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Monday, February 6, 2006

Notebook

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Brandon Rush squinted and looked uncomfortable much of the first half after getting poked in the right eye by Terrell Everett.

"I said, 'Can you see?' He said, 'No.' By the way he shot it early, you could understand that. He was off," KU coach Bill Self said of Rush, who had six points the first half, 12 the second.

"Whether he could see or not, he had to play. Down the stretch, he played perfect. His defense on Everett was great. He rebounded the ball and made big shots," Self said.

¢ Look ma, no uniform top: Rush had to be surprised following pregame introductions when he pulled off his warmup top and his jersey was missing. He was wearing only a T-shirt. A quick-thinking team manager sprinted to the locker room and retrieved Rush's missing uniform top and returned with just seconds to spare before tipoff.

¢ Elbow wrap: Julian Wright, who scored a career-high-tying 14 points off 7-of-12 shooting and grabbed a career-high-tying eight rebounds, played with his left elbow wrapped.

"It's a little nicked up. It's been swollen. It's given me some problems lately, but doesn't bother me too much," Wright said.

Wright's follow of his own miss and slam dunk off a Rush miss turned a 55-53 deficit into a 57-55 lead late.

"That's probably the best game Julian has had here," Self said.

Wright deflected the credit to KU's fans. "Our crowd was great. Our crowd got to them," he said of the Sooners, who blew a 16-point lead with 9:34 to play.

"As a team, players were getting frustrated with each other. We tried to keep pressure on them, keep them frustrated," KU guard Mario Chalmers said of the Sooners.

¢ Good no-call: Self almost called a timeout after Michael Neal's three with 27 seconds left gave OU a 58-57 lead. Instead, Chalmers raced down-court and hit a floater in the lane to give KU the lead at :19.

"That would have been a bad move," Self said. "Sometimes basketball is luck as much as anything. I thought a broken floor was much better than going against a set defense."

¢ Ranking?: KU at 15-6 overall and 6-2 in the Big 12 Conference could be ranked when the polls come out today.

"The pollsters have made us earn getting some respect," Self said. "These guys have played pretty well for an amount of time now, (winning) 12 of 14. The two losses were heartbreakers. I'll be surprised if we move in the top 25. I think we'll be just outside looking in."

"People on ESPN have been talking, 'Kansas can't win the close games (with five losses by a total of 13 points).' Hopefully, they will get off our backs a little bit," Chalmers added.

¢ Beg to differ: A reporter from Oklahoma told Self the Sooners thought they may have received a raw deal from the refs on a day KU hit seven of 10 free throws to OU's six of seven. "We can talk about this and that. Don't think their big bodies don't lay on you for 40 minutes. That's a two-way street there," Self said.

¢ This 'n' that: Jeff Hawkins, who had two assists in 20 minutes and spent time guarding OU's Everett, fell hard the second half and iced his left hip during time on the bench. : KU signee Sherron Collins attended, as did recruit Verdell Jones, a 6-foot-2 sophomore from Champaign, Ill.

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