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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Later, Gators

Jayhawks upend top-ranked Florida in OT

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— Florida is not invincible after all.

Somebody, namely Kansas University, finally gave the Gators a game.

KU, in fact, defeated the defending national champions and top-ranked team in the land, 82-80 in overtime Saturday night before a giddy pro-Jayhawk throng of 8,500 at sold-out Orleans Arena.

The No. 10-rated Jayhawks overcame a three-point deficit with 1:21 left in overtime and defeated a Gator team that had won 17 straight games in tying a school record and had blown out six teams this season by an average of 40.5 points a game.

"I don't think we've played a team as good as Florida since I've been at Kansas," KU coach Bill Self said. "They don't have any holes. It was a battle of wills."

The Jayhawks won that battle in the title game of the Las Vegas Invitational, thanks in large part to a career-high 21-point scoring effort from Julian Wright, who had 17 the first half as the Jayhawks built a 37-31 lead.

"It's hard to imagine a college player having a better game, a better half," Self said of Wright, who had 10 rebounds. "Julian was as good as Julian has probably ever been in his life."

Wright, MVP of the Las Vegas Invitational, came out blazing in hitting seven of 10 first-half shots. He was joined on the all-tournament team by Mario Chalmers (13 points) and Russell Robinson (12 points, seven rebounds, three assists).

"I knew I had to be aggressive. I am usually not that type of player, but it was the only way I could handle the intensity of the game," said Wright, who held his MVP trophy high as fans swarmed the court after the awards presentation. The fans celebrated KU's first win over a No. 1 team since a victory over UMass on Dec. 3, 1994, in Anaheim, Calif.

Freshman Darrell Arthur could have made all-tournament after scoring 19 points and grabbing nine rebounds, but didn't.

Florida's Taurean Green (25 points) and Al Horford did make the squad.

"It's the biggest win I've been part of in my life," said Arthur, who hit key free throws down the stretch.

The Jayhawks, who saw a four-point lead disappear in the final 17 seconds of regulation (after Arthur had hit four clutch free throws and Robinson two) trailed 80-77 after Green's three with 1:21 to play.

However, KU wasn't finished. Arthur hit two free throws at 1:01, then after a Wright steal of a pass to Joakim Noah, Brandon Rush cashed a layup off a pass from Chalmers, giving KU a 81-80 lead at :26.9.

Brewer fired up an airball at :11, not able to put up a strong shot over the arms of Rush. The ball sailed out of bounds.

Robinson hit one of two free throws at 4.7 seconds. Brewer missed a last-gasp three from the corner, Arthur and Rush both guarding the player.

"Coach challenged us at a team meeting we had last night (at team hotel)," Robinson said. "He said if we don't box out and compete, we don't beat Florida. He said if we don't do that he'll say, 'I told you so.'

"We came out and competed against a very good team."

Self was amazed the game first went to overtime.

"We had the game and we gave it away," Self said.

Up 70-66, Green hit shot and was fouled inside by Wright. Green missed a layup with 10 ticks left, but Noah tapped in a rebound at three seconds, forcing OT.

"Our guys kept coming back, coming back," Self said, indicating it was likely the biggest regular-season win in his four years at KU. "We were down three and get layups (in overtime) against Florida. Our guards did a great job getting the ball to the post, probably the best job of that since I've been at Kansas."

No player on Florida's team had ever lost a game in November.

"I thought our fans were great," Self said of the massive throng of KU fans that numbered about 5,000. "We didn't play well last night. Tonight we played great. Our guys were ready. They played with a free mind, played hard."

It was the Wright show the first half. The lanky sophomore scored 17 points off 7-of-10 shooting with six rebounds while playing all but 23 seconds in the entire half.

After Wright, the Jayhawks' second-leading scorer in the half was Rush, who had six points.

Florida was led by Lee Humphrey and Green, who had 10 each.

Wright had two baskets and an assist as the Jayhawks stormed to an 11-2 lead.

Chalmers answered a game-opening Horford bucket with a three to start the surge. Wright had two baskets and an assist.

The Jayhawks led 20-9 with 12:20 left in the half. Humphrey scored five straight points in opening a 16-8 run that cut KU's lead to 28-25 at 5:33.

KU kept its composure and immediately went on a 7-0 surge that gave the Jayhawks a 34-26 lead at 1:21. Wright had an inside bucket and free throw in that span. He also hit a corner shot with 15 seconds left in the half, giving KU a 36-29 lead. It was 37-31 at the break.

The Jayhawks, 5-1, will meet Dartmouth at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Comments

Bone777 13 years, 1 month ago

The 'Wright' team showed up to this game.

mitch 13 years, 1 month ago

The team played with lots of heart and really deserved this quality win. The next test will be to avoid the natural letdown by preparing for Dartmouth and playing with the same intensity in that game. If they can do this, that will be one more step in their emotional development that will be required to survive and advance in March. Every opponent must be viewed as worthy. Enjoy the ride. Commit to learning from each game. Prepare well. Play your best every time. Never be satisfied. These are the marks of a champion. Go 'Hawks!

goldlighting 13 years, 1 month ago

Wow, this win will go down as one of the greatest in the proud history of the KU program, this team showed the country they can stand toe to toe with anybody and have served the big 12 notice. On the negative side, why oh why did Self put in Sasha when D. Arthur was playing spectacular? Sasha's foul at 15 seconds was costly and about cost us the game, totally a huge mental lapse to foul 30 feet from the play when you had the number one team in the country down and out. Last but not least, is it just me but does Rush look like a deer in headlights? Once again he stands around mostly looking for someone else to be the leader, come on Rush you want big bucks in the NBA prove to them you can take over a game and show some type of leadership skills, hiding out in the back room hoping the teacher does not call on you will not get it done. RCJKU!

filmhawk 13 years, 1 month ago

it will be interesting to see if sasha and rush can match the play of wright, chalmers, robinson and arthur. i can see sasha turning in to a pure roll player (rebounds and defense), and i think everyone would be happy with that, but if rush becomes a sidekick on this team, and never developes into a consistent go-to guy, i think we will struggle in conference and tourney play.

jayhawkox 13 years, 1 month ago

while i agree with many of the assessments that rush needs to step up his game and assert himself a bit more, I think we should also appreciate his ability to sit back and let players who are playing an excellent game (wright and arthur) to continue to do that while providing what he can (good man defense and rebounding) to assist that effort. that said we do need his points this season. but way to go hawks, i couldn't sleep last night because i'm in italy and couldn't watch the game, but i just about did a dance in the internet cafe when i read this. i love you guys, thanks for this win, it's the highlight of the month. rock chalk jayhawk, go ku!

Teapot9 13 years, 1 month ago

I will admit that our beloved Hawks proved me wrong. I hope that KU uses this game for momentum and confidence building. Is it just me or does Rush look timid out on the court? "Shady" really looked like the prospect everyone was talking about too. I dont think fans should read too much into this win since we all know its a marathon and not a sprint.

The thing I was most impressed by was that we by no means played a perfect game, didnt shoot lights out from the stripe, made some silly fouls AND yet still found a way to knock off the defending champs even for a night!!

Go Hawks

FlaHawk 13 years, 1 month ago

Rush us no All-American! He has a lot of talent, but disapears when the game is on the line. If he can not step up his game at this level, the Pros will be crazy to draft him as a lottery pick. He is way to predictable and does not still use both hands. I am begining to wonder if he really wants it. He should have turned the corner on the competition by now. Thank goodness Chalmers, Wringt, Arthur and Robinson do not depend on Rush for their play!

Alan Mills 13 years, 1 month ago

The Jayhawks really played hard last night. Wright and Arthur make a fine inside pair. Kaun still looks off, but we saw his potential last year. He'll be fine. The real disappointments in an otherwise superb win were Jackson and Rush. I feel bad for all those pretenders who voted Rush a pre-season All-America. He's not even close. Does anyone believe he's still contemplating the NBA? Weak and soft are words that come to mind when watching him play. Sure, he made those two lay-ups down the stretch. But, an All-America shows up for 40 minutes. Jackson leaves so much to be desired it's scary. He couldn't score in a whore-house with a gold card! He drew two charges, perhaps the worst two calls all night. The sooner Kaun is ready to play the better. Robinson, Chalmers, and Collins were excellent. Wright and Arthur were excellent. We looked like the better team the entire game. What a fun game to watch. Rock chalk!

Pete Owens 13 years, 1 month ago

The folks that criticize Rush obviously know little or nothing about basketball. There is much more to the game than scoring. Rush played last night on Brewer almost all night. When he was not there he was on Noah or inside on one of the other big men.

Rush is the best on ball defender we have and one of the two best natural rebounders. I for one would rather he play a team game than just go to get his points. Oh, btw Rush had double figures again last night and that smooth scoring coupled with the defense and rebounding make him an NBA prospect. If you watched the game you also know that if it is not for his block and his scoring in OT KU loses.

Jonathan Andrews 13 years, 1 month ago

News flash, negative nancies: KU WON!

Geez, I was hoping for a 24-hour reprieve from this "why didn't he score 50?" babble, but nope.

Congratulations to ALL of our Hawks. It was truly a team win. Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU!

Sparko 13 years, 1 month ago

It would be hard to find a fault in the starting 5 last night. Rush played a tremendous and complete game--especially defensively, as well as hitting key baskets down the stretch, for those of you watching a different game. Wright played the best half I have ever seen at Kansas. He was spectacular with and without the ball. Kansas was clearly the better team yesterday, and it would have been a crime if that 3 had clanked in. I thought Florida got some calls to keep them in it, otherwise Kansas looked to keep it easily out of reach. I think the thing that impressed me, other than that team defense, was the offensive shot selection. I did not see a single ill-considered shot all night--the best was when Arthur looked to pass late, did not see a safe alley and took the pull up 15-footer. Great free throwing too. It was the best college basketball game I have seen in years--perhaps since Kansas beat LSU in the Shaq era. This team is more talented than any we have been blessed with. Just need to keep working hard and get a few calls.

cklarock 13 years, 1 month ago

Looking at the line, Rush took more shots than anyone else on the team, but not so many that it would unbalance our offense; that's right where we want him to be. Last night they weren't all falling for him, but he was far from timid on the offensive end. Smooth? Yes. Timid? No.

Other posters above have mentioned his tremendous defensive play. Rush is developing an all-around game, and should be considered an All-American candidate.

jhawks4life 13 years, 1 month ago

WOW what a game! Julian looked amazing and his passing, which is nothing new, was nothing short of spectacular. Our defense was AWESOME keeping noah to that few. And how many times did we have the shot clock in single digits which caused them to force a shot? russell and darrell were pure ca$h last night. The thing that most impressed me was that if I didn't know any better I would never have guessed that darell was a freshman, especially on the free-throw line. Great stuff hawks! lets keep it up. 06-07= the year of the hawk!

kc_wildfire 13 years, 1 month ago

Sparko...great free throwing? We shot 67%. That isn't a good percantage by any means.

easyfive 13 years, 1 month ago

Bill should make some special plays for JW. Like give him the ball and get out of the way!
I was thinking if anyone was going to help him or not.
The refs had some really bad calls...
Bill should back up his players more and get in the heads of them refs when needed! KU bball is the KING of the hill!!! ...this week anyway! :o)

Tom Pritchard 13 years, 1 month ago

B.Rush M.Chalmers could use more practice at the charity stripe. Through six games B.R. is 46%, M.C. 60%, Wright 68%, Jackson 63%, Collins 71%, Robinson 75%, And the best Arthur 78%

Dale Kroening 13 years, 1 month ago

Yes Brandon had a good game defensively,and he made some big shots down the stretch,but he doesnt look like no lottery pick up to this point.He looked alot better last season.Dont get me wrong,I like Rush and he is talented,but he looks timid and lost and I dont think he is going anywhere after this year unless he really comes on strong and improves by seasons end.I knew we could knock off Florida if we played as a team and we did that.Is it just me or does Julian Wright look like a young Drew Gooden that doesnt shoot as well but is a much better passer?Anyways the Hawks played an awesome game.

Rock_Chalker 13 years, 1 month ago

Great game last night! If we come out with that kind of intensity every week I don't think there is a team in the country that can beat us.

As far as Rush goes, the man played a great game. Maybe he wasn't as dominate as everybody would have liked but he didn't need to be. Be thankful that he didn't chuck up a bunch of shots when they weren't falling and cost us the game. He knew when to shoot and when not to shoot the ball. Why must we have so many critics!?

Roysoldboy 13 years, 1 month ago

Too many of us expect Rush to score over 20 every night out. He did some clutch shooting in the overtime and guarded players of 6'8 to 7' and shut them down all night. He is called a guard and has to guard the other team's big men when there are too many of them. He plays great defense, gets impossible rebounds, and doesn't "beat" the team by looking for his own points. If so much weren't expected of him more people would see how good he does play the game. I am sure that I watch the same game that Sparko does. Rush is always contributing one way or another and doesn't allow his offensive numbers to get in the way.

Ray March 13 years, 1 month ago

ps: ryan green, can you fix this site, so that it logs you out of here, whenever you close internet explorer?

helloworld25 13 years, 1 month ago

AWESOME GAME!! I'm so proud of the way everyone played!! It was such a good game to stay up and watch!! MAKE HISTORY THIS SEASON BOYS!! :)

Samer Adra 13 years, 1 month ago

Who is this "Kansas University" they speak of? Arrrg! Anyway, rock chalk!!

Jeremy Bolinger 13 years, 1 month ago

Ku beat Florida. Everyone shut up if you cant enjoy. Stop nit-picking at things because we are 6 games into the season. We just beat the #1 team in the country. Enjoy it and shut your mouths!

mr_lawrence 13 years, 1 month ago

Those who are all over Rush should also take notice that he scored our last two field goals - the most difficult and important two of the night - right over Noah. He played excellent defense all night long and delivered on offense when the pressure was on. "Deer in headlights"... shut up!

tsunami77 13 years, 1 month ago

While i was watching the game with my dad i noticed that the jayhawks didnt look that impressive. Sure they had spurts here and there. But they couldnt put away the number one team in the nation. The gators didnt look as if they were at top-form nor did they play like it. Many of the announcers mentioned that as they played throughout the game.

Julian was the bright spot and Rush wasnt that impressive sure he had made some baby lay ups and one three but his role as he knows of now is the defender. Who else on Ku's team could of stopped Brewer honestly? I See Rush doing much more down the road but he is not a guy that will average more then 20pts this season and dont expect him to take over a game and win it. Also one of the things that i noticed was that if we were to play someone that had deep backcourt much like ORU then i dont think we could keep up. The whole point is that Ku wasnt that impressive yea they beat a number one but thats not a national championship its just a win. To me it looked like KU had a case of uncertainty in the waining minutes and to me didnt put the gators away when needed.

Oh and how they crashed the court and celebrated in the end that was very immature. I look at this win as a grace of luck. What if brewer would of hit that three? Even though florida played so-so and KU played at its best?- then what do the Jayhawks got to look forward to down the road?

Sure the jayhawks have all that great talent but as the article mentioned that the gators werent ranked national prior to last years season and became a great team through time. KU hasnt proved invincable home or away so what can they get out of this victory other then it was minimal win not a statement. I think that Florida has a better upside and will get better as whole- KU on the otherhand is still filling in the pieces and will as the season continues on. What upsides do they have if all there talent couldnt put away the gators. What do we got to look forward to?

fansincewilt 13 years, 1 month ago

Bill Self is 44 years old with already several trips to the Elite 8 and over 280 wins in NCAA. These accomplishements at that age, now coaching at Kansas could make him the greatest coach of all-time. He will have to win several national championships during the next 25 or so years. I am convinced he will. We Jayhawk fans are in for quite a ride. I hope to live long enough to see it happen. I am a Bill Self fan. Players will come and go here at Kansas but Bill Self is a permanent fixture for many years to come.

Martin Shupert 13 years, 1 month ago

Bill Self said it was hard to imagine a Jayhawk player ver playing a better half than Julian Wright's first half. I agree. But maybe we shouldn't forget Colison vs Texas, either half or Danny Manning vs Oklahoma. And can anyone think of a team in the history of the game who was better at interior passing than this one? I can't.

U2freak 13 years, 1 month ago

As I have observed, Rush is the type of player that can make big plays when the game comes down to the wire. That 2 point basket over Noah was surely uneasy; however, he has a lot of work to do in order to improve himself. When he's tense, his shots are not falling and he misses free throws, thus he becomes frustrated. I think Rush has all the ingredients to be a great player, but if he can work with a sports psychologist specifically on his tenseness, he will become a terrific player. Take my word for it.

On the other hand, Case is an excellent shooter, but because of his tenseness in the game, he can't perform up to his normal ability.

But regardless, I love the team and GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KURUSH1530 13 years, 1 month ago

First of all, there should be a word count on this site..I'm tired of reading novels from couch-potato coaches. Regardless of that, I am purely statisfied with the win. The reason florida didn't look good was because we established a good game plan and executed it. Crisp passes and great penetration on the zone, instead of standing around swinging it back and forth. Robinson is easily the most well-rounded player on the team. Self congrats buddy, but lets keep it going through the reg. season and tournament.

Drpan99 13 years, 1 month ago

I just returned from Las Vegas, having taken my 3 sons to watch a very exciting two days of basketball at the Orleans Arena.

One of the most impressive facets of the trip was the support generated by the Jayhawk fans. This is a FACT......there were probably 100-125 Gator fans in the Arena..........all the rest were Jayhawks......probably near 7,500......very impressive indeed.

The Ball State game was not a thing of beauty, but understandable, the first road trip......Las Vegas.......a young team........and looking forward to Florida were all contributing factors to a lackluster performance.

Florida, on the other hand was impressive in beating Western Kentucky. On paper, at least, it didn't look good for the "Hawks" on Saturday night.

KU got out of the gates quickly against the Gators. This really got the crowd into the game......it was fun the whole eveing.

I've read most of the negative comments about B. Rush. My observation is also......he did not play well.....in either game.........the pre-season hype he has received may not be what he needed to get his enormous talent to surface. He's definitely, at this point, not the take charge type player we expect of him. But he'll respond. He's a winner....and when he does.........look out.....because D. Arthur and J. Wright + the guards and bench are very solid.

Can't tell U how impressive D. Arthur was. Playing with your back to the basket is not easy.....especially when Noah is defending you. He displayed moves that were well beyond his experience.....and if he continues to shoot freethrows like he did Saturday night he's going to be a real force......S. Kaun.......is now going to have to get use to coming off the bench. Arthur will learn how to stay out of foul trouble as he matures. Very impressive kid.....he "schooled" Noah more than once.

J. Wight is a stud. You can tell by watching him.....he just loves to play the game.......seems like a great kid.

Great weekend.......

ps. Coach Self.....maybe next time we need to clear the foul line with 4 seconds to play so we can pick up our guys as they come down the court......came close to losing by one on that last second "uncontested" trey.

Is it a college rule that the defense has to fill all their spots on the freethrow line?

Rock_Chalker 13 years, 1 month ago

"...how they crashed the court and celebrated in the end that was very immature."

Who's the guy that said this!? Somebody shut him up. "Very immature"?? We just beat the #1 ranked team in the country for crying out loud! How do you expect the fans to respond!? Were you not watching the same game as everyone else? As somebody said earlier, the reason Florida looked out of sync has to be credited to the fact that KU was prepared to play. We played well and I don't want hear anymore about how we couldn't "put them away." We got the 'W' so how's that for putting them away!?

GO JAYHAWKS!!

Lance Hobson 13 years, 1 month ago

I guaranteed a win, what'd I tell you guys!

U2freak 13 years, 1 month ago

NOBODY HAS MENTIONED THAT WE WILL DESTORY DARTHMOUTH BY ABOUT 50 POINTS OR SO TUESDAY NIGHT!!! :)

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

speedy 13 years, 1 month ago

test question! how many times did dicky v. recruit[and espn] for duke during the florida game? duke had nothing to do with the game. answer eleven times!for 20 years espn and dick v. have made duke into a power house yet no one but me seems to care about this. dicky v. flip flops from pro florida to ku by who happens to be leading. tell him to move to the carolinas.

bankboy119 13 years, 1 month ago

drpan, Arthur is playing at the level that everybody was expecting him to play at from my understanding. The only reason he did not go to the NBA was because of the new rule that players must be 20 to enter the draft. Before this was instituted Arthur was projected to be one of the first players to go in the draft....That being said I'm really glad he chose KU and what an AWESOME game!

Kit Duncan 13 years, 1 month ago

Great game! Great team effort! As for Brandon Rush not playing well, he did play outstanding defense, and although not as spectacular offensively, took over during the overtime period. He would have scored the last (six) points in O.T. had Jackson not stepped in front of the pass under the basket. I really think the play was intended to be to Rush and Jackson was to block out, but Darnell found himself open. Unfortunately, he allowed his shot to be blocked, though he was fouled in the process. Rush would have had an open dunk (uncontested) had Darnell cleared the way. If anything, Rush's elbow in Darnell's back may have had an impact on his missing the shot.

Looking forward to an awesome season!

klineisanazi 13 years, 1 month ago

tsunami77, that is one of the most ridiculous posts I have ever read on this forum, and that says a lot. You dis the Jayhawks throughout the post, yet still refer to them as "we"? If the Jayhawks would have lost, you would be criticizing them for that. If you can't see anything to look forward to with this team, then I suggest you find another team to cheer for, like maybe Bob Huggins State down the road, or maybe Misery U.

phogfanatic75 13 years, 1 month ago

Great win Jayhawks! For all you nit-pickers and take the win for what it was A WIN AGAINST THE # 1 TEAM, then find a new team to drag down and be careful when you try to jump back on the bandwagon later this season. Let the guys use it to build momentum a have a great season.

Chris Kurtz 13 years, 1 month ago

Hey Bankboy119, in regards to what you said about Arthur not going pro because of the new 20 year old age limit the NBA has. Is that truely in effect already? Does anyone know for sure? I thought it was.

If so then awsome because duing KU's game against Tennessee State they said Arthur doesn't turn 18 until March. That means he won't turn 20 until March of his Junior year. We get 3 years. Sounds to good to be true though.

P.S. For all the Self haters, "After the fact makes a genius out of all of us."

jayhawkaloogie 13 years, 1 month ago

"Ku beat Florida. Everyone shut up if you cant enjoy. Stop nit-picking at things because we are 6 games into the season. We just beat the #1 team in the country. Enjoy it and shut your mouths!"

Hey notabandwagonfan: if you can't handle the comments, you shouldn't be reading them. Chill out

Rock_Chalker 13 years, 1 month ago

The NBA eligibility rule is that they can't enter the draft until ONE YEAR after they graduate from High School. Therefore, Arthur could still make the jump after this year. I hope he doesn't...but I won't be suprised if he does by the way he's been playing.

deepind 13 years, 1 month ago

KU is ranked #5 behind Florida, in both AP and ESPN polls!

jayhawkaloogie 13 years, 1 month ago

For all of you Self-hater haters: This Florida game changes nothing. He's still not a great coach. He may be decent, and by no means should he be fired (yet), but he's simply not great. He had nothing to counter Florida's 2-3 zone. He didn't call for a full-court press with under a minute to play and losing. Didn't organize the defense and allowed a wide-open last-second 3. Team effort is a rollercoaster of inconsistency. And let's not forget the 2 consecutive 1st round losses. He needs much improvement. Period.

And by the way, anyone who thinks criticizing the coach makes me an untrue fan, is not a real sports fan.

Rock_Chalker 13 years, 1 month ago

jayhawkaloogie...you know what? You're right, Bill Self didn't do ANYTHNG that you said he should have done. He didn't "call for a full-court press with under a minute to play and losing. Didn't organize the defense and allowed a wide-open last-second 3." But hey, that's probably why they won and why he's the coach of the #5 ranked team in the country and NOT YOU! Why don't you come back and tell everybody else how Bill Self should run his team when YOU'VE won as many games as he has and been as deep in the tournament with multiple teams as he has and when you are coaching the #5 ranked team in the country who just knocked off the defending national champions and who have a great chance to win the national championship this year. Once you've done all that or are doing all that...then you can come back and tell everybody else how to coach a team. Until then, zip your lip and let them man do his job.

Go Jayhawks!

jayhawks71 12 years, 10 months ago

Granted, this story is months old, but when Bill said "It's hard to imagine a college player having a better game, a better half," I think Kevin Durant must have been listening... twice!

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