No. 13 Kansas Sprints Past Fort Hays State in Final Exhibition, 101-52
Nov. 8, 2011
- Coach Self Press Conference
- MBB Players Press Conference
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Celebrating Dr. James Naismith’s 150th birthday and junior Thomas Robinson’s return to the lineup, No. 13 Kansas broke out early and sailed to a 101-52 victory against Fort Hays State in the Jayhawks’ final exhibition contest, Tuesday evening.
The Jayhawks put on a show for the sold-out Allen Fieldhouse crowd, who used Tuesday night’s game to honor Naismith, the game’s inventor, by claiming their 39th-straight exhibition victory, dating back to the 1995 season. In his ninth season of exhibition play at Kansas, head coach Bill Self is now a perfect 25-0. For the 24th time in program history, the eighth time under Self, Kansas broke the 100-point barrier in exhibition play.
Returning from an injury that sidelined him from last week’s exhibition game against Pittsburg State, Robinson was welcomed by a huge ovation when the starting lineups were introduced. The Preseason All-American showed his appreciation with a double-double, pouring in a team-best 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Redshirt senior guard Conner Teahan picked up where he left off a week ago, after connecting for five three-pointers against PSU, he hit his first two attempts from beyond the arc. In fact, Teahan didn’t miss a shot all night. The redshirt senior went 5-for-5 from the floor and hit both shots from the free-throw line for a 14-point performance.
Off the heels of a Teahan three, Kansas sprinted out to a 16-6 lead using an 86-percent accuracy mark from the floor prior to the first media timeout. On a night where five Jayhawks hit double digits, that shooting mark would only slightly cool as KU finished the evening shooting 60 percent while holding the Tigers to 33 percent.
The defending MIAA Tournament Champions, Fort Hays State, was led by redshirt junior guard Lance Russell, who scored 11 points for the Tigers. Junior forward Marcus Yarbrough and senior forward KC Rodenburg each chipped in 10 points. Kansas snapped up most the opportunities on the boards, out-rebounding the Tigers, 37-27.
A cutting move to the basket resulted in junior Kevin Young’s first basket of the game, contributing to the Jayhawks’ 46 points in paint, a lopsided number alongside FHSU’s 16.
The points off turnovers mark also ended Jayhawk-friendly as freshman guard Naadir Tharpe got the Jayhawks’ transition offense rolling with a steal he took down the floor for a fast break layup at the 9:23 mark. Redshirt junior guard Travis Releford and Teahan would connect on a nearly identical play less than a minute later to push Kansas ahead, 36-14. Kansas would finish the night with 32 points off turnovers, compared to the Tigers’ 10.
Releford drained a three to propel Kansas halfway to the century mark with less than two minutes to play as Kansas took a comfortable 54-24 lead into the break.
Five minutes into the second frame, Rodenburg hit the Tigers’ first three of the night before Robinson answered with another of his signature dunks, kicking off eight of his second-half points.
Robinson had company in the final 20 minutes when Tharpe, too, caught fire for 15 second-half points. In his second-straight start, the freshman put up 19 points to finish behind Robinson as the team’s leading scorer, while dishing out seven assists. Midway through the second half, he converted a three-point play and followed that with the more traditional three. Robinson helped him continue to pile on, throwing down a dunk that would put the Jayhawks ahead by 40, 81-41.
Although Self worked every available member of his bench into the final exhibition, the gas pedal was never lifted. Kansas outscored the visiting Tigers, 20-11, in the final eight minutes to cruise to the 101-52 victory.
No. 13 Kansas opens the 2011-12 regular season when it plays host to Towson on Friday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. Jayhawk TV and ESPN Full Court will broadcast the game, which is the first contest of the EA Sports Maui Invitational. In addition to the regular radio broadcast, the Jayhawks’ season opener can also be heard on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access through www.kuathletics.com.