Both teams may have had some time off for the holiday break, but No. 6/6 Kansas (10-1) did not lose its shooting touch, registering a 63.0 percentage from the field with a season-high 14 3-pointers as the Jayhawks downed American, 89-57. Eight Eagles scored against KU, with senior Stephen Lumpkins and sophomore John Schoof both finishing with double-digit points.
Of the 11 Kansas players that scored on Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse, only two shot lower than 50 percent from the field. The Jayhawks were led by Travis Releford, who shot 7-of-8 from the field, including a Kansas season-high five 3-pointers.
"In my opinion, Kansas showed tonight why they are one of the best teams in the country," said head coach Jeff Jones. "Obviously they shot a fantastic percentage from the field, but how they assisted on 25 of their 35 baskets while committing just seven turnovers was impressive."
Lumpkins totaled a team-high 16 points while grabbing six boards. American's starting big men produced against Kansas's imposing front line, which includes center Jeff Withey. Junior center Tony Wroblicky brought down a game-high 11 boards, with eight points, two assists and two blocks.
Schoof was second on the Eagles with 14 points, going 4-of-4 from long range, while adding two rebounds and three assists. The second-year sharpshooter also brought it on the defensive end, limiting Kansas' leading scorer, Ben McLemore, to just nine points.
American led early in the game, holding a 5-2 lead over last year's National Runner-up after a 3-pointer by Schoof. The Eagles held the advantage until the 16:10 mark in the first half and stayed within three of Kansas through first five minutes. The Jayhawks used a 16-2 run to pull away from AU and fed off a home crowd of 16,300 for the rest of the contest.
Despite trailing 53-26 after the break, American opened the second half on a 8-2 run, capped by a jumper by Schoof. After the Eagles early offensive push, the shots began falling again for the scorching Kansas offense as the Jayhawks built their biggest lead of the game with a 40 point advantage with 5:38 to play.
American continued to play hard in spite of the late deficit as Schoof added two more 3-pointers and senior Blake Jolivette netted one of his own in the final minutes of the game.
Kansas benefited from impressive bench performances as Naadir Thorpe dished out 12 assists with zero turnovers and just missed a double-double with nine points. Ellis Perry did register the double-dip in just 17 minutes of action, bringing down 10 boards and scoring 11 points.
American begins the New Year with two home matchups. The Eagles return to Bender Arena on January 3 against UMES and then take on Cornell on January 6.