Some thoughts...from Boulder
Gary Bedore, Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer
"It looked dismal at halftime with CU and KU tied at 30. But the guards got it together and created some havoc the final half. Sasha Kaun had a big game as did Darnell Jackson. The players said Self motivated them at halftime so he probably gets an assist as well. KU seems to struggle after its rare losses, it shakes the team for whatever reason and has been that way for several years now, not just the Self era. So it took 30 minutes to shake off the doldrums and get it together again."
Chuck Woodling, Journal-World sportswriter/columnist
"That old saw "It's tough to win on the road" was certainly appropriate Saturday at the foot of the Flatirons. It mattered not that Kansas had won 36 of the previous 37 meetings with Colorado. The Buffs proved that any team can play like the Celtics, if just for a half."
Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor
"Mario Chalmers had a solid all-around stat line with eight points, six assists, four rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots (yes, two swats). Chalmers, though, made the play that capped KU's turnaround from a modest first half showing, slamming home two on an outstanding backdoor feed from Darrell Arthur, then hanging on the rim and waiving his arms in the air while facing the KU faithful on hand. He was KU's energy guy in the second half against K-State even when the game was out of reach, and he continues to show that no matter what the scoreboard says, he never believes his team is going to lose."
Inside the numbers
18: After KU struggled to score inside against K-State three days earlier, Darnell Jackson helped lead the charge in KU reestablishing itself inside. He scored a team-high 18 points, but his aggressiveness inside also got him to the free throw line on several occasions, where he was a perfect 10-of-10. Sasha Kaun scored 12 points for KU off the bench, with all four of his field goals coming from inside the painted area.
9: Talk about a tale of two halves. Sherron Collins' only number registered on the stat sheet in the first half was his four turnovers. He also headed to the locker room for a bit after banging knees with a CU player under the basket. Collins came back to score nine points in the second half on four-of-four shooting, including three of his patented tough inside layups. He also turned the ball over just once in the second stanza and recorded an assist on a lobbed feed to Jackson.
21: For the second straight outing, KU was more than efficient from the free throw line. The Jayhawks were 21-of-25 on Saturday, making them 38-of-45 in their past two games. After Jackson's perfect 10 tries, Sasha Kaun continued to show improvement at the stripe, going four-of-five.
34: Another area which needed a pick-me-up for the Jayhawks after Wednesday night was the rebounding department. KU outrebounded CU 34-21. The Jayhawks grabbed 24 defensive boards while limiting the Buffs to eight offensive caroms.
8: Brandon Rush got some words of advice from his mother over the phone after he disappeared in the second half in the K-State loss. Saturday he carried his effort for the full 40 minutes, scoring eight of his 15 points in the second half, including a soaring one-handed jam in transition in front of the CU students who were chanting unfavorably at him moments earlier while he was shooting free throws.
Just in case you missed it...
Quietly, Sasha Kaun has been one of KU's most valuable players off of the bench in the past few games. Those contributions have been more noticeable lately with foul trouble plaguing Jackson and Darrell Arthur ahead of him a bit. Saturday was about as good as it gets for Kaun, who was four-of-five from both the floor and the free throw line. He's also continuing to take it hard to the rim against overmatched opposing big men.
Hopefully, you didn't miss it...
The final 10 minutes of this game presented plenty of positives which could help KU in the long run. After playing semi-sluggish for 30 minutes after the K-State loss, the Jayhawks went on a highlight-filled loss, capitalized by an incredible soaring dunk by Mario Chalmers off a backdoor feed from Darrell Arthur. On top of that, Brandon Rush stayed solid and carried over a strong first half into the final 20 minutes, plus Sherron Collins showed more flashes of his early season self with three slashing, acrobatic layups. Add in the confidence gained from having a 50-50 crowd on the road, and those final 10 minutes could be a nice springboard into the next three Big 12 games against Missouri, Baylor and Texas.
They said it...
Bill Self on defensive improvements in the second half: "We guarded better in the second half. Of their 59, they probably got 20, at least, or 25 on scouting report things that we broke down on. They're hard to guard, though."
Bill Self on the first half: "I thought that we were careless with the ball, as evidenced by the 10 turnovers, Sherron turns it over four times against no pressure in five minutes, we just weren't very good. And then we didn't take advantage of going against their bigs, because King-Stockton was their only big that they played the first half after Wilson gets his third foul. We never attacked Roby inside. We just didn't play to our strengths. I was surprised we had 30 points, to be honest with you, because we didn't play to our strengths in the first half."
Bill Self on his team's highlight-filled run late: "I really think that Sherron's pass to Darnell, Mario's pass to Brandon in transition and then the backdoor play, we actually had three athletic plays in a row that gave us confidence and got our guys going, no doubt."
Bill Self on delivering the news of K-State's loss to his team at halftime: "I told the guys at halftime K-State got beat, that may have put a little pep in their step, too...In the back of their mind, they probably thought, 'You know what? We caught a break, now we've got to make the most of it.'"
Bill Self on the KU-heavy crowd: "I don't know how many were there, but it had to be at least 50-50 I'd think. Great crowd, and I don't know how much this game actually cost, did you guys know? Because you had to buy three to get the game, didn't you? A lot of loyal Jayhawk fans in Western Kansas and Colorado that paid a pretty penny to see this game."
Sherron Collins on Bill Self's halftime speech: "I think coach Self changed it at halftime. Just told us what we needed to do, basically, and got after us a little bit in the locker room, which we needed. We came out with more energy and turned things around."
Sherron Collins on his brief exit in the first half: "I just did a jump stop and went knee-to-knee pretty hard."
Sherron Collins on what Mizzou's win without key players means: "Just shows us they're a good team. They beat K-State, so we still can't look past them like it's gonna be easier. Somebody has to step up and fill his shoes, and I'm pretty sure somebody did if they beat K-State today."
Darnell Jackson on hearing about K-State's loss: "I didn't care. It's just a loss. Everybody loses games. And we can't worry about any of that. We have to go out and play."
Brandon Rush on his solid second half after struggling in Manhattan after the break: "I just played to my strength, tried to get to the hole a little bit, tried to get a little contact and get to the free throw line and made a few open shots then found my teammates. I felt good out there in the second half...My mama jumped on me again about going to the hole. She got on me after the K-State game saying I disappeared in the second half. She's out there in Indiana, so my brother probably gave her little pointers on what I needed to do."
Brandon Rush on how Missouri will be different without Stefhon Hannah: "I think they're a lot different because Hannah is their playmaker, he can shoot it, creates his own shots and it's gonna be big. I don't know how they beat K-State without Hannah, but it's a good thing they did."
Mario Chalmers on his backdoor dunk feed from Darrell Arthur: "I was surprised that Shady threw it. I wasn't even expecting it, and I just saw it come my way and just went up with it."