Kenny Gregory's back felt just fine on Saturday night.
Gregory, Kansas University's 6-foot-5 sophomore guard/forward who hobbled much of his freshman season, erupted for 31 points off several monster dunks and grabbed 13 rebounds in the Jayhawks' 96-89 men's exhibition basketball victory over the California All-Stars at sold-out Allen Fieldhouse.
"Kenny basically carried us on his back tonight. He's the reason we won this game," KU point/shooting guard Ryan Robertson said.
It marked Gregory's career-high point total, surpassing the 21 points he scored against Emporia State a year ago. Gregory's career-high rebound mark a year ago was six on four occasions.
"The back feels great," Gregory said. "I just wished we played better as a team. We had a lot of first-night mistakes tonight."
And how ... KU coach Roy Williams said.
Williams liked Gregory's performance and KU's 30 assists on its 40 baskets. He didn't like seeing KU's 17-point lead dip to one late.
"We had a lot of highlights, but we had a lot more lowlights," Williams said. "I made a mistake with the team. I wasn't clear enough in what I told them. I said I wanted a glorified practice. They thought I said a horrified practice."
The All-Stars -- ex-Jayhawk Rex Walters had 13 points in a surprise appearance for the visitors -- scored off several fastbreak baskets.
"We did some things tonight a Kansas team never does," Williams said. "We gave up more fastbreak baskets than we have ever given up in 11 years. It's not an exaggeration. We did a poor job of communication in getting back (on defense), the worst we've ever done.
"There were more three-point plays for the other team where we barely touched the other guy than we've done. The first half we gave up 12 offensive rebounds. I can give you a long list."
At one point in the second half, a miffed Wiliams benched all his available big men, playing five guards, whom he dubbed the "Chickenhawks" last season.
"I was so discouraged with Jeff Carey, Eric Chenowith (13 points, seven boards) and Lester Earl (14 points, nine boards), I said, `Regardless of what happens we'll have guys in there paying attention.' I said, `You guys can look great sitting on the bench. Your tails will not be in there unless you start playing.'''
Freshman point guard Jeff Boschee hit three three-pointers in the first half as KU hit seven of 11 first-half threes and stormed to a 56-42 lead.
Boschee, who had a team-leading seven assists, fouled out while logging just 15 minutes total. He also had seven assists.
"Jeff the first half was very good. He took one bad shot," Williams said. "He must learn to stay out of foul trouble. I'd like him to play more than 15 minutes a game."
Down by double digits much of the game (KU's biggest lead was 59-42 early in the second half) the All-Stars outscored KU 11-0 to cut an 82-70 deficit to 82-81 at 5:15. Walters, in fact, missed a free throw that could have tied the score.
The rest of the game belonged to KU sophomore Gregory. He scored 11 straight points for KU, including a basket and foul shot, an inside layin, plus a vicious slam that gave KU an 89-81 lead at 4:15.
"Kenny can find the hole around the basket. The ball comes to him," Williams said. "Again, his leaping ability makes him difficult to cover in there. I thought one of the best plays all night we threw it to Eric Chenowith and he made a simple bounce pass to Kenny who dunked it."
The Jayhawks will practice tonight and Monday and play Australia Geelong at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.
-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org