Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 11/6/12
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) The hallmark of Kansas last season was its ability to win ugly. The Jayhawks would scrap for loose balls, throw a couple elbows under the basket to grab a rebound, clamp down like a vise-grip on opposing offenses and somehow get out in transition enough to put together the kind of game-changing runs that it takes to win games in March. Already, it looks like this season's team will be no different. Ben McLemore had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Elijah Johnson added 13 points and the seventh-ranked Jayhawks overcame 24 turnovers in a 62-50 exhibition victory over Division II Washburn on Monday night. "There's going to be nights we don't play good. We can still win if we play defense and rebound," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "It's a good lesson you can still win ugly. If last year's team didn't win ugly, we would have won 20 games instead of 32." Kansas will try to pretty up its performance on Friday night, when it opens the regular season against Southeast Missouri State, and certainly before a Nov. 13 date with No. 14 Michigan State as part of the Champions Classic in Atlanta. "We've got to learn something from this. Today could be wasted if you don't learn something from it," Johnson said. "Today I think we learned that you have to win ugly sometimes." Despite returning three starters from the team that pushed Kentucky to the limit in last season's national championship game, the Jayhawks have appeared ragged and unpolished through their first two exhibition games against small, in-state schools Emporia State and Washburn. They needed a 19-1 run to help put away the Hornets last week, and then used a 16-3 run early Monday night before coaxing the game toward its messy conclusion. "Everybody's thinking too much. There's too many people trying too hard and not just playing," Johnson said. "Everybody is making it too complex, and it's just confusing each other, rather than just rolling with the rhythm and hopping on the same train, building on each play." McLemore, who sat out last season as a partial NCAA qualifier, was one of the few players who managed to produce on offense. He combined with Johnson and freshman Perry Ellis to score 29 of the Jayhawks' first 34 points, allowing them to build a 36-24 lead by halftime. Still, even McLemore gave Self plenty of teachable moments. One of them came early in the second half, when he gathered in the ball on the wing. With only one smaller defender in his way to the basket, McLemore opted to take a midrange jumper rather than go to the rim, leaving Self to scream halfway across the court for him to attack. Self wound up calling three timeouts in the first 10 minutes of the second half. "We weren't executing as well as the first game," Ellis said. "I mean, we weren't pushing it as good as the first game. That's the main thing, I feel. We just weren't pushing it." These are the kind of growing pains that Kansas will no doubt experience through the first part of the season, though. Despite being picked to win their ninth consecutive Big 12 title, the reality is they have nine freshmen on the roster, seven of whom could contribute. How steep has the learning curve been at Kansas? Even the courtside announcer is trying to settle into pronouncing the newcomers' names, half the time calling Anrio Adams with his full name and half the time shortening the freshman guard's first name to simply Rio. Seven-footer Jeff Withey, one of the nation's premier post defenders, struggled again to get on track. He only had seven points and six rebounds against Emporia State, and had nine points and eight rebounds against the Ichabods, even though he had a massive size advantage in the paint. Will McNeill scored 13 points to lead Washburn, a school from Topeka, Kan., that went 25-8 last season and was voted No. 2 in the NABC Division II preseason poll. "I said at halftime that if we could stop this team from going on a run, we can get in this game," said McNeill, the biggest reason the Ichabods were within 53-42 with about 5 minutes left. That's when Withey scored inside, and then made a block at the other to trigger a fastbreak, which Releford finished with a three-point play for a 58-42 lead. Johnson added a 3 moments later to deliver the knockout blow. "Kansas is going to be great," Washburn coach Bob Chipman said, before adding: "Man, if we play really hard, we're capable of some great things."
One Gotta Go: Pac-12 ballers and coaches vs. the worst pickup ballers
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

76ers hold team meeting over anthem singer controversy

Cubs fans line up outside bar at 5:30 am before Game 3

Sheldon Adelson threatens to walk away from Raiders stadium deal

NCAA set to distribute some revenue based on academic performance

Tom Brady nixes a future in coaching, blames lack of patience


Report: NFL interviewed Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott about domestic incident

Aldon Smith has applied for reinstatement to the NFL

Bill Polian suggests NFL step in if Browns trade Joe Thomas

Mike Zimmer denies details of slaughtered stuffed animal story

Russell: Home opener without Bryant ‘felt like a home game’

76ers players reportedly upset team blocked anthem singer

College Football Playoff set-up could keep best teams out of title contention

Box Score 10/28: London, Wrigley and the Cell

LeBron doesn’t want Thompson bringing Khloe around Cavs?

NFL ratings decline is also hurting the restaurant business

WATCH: Breaking down the current state of the 76ers

Five things we have learned thus far in the World Series

Can Hell in a Cell still bring the heat?

Darrelle Revis: ‘My body’s breaking down’

Box Score 10/27: Embiid, Banks, beer and bowl games

76ers fan ejected for flipping off Russell Westbrook apologizes

Significant firsts for women's wrestling in WWE at 'Hell in a Cell'

One Gotta Go: Pac-12 players and coaches vs. worst pickup ballers

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

College Football Playoff set-up could keep best teams out of title contention

WATCH: Breaking down the current state of the 76ers

Five things we have learned thus far in the World Series

Can Hell in a Cell still bring the heat?

We’re doing the Bountygate thing again

Significant firsts for women's wrestling in WWE at 'Hell in a Cell'

One Gotta Go: Pac-12 players and coaches vs. the worst pickup ballers

A look back at 10 of the best-looking World Series

25 questions heading into the 2016-17 NBA season

The sports classic horror villains would play

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker