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Monday, November 20, 2006

Big-time bounceback

Arthur helps KU rip Tigers

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Darrell Arthur may have cracked a smile or two in the interview room after Kansas University's 87-61 blowout basketball victory over Towson on Sunday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

But by no means could the freshman power forward's mood be classified as carefree. The sting of Wednesday's shocking home loss to Oral Roberts still was embedded in his mind.

"No, it won't. I don't think anything will," Arthur said, asked if his 26-point, eight-rebound outing in his first collegiate start - as well as KU's impressive bounceback win - could make up for the ORU stunner. "The loss to Oral Roberts : it hurt everybody. Everybody was down. We needed a win to relieve it a little bit."

Arthur - who opened in place of Darnell Jackson, who has a bruised shoulder - scored 14 points off 5-of-6 shooting the first half, while Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins combined for five threes as the Jayhawks opened a comfy 42-25 lead at halftime.

It was Arthur who kept up the scoring pace in the second half, finishing with 10 baskets in 12 attempts. He also hit six of seven free throws.

It seems several hard practices helped Arthur and his teammates wake up to the realization the players must bring their A-games to work each and every day.

"We did a lot of running. Coach made sure everybody was intense and talking. If you weren't, you were on the line (ready to run)," Arthur said. "Nobody wanted to be on the line, so everybody was enthusiastic."

Arthur brought great energy to Sunday's game, swatting three blocks and snatching a steal in 28 minutes.

Jackson contributed six points with two boards in 14 minutes, despite a sore shoulder.

"I like coming off bench more, to tell you the truth," said Arthur, who knew he'd be getting the first opening call of his career with Jackson not 100 percent. "You can see what you have to do on offense, see what the opponent does."

Arthur will get a chance to become as comfortable opening the games soon. Coach Bill Self indicated it's a safe bet the Dallas native will get the call in Tuesday's 7 p.m. home game against Tennessee State.

"I don't know why I'd go back the other way right now," Self said. "He looked pretty good. He played really well. I imagine it'd be the case until somebody beats him out, something like that."

Self said Arthur's start was "partly because of that (Jackson injury). Also he has made a conscious effort to give great effort and focus. When Darnell tweaked his shoulder, it was his opportunity to move in that regard. It wasn't anything Darnell did wrong.

"Shady (Arthur) has been doing this," Self added, pointing upward. "Darnell gave him a window. Sometimes when you give a window, he takes advantage of it."

The Jayhawks did not cruise from the start Sunday. It took a 20-6 run to turn an 18-17 lead into a 38-23 advantage with 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half. Collins hit two threes to open the run, while Chalmers had three treys and a layup.

"The zone was giving us a hard time. It was hard to figure out what they were doing. They were mixing it up with a 2-3 and 1-3-1," point guard Russell Robinson said after his eight-assist, seven-point outing. "Once we hit some threes, it loosened it up."

Audio clips

2006-07 Nov. 19 KU-Towson Hoops

Self said: "We were bad (versus the zone early). It's something we enjoy playing against, (but) we never got the ball to the high post one time when they were in the 2-3. It was bad. Our perimeter players were passive. We were a little tight early."

Why tight?

"I think there's been a big emphasis on trying really hard lately. I think the guys really want to do that," Self said. "Sometimes when you try to do that, you get tight and don't play as relaxed offensively."

Chalmers finished with 15 points, Brandon Rush 13 and Julian Wright 12. Rush opened defensively on Towson sharpshooter Gary Neal, who had 17 points, but just six the first half. Neal hit one of seven threes.

"That guy can play. He is really good," Self said. "I don't know what he doesn't do well for a guy 6-4. I was hopeful Brandon would match up and guard him the majority of the night, but he gets two quick ones (fouls), so we moved him off him."

Robinson was in Neal's face much of the night; Collins even took a turn on him.

"He was good. He scored 16, 17, but all his points came when the game was out of reach," Robinson said. "Brandon did a good job on him. I took him a few times. He's good."

All in all, the Jayhawks were good enough.

"Today was a good start in the right direction," Robinson said. "If we keep focusing day to day, hopefully two months from now that loss will be justified."

Maybe then. Not now.

"Nothing takes care of the Oral Roberts loss," Wright said.

Comments

mitch 13 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like the players are saying the right things about the ORU loss. If they start thinking that a solid win takes away the pain of the loss, they will be destined to repeat the pattern over and over. Lose one, feel sad. Win one, the sadness subsides. The memory of the agony of defeat fades. Lose again. Yes, success at the end of this season is the only thing that will truly make the pain go away. In the meantime, learn the lessons from that loss, and put forth the effort to keep it from happening again. The 'Hawks have the ingredients to be a truly successful team this year. Now they have to learn how to mix and cook those ingredients. Facing each obstacle, whether it be Darnell's injury, Sasha's injury, or the unexpected loss of Giles, provides an opportunity to learn the lessons that can really help get past the first round of the tournament in March. No pain, no gain. So there will be some pain. How the players deal with that pain is what can make the season special. If they do well during the rest of the year and are rewarded with a high seeding, hopefully they can draw upon the painful memories of the ORU loss and mix them with the confidence gained from the 1st and 3rd games of the season to serve up a delightful dessert during the madness of March. Never take a lower rated team lightly. Have the confidence to play your game with enthusiasm. Enjoy the ride. These are the lessons to learn now, while the season is still young. There will be other setbacks over the course of the next few months. The team and its fans need to remain focused on the big prize, understanding that the longest journey must still be taken one step at a time. Go 'Hawks!

suzifrye 13 years, 2 months ago

I live in Topeka and I was soooooo pissed that the game wasn't on TV. I am going to call our local station and let them have it, who really cares about Sunday night football anyway???!!!

mshanks 13 years, 2 months ago

there's an old adage: if you're going to lose, lose early...

JayCeph 13 years, 2 months ago

Okay. The squad is saying the right things now and the fact that they aren't trying to gloss over the loss to ORU is a terrific sign. Now, let's just stay focused on the next guy.

Can we stop calling him 'Shady' or 'Slim Shady' or whatever it is this week? Darrell has stated that he isn't going by that name in college because no one knows him by that name anyway. Good call. It was a cute high-school nickname (penned after Eminem?) but should really be forgotten now. It just sounds so stupid coming from the mouths of our commentators and writers. Silly...

Speaking of Darrell, his score was the difference in the game. 26 points. Without him, does KU win? I'm not convinced that they have a good answer for the zone and that might be due to size (or lack there of) or something else but they really need to have some answers to this question before Florida this weekend and conference play.

Still too many gaps in the game plan. I want them to do well but I haven't really seen anything yet.

Keep up the fight, 'Hawks!

Katie Van Blaricum 13 years, 2 months ago

Yes, PLEASE get rid of the rediculous nickname. Slim Shady is a white guy. It sounds stupid when the reporters say it, and I suspect Darrell is embarrassed by it as well.

KUFan90 13 years, 2 months ago

Self refers to him as Shady (see quote in this article). Until Self stops, the media won't. And if Self is doing it, it probably doesn't bother Arthur. I'm guessing it's here to stay.

Alan Mills 13 years, 2 months ago

The new polls are out. KU probably didn't drop enough. Could Seth Davis be right about our potential end of the season? Sure. If you saw our first three games, you certainly can see the potential. But, are we a top-12 team right now? Probably not. The more we played last year the better our team became. We clearly have more talent, pound for pound, than we did last year. Robinson is such a great defender. Arthur is the real deal (which one of you questioned our signing him???). Chalmers finally seemed to gain a bit of confidance last night. But, Rush still has a ways to go, as does Wright. If we can keep improving, we'll be just fine! Still a long ways to go...

AmbulistHawk 13 years, 2 months ago

Yes the ORU loss is still fresh in their minds as it should be. While it has always been said that you don't look too far foward in sports, always preparing for the next game on the schedule, my old HS coach was the only one who ever taught me to keep an eye on the past. Hopefully this version of the Jayhawks keeps a keen eye on not only the ORU loss, but also the way our season ended last year.

GO HAWKS!

Jacob Pool 13 years, 2 months ago

There was a few bad things about the KU game on Sunday: we started off slow in the first half giving Towson a chance to get going early and gain comfidence which could be crucial not to do when playing some of the better teams and i felt that the defensive rebounding was pretty bad and we need to box out better that could help out the offensive rebounding also. But once we did start going and more relaxed the team looked great. Keep up the great work and the freshman are very impressive.

                  Rock Chalk Jayhawks, Go KU

bankboy119 13 years, 2 months ago

I say great game...unfortunately we haven't had to play anybody yet. I think the Florida game is going to be a disaster.

jhawks4life 13 years, 2 months ago

over all I was happy with the performance of the hawks escecialy mario. However i was a little discouraged by Brandon's performance both with his play and his leadership(or lack there of). I know it isn't vital at this point in time but come march, or maybe even sooner, we are gonna need him to take charge.

malkerz 13 years, 2 months ago

this website is a joke. Where the hell is the box score? You've got 5-10 articles about the game and none of them have the freaking box score? Guess yahoo sports has an easier website to navigate than the hometown newspaper. sad.

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