Forward Darrell Arthur scored 20 points while pulling down eight rebounds and adding a behind-the-head alley oop slam from guard Russell Robinson to his highlight reel. Fellow big Darnell Jackson kicked in 10 points and eight boards. Center Sasha Kaun started slow but finished with eight points and nine rebounds.
Kansas coach Bill Self was about as pleased with this early season effort from his big men as one would expect. “(Arthur) was more active tonight. Our big guys, I thought, played pretty good in the first half, they just missed some easy shots. They went after the ball hard, and that’s primarily Darnell and Sasha and Darrell.”
Arthur said that KU coach Bill Self challenged his post players after their 94-59 exhibition win over Pittsburg State.
“He said we weren’t working enough to get (the ball),” Arthur recalled. “We worked on that a lot in practice this past week. We weren’t doing what we were supposed to do – sealing, stuff like that, positioning myself to get the ball.”
“We’re going to need a lot of scoring from the post, especially in conference play, so we’ve just got to keep working down there and making sure we do our job.”
Russell Robinson (seven points, 10 assists and two turnovers) said that after a somewhat lackluster performance against Pitt State, Arthur was meant to be KU’s focus Tuesday. “We definitely wanted to play through him and get him some looks and get him going early, because when he’s going, everybody’s going.”
KU’s big men also played a key role in holding the Tigers to just 17 first-half points. Numerous shots were altered by KU’s bigger, more athletic post players. The Jayhawks finished the game with eight blocks, led by freshman Cole Aldrich with three in just 16 minutes of playing time and Arthur with two. The result was that Fort Hays was still in single digits until guard Colin Olberding hit a three-pointer with just 2:48 left in the first half to make the score 38-12, Kansas.
Self said that his team got what it needed from their two exhibition games.
“One good thing is, we’re able to play a lot of guys, which is good. We’re not going to be able to do that from this point forward very often, so it was good we were able to play some guys. But there are certainly areas for improvement.”
Kansas begins the ’07-’08 season Friday night by welcoming the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks to Allen Field House. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 P.M.