Friday, March 23, 2007


Keegan: Jackson, Stewart spark KU


— Sure, it was the main man, Brandon Rush, who snapped awake just in time Thursday inside HP Pavilion to take over offensively late in Kansas University's 61-58 survival job against college basketball's ultimate fighters, the Southern Illinois University Salukis.

Still, Kansas doesn't advance to the West Regional semifinal without the Saluki-style efforts of eighth man Darnell Jackson and ninth man Rod Stewart.

This was as much a cage match as a basketball game. That's the way Jackson and Stewart prefer the game be played. The junior reserves aren't only built like football players, they think like them. They play the sort of in-your-face basketbrawl the Salukis threw at KU for 40 minutes.

They would fit in perfectly for SIU, the West Region's No. 4 seed, which lost despite forcing 19 turnovers, limiting Kansas to one three-point field goal and one scorer in double figures and despite the Jayhawks' potentially fatal flaw - free-throw shooting late in games - resurfacing in such shockingly ugly fashion.

In the final 5:38, Kansas players not named Darnell Jackson made four of 11 free throws. Jackson made both of his, with 1:44 left, to push the Kansas lead to four points.

To make too big a deal about those shots would be to underestimate Jackson's overall value. He never begged for a whistle. He doesn't like whistles. He likes contact.

"I'm tired," Jackson said from his locker-room stool. "It was tough."

SIU made it that way, and so did Kansas with its untidy play.

"They were good," Jackson said. "They were good. They were real good, especially (Jamaal) Tatum. Man, his shot is crazy. He hit some big shots for them."

Jackson delivered shots and took them. Body shots.

"I had fun out there," Jackson said. "They were physical, hitting everybody. Everybody was diving on the floor. Their team was great. They like to get their noses dirty, and that's what I like. I like to play against guys who aren't afraid to get hurt. It turned out to be a great game."

Jackson stepped in front of a pass to Randal Falker for a huge steal with just more than four minutes left and Kansas leading by a point. Jackson shared the team lead with five rebounds and made all three of his field-goal attempts.

Audio clips

2006-07 March 22 KU-SIU Hoops

And he made the team awaken. Late in the game, shortly before Rush (12 points, 6-for-6 field goals) awakened, Jackson yelled Rush's name, glared at him, and commanded: "Come on!" Rush came on, all right, and Kansas is one victory away from advancing the Final Four for the first time since 2003.

Stewart, who came in averaging 5.8 minutes, played nine valuable ones. Immediately after springing off the bench in the first half, he took a charge. Then he hit a lane jumper. Later, he soared for an offensive rebound that prolonged a possession that ended with him driving to the hoop, getting fouled and making one of two.

"The charge boosted a lot of energy in me," Stewart said. "It was good to make a jump shot too, but I love defense. That's something I really enjoy doing, taking a charge."

Kansas took a hard charge from SIU, and the outcome that could have gone either way went KU's.

Three down, three to go.


mcoan 11 years, 2 months ago

Jackson for starting center next year.

craigers 11 years, 2 months ago

My hat is off to both of these guys. What a time for Stewart to come in and show what he is about. I love seeing Jackson and Stewart rip rebounds down and fight for the ball. You guys are great and a huge asset to the team!!!

mcoan 11 years, 2 months ago

We really learned who should be the starting center last night: Jackson. Minute for minute, his stats are better than Big Whitey.

Thanks to the bench, we get to play again.

Dale Koch 11 years, 2 months ago

You've been my favorite for 3 yrs. Darnell. Glad you yelled at Brandon to "come on". I admire you for the way you always come off the bench and produce immediately. Rebounding, hustle, and I always feel confident when you go to the line for a foul shot. Love the heart pound you give when you make them in remembrance of your grandmother and Mom. Keep up the great work.
Great hustle last night too Rod. My hats off to you also. GO HAWKS!!!

justinryman 11 years, 2 months ago

I like to see KU players hit the floor, I was getting tired though of all the SIU players Flooping. A few flops is fine, then a warning then a technical foul on the team for it. It was getting rediculous, at least the refs changed their tunes about blowing the whistle everytime a Saluki fell down.

doctorWho 11 years, 2 months ago

Starting or not starting Jackson is fine. Who gets the most minutes though - Kahn or Jackson - depends on the opponent. I'd say Jackson is the more consistent of the two and he is the best rebounder on the team, but against the right opponent, Kahn can play a better game offensively.

Had Pitt beat UCLA, I suspect Kahn's game would have been important. Against UCLA, Jackson will be the man.

rockchalkjayhawk4ku11 11 years, 2 months ago

Congrats Stewart!!! I have to admit I wasn't sure about you. Im sorry about that. But you played great! Same with you Darnell!

JayCeph 11 years, 2 months ago

mcoan, you are really beginning to try my patience what with all your Saluki pandering and now flippantly racist remarks.

Try to stay focused, no?

Douglas Yetman 11 years, 2 months ago

This reminded me of the Murray State game in 1988 on the road to the championship. In our third game in that tourney, the score was oddly enough.......61-58!

It was a tough game against a scrappy team without a huge name when some important role players stepped up...Like Keith Harris...and Scooter Barry. They were integral parts of the "miracles." And while we have no Danny on the court this year, we will need contributions from the whole team like we got back then! Feels really good!!!!!!

Roysoldboy 11 years, 2 months ago

DoctorWho, you have hit the nail on the head as to which players are more important in which games. Kaun would have been needed if Pitt had won for his size and defense.

The best thing about this team is the interchangeability of the players. There are all those bigs who can allow each other to rest and keep fresh. The same thing happens with the guards in that with Stewart there are 5 who can spell each other and keep fresh legs on the floor.

I love how Self uses those three shorter guards to keep the pressure on the other team without really beating any of them out of minutes. It is so good to have the ability to allow players to get some rest when it is needed.

We still outnumber all the rest and it does provide an advantage over all of them.

97jhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Great article Keeg!! I truely love watching KU when "D-Block" is in the game. I think he and Stewart are two of the most underrated players on KU's bench. I love that DJ takes the contact and he is so automatic at the free throw line. Shoot, he might even be one of the best on the team....hahha. Impressive for someone not seen as a shooter on the squad. Anyway, great read. I'm glad some other guys are getting their props. I was kinda hoping Case would get thrown in to see if he could turn on some of that 3pt magic since no one else could.

I hope they win on Sat. I sure love watching this team and I don't want it to stop....hahaha!!

jlam 11 years, 2 months ago

Darnell Jackson for player of the game. 3 for 3 from the field.

Making all his FTs should automatically get him Player of the Game for Kansas.

jayhawker_97 11 years, 2 months ago

Jackson was da man yesterday, Rod surely pitched in significantly.. just look at those numbers they all scored!!! what a team! go Hawks!!

ralsterKUMed95 11 years, 2 months ago

What a nailbiter, and a game that I did not think would be that close at the end. SIU defense certainly as billed, but NO way they should have won. I was very eager to see the battle between their guards and ours (of course betting on Russell, Mario, and Sherron...). I think they all learned something. Russell almost took the team on his back, but some shots were in and out. Rush was sorely needed and delivered, as did Darnell--he makes us proud everytime he steps onto the court. He may get called for an offensive foul now & then, but think of the mental effect on the receiving player(!). There is a toughness to this team that delivered vs SIU. I love Ju Wright, but he has to toughen up his game and FT focus. That is why he needs another year at least prior to the next level. Somewhat lost in a lot of this is KUs DEFENSE, which also sorely bothered SIU. We turned over the ball, but they couldnt score for a variety of reasons either. Russ was glue on Tatum until late when Tatum put up some wild stuff and also received some heavy screens. Way to go guys!

jedarchul 11 years, 2 months ago

Are you kidding me SIUROBBED?!! Are you really complaining about 3 missed calls? C'mon now. The refs gave you the ability to play your style (ie bodying up and holding the offensive player in front of you). I'm not arguing that we didn't get those 3 calls, but in each instance, a ref make-up call was granted on the following possessions. I guess that was a clean tackle of Chalmers as he was shooting on the baseline from 5 ft huh? No foul there, etc, etc. A slight shuffle of the feet was enough to get a moving screen called on KU, but SIU's floating screeners were uncalled all night. Missed calls happen all the time. The manner of officiating clearly favored SIU's style of play. In the big dance, you've gotta suck it up because there is no tomorrow. I was happy to see us grit it out 'cause it really could have gone either way at the end. It came down to us making the plays in the crunch that we had to make. SIU deserves all their props... they were really good. They just ran into a better team Thursday night. Rock chalk fellas!!! Keep on Marching!!!

SIUROBBED 11 years, 2 months ago

SIU was Robbed...Goal Tending, Shot clock violation, the shot that DID hit the rim. So much for "ROCKING SIU'S WORLD" yesterday huh? I would have rather had SIU lost by 20 and you "clobbered them" rather than knowing that KU won because of 3 bad calls or should I say "NON CALLS". Atleast being clobbered by 20 would not have left any "what if's" about those calls.

justinryman 11 years, 2 months ago

SIUROBBED did SIU play a perfect game??? Did thier coach coach a perfect game? Are you saying that SIU didn't get ONE call thier way(how many flops is a team allowed to take?)? Well if you can answer yes to all of my questions then you are right the refs screwed em over...but its called advirsity yoiu have to play through it, I mean KU had there 3 top scorers on the bench in the first half due to fouls, they over game you didn't take advantage, you lost game over. Sorry.

Jaminrawk 11 years, 2 months ago

The only people who are robbed are people who are forced to watch that SIU style of basketball constantly. BORING.

As for the calls, it's a wash. The refs let SIU's tough "D" reputation proceed them and didn't call hand checking or blocking nearly enough. You aren't allowed to impede the progress of the offensive player unless he charges the defensive player. Hmmm, seems like they did that a whole lot yesterday and the refs let it go. Not until the end of the game did they start blowing the whistle on that crap, then SIU had to back off a little. They had a nice run, but that style will NEVER win a championship with only one real scoring threat.

Final analysis: I respect SIU and their players and am certainly relieved we made it out alive. UCLA will surely be just as hard fought.

jayhawkcafefan57 11 years, 2 months ago

The great thing about bench players, and KU has them, is they bring something to the floor that is different than who went to the bench. I'm not sure Kaun would be a good bench player but he is good enough to start. He also saves on early fouls leaving bench replacement to last longer.If Kaun could learn to shoot and make a sky hook, and hit 70% on FTs he would be a tremendous asset.

tim deegan 11 years, 2 months ago

Jackson and stewart were crucial, but sorry, rush was the big dog of the day. good article about him here..."

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