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January 7, 2007

No. 9 Kansas runs winning streak to seven

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COLUMBIA, S.C. - Mario Chalmers scored 19 points and Darrell Arthur added 17 to help No. 9 Kansas win its seventh straight with a 70-54 victory over South Carolina on Sunday.

Chalmers had 13 of his points in the first half when the Jayhawks (13-2) opened a 14-point lead.

South Carolina (10-3) had hoped to continue a six-game winning streak of its own and got a boost when leading scorer Tre Kelley returned from a left knee sprain that caused him to miss a victory over Western Carolina earlier this week.

But Chalmers and the Gamecocks disrupted Kelley throughout, holding him to 10 points - nearly 7 fewer than his average - on 3 of 16 shooting.

The effort helped Kansas escape with the win, something No. 1 UCLA, No. 5 Duke, No. 7 Arizona and No. 8 Alabama all couldn't do on Saturday.

South Carolina got it to 41-37 on Dominique Archie's foul shot with 13:42 remaining. But Kansas put things away with a 13-5 run. Arthur had a short jumper and a three-point play to end the surge and put Kansas ahead 54-42.

Dwayne Day led the Gamecocks with 13 points.

It took a few minutes and a loud tirade directed at the officials by coach Bill Self to get the Jayhawks going.

Self was upset that the officials let both sides scrum for a loose ball and drew a technical foul as he crossed midcourt to protest. His players caught some of their coach's fire, going on a 22-8 run over the next 10 minutes.

Chalmers led the way, hitting two 3-pointers and collecting 10 points during the stretch that lifted the Jayhawks to a 27-13 advantage.

But South Carolina, helped by two 3's by Evaldus Baniulis, finished the half with a 15-5 surge to cut the Kansas lead to 32-28 at the break.

Kansas regained control in the second half with their critical run. Sasha Kaun got it going with an inside bucket and added another to build the lead to 47-38. When Arthur closed the streak with his jam and foul shot, he got a large cheer from the small group of blue-clad Jayhawk fans.

The Gamecocks could've used some help from stands in this one. New York Knicks forward Renaldo Balkman, who would've been a South Carolina senior this year, returned to the Colonial Center to watch his old teammates.

For more coverage of the Kansas Jayhawks, check out JayhawkSlant.com; for more on the South Carolina Gamecocks, check out GamecockCentral.com.



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