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Friday, November 24, 2006

Bring on Florida: KU wins ugly, 64-46

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Before shifting any sort of focus to top-ranked Florida, KU must take care of business tonight in Las Vegas against heavily-underdogged Ball State.

KU meets Ball State in its third of four games in the Las Vegas Invitational, and it will be the first meeting between the two schools since the 2001 Maui Invitational, when cramping and sluggish play led to a 93-91 upset win for the Muncie, Ind., school.

The Jayhawks have won two straight since suffering an early upset at the hands of Oral Roberts in Allen Fieldhouse. The most recent of KU's victims was Tennessee State Tuesday night in Lawrence. Aside from five Jayhawks scoring in double figures, KU was inspired by the return of junior Sasha Kaun in quick fashion from a partially torn patellar tendon in his right knee.

The marquee matchup of the Invitationl, obviously, comes tomorrow night at 10 p.m. when KU takes on top-ranked Florida - the defending national champion.

TIp-off is set tonight for 7 p.m. at Orleans arena between the 3-1 Jayhawks and the 2-1 Cardinals.

FIRST HALF

On the opening tip, Ball State followed two missed KU opportunities to score from close by tipping a loose ball into its own goal, with the basket credited to Darrell Arthur.

But Ball State answered quickly, with Peyton Stovall casualy answering with a three from the right wing. Anthony Newell cotninued the quick start for the Cardinals, following an Arthur turnover with a baseline jumper.

After another early KU giveaway, Stovall went up hard against Arthur to earn a trip to the line. He hit one of two to give the Cardinals an early 6-2 lead.

Both teams went cold from the field for a series of trips before Russell Robinson finally scored himself a hard-earned trip to the free throw line, sinking both to slice the BSU lead in half.

Ball State's two-three zone continued to stymie the Jayhawk offense, as KU turned the ball over once again before heading into a timeout with just under 16 minutes to go, trailing 6-4.

******

KU tied the game right out of the timeout on a Julian Wright tip-in, following a Brandon Rush missed three from deep. After another ugly Ball State possession, Mario Chalmers hit the Jayhawks' first three of the game after the team missed its first four attempts.

Ball State's offense was certainly not blowing anyone away, but the Cardinals continued to hang around, and Newell tied the game once again with a turnaround which snuck around the rim from close range, making it 10-10.

But a Ball State foul with still more than 12 minutes to go in the half put the Jayhawks already in the bonus. Russell Robinson hit both attmepts on the team's first bonus trip to put KU back up by two, and Sasha Kaun also made his first appearance during the stoppage of play.

Arthur sent KU into the second television timeout still only up just two, but on the heels of a huge block of Ball State's D'Andre Payton. KU leads 12-10 with 11:48 to go in the half.

******

Out of the timeout, KU made its first major offensive highlight of the game on an alley-oop from Chalmers to Kaun after a Ball State turnover. On the other end, Arthur kept the momentum building with a swat in the corner, followed by maintaining possession before the ball went out of bounds.

But the run ended before it started. Jalon Perryman scored on an uncontested look underneath, and Kansas' offensive woes came back, as the Jayhawks squandered another early opportunity to pull away.

Another miss by Kaun led to KU whistling for a quick timeout, still looking to break out of a 4-22 slump to start the game from the field.

Sherron Collins was finally able to get his team back on the board by following his own miss on KU's second possession out of the timeout.

Ball State wasn't fairing much better offensively, but was taking advantage of better looks. Peyton's 18-foot jumper from the right baseline kept Ball State within two at 16-14 in a game where momentum had played to role so far. Peyton kept it going for the Cardinals wtih an inside hook to tie the game, 16-16, with 5:39 to go in the half.

******

Brandon Rush scored his first point of the game on the front end of a one-and-one to put KU up 17-16, but it couldn't cover up the Jayhawks' disgusting 5-of-27 start from the field.

Chalmers then hit a three-pointer to end a KU field goal drought which it seemed would never end, giving KU a tad bit of breathing room at 20-16.

Chalmers continued to have the Jayhawks' lone hot hand with his third trey out of the final television timeout before halftime to open up a seven-point lead and give the Jayhawks some more defensive confidence, forcing a turnover on the ensuing possession.

Foul trouble stung KU a bit before halftime, as Ball State benefitted from the bonus. Steve Horton hit a pair of free throws, and Peyton hit one of two to pull the Cardinals within four points.

Julian Wright scored on his second field goal of the night with a 10-foot jumper on the left baseline, and Ball State responded with another turnover, leaving KU with the final possession of the half.

Sherron Collins closed the half by knifing home a three-pointer off of a nifty pass from Julian Wright in the lane. It ended an ugly half with KU up 28-9 despite shooting just 27.3 percent from the field on a 9-of-33 showing. Chalmers has nine for the Jayhawks, Collins has five while Wright and Robinson each head to the locker room wtih four.

SECOND HALF

Newell opened up the second half with an inside deuce for Ball State, but KU responded. After Chalmers missed from three-point range for the second time on the night, he assisted a Brandon Rush trey, which was the sophomore's first field goal of the game.

KU followed another Ball State turnover with what seemed like its first easy two points of the night, this time on a Chalmers no-look feed to Arthur underneath after faking a short jumper in the lane.

KU leads 33-21 heading into the first full break of the second half.

******

Horton followed a Perryman free throw with an inside two, and then a Newell three-pointer made it a quick 6-0 Ball State run to pull the Cardinals back within range at 33-27.

After Bill Self whistled a timeout, though, at the 14:00 mark, the three-ball continued to bail out the Jayhawks. This time it was Russell Robinson drilling one deep from a straight away angle.

The turnovers continued to ugly up the game, as KU leads 36-27 with 11:58 to play in the game. KU might be able to attack the rack now with Ball State big man Micah Rollin on the bench with his fourth foul.

******

Julian Wright scored inside out of the timeout, and Sherron Collins continued to open things up off of a steal by pulling a nifty spin move in the open court to earn himself an easy two points underneath, putting KU up 40-27 with 11:20 to play in the game.

Robinson hit a pair of free throws to make it a 9-0 KU run, but Ball State's Julien Mills was able to snap the Cardinal drought with a tough two on the baseline. Mills scored again off of a Ball State missed three which came after a Darnell Jackson charge on the other end.

KU then opened it up one more time, following a Brandon Rush three with a little bit of showtime from Mario Chalmers in the form of a two-handed slam off of a steal, putting KU up 47-31 with 7:56 to play.

******

The basket-swapping continued, highlighted by a twisting layin from Brandon Rush for his second field goal of the night, and then a lob dunk by Darnell Jackson off a deep feed from Brandon Rush.

Rush hit a pair of free throws to get him in double figures with 11 points. Ball State's ongoing turnover problem kept them from getting back into the game with a serious threat, as KU leads 56-39 with 3:32 to play and the game all but in hand.

******

Darrell Arthur continued to add some salt into a now very-open wound. After an easy layin, he pulled a nice shake-and-bake move for a one-handed slam underneath. Russell Robinson followed that by hitting one of two free throws to move himself into double figures with 10 points, making him the third Jayhawk to do so on the night.

Julian Wright hit three points down the stretch as KU finished off a 64-46 win over Ball State to move to 4-1 on the young season, and now can solely focus on the Florida contest tomorrow night at 10 p.m.

KU followed a pitiful first half shooting performance by going 13-of-22 in the second half from the floor. A sore spot offensively for KU was 13-of-21 shooting from the free throw line. Six Jayhawks scored at least seven points, ledy by 13 from Mario Chalmers, 11 from Brandon Rush and 10 from Russell Robinson.

Comments

toyss29 13 years, 2 months ago

being here in vegas, it wasn't pretty. we were sluggish, lacking quite a bit of energy. if there is any resemblance to tonight's game, we are in for a long night against florida, whom looked like nat'l champs.

mr_lawrence 13 years, 2 months ago

We'll be fine. We may not win, but it will be a game. I have a sneaky feeling that Florida is a bit overrated/overconfident. Self is a good coach (no matter what these ill-mannered rabble-rousing idiots have to say), and the kids will be jazzed up and ready to go.

Evan Ridenour 13 years, 2 months ago

Florida is overrated? What? You have got to be kidding me. They won the title last year and returned all 5 of the starters who won it. They have dominated every single game they have played so far this year.

Sure, they are overrated... righhhhtttt.

ksuscott 13 years, 2 months ago

Florida is NOT overrated. We've got a lot of work to do before we can compete at the same level as Florida...

mom_of_three 13 years, 2 months ago

Let's remember who these refs are, because I don't want to see them again. Reminds me too much of Jim Burr and Hightower

nanuq 13 years, 2 months ago

At one point we were shooting under 19%; I'd like to think we could keep above the Mendoza line against Ball State. I don't know what it looked like live, but from the Yahoo PBP it didn't look like a team that's ready for Florida. I hope they prove this wrong. This group has had a tendency to play down to the competition.

nbnozzy 13 years, 2 months ago

It was a very defensive game, which accounts for the low scoring. And it was kinda sloppy too.

Let's hope KU is up to task in taking on Florida tomorrow.

GO HAWKS!

Don Everett 13 years, 2 months ago

Don't blame the refs for poor shooting. That's a cop out and sounds like KU fans are whining.

Kit Duncan 13 years, 2 months ago

Did you mean Jim Bain? If so, KU would be in serious trouble with another ref like him.

Alan Mills 13 years, 2 months ago

Wait, wait wait. I have the game on DVR, so I haven't even seen it yet. But...are you guys seriously going to blame the officials? We are a top-ranked team. We get the breaks. Have you seen any games in the last few years? Top ranked teams always get the breaks. As for you two officials to use in your comparison, again let's make sure we are coherent. Jim Bain, say what you may, was a very good official. He hustled, he was in position, and he made the calls consistantly. He may not have known a charge from a charge card, but he made the call the same every time. That is all you can ask for in this game. Hightower just shows your ignorance. He's easily one of the top 2 or 3 officials in the game today. He knows the rules, gets the call correct, and doesn't make the call if he's out of position or doesn't see it. Complain if you must, but at least know who is and isn't a good official. P.S. I can't wait to see the game. It's 10:25 right now, and Florida is getting all they want from Western Kentucky.

cellogrl 13 years, 2 months ago

hitme, your name is exactly what I would like to do to you. I'd like to see you coach better.

Daniel Speicher 13 years, 2 months ago

Quite simply, hitme, he got KU one of the top five (if not the top) recruiting class in America this year. Furthermore, when you have a team with this much talent it is always going to be a battle of getting rid of egotistic attitudes and maintaining focus. And, frankly, absolutely no coach can handle an ego issue. If you'd like to argue, it might be a good idea to look at Phil Jackson (an all-time great coach) and the Kobe and Shaq Lakers.

Bill Self is a worthwhile coach and is doing just fine at KU and will continue to get better and better year after year.

--Danny Speicher

nanuq 13 years, 2 months ago

Self took that green team last year to heights no one expected. Watch what he does with this group; I'm thinking it'll be a fun ride.

tomike 13 years, 2 months ago

If Rush and Chalmers have more confidence, the whole team would be different. Well, they will have that after win more games.

ksuscott 13 years, 2 months ago

U-G-L-Y...The one bright spot was the defense, although I don't know if that was us or just a poor shooting Ball State team combined with our height advantage...

It seems to me that this team missing a consistent scorer, someone you can count on to give you 15 to 20 per game, like Pierce or LaFrentz did.
You could always count on those guys for some points. That's what an all-american should do. Which leads me to B. Rush. Where's he at?? If he's not hitting his shots, that's fine, but he needs to learn to drive it to the basket (without charging) and get to the charity line. He should be able to make some free throws to get his points. And where's his left? Supposedly he worked on it this summer, but so far I still haven't seen him use his left much. He picks up his dribble at the 3 pt stripe. B. Rush needs to step up and be a leader on this team, if we want to go anywhere this year.

We're still missing a consistent low post scoring threat. Maybe shady will get there by the end of the season.

Julian still needs to work on his mid range jumper...I don't know how he's supposed to move to the wing when he can't shoot.

The guards have played pretty well...I'd like to see Russell be more agressive at times. He was our best player in the touney game last year, but has kind of disappeared.

Shady has been the best player so far this year. He's agressive and can score. So far he's the closest thing we have as a consistent scorer...that's scary considering he's a freshman.

Coach self hasn't been that impressive as far as the X's and O's go. Remember coach Williams's plays after a time out? He would always draw up a play that could get us a layup or slam off a back pick. Why can't coach self do the same thing? We never seem to be able to get the "easy" basket anymore.

Just ranting and raving... GO HAWKS! I hope we play better tomorrow against Florida, or it will be another ugly one. :(

John Myers 13 years, 2 months ago

So much for the "Florida getting all they want from Western Kentucky." They finished up shooting 60% from the field and 90% from the line. If we can't tighten up our game a little bit and start making shots, it's not gonna be a pretty sight, but I'm still confident that we can get it together and win a football game and a basketball game in the same day. Let's go, 'Hawks!!!!

Saad Saifeddine 13 years, 2 months ago

one word : U-G-L-Y!!!!! I donno about u all but i did not see a cohesive team, wait... i didnt see a team.. period! Coach Self..I really hope u start doing a better job with all the talent u recruit. We truly miss the old "fun to watch" KU basketball. ROCK CHALK!!

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