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Jayhawks Crunch the Quakers 105-59
By John Steere
Box score
Williams' comments
Season summary
Specialty stats

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The Jayhawks played as if all their New Year's wishes came true Tuesday night in a decisive 105-59 drubbing of the Penn Quakers in Allen Fieldhouse.  Struggling center Eric Chenowith had his best game of the season, scoring 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting.  Marlon London had another strong game, hitting his first three-pointer of the season. Drew Gooden was dominating, scoring 15 first-half points on the way to a 20-point, 9 rebound game.  Luke Axtell broke out of his shooting slump, hitting 3 of 7 three-point attempts.  And, despite the blow-out nature of the second half, the Jayhawks committed only 3 turnovers in the second half.  Not a bad way at all to start the new century.

In the first half there was very little to suggest that this would be a 45-point blowout.  Four minutes into the game Penn led the Jayhawks 10-4 on three three-pointers and the Jayhawks had committed 4 turnovers.  The Jayhawks looked out of synch and flat. Visions of the close game against St. Louis five days ago were undoubtedly floating into the minds of Jayhawk fans.  The Jayhawks weren't able to close the gap until the 11:50 mark when they tied the game 14-14.

The Jayhawks didn't trail again, but were far from dominating the rest of the half. With four minutes left in the half the Jayhawks led by only three points, 33-30. The Jayhawks closed with a 10-3 mini-run to push the lead to 10 points at the half, 43-33, but there was little in the first half to suggest that the Jayhawks would utterly dominate the Quakers the rest of the way.

Dominate the Quakers, though, is just what the Jayhawks did in the second half. It was as impressive a half of basketball as the Jayhawks have played all season against legitimate competition. The Jayhawks opened the second half with a decisive 21-2 run on the way to outscoring the visitors 62-26 after the break. As so many of the Jayhawks' runs have this season, the Jayhawks knock-out punch was fueled by vice-like defense and Jeff Boschee three-pointers. Boschee knocked down two treys in the run and Nick Bradford hit only his second bomb of the season. In a little over five minutes the Jayhawks turned the game from a close contest into a blow-out. The rest of the half the Quakers simply went through the motions, and the Jayhawks continued to score almost at will.

The Jayhawks made the game a laugher five minutes later with a 22-0 run that stretched a 71-47 lead into a 93-47 mauling.

The Jayhawks, though, did not simply go through the motions even after getting a big lead. After committing 9 turnovers in the first half and four in the first four minutes, the Jayhawks played nearly flawlessly in the second half. The had only three miscues after the break and one of those came in the closing seconds when the guys at the end of the bench were in the game.

Five different Jayhawks scored in double figures. Drew Gooden played an outstanding game. He scored 20 points, tying his season high, and grabbed 9 rebounds. More impressively, 15 of his 20 points came in the first half when the game was still a contest and the Pennsylvania defense was making the Jayhawks work.

Chenowith's 14 points, while not the most he's scored this season, nevertheless represent his best offensive outing of the season from the field. He hit 7 of 10 shooting performance are the most fieldgoals he's cashed in a game this season.

Gregory also scored 14 points on a variety of nifty shots around the basket and Luke Axtell and Jeff Boschee each scored 11 points with three three-pointers each. Bradford and Collison both scored 9 points.

And, for a change, Axtell and Boschee got some help behind the arc. Nick Bradford hit his second three-pointer of the season, as did Nick Collison. Marlon London, who hadn't cashed one all season, got his first in this game, as well. As a team, the Jayhawks converted 9 of 16 three-point attempts, and that includes the two meaningless misses by John Crider at the end of the game.

There was very little that the Jayhawks didn't do well in this game. The Jayhawks hit 12 of 15 free throws, shot 58% from the field, forced Penn into 20 turnovers, snagged 12 steals, and 27 of the Jayhawks 42 fieldgoals came off an assist.

This win shouldn't be written off as a meaningless drubbing of a bad basketball team. Penn won Cal's holiday tournament last week, beating Cal on their home court. Penn was an NCAA tournament team last season, and the Jayhawks struggled to beat them by only 5 points in Philadelphia last season. In Roy William's pre-game show he said that Penn was a better team than the Princeton team that the Jayhawks beat by only 15 points two weeks ago in Allen Fieldhouse. Penn was clearly winded by the middle of the second half and gave up, but this was still an impressive victroy.

Smiles and Cheers for Cheno. The real story of this game was Eric Chenowith's play. In the abstract, 14 points and three rebounds from a starting center isn't particularly remarkable. Coming from Eric in this game this season it was an important statement. Eric's struggles this season have been well documented. He's seemed out of synch most of the season, hasn't been able to hit even simple shots with any regularity, has been pushed around by smaller and less talented players and has seemed passive in the paint much of the time.

Five days ago against St. Louis he was benched in the second half because of lackluster play. In the three previous games he had only scored 14 points in total. The radio call-in shows and chat boards have been calling for Gooden to take his starting spot, and even Williams let it be known last week that a change in the starting lineup was being considered.

Against St. Louis at Kemper arena Williams thought he heard a smattering of boos directed at Chenowith, and Williams commented in the paper that if he heard them in the Fieldhouse he would grab the public address microphone and give the fans a piece of his mind. Chenowith pre-empted his coach tonight and turned the potential boos into several standing ovations. Eric played with focus tonight. He played aggressively, working hard for loose balls. He rediscovered his shot, nailing three shots from beyond the free throw line. And he was aggressive on defense, swatting three blocks in decisive fashion.

Most importantly, he smiled. Chenowith has not appeared to be having much fun the last half-dozen games, as his slump deepened and his confidence waned. The campus paper had called him lazy, and his coach has noted that one of the keys to the team's success was having Eric play up to his potential.

One game isn't enough to proclaim Eric back, but if anyone needed a confidence boosting performance, it was Eric. Hopefully his solid performance, pats on the back from the coach and some rousing cheers from the fans will give him a much needed boost and will serve as the start of his come-back.

Glancing Eastward. The cherry on the top of the Jayhawks' cake tonight was the final score from Columbia Missouri, where Winthrop beat the Tigers on their home court 51-46. Winthrop?!


  • The Jayhawks have 1699 all-time victories.
  • Jeff Boschee's first two points tonight game him 500 for his career.
  • Max Falkenstein, Jayhawk radio network color commentator, has now called Jayhawk games in seven different decades.
  • Chenowith with 14 points tonight has 801 for his career.
  • Jeff Boschee's streak of games with at least one three-pointer is now at 35.
  • Drew Gooden is second in the Big 12 in offensive rebounds.
  • Boschee leads the Big 12 in three-point shooting accuracy at better than 59%.

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