LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — With Bill Self as their head coach for the past seven years, the Kansas Jayhawks had won 202 games, six straight Big 12 championships and one NCAA championship while winning 59 straight at home.
Article continues below ...
One thing they had not done was score as many as 113 points. Until now. With the help of the Morris Twins and an outmanned and undersized opponent, that’s one more barrier Self’s Jayhawks have crossed.
Markieff Morris had 14 points and 15 rebounds and four other players finished in double figures Friday night in a 113-75 rout of Longwood, the seventh-ranked Jayhawks’ 39th consecutive home-opening victory.
“But 113 points is not so impressive when the other team has 75,” noted Marcus Morris, the other half of the junior twins.
It was a rout from start. The Jayhawks hit the Lancers with a 27-4 run over the final minutes of the first half to take a 54-27 lead. They then launched the second half with an 11-3 burst. But Longwood kept firing and put up far too many points to make the night seem like a complete success to Self.
“I love our guys,” Self said. “But this is the softest team defensively.”
Marcus Morris added 18 points and Tyshawn Taylor had 17 as the Jayhawks stretched their home winning streak to 60 games, the longest current streak in the nation.
“Markieff had some real good outlet passes,” Marcus Morris said. “I think it’ll work this year. It was still disappointing to have a team get 75 points. You don’t want a team to come into your home and score 75 points, especially the first game of the year.”
Antwan Carter, in spite of playing with four fouls much of the second half, led the Lancers with 22 points while Jeremiah Bowman had 13.
Thomas Robinson had a career-best 16 points and Tyrel Reed added 11 as every Kansas player scored. Robinson, a 6-foot-9 sophomore who struggled last season at the foul line, hit 6 of 7 free throws and showed a much smoother shot.
Still sitting on the Kansas bench in street clothes was freshman point guard Josh Selby, the overall No. 1 recruit in the nation last year who could become Kansas’ best player this season. But he is awaiting clearance from the NCAA over amateurism issues.
“We’re all hoping for him,” Markieff Morris said.
The Lancers, in their second year of full Division I membership, received a $75,000 guarantee for the trip and a firsthand look at the highest level of DI basketball. The Jayhawks outrebounded them 39-29 and had 28 assists to 16 for the Lancers.
“There are a lot of reasons why we play these games,” said Lancers coach Mike Gillian, who is overseeing the transition to DI and hopes to get his program into the Big South Conference. “To come to a historic venue is important. We’ve been around the country and done this a number of times. We want to take the opportunity to challenge ourselves against a high level of competition. It goes a long way to helping us get better.”
Marcus Morris helped get the take-charge run going with a power dribble underneath and an easy basket. Then Taylor drove in from midcourt, twisted around a defender and put in a finger roll for a 10-point lead.
Markieff Morris hit two foul shots when Carter picked up his third foul at the 8:07 mark and left the game, but only for a few minutes.
Jeff Withey, a 7-footer who played little last season after transferring and was slowed in the preseason by a right foot injury, had eight points and three rebounds in just 12 minutes, including a couple of impressive dunks.
If he has regained his mobility for good, Withey could combine with 6-10 Markieff Morris and 6-9 Marcus Morris and Robinson to give the Jayhawks enviable length and heft inside.
“I tried my hardest to do whatever I could and today, it just felt good,” Withey said. “My foot has been real sore in practice. It’s been hard for me to move up and down. But tonight I didn’t feel any pain. It felt like I could move. Just pure Adrenalin.”