Dec. 22, 2005
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Darnell Jackson, suspended by the NCAA for the first nine games of the season, scored a career-high 12 points in his return to help Kansas beat Northern Colorado 85-62 on Thursday night.
The sophomore forward had been suspended for taking impermissible benefits worth about $5,000 from a Kansas booster while still attending high school in Oklahoma City. He also had a career-high six rebounds and led Kansas with two steals, matching a career high, despite not entering the game until the 6-minute mark of the first half.
Brandon Rush and Julian Wright led Kansas with 13 points each. The Jayhawks (6-4) have won three straight and are two games over .500 for the first time this year.
Northern Colorado (0-14), which is in the third year of a four-year transition to full membership in NCAA Division I, lost its 17th straight.
The Bears didn't score until Darren Jeffries hit a 3-pointer with just over 4 1/2 minutes gone in the game, by which time Kansas already led 14-0, and didn't record their first back-to-back baskets until early in the second half.
"I am proud of the way our guys played," Bears head coach Craig Rasmuson said. "We have played an extremely tough schedule and we are young just as Kansas is. We are on the other end of the pecking order as KU, but our kids are getting better and our schedule is about to turn in our favor. I am not a believer in moral victories, but by not getting blasted it will make our three-day holiday a little more enjoyable. We took care of the ball a lot better than we have been against a team that is a lot more athletic than the teams we have been seeing."
Kansas coach Bill Self changed his starting lineup for the first time this season, replacing sophomore center C.J. Giles with senior forward Christian Moody. And after his team's early 14-0 run, in which Rush hit two 3-pointers and scored eight points, Self had the luxury of substituting early and often to give his backups significant playing time.
All but one player in Kansas' lineup played at least 9 minutes.
The biggest beneficiary of Self's approach might have been little-used sophomore guard Jeremy Case. He set three career highs, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 11 points in 11 minutes of game time.
Matt Kline led the Bears, who shot just 38 percent from the field, with 14 points. Jeffries added 13 points, and Kirk Archibecque finished with 11.
Three 3-pointers and a three-point play helped Northern Colorado halve Kansas' early 14-point lead to 19-12 by the midpoint of the first half, but the Bears could get no closer. Case hit two 3-pointers in an 8-2 run that put the Jayhawks up 40-23 at the break, and they opened the second half with a 15-4 run for a 55-27 lead with just under 15 1/2 minutes left.