8:00 PM ET, December 19, 2006
Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Though outmanned and outclassed, Winston-Salem still worked hard.The Rams, struggling in their first season as a Division I program, never had a chance Tuesday night against Kansas (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP), which was refreshed and rested after a 10-day break.The Jayhawks (9-2) got their running game in high gear and had five players in double figures in a 94-43 rout.But Winston-Salem (1-14), which got a $65,000 guarantee for the game, impressed with a never-say-die approach."They were playing hard. Coach had been telling us they would come on and compete hard, and they sure did," said Kansas' Sasha Kaun, who had a career-high 11 points in his first start of the season. "They were very competitive."Brandon Rush and Julian Wright each scored 15 points for Kansas, which had every advantage over the smaller, slower and less experienced Rams."I tried to prepare them early about being mentally tough and being prepared to play in the environments we have to go to," Rams coach Bobby Collins said. "To actually experience it is the challenge."The Rams, a longtime power in Division II, are struggling in their first season in Division I. It was their 11th straight loss and the most lopsided since deciding to move to the higher level."It's just like when you are lifting weights," Collins said. "You have to lift heavier weights to get stronger. We have to see what happens at the end and know that if we can get through this, we will be mentally tough. Not just with basketball, but with life."The Jayhawks looked better than they have since beating then-No. 1 Florida on Nov. 25"I thought we ran pretty good. I thought we played pretty good," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "It wasn't perfect by any means. But I thought we played pretty well and pushed it a lot better, and got a lot of easy baskets because of it. Basketball's a lot easier game when you get easy baskets."The Rams were only 1-for-9 from the free-throw line, the lowest percentage for a Kansas opponent in 18 years."I think we can learn from this experience," Winston-Salem's Darius Floyd said.Rush, held to four points in the first half, scored seven in the first minute of the second as Kansas took a 54-21 lead and then kept up the pressure."We had a couple of days off, and I think that helps a lot," Rush said. "One of our main goals was don't let up. Don't let them get confident in this game. I think we did a great job tonight. We just tried to bury them when we had a chance."Backup guard Jeremy Case hit two long 3-pointers in the final minutes as the crowd roared for 100 points.Darrell Arthur had 13 points and Kaun and Sherron Collins each had 11 for Kansas.Floyd had 17 points for Winston-Salem, including 5-of-10 on 3-pointers which helped keep the Rams within shouting distance most of the first half. Curtis Hines had 10 points as Kansas held an opponent under 50 percent from the field for the 48th time in 49 games.The taller Jayhawks shot 56 percent, outrebounded the Rams 40-28, had eight blocks and forced 24 turnovers.Holding a 68-31 lead with about 10 minutes left, the Jayhawks got careless when Darnell Jackson and then Kaun both missed dunks.But the Rams appeared to get frustrated when Roy Peake was called for their third intentional foul, sending Collins to the line for two free throws that made it 70-31 with 9:30 to play.A few seconds later, the Rams were called for a double foul, including a technical on Norman Carter.The Rams, who had enjoyed 10 straight winning seasons in Division II, stayed in the game as best they could by packing in a tight zone defense -- something which has given the Jayhawks trouble this year -- and hitting seven 3-pointers.But an 18-0 run in the first half capped by Kaun's three-point play gave the Jayhawks a 33-13 lead and the Rams never threatened again.After Wright's layup put the Jayhawks up 24-13, Kansas' Mario Chalmers stole a pass and brought a roar from the capacity crowd with a spectacular behind-the-back pass to Case for a fast-break layup.
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