Kansas 73, New Orleans 56
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)—Julian Wright and Jeremy Case each had 12 points and Kansas pulled away from New Orleans with a big run at the end of the first half Thursday night to beat the road-weary Privateers 73-56.
The Jayhawks (7-4) had 10 blocked shots, four off the school record, but played carelessly at times while committing 18 turnovers. They outscored New Orleans 28-16 in the paint.
James Parlow had 16 points for New Orleans and Wayne Williams had 12.
The Privateers (2-8), who have been playing their “home” games in Texas because of Hurricane Katrina, will finally get to play an almost true home game on Saturday. Since construction was delayed at their Human Performance Center, the game against Tulane will be moved to the Alario Center in Westwego, on the west bank of New Orleans.
Kansas struggled most of the first half until freshman guard Mario Chalmers ignited an 11-0 run in the final minutes that thrust the Jayhawks into a 34-19 lead at intermission. They then stretched the run to 17-0 in the opening minutes of the second half en route to their fifth win in six games.
After Darnell Jackson’s bucket put the Jayhawks in front 44-23 in the second half, Williams scored eight unanswered points himself as the lead shrank to 46-34 on a 3-pointer by Jamie McNeilly.
Brandon Rush, who was 2-for-11, hit a bucket to launch the decisive run at the end of the first half after Williams’ 3-pointer had brought New Orleans to 23-19.
After Russell Robinson’s 3-pointer, Chalmers sneaked in to steal the inbounds pass and hit a layup.
Then he blocked a New Orleans shot and fed to Julian Wright for a score, then he blocked another shot and converted the basket himself.
The night got off to a painful start for veteran game official Ted Hillary. He was struck on the shoulder on the opening tip-off and crumbled to the floor for several minutes. He finally got up and went ahead and worked the game.