Ames, Iowa — The second start of Julian Wright's college basketball career went much better than his first.
Wright, Kansas University's 6-foot-8 freshman forward from Chicago, scored 13 points with a career-high eight rebounds, four assists and career-high-tying four blocks while playing 25 minutes in the Jayhawks' 95-85 victory over Iowa State on Saturday in Hilton Coliseum.
He didn't score while lasting just six minutes in his first start - Wednesday's victory at Texas A&M.
"We got a break today in that Julian got a dunk to start the game. I'm sure that removed a lot of the jitters right there," KU coach Bill Self said of Wright opening the scoring by racing in for a jam off the opening tip.
"He didn't play poorly against A&M. He just didn't play that day. We went a different direction. Against a zone, Julian is our best big guy as far as passing the ball. We made the commitment (since ISU uses zone) we were going to play him. He doesn't always make the plays we want. The end result is usually pretty good."
Wright grinned when asked if his dunk loosened him up right off the bat.
"A little bit. I think it loosened the team up," he said after a game in which he calmly drilled seven of eight free throws. KU hit 30 of 38 to Iowa State's 16 of 20.
"I was still trying to catch my breath," Wright added of the opening moments of his second start. "I try to play with emotion, but to start the game, you've got to control your breathing. When you break a sweat in warmups, it's not the same as your first wind out there. I understand that what happens in starting games can set the tone for the whole game."
He hopes to keep it up during Monday's 8 p.m. home battle against Texas Tech in what will be the third start of his career.
"We get to go home now after two road games and play a great Texas Tech team, which is a really tough team," Wright said. "We go back to the drawing board for two days now."