Ames, Iowa — Standing at center-court, Brandon Rush held an open hand to his right ear, his eyes scanning a suddenly silent Iowa State cheering section.
Rush's point in mimicking wrestling star Hulk Hogan's signature gesture?
He and the Jayhawks (15-2 overall, 2-0 Big 12 Conference) had shut up a loud crowd by surviving a gritty Iowa State (11-6, 2-1) team, 68-64, in overtime Saturday afternoon in Hilton Coliseum.
"I saw Rahshon (Clark, ISU) doing it earlier to get the crowd fired up. I thought I'd do it at the end to make 'em mad," Rush said of the loud throng of 13,226 fans.
He made two middle-aged fans mad enough they stuck around to scream at Rush during his postgame interview with ESPN.
"A bunch of McDonald's All-Americans get taken to overtime by a bunch of freshmen. Big deal," one fan bellowed.
It was Rush - who was ordinary early and superb late - who made some spectators probably wish they hadn't braved a morning snowstorm to attend the game.
Rush - who was assigned to guard red-hot ISU point guard Mike Taylor the last six minutes of regulation and into overtime - had just four points at halftime off 1-of-5 shooting. Rush had eight points through regulation on 2-of-9 marksmanship.
Yet he had a huge three to tie the game at 58 with :54 left in regulation, then scored four of the Jayhawks' 10 points in overtime, including four points off the two signature plays of the game.
He slammed home a lob from Mario Chalmers, tying the score at 63 with 1:51 left. Next, ballhawking on defense, he poked the ball from Taylor and raced to the other end for what turned out to be the game-winning jam.
"He tried to split Sasha (Kaun)," Rush said of a slashing Taylor. "I sensed that he had a clear lane. I managed to get behind. I reached and tapped it from behind. I got a nice steal and a nice dunk, too."
Following a turnover, ISU fouled Chalmers, who hit two free throws with :21.9 left to give KU a 67-63 lead.
Taylor hit one of two free throws at 9.4, answered by Julian Wright, who made one of two at 5.9 seconds.
All in all, it was vintage Rush down the stretch.
"If you study the game, Iowa State was going to win the game until Brandon guarded No. 24 (Taylor)," Self said. "You never say one guy wins or loses a game, but Brandon did an unbelievable job on No. 24 Then the shot (dunk) he made off Mario's pass and then the steal. That was Brandon Rush in overtime.
"That's what good players do. They step up and make plays when it matters."
It said a lot that Rush shrugged off a poor shooting night to contribute in other areas.
At DePaul he never snapped out of a funk in hitting for just three points in a road loss.
"Maybe maturing a bit, getting tougher, it's good to see," Self said of Rush keeping his composure late.
Once again, Rush's defense was huge. Self called a timeout with 5:39 left, partly because to silence the crowd and partly to put Rush on Taylor (who finished with 21 points, hitting four of 16 threes).
Taylor didn't score again in regulation.
"I like that at the end of the game," Rush said of getting a big-time defensive assignment. "Coach does that sometimes at the end of the game. He did that today. When you're not shooting well, you try to find something else to help the team out. It motivated me, getting key stops."
KU hit just 41.9 percent of its shots and committed 16 turnovers, but still nearly won at the end of regulation.
Self called a timeout with 19.6 seconds left. Chalmers received the ball on a wing and missed a three over Wesley Johnson at :02.
"Terrible execution," Self said of a play in which Chalmers was supposed to be able to get into the lane closer to the hoop. "We faced a big-little switch. We settled. If the shot had gone in, we'd have been happy, but it wasn't great execution."
Chalmers said he thought the shot would drop.
"I felt it was good. It went left," Chalmers said. "I was supposed to drive off Julian's screen, but the defense sagged, and I didn't want to risk a turnover."
It made for an interesting overtime.
KU survived and won despite missing six of its first seven shots in the extra five-minute period.
"It's a win," Self said. "We obviously didn't play very well. I don't want to say lethargic, but we didn't have the same energy as the Oklahoma State game (30-point win Wednesday). Our pressure didn't bother them.
"We missed a lot of layups. We had some bad turnovers. We were careless with the ball and didn't push it like we can, but we showed toughness. It was not picturesque, but we got a road win in the Big 12. They had the crowd today just like we had it Wednesday.
"Iowa State has a good team, maybe better than a lot of people thought. It was good to come out of here with a win."
KU will meet Missouri at 8 p.m. Monday at Allen Fieldhouse.