LAWRENCE — Just 10 days out from a business trip to Hawaii, Kansas basketball’s quasi-vacation could’ve very well began just a few minutes into Friday’s tilt.
The Jayhawks scorched visiting Monmouth 112-57 at Allen Fieldhouse, a start-to-finish effort emblematic of the home squad’s No. 5 national ranking. KU raced out to a 26-4 advantage, forcing the Hawks into an 0-for-12 shooting start with six turnovers, and held a 38-point lead at halftime, the program’s largest since 2009.
It only got worse from there for the visitors.
Isaiah Moss scored a game-high 21 points off the KU bench, hitting 5 of 6 tries from 3-point range to help lead an 14-for-30 team attack from distance. Other double-figure scorers for KU included David McCormack (17 points, 11 rebounds), Devon Dotson (17 points), Udoka Azubuike (12 points), Christian Braun (11 points) and Silvio De Sousa (11 points).
KU will continue its season with a 7 p.m. Tuesday home tilt against East Tennessee State, the final contest before taking part in the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii. The Jayhawks begin that three-game tournament with an 8 p.m. Central time clash with Chaminade.
After Friday’s outcome, KU coach Bill Self plainly observed that his team had played “pretty well,” echoing those comments about specific performers when asked. Still, he found it challenging to take anything meaningful away from what he witnessed.
“A game like that isn’t the way you can probably truly evaluate how somebody plays,” Self said, “because there were some things we got by with in that game because of the score that you’re probably not going to in most games.”
A virtually flawless opening half staked KU to a 59-21 lead.
Moss, who has been slowed by a hamstring injury and wore heavy taping of his right leg, drained his first four 3-point attempts to lead the Jayhawks (2-1) with 14 points before the break. KU, which entered with a 268th-ranked 3-point attempt rate of 32.1 percent, connected on 8 of 14 before intermission.
The Jayhawks made hay inside the arc, too. Marcus Garrett delivered a well-placed lob to a dunking Tristan Enaruna, the freshman guard continuing his hot start to the season. Braun, another first-year player, executed a wicked crossover ahead of a layup that pushed the lead to 51-19 near the end of a late-half 16-0 run.
De Sousa, who drew his first start of the season, kept the good times rolling out of the break — his rare 3-pointer highlighted a personal six-point run out of halftime, with the junior forward also accounting for the Jayhawks’ first eight points of the second period.
“At that moment I actually felt like I was Isaiah," De Sousa said of his 3-point make. "He's a 3-point shooter. So you know, I kind of felt that energy going. I actually wanted to hit another one but I had to slow it down. But it felt great.”
KU was in cruise control from there, with a fastbreak windmill dunk by Enaruna capping a 10-0 run to push the lead to a staggering 83-29. It served as an exclamation point for the well-decided affair.
Just how big was this blowout? Consider the following: “We want Teahan” chants, directed at walk-on Chris Teahan and typically reserved for late-game situations, this time began with 11:40 remaining. The junior guard would eventually check in, his trey with 4:47 remaining putting the Jayhawks over the century mark in points scored and eliciting arguably the biggest roar of the evening.
The long-range showing pushed KU to 28-for-65 from 3-point range on the season, or a 43.1-percent clip. And that number doesn't include the 17-for-38 output in the team’s final exhibition contest, a 102-42 rout of Pittsburg State on Oct. 31.
“I think that we’ve shot it better from the arc than probably what I would’ve anticipated if you look at the exhibition games thrown in there,” Self said. “... That’s quite a bit of 3s. We’re not going to average 14 (makes) for the year, but if we can be somewhere around that eight-or-nine mark, I think that would bode pretty well for us.”
Monmouth (1-3), which was paced by Deion Hammond’s 17 points, waited until the game’s final seconds to notch its first real “highlight,” if one wants to call it that.
With Enaruna at midcourt and dribbling the final few seconds off the clock, the Hawks’ George Papas stripped his Jayhawk counterpart from behind, then drove and threw down a meaningless dunk. Showered with jeers, Papas popped off, drawing a technical foul as he appeared to mouth “I don’t give a (expletive)” multiple times.
Monmouth coach King Rice apologized for the incident multiple times in his postgame news conference. Self shrugged off the sequence.
“Doesn’t bother me at all," Self said. "You know, King apologized, (but) that’s OK. I’m actually glad it happened because we’ve been on Tristan the whole time about being casual and that’s a prime example of what happens when you’re casual. I told the team afterwards: (Enaruna) may be on ESPN twice for two dunks, one on him and one he got.
“But no, that didn’t even register as a bad play in my book. No big deal.”