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Collins, Kansas blow past Loyola-Maryland

Jan 9, 2008 - 5:05 AM LAWRENCE, Kansas (Ticker) -- Kansas finished its non-conference schedule with another blowout for its best start in 17 years.

Sherron Collins scored 18 points and Sasha Kaun added 14 and nine rebounds as the third-ranked Jayhawks cruised to a 90-60 victory over Loyola-Maryland on Tuesday.

The Jayhawks (15-0) remained one of six unbeaten teams in Division I - their best start since winning the first 19 games of the 1989-90 campaign. Kansas opens up Big 12 play on Saturday at Nebraska.

Kansas' starting point guard Mario Chalmers hurt his groin in warmups. The senior's status for Saturday is unknown.

"Not having Mario hurt us offensively and with our pressure because he is usually a great starter," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "It was good to get the last (non-conference) win and now the real season begins."

Darrell Arthur chipped in 14 points for Kansas, which won its fourth straight game by at least 24 points after coming into the contest with the biggest margin of victory in the nation at 25.1 points.

The Greyhounds stayed close early, trailing by just four points with 5:12 left in the first half. But Kansas closed the half on a 15-2 run to take a 41-24 lead at the break, scoring 13 unanswered during the spurt.

"I expected us to come out and play a little flat early," Self said. "We shot too many 3s early. We had a size advantage and shot too many 3s."

Arthur led the way with 12 points in the opening 20 minutes for the Jayhawks, who held Loyola-Maryland to just 29 percent shooting (8-of-28) in the first half.

"I was proud of our players," Greyhounds coach Jimmy Patsos said. "Remember we have 17 games from here on out that we can win. I just wanted them to keep executing, because at our level in the 20th-ranked conference, if we play as hard as we did against Kansas, we'll be in good shape."

Kansas then began the second half on a 14-3 burst - capped by Collins' 3-pointer - to further put the game out of reach at 55-27 with 15:14 remaining. The Jayhawks led by as many as 40 points with 3:13 left to play.

Collins shot 7-of-13 from the floor en route to his highest scoring total of the season since scoring 22 in the Jayhawks' opener on November 9. The sophomore guard missed six games from November 15-December 5 due to a fracture in his left foot.

"I have a little bit more to do, but I am pretty much back," Collins said. "I feel like the strength is back. I have been working hard to get here. This (tonight's game) is the best I have felt by far since I have been back."

Gerald Brown scored 13 points to lead Loyola-Maryland (6-9), which remained winless in seven games on the road this season.

The Greyhounds committed 20 turnovers which led to 28 Kansas points, and Loyola-Maryland was outscored, 38-12, in the paint.

"We just got a little over-excited," Brown said. "Playing against the No. 3 team in the country, anybody would be excited. We just came out and made a few mistakes and they converted on them."

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    LOYOLA MD 24 36 60
    KANSAS (3) 41 49 90 FINAL

    Jan 8 10:03 PM

    LOYOLA MD 24

    Jan 8 8:56 PM