Kansas downs Southeast Missouri State
Lawrence, KS – Jeff Withey posted a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double, Perry Ellis scored 15 points and the seventh-ranked Kansas Jayhawks opened the season with a 74-55 victory over Southeast Missouri State at Allen Fieldhouse.
Naadir Tharpe supplied 10 points and Travis Releford had nine points for Kansas (1-0), which lost to Kentucky in last season's national championship game.
The Jayhawks overcame subpar shooting to win their 40th straight home opener Friday night.
"It blows my mind that we are not an aggressive group," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "We are a passive group right now and we have to pick it up. I'll keep saying it and I'm not going to back off of it. We are going to play against real guys real soon and those guys think that this piece of meat may be the last piece of meat on earth and they play like it. So, if we don't play like it, we will get our butts handed to us."
Nick Niemczyk paced the Redhawks (0-1) with 14 points. Nino Johnson contributed 12 points and nine rebounds in defeat.
"I've never played against any defense like that," Niemczyk said. "That's the best team I've ever played with in my life and it was just a great experience all around."
Kansas opened the game on an 11-0 run, but its shooting woes enabled Southeast Missouri State to hang around.
Down 15 at halftime, the Redhawks trimmed Kansas' lead to 43-37 on two A.J. Jones free throws with 12:10 remaining.
The Jayhawks, who shot 38.7 percent from the floor and made only 2-of-21 3- pointers, managed to restore a double-digit cushion when Ben McLemore followed a pair of Withey free throws with a strong drive to the hoop.
Kansas pulled away for good and went up 68-48 on a Tharpe jumper with 2:51 to play.
Kansas and SEMO met for the first time on the hardwood ... McLemore had nine points, 12 rebounds and five assists ... The Jayhawks extended their home winning streak to 23 games and improved to 19-0 against current members of the Ohio Valley Conference ... Southeast Missouri State fell to 0-9 all-time against ranked teams.