LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansas had better hope things get better
when Brandon Rush returns from ACL surgery in a few weeks.
The fourth-ranked Jayhawks (2-0) struggled for the second time
in a row against an overmatched opponent Sunday night before
putting away plucky Missouri-Kansas City 85-62 in the Kangaroos'
first game under new head coach Matt Brown.
Mario Chalmers had 23 points -- and two of Kansas' four missed
dunks -- while the Jayhawks shot just 16 of 31 from the foul line.
"I thought our defense was better than what it was the other
night, but it still has a lot of room to get better," Kansas coach
Bill Self said. "It was good for us to sweat and to play under
some duress. We did poorly at executing, blocking out and
free-throw shooting at times. Still, we win by 23. But we have to
The Jayhawks (2-0) led the Kangaroos (0-1) only 62-52 when
Jeremiah Hartsock hit a short jumper midway through the second
Chalmers responded by hitting an open 3-pointer, his fourth of
the night. But the Kangaroos refused to go quietly.
"I thought, truthfully, that we outhustled them tonight,"
Brown said. "I think they are a terrific basketball team and I
think they have a chance to go to the Final Four, but I think in
terms of effort, we were right there with them."
As the Kangaroos hung around and cut the lead to 67-55 on Dane
Brumagin's 3-pointer, visions of Oral Roberts' 78-71 upset of
then-No. 3 Kansas in the Jayhawks' second game last season came to
But Darnell Jackson made a short shot and after Chalmers missed
his second dunk, Jackson hit again, and then followed Hartsock's
3-pointer with another bucket.
With 4:20 left, Chalmers made a 3-pointer for a 76-58 lead, then
connected again from beyond the arc.
Self called the foul shooting "brutal."
"I think we just had an off night from the free-throw line,"
Chalmers said. "We've got to go in and practice."
UMKC shot only 11 free throws. the Kangaroos, picked sixth in
the Summit League, got 16 points each from Hartsock and Reggie
"It was a great feeling, especially that being our first game,
to come in and compete against a top-ranked team," Hartsock said.
"I think what got us to that point was the hustle, and if we can
do that in our league, we're going to be successful."
Kansas guard Sherron Collins left the game with about 10 minutes
to go with an ankle injury. He had 10 points.
"He just turned an ankle. He's going to be fine," Self said.
The Jayhawks let UMKC stay close in the first half with
miserable foul shooting, going only 13-for-21 from the line. Brent Stephens and Hamilton each hit 3-pointers and the Roos pulled
within 22-21 with 8:13 left in the first half after Darrell Arthur's hook in the lane had made it 22-15.
But then Chalmers hit a 3-pointer and Collins stole the ball and
drove in for a crowd-pleasing reverse layup and a 27-21 lead.
"There's a lot of history here in Allen Fieldhouse and being
able to come in here and play was a great experience," UMKC's
Brent Stephens said. "As our first game, I was really proud of our
team how we hustled around and got on the floor for loose balls. I
think that's something we can build on for the rest of the
The sellout crowd of more than 16,000 erupted into thunderous
cheers during a second-half timeout when the public address
announcer said the unbeaten Kansas football team was No. 3 in the
latest BCS standings. The big scoreboard also flashed the poll,
triggering more cheers.
Chalmers was 6-for-9 from 3-point range while matching his
career high with 23 points. Russell Robinson and Arthur each had 15
Brumagin and Stephens each had 11 for UMKC.
The Jayhawks, who return most of the key players from the team
that won last year's Big 12 title and advanced to the round of 16
in the NCAA Tournament, have been less than impressive in both
their games despite easy victories over undermanned opponents.
They'll get All-Big 12 guard Rush around Dec. 1, six months after
he underwent ACL surgery.