Some thoughts...from Allen Fieldhouse
Gary Bedore, Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer
"KU's big men played well from the start, scoring the game's first 15 points. It was pretty much a mismatch tonight with EWU having just nine players. The big question is how did this team beat UMKC on Monday night? KU came out and picked up the pace, pressing some and going to the big men for another win."
Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor
"Face it: This is Conner Teahan's world. The rest of us are just bit players spinning in it. As for what led to such a huge lead that Teahan got to play 1 minute and 41 seconds - long enough for him to score five points - well, the players did what the coach has been nagging him to do for quite a while now. They forced the ball inside and exploited their big size advantage. Sounds so simple and for a change, Kansas made it look simple in the early stages of a blowout."
Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor
"Imagine what would have lined the notebooks of the 26 NBA scouts present Sunday in Los Angeles had Darrell Arthur shown the type of post moves he displayed Wednesday against Eastern Washington? The big man oughta know by now that his bread-and-butter is the post game. He's a beast in the post. Playing like he did tonight will make him a lottery pick come June. If that's what he wants, he should study this tape over and over and over and over and over and ov..."
Inside the numbers
15: Of the Jayhawks' first eight field goal attempts, seven of them were taken by the combo of Darnell Jackson and Darrell Arthur. The duo clicked and was awesome in the game's opening minutes, combining to score the Jayhawks' first 15 points. The most highlight-worthy was a dunk by Jackson on an inside feed from Mario Chalmers, which was the result of Jackson hustling to save a ball from going out of bounds earlier in the possession.
6: When the offensive focus is inside, the guards obviously have some pressure taken off of their shoulders. Mario Chalmers didn't have to score the 20 points he poured in in Sunday's win, and instead he found other ways to stay active. The junior guard finished by tying his career bests in both steals (six) and assists (eight).
8: Not only were the Jayhawk big men active and productive on the offensive end, but they also took advantage of a steep size advantage on defense, holding Eastern Washington to just eight points in the paint. KU blocked seven shots, including three swats by freshman big Cole Aldrich.
25: Statistically, Brandon Rush had an average night on the offensive end, going just four-of-11 from the field, finishing with nine points to go with his 10 rebounds. But in Rush's 22 minutes on the floor, Bill Self was pleased with some specifics he witnessed from Rush (see quote below).
Just in case you missed it...
Tyrel Reed left the game after hurting his ankle in the second half (not the same one he just recovered from having sprained). He adds to the M*A*S*H list piling up a bit on KU's bench. Sasha Kaun is also a little banged up, according to Self. He was helped off the floor late in the first half, but returned. Obviously, they join Sherron Collins, who is still recovering from a stress fracture in his foot. Self doesn't anticipate Collins being ready to go Saturday against DePaul.
Hopefully, you didn't miss it...
The big men played like monsters in the game's first seven-to-eight minutes, and that was the key. Obviously, Darnell Jackson and Darrell Arthur won't be able to score at will like they did tonight against every team KU goes against this year, but from a confidence standpoint, this didn't hurt. The confidence also could seep into the guards, who have struggled at times this year to find open post men.
They said it...
Darnell Jackson on focusing on getting the ball inside early: "That was just the main focus, just to get the ball in the inside, especially to Shady, because he's our go-to big man, and when he's out there doing good and making shots, it makes it easier for the guards to make outside shots when their guards double down on the bigs. We can throw it out and go set a ball screen and they can get to the basket and get easy layups."
Darnell Jackson on offenive improvement from Sunday's showing at USC: "When we watched the tape against USC, Shady, he was open a lot down there in the post, so coach Self said we have to get the ball into him more, because Darrell, he's a great post player, he can make shots, he can dribble and make a jump shot. We just have to keep giving him the ball and make it easier for the other big guys, when we play against teams when they go double-team him, and he can throw it over the top for an easy layup."
Darnell Jackson on getting ready to face DePaul after last year's loss in Chicago: "Everything carries over to the next year, especially when we lost in the (NCAA) Tournament. We think about that everyday. When we lost against DePaul, we still think about that. Oral Roberts, we still think about that. We just have to go out here and play, and when the time comes, we know that we have to go out here and execute and just run plays."
Darrell Arthur on his inside scoring: "I still have confidence in my outside game, but I'm taking more open shots and not trying to take those hard shots. Just starting off, I tried to get to the hole and just work from inside to out...;We were working on it a lot yesterday in practice. Coach made a big emphasis on getting the ball to the post and playing inside-out."
Russell Robinson on working the ball inside: "We just wanted to feed them and get them going, get them some easy shots. Once we get them some easy shots, the defense kind of just sucks in there and it makes our job a little easier making shots from the outside. We had a size advantage, they were pretty small and we got what we wanted and they finished."
Bill Self on getting the ball into the bigs: "I don't think we were more open tonight than we've been other nights. I think we just got it to them...We'll put them on the treadmill during practice - and everybody hates that - for every time they don't throw it to the post when they're open. You know, stuff like that. But we've just started doing that here recently, but that'll be something that will continue. We've got to do a better job of getting the ball to them. But we talk about it everyday, we harp on it and tape shows them that. But in defense of our perimeter guys, our big guys can do a better job of holding their man off. But those guys are pretty good at getting in the lane for the most part. They just sometimes see the game differently in that 'why do I, if the emphasis is to get the ball in the paint, well, I could throw it in there and he may be open, he may not be open, but I know I can drive it in there.' And we just have to get to where we have more confidence throwing it in there."
Bill Self on what he saw from Brandon Rush: "I didn't think Brandon played his best tonight, I didn't think he played his best obviously Sunday. But he did three things tonight that's better than anything he's done this year, if you go back and look at it. He got a rebound off two feet where he went way above everybody else in traffic. He got a dunk off one foot in transition, which he hasn't done at all. And he guarded (Adris DeLeon) and No. 10 couldn't get around him...Those are the three best things he's done since he's been playing this year."