LAWRENCE, Kan. - Junior guard Mario Chalmers led five players in double figures with a career-high tying 23 points as Kansas withstood a feisty UMKC team, 85-62, on Sunday night in Allen Fieldhouse. Chalmers connected on 8-of-13 from the field, including 6-of-9 from beyond the arc to lead the Jayhawks to their second win in as many tries to open the 2007-08 season. UMKC dropped to 0-1, as the game marked the Kangaroos' season-opener.
Kansas started the game with two Darrell Arthur free throws, but UMKC came right back with a basket of their own by Reggie Hamilton. A bucket by Chalmers pushed the Jayhawks out to a 4-2 lead and they were off and running.
Sophomore guard Sherron Collins knocked down two foul shots to give KU an 11-4 advantage before UMKC would heat up. A jumper by Jeremiah Hartsock and a triple by James Humphrey cut the Jayhawk lead to two at 11-9 with 14:25 to play in the opening stanza.
Chalmers then hit back-to-back threes and senior forward Sasha Kaun canned two free throws to open up a seven point Kansas lead at 20-13 with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half, but UMKC would not go away. Consecutive three-point baskets by the Kangaroos' Brent Stephens and Hamilton got UMKC within one point at 22-21 with 8:22 left in the opening period.
Chalmers again sparked a Kansas run as he knocked down his third three-point basket of the half. The Jayhawks would go on to outscore the Kangaroos 21-8 to close out the half with a 43-30 lead. Chalmers finished with 11 in the first-half, while senior guard Russell Robinson and Kaun each added nine points. Collins added eight points, three assists and five boards. Hamilton dropped in 11 points for UMKC.
The two teams traded baskets to open up the second half before a Collins lay-up with just over 15 minutes to play expanded KU's lead to 19 points at 54-35. UMKC slowly chipped away at the lead, cutting it back down to 10 points on a lay-up by Hartsock with just over eight minutes left, but Chalmers was there again for the Jayhawks hitting yet another three-pointer. Following Chalmers' triple, seniors Rodrick Stewart and Darnell Jackson combined for six points and the Kangaroos' would never get closer than 15 the rest of the way.
In addition to Chalmers' 23 points, he also dished six assists and collected a game-high four steals. Robinson added 15 points a career-high tying nine assists, while Arthur had his third career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He also had three assists and three steals in the win. Collins dropped in 10 points while also dishing four assists and pulling down a personal-best seven boards. Kaun was the final KU player in double digits with 10 points.
UMKC was led by Hamilton and Hartsock with 16 points each, while Brent Stephens and Dane Brumagin both added 11.
KU forced 22 Kangaroo turnovers and turned them into 26 points. The Jayhawks also outscored UMKC 19-4 on fastbreak points.
Kansas will return to action on Thursday, Nov. 15, with its third-straight home game. The Jayhawks will host Washburn in Allen Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.