Sunday, December 16, 2007

KU sprints to win

Rush digs new digs in K.C.

Jayhawks, from left, Sherron Collins, Russell Robinson and Sasha Kaun yuk it up on the bench in the second half of KU's 88-51 rout over Ohio. Kansas made its Sprint Center debut in a blowout victory Saturday in Kansas City, Mo.

Jayhawks, from left, Sherron Collins, Russell Robinson and Sasha Kaun yuk it up on the bench in the second half of KU's 88-51 rout over Ohio. Kansas made its Sprint Center debut in a blowout victory Saturday in Kansas City, Mo.


Audio clips

2007-08 Dec. 15 KU-Ohio Basketball

— Thanks to shiny, new 18,500-seat Sprint Center, Kansas University's annual basketball trip to Kansas City is not drudgery any more.

"This is so much better than Kemper. There's no birds (flying in rafters). It's just beautiful," Kansas City native Brandon Rush said Saturday after scoring 13 points with three assists and three rebounds in KU's 88-51 victory over Ohio - the Jayhawks' first game in the downtown arena that has replaced run-down Kemper Arena as "Allen Fieldhouse East."

"I didn't hate Kemper, but the floor was a pretty bad floor. It was real slick. I remember slipping on it last year," noted Rush, who made his first start of the season in front of his mother and grandmother, as well as several uncles, cousins and friends just a short five-minute drive from his childhood home.

"The Sprint Center is so much better. It's the best arena I've been in in a while. It's like an NBA arena the way things are set up. It's worth the money they spent on it."

The 6-foot-6 junior definitely felt at home in the $276 million arena.

He hit his first three three-point tries and exploded for 11 points in helping KU to a 22-9 lead. He had one three-pointer - Mario Chalmers canned two and Sherron Collins one - in a 32-4 run that gave KU a 42-13 lead with 2:37 left in the first half.

"I was motivated. This was my first start in a while. It felt good to get out there in the beginning of the game, help set the tempo early," said Rush, who had come off the bench in his first seven games of the season, being brought back slowly but surely from June 1 knee surgery.

"I had a lot of open shots. My point guards were finding me. Russell was finding me. That's why he got 11 assists."

Russell Robinson, who did not score in the 32-4 run, totaled six points with 11 assists and two turnovers in 25 minutes.

"Wasn't he great?" Self asked of the senior guard. "He was terrific. He didn't score a point in the first half until the end, still he controlled the game.

"The reason we've played better of late is primarily Russell and Mario (Chalmers, 17 points, five assists, four steals). Mario was great. Russell was as good. He played a great floor game."

KU's guards moved the ball at a quick pace during the 32-4 surge, which included seven points from Darrell Arthur (14 points, eight rebounds) and Darnell Jackson (11 points, eight boards) and six from Chalmers.

"Coach in the locker room said it's probably as good as we played in a while the first half," Rush said. "We took everything away from them."

KU dominated Ohio in so many aspects folks had to wonder how the Bobcats (6-3) won at Maryland on Wednesday night.

"Certainly when you are playing a team that the players feel you should be able to beat, it's important when you have the opportunity to extend it (lead)," Self said, "so that team doesn't think they can beat you. We've let teams hang around in the past. When you do that, anything can happen."

There was no danger of that happening Saturday.

No. 3-rated KU had wrapped up its 10th victory against no losses by halftime. The Jayhawks hit 54.8 percent of their first-half shots to Ohio's 17.2 percent (5-of-29 shooting) and led, 46-20, at the break.

It was showtime the second half with Robinson's 10th assist coming on an alley-oop jam by Arthur. Also, Sasha Kaun had a vicious slam off a lob from Robinson - who else?

Cole Aldrich had a vicious slam off a rebound, and Jeremy Case had three assists in six minutes and hit a three.

"The guys played pretty well," said Self, whose Jayhawks outrebounded the Mid-America Conference team, 46-27. "We had some athletic plays.

"It's a great building," Self added of the Sprint Center, which was hopping with 18,482 fans officially on hand. "I think this place will be jumping for the Big 12 Tournament."

Rush and his buddies can't wait for the March 13-16 event.

"It's the first thing we said after the game was over: 'We can't wait to come back for the Big 12," Robinson said.

Go figure


Ohio's first-half shooting percentage



KU's shooting percentage in the first half (second half, too)


Field goals by the Jayhawks (in 62 attempts)


Assists by the Jayhawks


Field goals by the Bobcats


Assists by the Bobcats


Assists by Kansas' Russell Robinson


Sprint Center attendance, 18 short of capacity


mojayhawk 13 years, 4 months ago

It may be a little early, but the guys are starting to remind me of the Collison/Hinrich gang of '03, chewing other teams up and spitting them out!

AND, the more you watch Coach Self's team, the more you know that his Signature Trademark is defense! Just like football, defense creates Champions!

This is going to be fun!

shank11 13 years, 4 months ago

Cole is looking gooooood. He will contribute this year and add depth. :-)

DSommersby 13 years, 4 months ago

Nice win Hawks!!! Way to open the new KC area home of the Jayhawks!

Joe Ross 13 years, 4 months ago


yes we are good at defense. steals, blocks, and all-around. I just wish we wouldnt leave so many perimeter 3's unchallenged.

jayhawkr34 13 years, 4 months ago

why is rush even considering the nba, he isnt even the best player on a college comes the rush "koolade" drinkers. oh thats right he's injured at the ku rehab unit

Chris Kurtz 13 years, 4 months ago

18 people short? dam. To bad. By the way I don't believe that this is Allen Fieldhouse East yet, I think we it is still up for grabs between the Sprint Center and the Paige Sports Arena.

ku98 13 years, 4 months ago

Jayhawkr34, since when do you have to be the best player on a college team to consider going to the NBA. If that was the case, only one player per school would go there. Rush is considering the NBA, just like several others on the team. No harm in that. Just get off his back, and support the team.

jhawk1000 13 years, 4 months ago

These open forums seem to bring out every naysayer who feels duty bound to downgrade every success or every attempt. Wonder if Jayhawkr34 played basketball for KU or was he busy scouting for the NBA. Brandon will be in the NBA.

LAJayhawk 13 years, 4 months ago

54% to 17%... wow. I know there was a disparity, but... wow. What a solid game from Russell and Mario. I didn't realize RR reached 11 assists. That may be one of the most underrated 2 guard combinations in the country.

mojayhawk, it's funny you say that, because I was thinking yesterday that I'm starting to see glimpses of the 96-97 team. Of course they aren't that good (that was arguably one of the best teams ever), but they are devoloping what that team had, the "patented Jayhawk run." It's only been clicking for a few games, so lets hope they can stay on that train.

LAJayhawk 13 years, 4 months ago

After rereading my post, I want to point out to those who will undoubtedly argue with me that I don't mean this team is anywhere near the level of the 96-97 team. I simply see glimpses of the runs that team used to make. Also, they are a solid all-around team -- they can beat you from five different spots. While I don't think this team has quite the same athleticism as 96-97(definitely some NBA talent but I don't see any NBA allstars like Pierce), they certainly have shown glimpses of the power that team held. I would love to see them continue to harness that.

Mike Young 13 years, 4 months ago

The 96-97 team didn't have the shooters or perimeter defense of this team. Remember Arizona!

actorman 13 years, 4 months ago

I don't believe that this is Allen Fieldhouse East yet, I think we it is still up for grabs between the Sprint Center and the Paige Sports Arena.

There's an easy way to solve that. Simply call the Sprint Center Allen Fieldhouse Near East and the Paige Arena Allen Fieldhouse Far East.

And LAJayhawk, I wouldn't be so quick to downgrade your initial comment. You may be right that this team is not as athletic (although I'm not even certain of that), but it certainly seems to be as much of a TEAM as the '96-'97 team. There may not be anyone quite as good as Pierce or LaFrentz on this team, but I think the athleticism of Chalmers, Collins and Arthur is pretty close, and with the tremendous depth on this team, it's stronger top to bottom. So I think you made a valid comparison--at this point. Of course the real test will be how they do when the games get tougher. One thing's for sure: they should get further in the tournament.

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 4 months ago

Hey MoJayhawk and LAJayhawk - I hope this team isn't like the '03 or '97 teams...underachieving team with great regular season record only to wet the bed in the post-season.

kufan1975 13 years, 4 months ago

apd shut your pie are an idiot...true ku fans do not want you as a fan anymore...underachieving what are you talking about....the 97 team just happened to run into the eventual national champ in arizona.....and haase was hurt that game....and the 03 team was in the nc shut it with the underachieving make me call yourself a ku fan....we dont want us all a favor and go become a kentucky would fit in perfectly....this team isn't healthy and they are killing people is still early and they are getting use to playing with each other.....tuesday is another test that i think the hawks will will be a tough game...they are young but talented just like the baby hawks of two years not over look them....this team has the making of a nc apd either get on board and support the hawks or just stop because jayhawk nation does not need you.

Chris McIlvain 13 years, 4 months ago

KUFan1975 - if you were really born in 1975, I would expect better sentence structure. Lebowsi's an ignorant pollock and he writes better than you do. with all of the excuses and enabling from the people on this site, I imagine there are quite a lot of alcoholics nd drug addicts in your families!

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