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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Democracy in action

Jayhawks vote to defend - then actually do it

Kansas' Sherron Collins steals the ball from Georgia Tech with seconds left in the game at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday in Atlanta, Ga.

Kansas' Sherron Collins steals the ball from Georgia Tech with seconds left in the game at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday in Atlanta, Ga.

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KU defeats Georgia Tech in second road win

Just over two weeks ago KU remained perfect after their first road trip to sunny southern California. Tonight, the Jayhawks looked for a repeat performance against Georgia Tech.

Go figure

40

Combined foul-plagued minutes by Darrell Arthur (19) and Darnell Jackson (21)

10, 9

Combined points, rebounds by Arthur and Jackson

52.2

KU's shooting percentage (24 for 46)

44.4

Georgia Tech's shooting percentage (24 for 54)

1

Kansas' rebounding advantage in the first half

6

Kansas' rebounding deficit in the second half

6

Points by which KU outscored Tech from the free-throw line

3

Missed free throws by the Jayhawks in the final minute

— Kansas University basketball is not a dictatorship.

"We talked about it. I asked the guys what they wanted to do. They said, 'Coach let's defend 'em," KU coach Bill Self said of strategy devised during a timeout with 8.2 seconds left in the Jayhawks' nail-biting 71-66 victory over Georgia Tech on Tuesday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

The Jayhawks - who led by a game-high 13 points with 5:21 left, 11 at 3:31 and eight with 1:04 to play - held a 69-66 advantage following two free throws by Sherron Collins at 8.2.

During the ensuing timeout, the Jayhawks were left with the option of fouling the Yellow Jackets and letting them step to the line for two free throws or letting the crucial, possible game-tying possession simply play itself out.

"Russell (Robinson) and I said, 'Coach, let's play defense. Let's not foul.' We wanted to grind it out at the end," Collins said.

Self acquiesced, allowing Collins to become the hero.

The sophomore guard stole the ball from Matt Causey near midcourt with four seconds left and raced in for a layup at 1.8, thwarting what could have been an overtime-inducing possession - had Tech converted a three.

"Coach said, 'Do you want to play defense or foul?' I said, 'We need to guard 'em. We can grind out nine seconds,''' said senior leader Robinson, who scored 17 points, but missed two free throws with :30 left, KU up by just three points.

His misses followed a missed front end of a 1-and-1 by Mario Chalmers at :59.9 with KU up by five.

Tech scored after both missed free-throw opportunities.

"I didn't feel confident we could block out any missed free throws (had KU chosen to foul). We guarded 'em well," Robinson said.

Well, sort of.

Causey's turnover could be called an "unforced error."

"He may get credit for a steal, but honestly I think it was mishandled," Self said of Causey's fumbling the ball, which Tech coach Paul Hewitt said was caused by a bad cut by Causey and bad pass by Zack Peacock. "There were a lot of mishandled balls tonight on both sides."

Collins, who scored 11 points, admits it didn't require great defense to force the turnover.

"I was carrying out my assignment. I think he and (Jeremis) Smith made a mistake on who was going to get the ball," Collins said.

When Collins saw the ball flip around Causey's hands, "My eyes got big. I said, 'Go get it,''' Collins said.

His two free throws, steal and bucket made up for one of the biggest blunders of the game.

After stumbling under KU's goal with 32 seconds left, Collins tried to throw the ball off Causey's legs. Causey instead caught the gift pass and scored, cutting KU's five point lead to 67-64.

"It was a bonehead play. I should have called timeout," Collins said.

It was one of various boneheaded plays late.

"We did some things : Darnell's fifth foul on a ball screen that didn't have to do with anything (Jackson fouled out with 2:03 left, KU up by eight with the ball) : and then throwing the ball back inbounds under our basket when we had three timeouts left. Those are plays you don't make," Self said.

Oh, but 11-0, No. 3-rated KU made them on a night the Jayhawks never could quite put the 4-5 Yellow Jackets away.

It reminded Self of a 59-55 KU victory over Southern Cal.

"We've got an eight-point lead against USC with 2 1/2 left, you should finish that off We had an eight-point lead with two left tonight and didn't finish it off. Hopefully it's not a characteristic that we don't finish. It is nice to see us make a couple of plays at the end," Self said.

Of course. the free throw misses proved maddening. For the night, KU hit 17 of 25 to Tech's 11 of 16.

"We had our two best free-throw shooters on the line and come away 0-for-4, basically. Mario missed the front end and Russell two," Self said. "Fortunately Sherron knocked 'em down.

"We hurt ourselves at the end by not putting the game away by making free throws. But it's good to win games on the road where you have to grind it out. That's not a bad thing. We played out of foul trouble (Darrell Arthur had two early fouls and had just six points in 19 minutes) and we played out of weird rotations (using Rodrick Stewart at power forward). We hadn't played small all year, so there were some things that happened tonight that should give us confidence we can still win when things don't go as scripted."

Robinson led KU with 17 points, while Chalmers, Brandon Rush and Collins each had 11. Tech was led by Lewis Clinch, who scored 22. Anthony Morrow, who had foul problems of his own, had 12 points.

KU will meet Miami of Ohio at noon Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Comments

JayCeph 6 years, 10 months ago

Sherron's free throw percentage is pretty poor (for a guard) and to have him nail those crucial charities was priceless. The steal didn't hurt either.

Man, I wish we could coach free throws...

charlestonhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Did anyone catch the halftime report from ESPN's Lavin? I swear he said that D.J. Augastine of Texas had a win at Allen Field house. But he has never beaten KU on any court. I wish those guy's could get it right.

Chicago_JHawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Here's a question unrelated to this game specifically...

Why did the NCAA eliminate the positions closest to the basket on a free throw attempt? The new configuration almost certainly prevents the shooting team from ever getting a rebound off of a missed FT, barring a weird bounce. This bodes poorly for a team like KU who shoots a lower percentage and would really benefit from an occasional offensive board off a miss.

jacqueshock 6 years, 10 months ago

I like the decision to go ahead and guard instead of fouling. If the ball is that far from the other team's basket, that makes the most sense.

Mo Golany 6 years, 10 months ago

charlestonhawk I think they were talking about Oral roberts who did beat us last year in Allen Fieldhouse when Lucky Vealy hit 7 3s and had the game of his life!!!

John Strayer 6 years, 10 months ago

Chicago_JHawk..regarding free throw line-ups on the lane...and yet several times this year I have seen opposing teams grab a missed free-throw away from our players at the new bottom...In fact, I think it happened last night.

KEITHMILES05 6 years, 10 months ago

Sherron's FT percentage is poor? SAYS WHO? He is one of the best on the team.

jackhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

What has happened at ABC/ESPN? The announcing is now just awful! Why is it that every play has to be analyzed with non-stop jabber? For a football game it now takes 3 in the booth, two on the sidelines, and 3 more for the half time show so that we are constantly bombarded with never ending talk. Announcers, stop and take a breath once in a while. Let us just watch and come to our own conclusions occasionally.

mcoan 6 years, 10 months ago

How about ending every practice with free throws? Until you are making 65% of them, you don't go home?

okjhok 6 years, 10 months ago

Who said the team doesn't hit free throws in practice? Being on the line at the end of a close game is not like practice. It just isn't. 17-25 is 68%. I'm not going to complain about 68%. GT was not let back in the game because of FT shooting. We couldn't get good looks the whole second half.

justanotherfan 6 years, 10 months ago

Chicago

The new free throw alignment actually gives the offensive team a better chance to get rebounds on missed FTs. Since everyone starts higher up, the angles that the defensive guy has to box out on are much wider. As a result, the offensive player has a better chance of getting around the defensive guy, especially if you have a guy that's pretty quick (like DA or BRush).

As for last nights game, a couple good signs, a couple bad ones.

The bad first:

It's not just that we missed free throws down the stretch, it's who missed them that concerns me. Mario and Russ will handle the ball 80-90% of the time down the stretch when we are protecting a lead and, as a result, will shoot the lions share of those free throws. They have to make those. I remember when Kentucky had a poor FT shooting PG. They literally took him out down the stretch of close games at times, went away from him during others. Their entire team had to adjust down the stretch because he was a 55% shooter. We don't want that to happen.

We need a front line rebounder. It is becoming more and more apparent that we cannot be as good as we should if one of our front line guys doesn't decide that he is going to get every rebound.

We should have put those guys away. With them down 13, we should have buried them, and didn't.

Now the good

Even though we didn't bury them when we had them down 13, we did hold off a pretty solid ball club on the road. There's something to be said for that.

Two team notes that really encouraged me. Teams that win have to be responsible and have each others backs. There's no way around it. If you are going to succeed as a team, you have to be there for each other.

I saw two clear examples of this late in the game last night. After RussRob got smacked in the head on a late foul, Mario went over and 1) calmed RussRob down so he could shoot his free throws (although he still missed them) and 2) talked to the referee in support of his teammate. He was calm and in control on both of these things. That's what good players on good teams do.

After Sherron committed the bad turnover underneath the Tech basket, there was a timeout and you could tell that Self was ready to let Sherron have it. BRush stepped up and told Coach that he had bumped Sherron along the baseline, which is what precipitated him falling towards the baseline. Some guys you play with will step up and say that it was there fault and risk getting chewed out themselves. Others will stand there and let you get ripped up one side and down the other. BRush stepped up on behalf of his teammate. That says a lot about a guy's character. It's no wonder these guys love playing with him. I bet the NBA scouts made a note of that as well.

Chicago_JHawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Justanotherfan - I see your point. Maybe it just seems that Kansas puts forth a lackadaisical effort at times, almost a willingness to be blocked out. In any event, the old configuration allowed for an offensive player to be in position for a rebound off of a normal carom simply by proximity to the basket, assuming he could avoid going over the back. The new line-up requires a spin move of sorts to get in position, and I don't see much of that from our guys.

JayCeph 6 years, 10 months ago

Well, since you asked KeithMiles05, the statistics say that Collins isn't a great free throw shooter (6-9 .667). For a decent guard, that number should be in the mid to high 70s.

So, there you have it.

Bill Woodard 6 years, 10 months ago

Re: Collins free throws. How about we let him shoot more than nine for the season before concluding that he's a bad risk at the line? Just sayin.

KU 6 years, 10 months ago

I wouldn't blame defense or FT shooting for the game getting a little close at the end.

I blame it on the offense. Our bigs don't post strong. Our guards were tentative about driving in the second half. It was like we were content to run the shot clock down and go for a late shot on many possessions. We've always been very poor at creating a shot against teh shot clock under Self.

But, like many have said, a win is a win on the road against an ACC team.

jprich 6 years, 10 months ago

Chicago-

The reason the NCAA changed the rule was to clean up a lot of the play down by the basket. That's something that the NCAA has been trying to address lately, cleaning up the game and making it smoother.

vmwskywalk 6 years, 10 months ago

JayCeph....seriously. Collins makes one more throw this year and he's at 77% (he's missed 6 games). I think we can cut him a little slack. At one point late in the game we were 75% as a team. The misses by Chalmers and Robinson clearly brought that percentage down. I've seen significant improvement from our bigs at the line over the last few games. Chalmers and Robinson have something to work on. No excuses. Point is....we are improving and unbeaten. That's all that counts.

Ed Fox 6 years, 10 months ago

Hey - how about Sasha? 5-6? As much crap as he takes around here, maybe some props for his obvious improvement at the line (and you can tell it in his form) is in order? I'm guessing that he's worked on those things a ton to go from <50% to 5-6.

kickazzkurtz 6 years, 10 months ago

I agree with those who say KU was indecisive at the end of the game and that is what hurt us. FT's wouldn't have mattered if we executed. KU's guards didn't throw inside at all and passed around the perimeter. The inside guys disappeared besides Kaun really who made up on Defense and a few good plays.

not_important 6 years, 10 months ago

Kaun is 14/19 (73.7%) from the line starting with the USC game where you could see that he had changed his stroke.

This continues the distressing trend that has gone on for the past few years- At Mizzou in '05-'06: Up 7 with 39 seconds left - lost in OT

At Depaul in '06-'07: Up 14 with 14 minutes to play - lost by 7

At Oklahoma in '06-'07: Up 14 at the half, OU battles back to tie, we win by 2

At USC this year: Up 9 with 2 minutes to play, Trojans close to 2, we win by 4

At Ga Tech this year: Up 9 with 2 to play, Jackets close to 1, we win by 5 (on a gift layup).

The good news is we used to lose these and now we battle and win. But you could see this collapse coming around the 8 minute mark when we turned the ball over 3 straight times. And then the next possession, we needed a desperation 3 from Robinson to save us.

You can just see us bogging down and it has happened for 3 years. We tend to need a wake up to remind us how to do it, I just hope we either just got it or will get it before it happens in a game where there is no tomorrow.

JayCeph 6 years, 10 months ago

Hey, just to set this straight, I'm not capping on Collins. I think the kid is great and it was his free throws that provided the cushion at the end of the game.

I'm just suggesting that despite his low percentage (for a guard), he really came through.

I agree that Kaun is doing much better but I've not been one to bash on him either. I think he is an invaluable component to the makeup of this team. His new form at the line just impresses me all the more. I just love how he keeps his head in the game.

Free throws are key in any game and especially in March. Too bad we can't coach them...

kdeutch 6 years, 10 months ago

Coach Self said that when he was falling out of bounds, Collins should have called timeout instead of trying to bounce the ball off of the GT defender. However, didn't Chalmers try this in the first half, and the call was that it was against the rules to call timeout when falling out of bounds? The officials then gave the ball back to GT.

Dr_Hawkenstein 6 years, 10 months ago

okjhok: 65%? That seems like a good percentage to you? I say, make them shoot free throws until they make 10 in a row. Every miss, 1 wind-sprint and then back to the line.

65% is a "D". You can't win championships when any phase of your game is a "D".

LAJayhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

kdeutch, I understand you pointing that out, I thought about it too. However, the situation was a little different than Mario's in that there was a point when Collins was not falling out that he could have signaled the TO. And even if the officials wouldn't have granted the call and given the ball back to GTech, that is a far better outcome than what happened. Tech would have had the ball out of bounds with all of our defenders in place instead of the gift of an uncontested dunk. The alternative, as I was always taught in high school, is to throw the ball toward your own basket. If you don't get it, you, again, at least are in position to defend.

I couldn't agree more with everyone who has said we didn't play agressively down the stretch offensively. I understand wanting to be smart with the clock, but if you are not attacking the basket, it's basically the same as a turnover. Obviously we need to hit those clutch free throws, but we wouldn't be in that position if we played like the other 32 minutes of the game.

Ugly win on the road, but I know we'll all take it.

HawksWinAgain 6 years, 10 months ago

Collins shot just shy of 77% on free throws for the season last year, second best on the team. His limited shots so far this season are unlikely representative of what his shooting percentage will be at the end of the year. To suggest that he has a "low percentage for a guard" is misleading given his history. I'll be surprised if his percentage at the end of this year is not in the mid-70s.

Kaun on the other hand is still a work in progress at the line. I'll start to think that he has finally turned a corner if he keeps this up for another 8-10 games.

Regardless, free throws did not cost us the game last night.

11-0!!

caddie733 6 years, 10 months ago

JayCeph...i think people are suggesting that you are making too much out of Collins shooting 66.7% so far this year considering the sample size of 9 free throws is so low. To say he is not shooting a great percentage right now is correct, however, it is not representative of how good a free throw shooter he really is. All last year, Collins was like 77% and in his career, he is like 75% (thus hitting the mid to high 70% you speak of). Had we taken Collins free throw percentage after 4 free throws this year, he would be 100%. You can't use 6 of 9 as your rationale behind arguing someone else's statement because it's ONLY 9 free throws! If he goes 3 for his next 3, he will be 9 of 12, or 75%, the magical number you speak of! I guess we can only hope he hits his next 3 free throws.

kdeutch 6 years, 10 months ago

LAJayhawk, I beg to differ. Brandon Rush accidentally knocked Collins over & he began to fall out of bounds. Besides that I thought the earlier call on Mario was incorrect as he began to teeter & became unbalanced & then called timeout. I thought the rule was that you couldn't jump while inbounds, then grab the ball as it heads out of bounds & call timeout in midair before you land out of bounds. Someone needs to check the rules because I don't think it has anything to do with losing your balance while inbounds.

SacJayhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

I forget - Is there a reason that Collins couldn't have just dumped the ball off to BRush if he was right there? Obviously he was right next to him if he bumped into him.

LAJayhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

kdeutch, on another post someone quoted the rules and it said that you cannot call timeout while in the air going out of bounds or across the timeline. So, yes, Mario was hosed on that call. I don't remember specifically Collins situation, so you are probably right that he was immediately falling out. However, again, even if he loses the call (not granting a TO) and GTech gets the ball that is clearly a better situation than giving an uncontested dunk. I understand that the play worked earlier, but it is fundamentally incorrect.

As I said in another post, in high school we had it drilled into our heads to always throw the ball toward our own basket regardless of where you are on the floor in that situation. That way even if you don't get it, you are in position defensively. It was "drilled in" so we would act instinctively instead of having to think in the heat of the moment. That lack of instinct suggests to me a young player who simply needs more coaching for situations such as that. I don't blame him for trying to make the play, but I do hope he learns from it.

kushaw 6 years, 10 months ago

Well, I've been waiting for a day to write this b/c I was actually at the KU/GT game last night and just got back to my home in Charlotte, NC. As for the game last night, The Jayhawks did a great job in having great effort on Defense last night, but get an "F" for trying to turn that effort into great execution. There were 3 or 4 times where we had GT completely stopped with a double team, but let them off the hook by reaching or not sliding our feet enough and cutting off that baseline or sideline.We let them off the hook b/c the refs bailed them out.
The thing that frustrated me the most about last nights game is the 4 coaches who sit on the Kansas' Bench. I had extremely good seats and I noticed this from GT's third sequence on offense, but I don't know how the Kansas Coaches didn't notice this for 40 minutes. I do not understand how you could not notice the fact that GT's point guard (Caussy or Cuassy) was an absolute horrific site to watch handle the ball. I do not know how you could not notice that that kid could not dribble more than two consective times to his left before he had to switch back to his right. I mean, our gurards did not recognize this and at one point very late in the game Sherron Collins is even forcing him right, which is his dominant hand!!!!!!!!!!! Ughhhhhhhh! I was screaming at the top of my lungs, "Force him Left", "Force Him Left", but nobody I guess understood what a significant weakness this kid had going left. I do not know unless he is just a pure shooting guard, how he got a Div I scholarship. This was just a minor observation that could become very large in the future of how Bill Self does not recognize in game situations.

justanotherfan 6 years, 10 months ago

kushaw,

I've actually noticed that phenomenon a lot. I call it tuning out the obvious. The problem is, most coaches/teams are so focused on what the other team is running, whether they are going strong side or weakside, etc. that they miss out on simple things. In high school, we used to have our jv guys sit on the bench specifically to point out ridiculously simple things. I did it early in my career and relied on that information later in my career. KU's walkons and deep bench players like Case, Kleinmann, Morningstar, Teahen, et. al. should be locking in on those types of things. The coaches are often so caught up in strategy that they miss them. The players are so caught up in the moment, making plays, that they miss them. In a tight game where a guy like Teahen knows that right now he's probably not gonna get the call, he should focus on observing those types of little things and passing that information along to Mario, Russ, and the other frontliners.

CasperCorps 6 years, 10 months ago

Attention players. you can't call timeouts when falling out of bounds.

LAJayhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Okay, here is the rule,

2008 NCAA Basketball Men's and Women's Rules and Interpretations Appendix V - Major Rule Differences Page 156, third to last box on the far right:

"[timeout] Shall not be recognized when an airborne player's momentum carries him/her out-of-bounds or into backcourt"

http://www.ncaa.org/library/rules/2008/2008_m_w_basketball_rules.pdf

What that says to me is that you can call a timeout if you are falling out of bounds as long as you have at least one foot on the ground and, consequently, are not airborne.

kdeutch 6 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for the clarification LAJayhawk! To me that means Mario got robbed. I also agree that passing the ball to Brandon, or heaving it downcourt would have been the correct response, however it was a split second decision that had to be made by Sherron. I still think that the bad call on Mario is what made Sherron make the decision to attempt to bounce the ball off of the defender!

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