LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)—Only an exceptional team having an outstanding game was going to halt this impressive defensive streak.
On a snowy afternoon in the Midwest, No. 3 Kansas was up to the challenge.
Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson both had 14 points and the Jayhawks shot 58 percent Saturday to beat Miami of Ohio 78-54 and become the first team in more than a year to exceed 69 points against the RedHawks’ rugged defense.
The Jayhawks (12-0) became the first team to score 70 or more against Miami in 45 games, the longest active streak in the country. They had not given up 70 since a 73-58 loss to Ohio on March 9, 2006, and were the only Division I team to go through the entire 2006-07 season without allowing 70.
“That’s a remarkable deal, nobody’s hung 70 on you, and they play games away from home,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I could understand maybe 45 straight games at home. But not very often on the road. But we’re playing pretty good. If we’d shot lower, we probably wouldn’t have (hit 70), and that’s what opponents usually do against them.”
Jackson and Sasha Kaun ignited a 13-0 run in the opening minutes, creating a 20-6 lead as the Jayhawks remained unbeaten and raised their record in Allen Fieldhouse to 189-12 since 1994-95. It’s the 10th time a Kansas team has started 12-0.
The RedHawks (6-5) saw their streak fall with 3:43 to play when Sherron Collins fed Brandon Rush for a layup that made it 70-44.
“It was a little disappointing because we had kind of earned some respect from that,” said Miami’s Tim Pollitz, who had 11 points. “It has been in jeopardy this entire season because we scheduled some pretty tough opponents. Obviously, the streak is over. But we will have to start up a new one. We just need to take some things off of the film and try to take something positive out of this.”
The RedHawks, perhaps fatigued a bit after a taxing 61-58 overtime victory at Illinois on Thursday night, shot only 40 percent and had trouble all day with the taller inside trio of Arthur, Jackson and Kaun.
“It had been a while since a team had scored 70 on us,” said Kenny Hayes, who also had 11 points for Miami. “It was a good streak, but we knew we were playing against a really great team.”
Arthur had 10 rebounds while Jackson had eight for the Jayhawks. Mario Chalmers and Rush both had 10 points.
“Out of all the teams, North Carolina, Duke and all of them, they (Kansas) are the best team that I have seen,” Hayes said. “I think that they are the best team in the country. One through five, they are all athletic and they can all throw alley-oops to each other. They can all shoot.”
Michael Bramos, who came into the game averaging 19 points for the RedHawks, was guarded most of the time by Rush and finished with six points.
“They were really small inside,” Kansas guard Russell Robinson said. “I was guarding the post for a while and I can only imagine what Darrell was thinking. We got the ball where we wanted to. They didn’t really pressure us in the halfcourt so we were able to get some good ball reversals.”
Throughout the first half, the RedHawks had success getting to the basket, but could not finish over the taller Jayhawks.
Miami was 0-for-5 during the decisive early run and the Jayhawks were 5-for-7.
Collins, apparently almost entirely recovered from the foot surgery that sidelined him for several games earlier in the season, hit a 3-pointer to ignite the surge and that was followed by five straight points by Kaun. Jackson had a three-point play and then Arthur’s turnaround jumper made it 20-6 before Bramos finally stopped the streak with a 3-pointer.
The Jayhawks then outscored the visitors from the Mid-American Conference 19-11 the rest of the half. Jackson, a 6-foot-8 senior, hung in the air for an acrobatic tip-in that made it 35-13 and then a jump hook by the 6-9 Arthur put Kansas on top 35-13 and the only question remaining was whether the Jayhawks would break the RedHawks’ streak of not allowing 70 points.
The RedHawks shot 28 percent the first half, including 2-of-10 on 3-pointers.
The Jayhawks began increasing their lead with 13 minutes left when Collins and Rod Stewart made midcourt steals on consecutive possessions and drove in for layups that boosted the lead to 53-38.