LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)—Packed house, ranked opponent, and the ball in the low post all night long.
Sasha Kaun had waited all season for a game like this.
The Jayhawks’ junior center, who missed the first three games with an injured left knee and had averaged 5.3 points and 15.4 minutes since then, broke out with a season-high 16 points in No. 6 Kansas’ 87-57 rout of No. 9 Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.
“I think this is the first big game for me to contribute to the team,” said Kaun, who played sparingly and didn’t score in an 82-80 overtime win over then-No.1 Florida on Nov. 25. “It felt really good tonight.”
Brandon Rush led the Jayhawks (14-2, 1-0 Big 12) with 18 points. Darnell Jackson and Sherron Collins added 10 points each for Kansas, which won its eighth straight and snapped the Cowboys’ four-game winning streak.
Oklahoma State (15-2, 1-1) lost its 32nd straight road game against a top 10 team. The Cowboys have not won in a top 10 opponent’s home gym since a 52-50 overtime victory against the Jayhawks—ranked No. 2 at the time—on Jan. 2, 1958.
Kansas’ victory was its widest against a top 10 opponent since a 94-61 rout of then-No. 9 Marquette in the 2003 NCAA semifinals. It was Oklahoma State’s most lopsided loss since an 80-46 loss at Texas on Jan. 23, 2006.
“It’s one of the most embarrassing moments I’ve been a part of,” Cowboys coach Sean Sutton said. “I’ve been a part of so many great games in this series, and we didn’t do our part tonight.”
The Cowboys shot 32 percent (17-for-53) and committed 20 turnovers, while Kansas had 17 steals, tied for the Jayhawks’ second most in a conference game. Kansas scored 23 points off turnovers, outscored the Cowboys 18-0 on fast breaks and 48-18 in the paint.
“They are a great team, but it was just a real bad night for us,” Oklahoma State guard JamesOn Curry said. “I can’t make an explanation for it. We just played bad.”
Kansas led by as many as 22 points in the first half, but Curry’s 4-point play on a foul by Collins got Oklahoma State within 53-40 with 15 minutes to go. The Jayhawks responded with a 16-5 run over the next 5:47, padding their lead to 69-45, and added a 12-0 run—capped by Darrell Arthur’s thundering dunk—to make it 81-48 with just over 4 minutes left.
Curry and Kenny Cooper led the Cowboys with 12 points each and Terrel Harris added 10.
Mario Boggan, who came in as the Big 12’s second-leading scorer at 21.9 points per game, was held to a season-low eight points on 4-for-16 shooting.
Curry had been fifth in the conference with an 18.9-point average.
“Our goal coming in tonight was to cut off the two heads, Curry and Boggan,” Rush said. “We couldn’t let them get going.”
Kansas coach Bill Self chuckled at Rush’s turn of phrase.
“He’s always got something to say,” Self said. “We try to play everybody like they’re great scorers, for the most part—but our guys knew that those two are averaging 41 points a game, and we couldn’t let either one of them get started. So I guess he’s right in that regard.”
Sutton earned a technical foul in the first half for arguing that Arthur’s block of Boggan’s shot should have been a foul. Rush, who was 9-for-10 from the line, hit one of the resulting free throws and dunked on the ensuing possession for a 23-8 lead.
After committing turnovers on its first two possessions, Kansas opened the game on a 7-for-8 tear, and Oklahoma State had 11 of its 13 first-half turnovers in the first 10 minutes.
Rush scored five points in an 11-0 run that put the Jayhawks up 25-8 with 12:38 left in the half, and he added four more points in an 8-0 run that made it 33-11 with 8 minutes to go before the break.
Adarius Bowman, who plays wide receiver for the Cowboys’ football team, made his first college basketball appearance. He played 5 minutes, grabbing three rebounds and shooting 0-for-2 from the field.
The Jayhawks honored former Cowboys coach Eddie Sutton, a native of Bucklin, Kan., in a halftime ceremony.