Jayhawks' 23-point run sparks blowout of Central Arkansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The wake-up call over, Kansas is back to rolling.

Tyrel Reed hit four 3-pointers for 12 points and No. 1 Kansas scored 23 straight points in the first half to overwhelm Central Arkansas 94-44 Thursday night.

Coming off a tight victory over Memphis two days earlier, Kansas (3-0) dismantled Central Arkansas from the start. Spreading the ball around on offense, the Jayhawks shot 57 percent, had four players score 12 points and had just seven turnovers for their 43rd straight home win.

"I'm proud of the way we bounced back," Reed said. "After having a close game, we brought a lot of energy. We could have been a little deflated after playing Memphis, but we did a good job of executing."

Too bad for Central Arkansas (1-2). The Bears never stood a chance in their first game at Allen Fieldhouse.

Central Arkansas struggled defensively, unable to match up inside with the bigger, stronger Jayhawks, not quick enough to rotate out to their perimeter shooters on kickouts.

The Bears were even worse on offense, struggling to find shots, missing when they did. Central Arkansas went 12 minutes without a field goal during Kansas' big first-half run, shot 25 percent overall and had one player -- Jared Rehmel with 11 -- score in double figures.

"We had a few open looks and I thought that at times we were shooting to avoid a block instead of shooting to make a basket," Central Arkansas Randy Chappell said.

Kansas eked out a 57-55 win over Memphis in a rematch of the 2008 NCAA title game Tuesday in St. Louis, surviving a sloppy offensive performance and a last-second shot by the Tigers. The Jayhawks had 21 turnovers in that game, most on ill-advised passes and from dribbling into trouble, and had their fewest points in a win since 2000.

The small-conference Bears were just what Kansas needed to recover.

Kansas had a good defensive game against Memphis was, not surprisingly, even better against Central Arkansas. Closing out on their shooters and allowing virtually nothing inside, the Jayhawks forced 15 straight misses in the first half and held the Bears to 1-of-14 shooting from 3-point range.

Offensively, the Jayhawks moved the ball around the perimeter for open jumpers and deep postups, looking nothing like the team that played too fast and had coach Bill Self shaking his head in St. Louis. Nine players with at least seven points and four players with at least three assists was more of what Self has in mind from his team.

"We took care of the basketball; that's a positive after pitching the ball all over the building Tuesday, so there were some good things," Self said. "A lot of guys got a chance to play and play significant minutes, get a little rhythm. Some guys played pretty well, so I was happy about that."

Senior guard Sherron Collins seemed to be clear of the leg cramps that plagued him against Memphis, but turned his right ankle early in the second half and limped to the locker room. Turned out to be a minor sprain and Collins returned a few minutes later, quickly hitting a jumper on his way to 12 points.

There was plenty to go around.

Twins Marcus and Markieff Morris had their way inside, scoring on power moves and rebound slams. Marcus had 12 points, Markieff eight. Reed was 4 for 5 from 3-point range after 18 scoreless minutes against Memphis and freshman Xavier Henry had 12 points following a 3-for-11 night.

Henry's older brother, C.J., showed no signs of the knee injury that's plagued him, scoring eight points in his first game with Kansas. Tyshawn Taylor recovered from his seven-turnover performance with a solid, no-turnover night at the point and freshman Thomas Robinson had eight points and 11 rebounds.

So what if the Jayhawks got outrebounded by two. This was a big turnaround from the Memphis game.

"We watched the [Memphis] tape and learned from it," Robinson said. "Everybody got better from the tape and we showed who we are."

Central Arkansas certainly knows now.

The Bears want to play the big programs at the big venues and had already been to Connecticut, Kentucky and Vanderbilt in previous years. Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse may be the top of the list -- even in a 50-point loss.

"I told the kids that some older gentlemen pay thousands of dollars to go to a fantasy camp and play somewhere like this," Chappell said. "I think that we will take a neat experience from here."