Darrell Arthur may have cracked a smile or two in the interview room after Kansas University's 87-61 blowout basketball victory over Towson on Sunday night in Allen Fieldhouse.
But by no means could the freshman power forward's mood be classified as carefree. The sting of Wednesday's shocking home loss to Oral Roberts still was embedded in his mind.
"No, it won't. I don't think anything will," Arthur said, asked if his 26-point, eight-rebound outing in his first collegiate start - as well as KU's impressive bounceback win - could make up for the ORU stunner. "The loss to Oral Roberts : it hurt everybody. Everybody was down. We needed a win to relieve it a little bit."
Arthur - who opened in place of Darnell Jackson, who has a bruised shoulder - scored 14 points off 5-of-6 shooting the first half, while Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins combined for five threes as the Jayhawks opened a comfy 42-25 lead at halftime.
It was Arthur who kept up the scoring pace in the second half, finishing with 10 baskets in 12 attempts. He also hit six of seven free throws.
It seems several hard practices helped Arthur and his teammates wake up to the realization the players must bring their A-games to work each and every day.
"We did a lot of running. Coach made sure everybody was intense and talking. If you weren't, you were on the line (ready to run)," Arthur said. "Nobody wanted to be on the line, so everybody was enthusiastic."
Arthur brought great energy to Sunday's game, swatting three blocks and snatching a steal in 28 minutes.
Jackson contributed six points with two boards in 14 minutes, despite a sore shoulder.
"I like coming off bench more, to tell you the truth," said Arthur, who knew he'd be getting the first opening call of his career with Jackson not 100 percent. "You can see what you have to do on offense, see what the opponent does."
Arthur will get a chance to become as comfortable opening the games soon. Coach Bill Self indicated it's a safe bet the Dallas native will get the call in Tuesday's 7 p.m. home game against Tennessee State.
"I don't know why I'd go back the other way right now," Self said. "He looked pretty good. He played really well. I imagine it'd be the case until somebody beats him out, something like that."
Self said Arthur's start was "partly because of that (Jackson injury). Also he has made a conscious effort to give great effort and focus. When Darnell tweaked his shoulder, it was his opportunity to move in that regard. It wasn't anything Darnell did wrong.
"Shady (Arthur) has been doing this," Self added, pointing upward. "Darnell gave him a window. Sometimes when you give a window, he takes advantage of it."
The Jayhawks did not cruise from the start Sunday. It took a 20-6 run to turn an 18-17 lead into a 38-23 advantage with 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half. Collins hit two threes to open the run, while Chalmers had three treys and a layup.
"The zone was giving us a hard time. It was hard to figure out what they were doing. They were mixing it up with a 2-3 and 1-3-1," point guard Russell Robinson said after his eight-assist, seven-point outing. "Once we hit some threes, it loosened it up."
2006-07 Nov. 19 KU-Towson Hoops
Self said: "We were bad (versus the zone early). It's something we enjoy playing against, (but) we never got the ball to the high post one time when they were in the 2-3. It was bad. Our perimeter players were passive. We were a little tight early."
"I think there's been a big emphasis on trying really hard lately. I think the guys really want to do that," Self said. "Sometimes when you try to do that, you get tight and don't play as relaxed offensively."
Chalmers finished with 15 points, Brandon Rush 13 and Julian Wright 12. Rush opened defensively on Towson sharpshooter Gary Neal, who had 17 points, but just six the first half. Neal hit one of seven threes.
"That guy can play. He is really good," Self said. "I don't know what he doesn't do well for a guy 6-4. I was hopeful Brandon would match up and guard him the majority of the night, but he gets two quick ones (fouls), so we moved him off him."
Robinson was in Neal's face much of the night; Collins even took a turn on him.
"He was good. He scored 16, 17, but all his points came when the game was out of reach," Robinson said. "Brandon did a good job on him. I took him a few times. He's good."
All in all, the Jayhawks were good enough.
"Today was a good start in the right direction," Robinson said. "If we keep focusing day to day, hopefully two months from now that loss will be justified."
Maybe then. Not now.
"Nothing takes care of the Oral Roberts loss," Wright said.