Wasting little time, the Jayhawks took their first lead just six seconds into the game when senior guard Aaron Miles banged home the first three of his 11 points on a pure jump shot. After that the rout was officially on as Kansas shot a scorching 62.5% from the field as a team while holding St. Joe’s to only 29.6% shooting during a 91-51 laugher in front of a sellout crowd.
“It got us off to a 3-0 start, but I think what impacted the game was our effort,” said the six-foot-one inch Miles of his game opening three. “We gave a ton of effort from the jump which was big. Last week, all of us were a little anxious to be out on the court and this game we all had a chance to calm down and we were all poised for the most part.”
After the Miles shot, the hits just kept on coming for Kansas as senior forward Wayne Simien established himself in the low post by pulling down 11 of his game high 14 rebounds while scoring 14 of his game high 20 points.
Also chipping in early was senior guard Mike Lee. The six-foot-two inch guard from Portland scored eight of his 13 points in the first half while turning in one of the finest overall performances of his career. It was a performance that wasn’t missed by his coach.
“I think Mike likes the role that he has, he’s not a limelight guy at all,” said head coach Bill Self. “He played pretty good tonight and I don’t even know if he was invited to the press room. You guys obviously have the guys that you want to talk to and he likes that role. He’d rather other guys get the limelight so to speak, but he knows his role and he’s pretty content with what his role is right now
Freshman big men C.J. Giles and Darnell Jackson also got into the act combining for eight points and four rebounds -- including two crowd pleasing, if not somewhat improbable dunks from Giles -- as the Jayhawks raced to a 50-19 halftime advantage.
Self had expressed his satisfaction with his team’s execution of the offense against Vermont, but was pleased with the Jayhawks effort against St. Joe’s even though two of their biggest weapons, senior wing Keith Langford and sophomore J.R. Giddens, combined for only nine points on 3-6 shooting from the field.
“We played a lot better, we ran better and we got the ball reversed in transition better,” said Self. “You look at the stats and it’s hard to tell how you played because not very many games are we going to play where Keith and J.R. combine for six shots, that won’t happen again this year.”
“We had balance and all of those things, but we did share the basketball and we had a couple of great possessions and you take away carelessness in the first half and that’s the best we’ve looked this year.”
In the second half, St. Joe’s came out looking to improve on their 19.2% first half shooting effort and went on a 12-4 run during the first four minutes and four seconds cutting the Kansas lead to 54-31. The 23 point deficit was as close as they would get as Kansas regrouped and cruised home for the final 91-51 margin.
One second half performance of note in the blowout was that of freshman guard Russell Robinson. The six-foot-one inch native of New York played a sparkling second half -- save for a few careless turnovers -- while scoring eight of his 10 points and dishing out four of his game high five assists.
“I’m learning and I’m going to try and get better every game,” said Robinson. “Coach is helping me as I go along and my teammates are helping me and I’m basically trying to improve each time I step on the floor.”
Next on the agenda for Kansas is a Monday night rematch with the University of Nevada who handed the Jayhawks an embarrassing defeat in Reno last season.