KU v. Emporia State

Senior Guard Remy Martin drives the ball. Kansas beat Emporia 86-60 on Wednesday, November 3rd.

Getting the ball out of the net quickly and launching straight into transition allowed the Kansas Jayhawks to take a sizable lead in the first half that ultimately led them to an 86-60 win against Emporia State in the season exhibition.  

Coach Bill Self recently talked about the defensive miscues that were on display early, but the ability to rim run, look ahead and finish through contact helped patch the holes in the defensive approach.

“We want to play fast and hopefully we'll be able to,” Self said. “One thing we are, we're better in transition than we were last year. I think you guys could probably see that, which is a big bonus.”

Setting up those easy conversions were several players, but most notably the quick hands of the backcourt -- highlighted by transfer sophomore guard Joseph Yesufu and senior guard Ochai Agbaji, who recorded three and two steals respectively. 

Redshirt sophomore guard Dajuan Harris Jr. also got in on the havoc with tips and deflections, and Self said he thought Harris had a solid night. 

“I thought he was solid,” Self said. “I told him after the game, I said ‘what do you think,’ he said, ‘I was okay,’ but that's basically true. Juan has been as good as a player we've had. So Juan’s going to start -- I don't know if that'll be season-long or whatever, but for this foreseeable future for sure.”

After the Jayhawks got the ball past the timeline, they were left with multiple options in terms of scoring. Kansas registered 15 fast-break points and an additional 14 points off Emporia State turnovers. 

Postgame, transfer super-senior guard Remy Martin explained the importance of making the right pass. He also admitted that in future games, some of the times he was open in this matchup, he probably would not be in other competitions, and let his teammates know that. 

“We definitely make sure that we are on the same page,” Martin said. “I saw [Agbaji] in the corner one time and I just let him know, like ‘I see you’. You know, maybe against Michigan State, that layup of mine might not be there. So I just let him know that [in] different situations and different moments require me to do different things.”

Despite the multi-faceted guard display that fans witnessed, big men like senior forward David McCormack also found opportunities to get involved. From Kansas’ first possession where the ball landed in McCormack’s hand to many other plays throughout the game, he capitalized on putting the ball in the basket. 

McCormack nearly tallied a double-double with 16 points and eight rebounds, and he expressed positivity about his performance.  

“I didn't get off to a great start [last year],” McCormack said. “I think this game has really not necessarily set the tone but allows me keep that same free heart free mind aspect and just allow me to play loose and free.”

Kansas opens the regular season play next Tuesday, Nov. 9 against Michigan State in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Recommended for you