Let's go ahead and get the obvious stuff out of the way.
This was just one game, and an exhibition game at that – the first competition of the year. And yes, the opponent was a local Division II program.
Still, if the stars continue to shine this brightly for the No. 7 Kansas Jayhawks, their fans might want to strap in. Because regardless of what else comes, this has the potential to be a really, really fun ride.
Stepping up to fill the shoes of the now-departed Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins and Xavier Henry, the Jayhawks' junior trio of Marcus and Markieff Morris and Tyshawn Taylor combined to score 52 points Tuesday night – on 17 of 24 shooting – as Kansas pounded the Ichabods of Washburn 92-62.
"I thought we did some good things," Head Coach Bill Self said, after the game. "I thought we were good early."
Indeed they were. After senior guard Tyrel Reed opened the scoring with a three-pointer just 45 seconds into the contest, the Jayhawks raced to an 11-0 lead before Bobby Chipman – son of long-time Washburn head coach Bob Chipman – nailed a jumper to get the Ichabods on the board.
Not that things changed much from that point on. The Jayhawks utilized a series of scoring bursts and an opportunistic defense to push the lead out to 51-27 at halftime.
As they were all game, the Brothers Morris were outstanding in the first half. Marcus led the way with 16 points and six rebounds, while Markieff tacked on nine point and four boards of his own. They would end the night with 28 and 7 and 12 and 8 respectively.
The real story, however, may have been the Jayhawks' efficiency. On the game they turned the ball over just 12 times, dished out 21 assists and recorded 16 steals. Eight different players recorded two or more assists, with four – both Morris brothers, Reed and Taylor – logging three apiece.
Nowhere was that efficiency and unselfishness more notable than with Taylor, who put together one of his most complete games as a Jayhawk – finishing with 12 points on 4 of 6 shooting, hitting 4 of 5 free throw attempts, three assists, two steals and, perhaps most importantly, zero turnovers.
"I think it is," Taylor said, when asked if this was the type of performance he'd like to see from himself game in and game out. "I just want to be a solid player for my team. I don't want to do too much, I don't want to try to make things happen that aren't there. I just want to be solid and run my team, and I think I did a pretty good job of that."
"I don't know what you guys thought, but I thought his stroke looked really good tonight, too," Self added. "He shot the ball with confidence, but the biggest thing is that he's just so athletic. He can get to the paint when he wants to."
It wasn't all sunshine and roses, however. The Ichabods shot a high percentage all night long, but especially in the second half – shooting 56.5-percent from the floor and 80-percent from three.
For a program that has prided itself so greatly on defense since Self took over, any time an opponent shoots well it's almost a shock. But, as Taylor noted, that's the whole point of exhibition games.
"It's an exhibition for a reason," the junior point guard explained. "This is Week One. We see where we're at, and see what things we've gotta work on. We know we've got to get better on the defensive end."
The Jayhawks cap off the exhibition portion of their schedule next week, in a Tuesday match-up with Emporia State.