UL-Monroe fades late in 80-63 loss to No. 5 Kansas

Updated: November 8, 2013, 11:50 PM ET
Associated Press

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Louisiana-Monroe's Marvin Williams simply couldn't miss for the first 10 minutes against No. 5 Kansas on Friday night.

He drained his first five field-goal attempts on his way to a game-high 19 points, and his layup early in the second half trimmed the mighty Jayhawks' lead to five points, rousing the Allen Fieldhouse crowd from their lull.

One he fouled out with 8:12 left, the Warhawks' upset bid went with him. Kansas pulled away behind 16 points from freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins for an 80-63 victory.

"I think for the first game I did pretty good but it's hard for me to pat myself because I fouled out," Williams said. "I got to adjust to the new rules."

Williams, who averaged 6.1 points and 4.8 rebounds last season at Northwest Florida State College, controlled play around the rim for much of the game. It got the attention of Kansas forward Tarik Black, who played against Williams in Memphis during high school.

"I've known he's a talented player, been playing against him for a while," Black said. "I want to see him be successful, being from my hometown."

The Warhawks didn't look like a team that won only four games last year. They trailed 47-41 early in the second half before the quicker, more physical Jayhawks finally went on a 15-5 run.

Once Williams fouled out, and Louisiana-Monroe struggled the rest of the way as Wiggins and Co. made the final score appear much more comfortable.

"Guys like Marvin are going to have to learn to stay out of foul trouble because we're not a real deep team," Louisiana-Monroe coach Keith Richard said. "I've got to leave (players) in a little longer, and a little longer than that."

Andrew White III and Perry Ellis added 11 and 12 points, respectively, for the youthful Jayhawks, who won't have a whole lot of time for all their newcomers to work out the kinks. Kansas, which is replacing all five starters from last season, plays No. 4 Duke on Tuesday night in Chicago.

"It's going to be a pretty good matchup, two high-profile teams," White said, "but we're not paying too much attention to the hype that's out there."

The Jayhawks started three freshmen in Wiggins, Wayne Selden and Frank Mason, who got the nod at point guard with junior Naadir Tharpe serving a one-game suspension for playing in an unauthorized summer league game. Black also was in the starting lineup.

That left Perry Ellis as the only holdover from last season in the starting five.

Still, the unknown of all the fresh faces resulted in the same kind of energy inside Allen Fieldhouse that has accompanied just about every other home opener -- Kansas has won 42 of them in a row. Students waited in lines hours before the doors opened before rushing to their seats.

All that fervor quickly subsided when it became apparent how far Kansas has to go.

Consecutive dunks by Williams in the first half, the second one after a turnover by Wiggins at the other end, gave the Warhawks a 15-13 lead and forced the Jayhawks to call a timeout.

"I liked the fact that we kept fighting," Williams said.

The timeout briefly served to settle down the young and rattled group on Bill Self's bench.

Making waves of substitutions, Kansas methodically regained the lead, and then pulled away on a jumper by Brannen Greene and a parade of free throws. But it was still just 42-32 at halftime, and Self's jaw was clenched as he followed his team to the locker room.

"I thought our team gave about 30 good minutes out there," Richard said. "Disappointed in some layups that we missed. We got the ball right where we needed to get it and didn't score."

Self wasn't any happier early in the second half, when the Warhawks had closed to within 47-41 and Mason was whistled for a foul on a loose ball. Self stomped up the sideline, his face red in fury, and screamed at the officials while the crowd roared their disapproval.

His impassioned tirade finally woke the Jayhawks from their slumber.

Black scored moments later to kick off a 15-5 spurt that allowed Kansas to seize control. Wiggins coasted to the rim for two layups during the run, and White knocked down a 3-pointer off a feed from Connor Frankamp, then converted a conventional three-point player.

Louisiana-Monroe got into foul trouble down the stretch -- Tylor Ongwae picked up his fifth with 14:40 to go, and Williams picked up his fifth 6 minutes later.

Once he left the game, the Warhawks' chances of an improbable win went with him.


Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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