Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 11/20/12
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Washington State's Royce Woolridge had been thinking about this game ever since he saw it on the schedule last spring. This was Kansas, the school he dreamed of playing for, the school he did play for, but just not enough to truly fulfill that dream. Woolridge transferred from KU after the 2011 season, after playing just 42 minutes as a freshman, and after fearing he would have to wait far too long before his chance at becoming a starter would materialize. So, Woolridge, a 6-foot-3 guard, sat out a year and earned a starting job with the Cougars this season. And Monday night, he got to square off against his old team and several of his old friends in the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center. It just didn't turn out quite the way Woolridge had wished. Not by a long shot. Woolridge and the Cougars simply got ran over by the Kansas Jayhawks, 78-41, in a game that was truly over before many of the Jayhawks faithful even got settled in their seats. KU bolted to a 10-2 lead, then pulled away methodically in building a 50-21 halftime lead. KU then completely buried the Cougars in the second half, prompting Jayhawks coach Bill Self to start emptying his bench with 10 minutes to go. "Of course, I was looking forward to this game," Woolridge said afterward. "Obviously I played there and I have friends there. I was really looking forward to it. "It's hard. They played well. Really not much I can say. They scouted us real good. It was hard to make things happen. Everything we tried to do, they stopped. I tip my hat to them." Actually, Woolridge had a hunch this reunion wasn't going to go particularly well. "Sure, I'm disappointed," he said. "But I don't know that we expected to win. But to get beat by 40 or whatever it was, it's going to hurt." Woolridge had tried to warn his new teammates what a run-in with Kansas might be like. "I told them what little I know," he said, "but it was pretty much the same what the scouts told them. "I just told them to get ready to play and play hard. It's obvious. You just have to look at (Kansas). They're No. 12. They're Kansas. You know how good they're going to be." Did his Cougars teammates believe him? "They better have," Woolridge said, smiling. "I mean, it's Kansas. You don't need to tell them very much. It's one of the best programs there is." . Woolridge himself had a tough enough time trying to maneuver past the swarming Jayhawks defense. He played 33 minutes but scored just five points, hitting just two of six shots, one being a three-pointer. "I tried some things," he said. "It was tough because they had us down pretty good. It felt good to hit that three but I should have hit a lot more. Just one of those nights." Woolridge provided just one assist and turned the ball over a team-high five times. "Like I said, they were ready for us," he said. "Everything we did, they were ready for." The night wasn't a total disaster for Woolridge, though. He did get to say hi to a lot of old friends, starting with Jayhawks guard Elijah Johnson, whom he was probably closest to when he was a freshman at KU. "It was good to see him," Woolridge said. "I talked to him. Nothing too serious. He just said 'Good luck' and 'Are you ready?' And then we just started playing and you kind of lose track of who you're playing." And afterward? "They didn't say much," he said. "They just told me good luck for the next game. It was good to see them. I just wish we had played better. "But hey, they played great. I give them credit. They're Kansas. That's who they are." And Woolridge would know.
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