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Monday, November 26, 2007

Rush to the rescue

Long bomb misses, but Jayhawks shine in overtime

Kansas University's Darrell Arthur, center, lets out a scream as the Jayhawks pulled away from Arizona. At left is UA's Jerryd Bayless, while Chase Budinger is at right. Arthur led KU with 20 points in a 76-72 overtime victory Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse. Bayless and Budinger combined for 46 points.

Kansas University's Darrell Arthur, center, lets out a scream as the Jayhawks pulled away from Arizona. At left is UA's Jerryd Bayless, while Chase Budinger is at right. Arthur led KU with 20 points in a 76-72 overtime victory Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse. Bayless and Budinger combined for 46 points.

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Hawks survive OT scare, 76-72

Amidst all the Border Showdown hype, the Kansas basketball team was at home tonight with the always dangerous Arizona Wildcats.

Audio clips

2007-08 Nov. 25 KU-Arizona Basketball

Like most all college basketball players, Kansas University's Brandon Rush tries to hit a halfcourt shot at practice now and then.

"I've thrown in a few like that, not in a game, especially tied going into overtime," said Rush, whose 55-foot shot - that's eight feet behind the midcourt line - kissed softly off the glass and the rim and darn near dropped through the hoop at the final horn of Sunday night's nonconference thriller against Arizona at Allen Fieldhouse.

"I thought it was going in. I was praying it was going to drop right in there. It would have made my year. It would have been the highlight of my year."

Instead, Rush and the No. 4-ranked Jayhawks, who were tied with the unranked Wildcats 62-62 after 40 minutes, had to gut it out five extra minutes to earn a 76-72 overtime victory.

"I thought it had a chance," KU coach Bill Self said of Rush's beyond-halfcourt missile. "Usually when you throw 'em in like that and hit the glass from that far a distance, they usually come off hard, but it was close.

"I'm glad it didn't go in," Self added, "because we needed to play five more competitive minutes like that to kind of execute with the pressure on."

Rush - amazingly he scored 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds and took his turn on Chase Budinger (27 points, six rebounds, five turnovers) while playing a season-high 36 minutes - excelled in the extra session.

He had a steal and breakaway slam and on the ensuing possession caught an alley-oop pass from Russell Robinson for a slam that gave KU a 73-65 lead with 1:36 left in OT.

Earlier, Darrell Arthur hit from 12 feet, then put back a Mario Chalmers miss to open the 8-0 run that busted a 65-all tie.

"It felt good, especially the alley oop," said Rush, who proved he can go high to dunk in his remarkable comeback from June 1 ACL surgery. "I got up on a few of those. The only time I was tired was running around screens. The screens were killing me, and he (Budinger) was getting open and hitting every shot."

Rodrick Stewart (13 points, six rebounds) also guarded Budinger much of the game.

"I'll be honest. He's good, real good," said Stewart, whose driving basket and foul shot opened overtime on a good note for KU.

Budinger finally fouled out with :28.6 seconds left in overtime, sending Rush to the line where he hit one of two free throws to give the Jayhawks a 74-70 lead. Jawann McClellan missed a 3 at :17. Russell Robinson was fouled and hit two free throws at :12 to ice the victory.

McClellan, who Rush knows personally, had six points on a night Budinger and Jerryd Bayless (19 points, seven turnovers) provided most of the Arizona offense.

It was such a tight game - Arizona trailed by as many as 11 the first half and led by four the second - Rush and McClellan joked before the overtime jump ball.

"I guess before the end of the game (regulation), he said, 'Don't make a miracle,''' Rush said. "I told him, 'One almost came through.'

"It's probably good we had overtime. We needed a grind-it-out win."

Self explained his decision to use Rush so much.

"Our game plan was to play him 20 (minutes). Our medical staff kept checking him. When Tyrel (Reed, ankle sprain end of first half) went down and Russell picked up the two foolish fouls to end the half to give him three and then Rod (Stewart) got a touch foul to give him three, we didn't have any bodies.

"I know one thing, (Rush) is getting the day off tomorrow. They all are."

It's not just a reward. Self wasn't pleased with KU's play in much of the game. The Jayhawks were outrebounded 38-29.

"I think it's a toughness thing," Self said. "We need to get Sasha (Kaun, two boards) going. He's just not reacting to the ball. He's got to rebound it. Russell probably had as bad a night tonight as he has had since he was a freshman. He didn't have any games like that the last two years.

"It was one of those nights we were fortunate to win because we didn't play the way we felt we should play and are capable of playing. Rod was really good, Mario (Chalmers, 14 points, seven assists) made some big free throws (four of six) and competed hard, and I thought Brandon, to play that well considering what he's been through, was remarkable."

KU next will meet ex-Jayhawk Rex Walters' Florida Atlantic University team at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Allen.

Go figure

27

Points by UA's Chase Budinger (on 10-of-23 shooting)

30

Points scored by Arizona off 3-pointers

6

Points scored by Kansas off 3-pointers

9

Arizona's rebounding edge (38 to 29)

5-for-6

KU's field-goal shooting in overtime

4-for-5

KU's free-throw shooting in OT

4-for-8

Arizona's field-goal shooting in overtime

1-for-2

UA's free-throw shooting in OT

Comments

kushaw 6 years, 11 months ago

I do agree with Self that I'm glad that 55 foot prayer did not go in. We needed that OT to play with a little pressure on us. I'm glad we won with a grind it out game, but we did not look good at all. It reminded me of the UCLA game last year when we were forcing turnovers and looked like the much better team, but couldn't captialize on our easy opportunities on offense. Somehow we need to get the intensity up on this team. It was a pretty boring game until Stewarts Dunk. I hope we don't cruise with this team and think we can turn the green light on whenever we want. I think we miss Sherron more than people know.

Matt Kenton 6 years, 11 months ago

How about Rodrick Stewart!!!

That fast-break dunk right over a defender was something you rarely see on the college level!!

I know it was the same two points if he had layed it in, but a dependable 27 minutes with 13 pts on 5 of 8 shooting and 3 of 4 free throws (along with 6 rebs) is something I didn't think we could count on him for.

Way to step up!

okjhok 6 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, the dunk was nice...Bayless clearly didn't know Rod had that in him and gave him a little space, like he was timing a block, then Rod just blasted him...sweet dunk. I was a little surprised Cole didn't see more time. I'm sure coach felt he wasn't prepared for the pace of the game. We'll see. I think an 8-man rotation is perfect...Kaun, DJax, DA, Rush, Mario, Sherron, Russrob, and Rod. So, when we get healthy, that leaves the frosh out of the mix for the most part. They're not ready defensively.

Jayhawk_Jerry 6 years, 11 months ago

Ron Franklin and Jay Bilas kept talking about how B. Rush was only cleared to play 20 minutes last night. I sure hope that he in fact was cleared to play as much as Coach Self wanted him to. I just hope that coach isn't willing to ignore medical advice just to win a game in November.

William Cormode 6 years, 11 months ago

The knee is completely healed they just want to ease him into using it again. The doctors always err on the side of the conservative. If they say he is ready to go and he blows it out they will have trouble finding another job in sports. All of these time estimates are based on the past and every time a surgeon does a procedure he gets better and every day better equipment comes out. With every rehab assignment the methods get better. Some day a guy will blow out his knee and he will be back on the court the next week.

peter56321 6 years, 11 months ago

I (mostly) agree with wcormode and would just add that, while Brandon wants to play, he's not stupid enough to hurt his NBA future by putting too much stress on his ACL too quickly. The story said Self kept getting assurances from the doctors that Brandon was okay to go back out and I am strongly suspect that if Brandon was feeling any pain or strain, he would have said something. I don't think anybody believes a November game is worth blowing the rest of the season.

b1afide 6 years, 11 months ago

Rod was awesome. After last year's USC game I was disappointed he didn't get to play his Lod and that led to USC having the inside track to his two stud little brothers. Maybe we still will have a chance in a few years......

Does Brandon look like he is having fun or what? I hope everything works out for him.

smitty33 6 years, 11 months ago

Rush looked 100% to me on offense. Defense 80% I'll take it!!!!!! Now to get Jackson going down low, Collins back making plays, Mario & Russell using their heads, and DA not trying to do too much and we're set!!!

scootja32 6 years, 11 months ago

Brandon Rush could be a superstar if he wasn't such a team player. IMHO he should get the ball at least once every time down the floor. SHOOT IT!!!!

KJRFC 6 years, 11 months ago

Great game last night, hawks!!! Rush looks solid 5 months following ACL reconstruction surgery. If he keeps up his rehab, he'll be unstoppable in conf. play. A funny thing happened to me today. I'm a KU alum. living in Charlotte, NC (hate all the local ACC talk) and I work as a physical therapist for an orthopaedic group which happens to contract out services to the Univ. of NC-Charlotte. So I'm at the school today, treating in the training room, and someone comes in and says the Boston Celtics are coming to practice here today. They had played the Bobcats a couple of days ago and were still in town. So I went down to the practice gym and start watching Scot Pollard and Paul Pierce (along w/ KG, Ray Allen, Big Baby, others) practice hoops. What a great experience! Pollard walked by and we had a brief exchange, he said he had watched the Arizona game last night. Does anyone remember the name of the infamous car he drove when he was at KU? I thought it was Marybell, or something like that. Just wondering. ROCK CHALK, JAYHAWK!

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