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Chalmers lifts Kansas over Ball State

Nov 25, 2006 - 3:20 AM LAS VEGAS, Nevada (Ticker) -- Kansas is ready for its shot at No. 1.

Mario Chalmers scored 13 points to lead a balanced offense as the 12th-ranked Jayhawks pulled away in the second half for a 64-46 victory over Ball State in the third round of the Las Vegas Invitational.

Kansas, which has won four straight since a season-opening loss to Oral Roberts, takes on top-ranked Florida on Saturday night.

Early on, the Jayhawks didn't look ready for Florida or any other team.

The score was tied, 16-16, with 5:27 to play in the opening half, but Chalmers hit back-to-back 3-pointers in a 12-3 run that gave Kansas a 28-19 lead at the break.

Kansas shot just 27 (9-of-33) percent in the opening 20 minutes, but Ball State was equally inept, making just 7-of-24 shots.

In the second half, the Jayhawks found their rhythm and used a pair of quick spurts to break open the game.

Ball State (2-2) had sliced a 12-point deficit in half and trailed, 33-27, on Anthony Newell's 3-pointer with 13:53 to play.

Point guard Russell Robinson answered immediately with a 3-pointer as Kansas (4-1) countered with a 9-0 run, capped by two free throws by Robinson for a a 42-27 lead.

Two baskets by Julien Mills got the Cardinals back within 11, but Brandon Rush buried a 3-pointer and Chalmers dunked off a steal 20 seconds apart and the Jayhawks cruised thereafter.

Rush scored 11 points and Robinson added 10 for the Jayhawks, who shot 40 percent (22-of-55).

Newell and Mills combined for 23 of Ball State's 27 second-half points and were the only two players to score for the Cardinals over the final 14 minutes.

Newell scored 15 points and Mills added 13 as Ball State continued to be plagued by poor shooting. The Cardinals shot 34 percent (16-of-47) and went 2-of-15 from 3-point range, making them 4-of-44 from the arc in their last two contests.

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