12 player of the year came off of the bench to do his damage.

“You know, I think I haven’t been doing my part of the deal,” Martin said after Wednesday’s victory. “I think that I can do a lot better. Coach requires me to bring a lot more to the court, and he challenges me every day and I just have to respond.”

For the most part, that was exactly what he did in this one. While Self still lamented Martin’s turned-down approach on the defensive end, the KU coach said he was pleased with the way Martin injected life into the game and the Kansas lineup, particularly on offense.

“He’s got a great personality,” Self said. “I wish he would try a little harder defensively. It frustrates me sometimes because he’s as quick as a cat and doesn’t play to his quickness defensively. But as far as getting downhill and he’s a shot maker; I thought he did some good things.”

Coming off the bench 6:16 into the game, Martin got cookin’ quickly.

His first shot came 73 seconds after he checked in, and he drained it.

Less than two minutes into his first stint as a Jayhawk, Martin already had two buckets and had flashed the kind of fiery emotion and personality that Self has said would be one of his biggest contributions on a couple of occasions.

The first came after a drive to the rim that put KU up 19-13. After catching the ball on the perimeter, Martin faked the extra pass to the corner and then darted into the lane for an uncontested layup.

Emporia State quickly called timeout and Martin hustled back to the KU bench with a scowl on his face and skip in his step.

Later, after his first 3-point make of the night, he again flashed his passion and emotion, yelling to the crowd and hopping in a circle as he got back on defense.

The crowd, of course, ate up all of it.

At one point, after he crossed into double digits with a hard drive to the rim, the students in the north bleachers began chanting, “Rem-my, Rem-my, Rem-my.”

“I tell people all the time I don’t know why I do certain things that I do,” Martin said. “But I know that it’s for the love of the game. I really enjoy playing this game, I like to entertain the fans and it’s just who I am.”

By halftime, after six more makes on a variety of shots, Martin had recorded 13 points in just 9:32 on the court.

In the second half, Martin looked even more comfortable with his new team.

After battling McCormack for an uncontested defensive rebound — and losing — Martin caught the quick outlet pass from McCormack and could be seen laughing as he pushed the ball up the floor at breakneck pace.

On that same possession, Martin flashed a smile and an eyebrow raise in mid-air on his way to a bucket that put the Jayhawks up 63-33 with 14:52 to play.

“Remy’s like that,” McCormack said. “We expect him to have some personality, but he just really laid it all out there. I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be like in real high-intensity games.”

Even the things that did not go well for Martin found a way to inject energy and life into the building. Midway through the second half after flying up the floor in transition, Martin feathered a soft lob somewhere around the rim from the right side of the lane. Its intended receiver was Agbaji, who did his acrobatic best to catch and finish the lob. It missed, but both Jayhawks — roommates, no less — came down with a did-we-really-almost-just-do-that look in their eyes and smile on their face.

It looked as if they had talked about that very moment a time or two in their McCarthy Hall dorm room.

“We definitely make sure that we’re on the same page,” Martin said. “

Martin was not all about Martin in this one. And KU’s victory was not all about him either. Late in the first half, while waiting to check back in, he both encouraged his teammates on the floor to keep pushing and yelled directions to them on the defensive end, staying engaged from the bench throughout.

Agbaji led all scorers with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting (5-of-7 from 3-point range) and McCormack added 16 points and eight rebounds.

Junior Christian Braun also cracked double digits with 10 points in 24 minutes, and 12 of the 14 Jayhawks who played got into the scoring column.

The Jayhawks out-rebounded the Hornets 45-34, outscored them in bench points 37-14 and in fastbreak points 15-0.

Beyond that, just about every Jayhawk who played showed the ability to both comprehend and execute this team’s favored approach.

“We want to play fast,” Self said. “There’s no question. We want to create havoc off of our defense.”

As Martin checked out for the final time to join the rest of KU’s starters on the bench, the KU crowd began chanting “We want more! We want more!”

The way McCormack sees it, more is definitely coming.

“It’s only going to be up from here,” he said of his new teammate’s performance. “This is only the beginning for him.”

Next up, KU opens the regular season on Tuesday against Michigan State at the Champions Classic in New York City.

Comments

Rodney Crain 1 month ago

Lots of positives to see.

MSU will be a nice test.

Would like to see more team rebounding.

Anyone know why Remy had to sit for 6 mins. instead of starting?

Dirk Medema 1 month ago

Rodney - I think Remy answered your question or at least I assumed that’s what he was talking about.

“You know, I think I haven’t been doing my part of the deal,” Martin said after Wednesday’s victory. “I think that I can do a lot better. Coach requires me to bring a lot more to the court, and he challenges me every day and I just have to respond.”

Rodney Crain 1 month ago

I posed my question before his press conference. He had not said anything.

What you quote does not answer my question though. What part is he not doing? A lot better how? Staying late, more vocal, leadership? Self wants hustle, team offense, defense, rebounding, etc. Respond to what?

My guess, what I saw tonight is he is all about his offense. He is a top shelf play maker and shooter. His first step is great. He missed some assignments on defense, he was not hustling back everytime, he played to the crowd while the ball was in play and was late on defense. This will earn him a seat on the bench.

It would explain why he was evasive in his answer.

Just a guess, we really do not know, he sure did not shed any light on it.

Shannon Gustafson 4 weeks ago

Defense is what's holding him back and it's why he was sent a message by not starting. Also decision making on offense. He's very talented on that end but has to remember it's not the Remy show anymore like it was at ASU. There is talent all around him now so the best play is not always for Remy to shoot it anymore.

Dirk Medema 1 month ago

“Martin caught the quick outlet pass from Martin”?

Matt Tait 1 month ago

He was everywhere!!! (McCormack). Fixed now. Thanks.

Rodney Crain 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Well not everywhere on the court until 13:58 of the first half.

Rodney Crain 1 month ago

Matt do you know if JW was alone in the car?

Eliott Reeder 1 month ago

^^^this was my very first thought when I saw Remy not getting the start, that maybe he was with JW during DUI, but I almost think his punishment would be even more harsh if that were the case.

Rodney Crain 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Me too. If he was not there, then he is not giving 100% or not doing something else that Self values. But I still would like to know if anyone was with him. BAC too. If someone on the team was with him, they missed a chance to at least say something or even stop him. D. Carr faulted himself, saying in part that if he was a better friend, Rugg's could have called him, he would have picked them up. No questions.

Bryce Landon 1 month ago

I was disappointed to see so many empty seats in Allen Fieldhouse on the ESPN+Plus live stream. I realize it was an exhibition game against a Division II school, but you would think that, with COVID restrictions lifted, people would take advantage and show up for the game now that they can attend games again.

That said, the game was fun to watch, and it was great to see Remy Martin in KU crimson and blue instead of ASU maroon and gold. We are so loaded it's not funny. We have a lot to learn about playing defense, but we always do at the start of the season. Glad to have KU basketball back and finally have the bad taste of getting ass-blasted by Southern Cal out of my mouth.

Rodney Crain 4 weeks, 1 day ago

First game will tell.

That ESPN+ broadcast devolved into plain cheerleading for KU. I love our Basketball team, but you would have thought we had won 5 national Championships since 2008.

Richard Wright 1 month ago

The most impressive stat line on the night...11-11 on free throws.

Art Jefferson 1 month ago

I would like to see Agbaji do more than hit three pointers. It's just one exhibition game, but it's the same as before. He made 5 of 7 three pointers, but just two points from five other shots. No free throws. If he could show the ability to drive, score and draw fouls, he would earn the respect of the defense and find himself even more open for threes. Maybe his handles, or lack of, won't allow him to. I watched and heard a close family member coach and advise a player to mix it up (Score in/score out). That player went on to start all 4 years at UCLA and had a 13 year NBA career. He's coaching in the NBA now. Perhaps Agbaji is playing just the way Self wants him to play. I'm just a fan. I would bet Martin becomes an outstanding defender by 3/4 season. He needs the desire, hustle, footwork and positioning, but he can do it.

Eliott Reeder 1 month ago

100% agree in reference to Ochai... the announcers are always saying 'If he becomes a threat from long-distance, he'll be able to pump-fake and drive to the rim...' but he has ALWAYS been a threat from three. He's just far too passive and doesn't drive hard looking to score at the rim, and seems willing to accept a weak foul over attempting to get the AND-1. This is why we needed someone with the attitude and borderline OVER-confidence of Remy Martin, to balance out Ochai's passivity. Hoping some of that Remy swagger will wear off onto Och... Remy has enough to go around.

Benjamin Shear 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Obiter Dictum:

-Welcome back everyone! What a treat to be watching KU BB again!

-I believe we had 13 players that played 5 minutes or more, that was fun to watch!

-HCBS really has a problem of riches this year. Figuring out what rotations work is going to be a challenge. This is especially true because HCBS rarely plays more 8 guys once the season gets going.

-I was a bit surprised that we couldn't score more than a few points the last 4 minutes of the game. I know the game was over long before that point, but it still stuck out to me as odd.

-The game was fun, and a nice warmup, but things always come easy against lesser skilled opponents. I'm looking forward to the game against MSU. That will give us a much better picture of where we are. Playing in MSG should also be a bit of a shock for our young players. No matter the outcome, it will be a great learning experience for the the team.

-It was a weird contrast to see HCBS wearing a Huggy Bear track suit, while Craig Doty, the Emporia coach wore a nice suit. I don't care what a coach wears, but it just looked weird.

Dirk Medema 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Rodney C - What I quoted was a copy/paste from one of the first paragraphs of this article. Maybe the article was updated with that quote.

I think Coach Self answered the rest of your questions, or at least as much as we’ll ever get from outside practices and meetings. You even answered it yourself. Coach wants him turned up, creating havoc on the defensive end as well as O.

Hopefully Remy will realize that his efforts on both ends, on the ball and off, will lead both to greater success this year and next.

Rodney Crain 4 weeks, 1 day ago

It was not there as I was posting. I was looking for something that would explain it.

Realize? He did not realize it last night. He was playing some of the screens wrong, showboated a few times instead of getting back.

If he keeps it up I wonder how long Self will put up with it. Maybe it depends on if we are behind or not.

It has been a few years since we have seen a first step like that though. He is going to be a problem for anyone we play.

Jerry Walker 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Can you say crowded?

There was a lot of talent on the floor tonight...even without Wilson and Coleman-Lands. Whew.

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