In the time it takes to read this, it’s likely that four or five fouls would have been called in Kansas’ 80-63 season opening win over Louisiana at Monroe in Allen Fieldhouse. A game that turned out to be the program’s 700th all time win inside historic Allen Fieldhouse was marred by the new college basketball rules that pretty much prohibit contact by anyone.
Of course, the officials couldn’t help it. They were just doing their job, enforcing the rules. Still, a basketball game that is at its most fun when it flows, was robbed of any flow, leaving it a game littered with free throws and whistles.
“It was an ugly game. I don’t see how you can have a pretty game when there’s 58 fouls,” head coach Bill Self said. “You get a little rhythm going and then stop.”
In addition to the 58 fouls (31 for ULM, 28 for Kansas), both teams combined to shoot 72 free throws and whatever home court advantage the old gym could provide was essentially nullified by the constant stoppages of play.
“It’s going be hard to get the crowd into the game when you stop it every possession and it’s not anybody’s fault, that’s just how it’s going to be,” Self said. “Home crowds aren’t going to be as homey.”
The rules along with an early season game with a very young team contributed to it being close, as Kansas only led 42-32 at the half.
In the second half, whenever they could, the Jayhawks piece together fragmented runs that provided a little bit of breathing room. They eventually would stretch their lead to as much as 20 behind freshman Andrew Wiggins, who made his official college basketball debut with 16 points on five of nine shooting. Perry Ellis and Andrew White were the other Jayhawks in double figures with 12 points each. Ellis also added eight rebounds.
With the win, Kansas now can turn its attention to its showdown with Duke, Tuesday night at the Champions Classic in Chicago. The Blue Devils crushed Davidson 111-77 in its opener behind their sensational freshman Jabari Parker.