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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.

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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

17.2

Ohio's first-half shooting percentage

(5-for-29)

54.8

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

34

Field goals by the Jayhawks (in 62 attempts)

24

Assists by the Jayhawks

17

Field goals by the Bobcats

9

Assists by the Bobcats

11

Assists by Kansas' Russell Robinson

18,482

Sprint Center attendance, 18 short of capacity

Comments

APDJayhawk 6 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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Lebowski 6 years, 4 months ago

kufan1975,

I'm pretty sure apd isn't a ku fan, he's a "poser" that comes in here and tries to rile people up.

I like to have fun with it, but I certainly don't get defensive about KU with people like that. I try to save my respectful discussions for actual KU fans.

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kufan1975 6 years, 4 months ago

apd shut your pie hole....you 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 game....so shut it with the underachieving crap...you make me sick....you call yourself a ku fan....we dont want you...do us all a favor and go become a kentucky fan....you would fit in perfectly....this team isn't healthy and they are killing people .....it is still early and they are getting use to playing with each other.....tuesday is another test that i think the hawks will pass....tech will be a tough game...they are young but talented just like the baby hawks of two years ago...do not over look them....this team has the making of a nc team....so apd either get on board and support the hawks or just stop because jayhawk nation does not need you.

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Lebowski 6 years, 4 months ago

APD, please, please, PLEASE get a life. What you're resorting to is sad.

About this team. We have a lot of guys who have the same expression all the time. They're not emotionally and energetically up and down. That's the one thing you can always notice that about our teams that go far in the tourney.... they are like that. Chalmers and Rush both have that PP menality. Smooth, never don't often have their feet moving faster than their brain. Collins and Robinson don't look like anything phase them... even when they struggle a bit. You get amazingly consistent effort from Kaun and Jackson. A lot of teams have bigs that just take up space half the time and try to flip a switch at certain times. "Beast Mode" is a very bad thing, IMO. The effort and intensity need to always be there, not just when a player psychs himself up. I think we have more of that now. We have guys with consistent effort and who are keeping their heads in the game. And as simple as that sounds, most teams don't have that.

We also have to remember... our games right now are NOT a measuring stick. They are a time to get better.... and we're still in part 1 of the season, which is the non-conference schedule. Part 2 (conf sched) starts pretty soon. It provides more of an opportunity for the guys to get better... because as the schedule strengthens, we'll face more adversity, which is what we need right now. We cannot stomp everyone. Need some foul trouble, need some bad officiating, need some opponents to make all kinds of tough shots and we need to face speed, strength and physical D. In December I'm almost more concerned when we don't have any struggles than when we do. This is all just more time to get ready for part 3, which is really the only one that matters.

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APDJayhawk 6 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.

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actorman 6 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.

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Mike Young 6 years, 4 months ago

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

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LAJayhawk 6 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.

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LAJayhawk 6 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.

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jhawk1000 6 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.

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ku98 6 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.

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kickazzkurtz 6 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.

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jayhawkr34 6 years, 4 months ago

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

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Joe Ross 6 years, 4 months ago

mojayhawk....

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

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shank11 6 years, 4 months ago

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

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mojayhawk 6 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!

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DSommersby 6 years, 4 months ago

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

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