LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Northern Arizona coach Mike Adras felt no
need to apologize after his Lumberjacks were blown out 91-57 by No.
"This is probably the best team I've ever coached against," he
said. "They just kept coming and coming."
Even Kansas coach Bill Self had to admit his Jayhawks had looked
sharp in every regard Saturday night while shooting 54 percent,
forcing 21 turnovers and mounting a double-digit lead less than 5
minutes into the game.
Preseason All-American Brandon Rush scored 21 points, leading
five players in double figures as the Jayhawks won their 35th
consecutive home opener.
"We did a good job," Self said. "We need to tighten a lot of
things up, but I thought our effort was excellent. You always look
good when you shoot the ball well and certainly we did that."
Rush, a 6-foot-6 sophomore who had not played particularly well
in two exhibition games, scored inside and outside. He also had
three assists, six rebounds and played tight defense on Steven Sir,
who led the NCAA last year in 3-point accuracy.
"I think we played up to our No. 3 ranking today," Rush said.
"The energy was there and the shots were falling. We just kept
going throughout the game. I probably stepped up and got my game
Hitting 10 of their first 12 shots, the Jayhawks took control
with a 19-4 run that produced a 41-17 lead. It was exactly the kind
of game Self was hoping to see from a team that he feared might
stumble over its preseason press clippings.
"When Brandon plays like that, we're a totally different
team," he said. "We had good balance."
Northern Arizona, which has four starters back from last
season's Big Sky Conference champion, was outclassed from start to
"They are skilled at every position," said Sir, who was
3-for-5 from beyond the arc and finished with nine points. "They
are quick, long, tall, athletic, all the things you envision the
best of the best being. Kansas is an elite team. It stunk getting
blown out, but it was a lot of fun."
With more than 14 minutes left, Kansas had almost all reserves
on the court, including a pair of freshmen who provided the most
spectacular play of the night. Guard Brady Morningstar threw an
alley-oop pass to 6-9 Darrell Arthur, who caught it with one hand
and threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk for a 72-34 lead.
"Coaching," said Self with a smile. "Or recruiting."
Mario Chalmers, who didn't because of a sore toe, then stole the
ball and went down for a conventional dunk and a 74-34 lead.
Rush even gave the big crowd a laugh early in the second half
when one shoe came flying off. He picked it up and carried it a few
steps while running down court on defense, then tossed it aside and
played with one bare foot until the next time out.
Julian Wright, the co-winner with Rush in preseason balloting
for Big 12 player of the year, had 16 points. Freshman Sherron
Collins had 14 while Darnell Jackson and Arthur had 12 apiece.
Jackson, playing for injured 6-11 center Sasha Kaun, had a
team-high eight rebounds
Deveric Taylor led Northern Arizona with 12 points.
After Kansas jumped to a big lead, Taylor scored six points in
an 8-0 flurry by the Lumberjacks. But Arthur blocked a shot and
Jackson converted it into a three-point play on the other end to
spark a 10-0 spree that sent Kansas into halftime with a 51-25
Northern Arizona fell to 0-18 against ranked opponents, and the
road does not get much easier for the Lumberjacks, who play at No.
10 Arizona on Wednesday after being at Arizona State on Monday.
They will be the only Division I program to start this season with
two top-10 teams in the first week.
"It's not the most ideal schedule, no doubt about it," said
Adras. "I'm not sure I really want to be the home opener for two
Pac-10 teams and a Big 12 team, but that's the way it worked out."
Ruben Boykin Jr., last year's Big Sky newcomer of the year and
top rebounder with 7.2 per game, had only four rebounds against the
taller Jayhawks, who had a 42-32 edge on the boards.
"They are all future pros," said Boykin. "That's enough said