Kansas' basketball players exerted a lot of effort in a 102-72 rout of Texas on Saturday at Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
"They played their hearts out. It was fun to watch it. It was a great win," KU junior T.J. Pugh said after the victory, KU's 19th against two losses.
Pugh, who dressed and could have played if necessary, missed his ninth consecutive game because of a stress fracture in his right foot.
He's ticketed to play in Wednesday's game against Texas A&M; (7:05 p.m., College Station, Texas).
KU won eight games and lost one without the 6-foot-8 forward from Omaha, Neb.
"I've learned quite a bit," Pugh said of his time on the pine. "I learned how important this team and game is to me and I learned a little watching details I might have overlooked before."
On Saturday, he applauded fellow KU big men Lester Earl and Eric Chenowith, who contributed in ways besides shooting.
Earl, who missed 10 of 15 shots, dished five assists and grabbed eight rebounds. Chenowith, who also had eight boards, blocked four shots and had three assists.
"At halftime they were 3-for-11 (shooting). I told them we've got to get more out of them the second half and I think they did," KU coach Roy Williams said. "They both were active on the backboards and had several blocked shots.
"We didn't finish some easy plays, but when Billy is shooting like that and we get things off the break ..."
Billy Thomas hit eight of 11 threes and tied a career high by scoring 27 points. Also, Paul Pierce hit 11 of 20 shots and scored 31 points with 10 boards.
The Jayhawks, who are 3-0 in the Big 12 compared to UT's 0-3 mark, had 15 turnovers against UT's pressure, an acceptable number to Williams.
"We had 108 possessions and 15 turnovers. I can live with that," Williams said.
"We didn't want it to be a rat race. We talked about getting shots. They were trying to trap and run a little matchup. Ryan did a good job getting the ball to people and we took it to the basket well."
KU point guard Ryan Robertson had six assists and three turnovers against a quick Texas team.
"A major key was we beat their pressure easily," Robertson said. "It was a trapping defense. If you were in the wrong spot, they'd get you.
"I had two turnovers early and after that didn't have many. We got great looks. A great example is Billy had wide-open looks and Paul inside because we beat their pressure."
Like KU senior Thomas, who had family in the stands, Robertson said he felt extra incentive Saturday. He was born in Lawton, Okla., and spent part of his youth in that state before the family moved to St. Charles, Mo., for his high school years.
"I've had this game circled a long time on my calendar. I grew up in this neighborhood of the country," Robertson said. "I knew the crowd would be into it. I grew up around here and didn't always like Texas."