What happens when the top team in the Big 12 Conference preseason poll meets an NCAA Div. II club picked next to last in its league's preseason rankings?
Kansas pasted Emporia State, 120-51, on Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse in the Jayhawks' exhibition finale before 16,000 fans.
"There were a lot of fun things happening out there tonight," KU coach Roy Williams said after a game that included plenty of highlight-reel dunks and deadly three-point bombing by the Jayhawks, who hit 14 of 20 threes.
"I still think we gained some things from it. It was one of those weird nights."
Weird as in the opposite of Murphy's Law.
Just about everything that could go well did go well for KU.
"Kenny Gregory banks one in from the corner and misses a dunk. Those are two things that usually don't happen," Williams said of senior guard/forward Gregory who scored 17 points with seven rebounds, six assists and 3-for-3 three-point shooting, including a second-half three from the corner that nicked the backboard and still went in.
"Seven guys in double figures a lot of good things were going on," Williams added. "We were more gifted. We had more speed and quickness."
Luke Axtell scored 19 points with five rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes. He made four of seven three-pointers.
Also, Jeff Boschee hit 5-of-5 from three-point land, good for 17 points. Drew Gooden had 16 points and 11 boards, frosh Mario Kinsey added 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting, while Nick Collison was 4-for-4 from the field for 12 points. Eric Chenowith managed 10 points and six boards.
In all, the Jayhawks hit 63.9 percent of their shots while holding E-State to 24.6 percent as KU won by 69 points the third-largest margin of victory in an exhibition game in Williams' 13 years at KU.
"It was fun," said Chenowith. "Coach Williams calls it a glorified practice. It's better to beat on somebody besides ourselves. We get tired of beating on each other at practice."
The Jayhawks definitely put the hurt on the visitors.
KU won by such a margin the Jayhawks held a 62-31 lead at halftime Williams turned to a zone defense much of the second half.
"We've got to get better because we've got to be able to play that when we get in foul trouble," Williams said. "We've not had much of a chance to practice it. I thought it might help Marc (Comstock, ESU coach) and his team to play against a zone and we might have to use it ourselves.
"I guess it remains to be seen as well as the rest of the stuff."
Boschee didn't miss a three after hitting 2-of-9 shots in KU's opening exhibition win over the California All-Stars.
"I knew Jeff would bounce back and shoot it well since he didn't the other night," Williams said.
"I really like Drew's rebounding totals (seven defensive, four offensive). I thought Kenny Gregory passed it maybe as well as I've ever seen him pass it. Mario was playing quarterback out there," he added, referring to point guard Kinsey, a football QB. "He is coming along and doing some nice things.
"We had a lot of guys coming in who did the job, kept us going and kept the crowd in it."
Kansas had four double-figure scorers in the first half alone. Gooden had a pair of breakaway slam dunks in the first half en route to 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
"Coach challenged me to deny the ball," Gooden said. "I was fortunate enough to get the steal by going hard and getting two fast-break (dunks)."
Boschee, who scored just four points Wednesday, hit three threes and scored 11 points the first half.
Also, Gregory had 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting and Eric Chenowith had 10 points and five rebounds in the first half. Axtell had four rebounds and three assists the first half alone.
Emporia State committed six fouls in the first minute and a half, ESU coach Comstock getting tooted for a technical foul just 1:12 into the contest.
All in all it served as a good tune-up for Thursday's regular-season opener against UCLA at the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic.
"We've got to get a lot better between now and then," Williams surmised.