Jackson and Arthur combined to score 15 of KU's first 17 points, and made no doubt who ruled the paint at the Conte Forum. Arthur, who scored the team's first six points, finished with a season-high 22 points (10-13 FG), while Jackson exploded for a career-best 25 points (9-12 FG). Jackson also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, while Arthur added seven boards and two blocks.
"Usually we are a guard-led team form a production standpoint," Self said. "Today our bigs led us."
"We've said all along that we're not going to go very far unless we get some legitimate low-post scoring," Self said. "In a broken floor game, we're going to look good because we have big guys that can run and jump, but in a grind-it-out game, you got to be able to throw it into the post and get a basket. We're not as good as we need to be at that, but we're getting better. Last year, we didn't have any of that at the end of the season."
Self hopes Jackson and Arthur become those go-to players in the paint. Jackson has stepped up his game recently, averaging 22.5 points in his last two games. He's also shot a scorching 75.9 percent from the field in the last seven games.
"We've increased his ceiling where we thought it probably was the way he's playing now," Self said. "He's playing at a pretty high level."
It's all in a day's work for the blue-collar player.
"I have a lot of confidence," said Jackson, who ranks second on the team to Arthur in scoring at 12.5 points per game. "I've always had confidence. My job is just to play hard for my teammates and coaches."
Arthur gives high props to his frontcourt teammate.
"He's been playing great lately," Arthur said. "He's been doing a good job in practice. ...If (practices) goes good, it's because of him. He sets the tone for the team."
Arthur, who averages 13.7 points, can set the tone on the court if he plays with an aggressive mindset. Self just wants more consistency from Shady.
"I said all along going into the start of the season, I thought he was our most improved player based on practices," Self said. "He hasn't played to the level of what I thought is improvement was, to be real candid. He needs to be a guy who can average 16 or 18 (points) for us, because night in and night out he should be able ot generate points, and he hasn't done that consistently. So that was good to see today. He got off to a good start, and Darnell followed up, and they were both really good. If our big guys play like that, usually our guards are pretty good enough go to put them in position to get them some easy baskets."
Self believes Arthur's numbers will rise in conference play as he matures.
"He;s young," Self said. "Everybody sees his ceiling, which is so high, but how many did (Nick) Collison and (Drew) Gooden average as sophomores the first part of the season. He's just a kid that his growing and understanding the game and how to score. I think it will happen, a lot of it is he doesn't really understand how to put himself in position to get easy baskets. When he starts understanding that, offensive rebounding, put-backs, getting to the line, things like that, he'll get better. But today, he got some easy baskets in large part because he was so active."
Arthur said the game has been slowing down for him more this season.
"I've been taking my time a lot in practice," he said. "Coach has been talking to me, just saying get easy buckets to get myself going. I've just been listening and doing my part trying to help the team win."
KU should win many more games this season if Arthur and Jackson both play like they did on Saturday.