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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sweet sendoff

KU seniors bid farewell with blowout

Kansas guard Mario Chalmers, center, draws a disproportionate amount of Texas Tech defenders on a first-half circus move. Chalmers missed, but KU's Darrell Arthur, right, followed with a slam in the Jayhawks' 109-51 Senior Night victory on Monday in Allen Fieldhouse. IN photos across the top, seniors, from left, Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson, Jeremy Case, Russell Robinson and Rodrick Stewart deliver traditional senior speeches after the blowout.

Kansas guard Mario Chalmers, center, draws a disproportionate amount of Texas Tech defenders on a first-half circus move. Chalmers missed, but KU's Darrell Arthur, right, followed with a slam in the Jayhawks' 109-51 Senior Night victory on Monday in Allen Fieldhouse. IN photos across the top, seniors, from left, Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson, Jeremy Case, Russell Robinson and Rodrick Stewart deliver traditional senior speeches after the blowout.

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KU seniors Sasha Kaun, Russell Robinson, Rodrick Stewart, Jeremy Case and Darnell Jackson give their senior speeches after the Jayhawks' 109-51 victory over Texas Tech.

KU sends seniors, Red Raiders out with a bang

The KU men's basketball team may not have been able to script it's five seniors' last night in Allen Fieldhouse any better.

Fans will miss Jayhawk seniors

Monday night marked the final home game for five seniors on the Kansas men's basketball game.

Rush named 'Player of the Week'

For the first time this season, Kansas junior Brandon Rush is the Big 12 Player of the Week.

Useless Trivia

Useless trivia with Kevin and D.J.

Audio clips

2007-08 KU-Texas Tech Hoops

Go figure

59.7

KU's field-goal percentage (second best this season)

29.0

Tech's field-goal percentage (second worst by a KU foe this year)

27

Points by which KU outscored Tech from 3-point range

12

Jayhawks with at least 1 assist (for 27 total, on 40 baskets)

+30

KU's rebounding advantage (54 to 24)

7

Rebounds by Tech after halftime

2002

The last time KU scored so many (in a 113-61 rout of Emporia St.)

20-0

KU's record at home (its first undefeated mark since 13-0 in 2001-02)

Pity the team that ventures into Allen Fieldhouse on Kansas University's Senior Night.

"Coach told us last week he didn't think the Lakers could come in and beat us on Senior Night. I agreed with him right away," KU senior guard Russell Robinson said after the Jayhawks' festive - and historic - 109-51 Senior Night rout of Texas Tech on Monday at Allen Fieldhouse.

"I don't think Kobe (Bryant) could have guarded me today. I think Brennan Bechard (walk-on) could have taken Kobe tonight," Robinson added with a big smile.

The Jayhawks' 24th straight Senior Night victory - KU also won its home finale last year with no seniors on the roster - goes down in the books as the most lopsided conference game in school history.

The 58-point margin of victory surpassed last season's 53-pointer over Nebraska. Overall, it tied for the seventh-most lopsided victory in school history and marked Texas Tech's worst defeat in school annals.

"It's the way we wanted to go out, the only way to go out, winning big," said senior Rodrick Stewart, who hit two threes and was one of 15 KU players to score.

"It was so much fun. My threes felt good. Coach said, 'Let it go tonight,' and I did," added Stewart, who helped the Jayhawks to the highest point total in the five-year Bill Self era, topping the 107 points KU scored in its opener against Louisiana-Monroe.

Self, who was laughing about his joke about the Lakers after the game (he realizes 27-3 KU can't beat any NBA team), admits he was near tears before the start of the contest.

"I don't get emotional publicly that often, but I almost choked up before the game," said Self, who started all five seniors.

"I thought that was really cool," he added of fan response to the players and their families. "Those seniors epitomize what we want to be. They are class, work hard, are tough, good performers ... listening to them talk, I told them, 'The writers for Bush, Clinton, McCain, Obama, whomever couldn't have written better speeches for them."

None of the Jayhawks cried during their short three- to five-minute senior speeches after the game, but at least one player had wet eyes before the game.

"You saw that tear? I was trying to fight it," Robinson said of his needing to dry his eyes before the introduction of Darnell Jackson and his parents. "Darnell said, 'Let it out.' It was too hard to keep in, so I had to let it go."

The Jayhawks were so emotional, it took awhile to begin the pounding of the Red Raiders (16-13 overall, 7-8 Big 12), who were coming off a big home victory Saturday against Texas.

The score was 6-all when Self made his first substitution at 16:23. KU led just 30-22 with 6:30 remaining in the half, then went on a 19-2 run to grab a 49-24 advantage at 1:07.

Robinson - who scored 15 points and was 3-for-3 from three-point range on a night KU made 14 of 24 treys - had seven points and Mario Chalmers five of his 11 points in the run.

Eight Jayhawks scored the first half, which ended when Chalmers flipped up an airball from behind his head that Darrell Arthur collected and slammed to give KU a 51-26 lead.

"The seniors : I thought they started out OK, but not great," Self said. "I thought they were dead-tired after three minutes because there was a lot of emotion. Those guys were worked up all day today and yesterday ... thinking about tickets, their speeches. They burned up a lot of energy, but after we got in a groove I thought we played pretty well."

The second half was a highlight-reel effort from the Jayhawks. Senior Jeremy Case hit three three-pointers that brought the loudest cheers of the night. Also, it was a half in which Stewart hit a pair of threes, which brought his dad, Bull, out of his seat in the stands.

"I was most happy for Jeremy. He's been here longer than the rest of us," Jackson said of the fifth-year senior. "Russell, Rod, Jeremy, Sasha (Kaun, 10 points, four boards) : we all wanted to go out on a high note. Senior Night ... it's our last moment on the home court, one we won't ever forget."

Jackson does hope there is another outing in the fieldhouse - a victory celebration down the road.

"We're hoping to come back for some more speeches," he said, reiterating a goal to win the national championship his senior campaign.

KU, which is a half-game ahead of Texas in the league standings, will close the regular season with a 3 p.m. game Saturday at Texas A&M.

Comments

BrockIII 6 years, 6 months ago

Impressive win. It's amazing Tech was even able to score 51. Kaun, Robinson and Jackson have come such a long way and improved greatly these four years. Let's get it done against A&M and take home another conference title.

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Ben Kane 6 years, 6 months ago

i believe witherspoon has another year of eligibility left but is choosing not to come back to the team next year due to having too busy of a schedule.

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jayloco 6 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the insight chuckberry 32. I appreciate it.

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Ben Kane 6 years, 6 months ago

any updates on getting the "wrath of kaun" video somewhere?...

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jhawks 6 years, 6 months ago

bashe24,

Mario's perfect "no-look pass" to Arthur and jam was shown on College Gamenight as a "Gym Gem".

Wow!!! I love this team. Keep it up guys. Thank you Seniors. Good luck to you all.

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TtownHawk 6 years, 6 months ago

what i read somewhere about Witherspoon is that he is doing student teaching next year and wouldn't have time to do that as well as everything needed to do with the team in terms of practices, travel, and games.

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Kevin Long 6 years, 6 months ago

That's the best senior night ever!!! How could it get any better???

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Rick Arnoldy 6 years, 6 months ago

It was reported in another column that Witherspoon actually has another year of eligibility left. He's just chosen not to use it.

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grantmvb 6 years, 6 months ago

It was great to have John Anderson doing Sportscenter after the blowout victory.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=280632305

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worrynotjhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

20-0. That is the stat that should stick in everyone's mind. It's great to protect the home court and it just goes to show how improved this team is over past years. Get ready for a deep run in the tournament. Since my B-day's on 4/6, I'd like to celebrate knowing I only have to wait one day for another NCAA Championship.

Rock Chalk.

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jayhawkman 6 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for all the memories seniors!

If we keep playing like this no one can beat us.

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loudog 6 years, 6 months ago

Truly outstanding game, and outstanding effort from the whole team. This is, without a doubt, the best team in the country when they play like they did last night. On a side note, I love the improvement we've seen from Cole Aldrich throughout the season... If he continues to improve at that rate, he could be one of the better big men KU has had by the time it's all said and done.

Looking ahead to the tournament (NCAA, not Big XII), can we talk about this BS where either Duke or UNC aren't even going to have to leave their state? I always knew the national media were a bunch of Carolina and ACC homers, but I never thought that was the case for the NCAA itself. What, they didn't think the Carolina schools would be in the hunt for a No. 1 seed when they set up the "neutral" sites? Those schools are almost always in the hunt for a no. 1, as is KU. But, I doubt we'll ever see a bracket where KU has the potential to play all of the tourney games in KC, Topeka, and Wichita. Why doesn't the NCAA stop screwing around and just let Duke and UNC play all of their tourney games in Cameron and the Dean dome?

Sorry for the rant.

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loudog 6 years, 6 months ago

Sorry, seniors; I got so caught up in my rant on the last post, I forgot to say what it was I wanted to say about this class:

This is probably my favorite senior class since I've been following KU basketball... They came on campus largely unheralded, with no McD AA's among them, and had to fight all the blue chippers for playing time. They've been the heart and soul of KU for four years, and despite all of AA's we've had during their tenure, I don't think this team would be half as good as they have been without this senior class truly representing what KU basketball is all about.

Good luck seniors, and thank you for giving your all to this great team!!

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d_prowess 6 years, 6 months ago

As I said in another post, I hate to metion anything but the seniors since this is their day, but I love the post from loudog. When you think about it, why is it that the East Region never seems to venture to the Florida, DC, Boston, or New York area? Last time I checked those areas have major arenas that can hold these events and colleges are located in those places. It does come across as being weird...

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okjhok 6 years, 6 months ago

From 2004 -2010 the East regional site is held in NC only once. Other sites are East Rutherford, Syracuse, Boston, and D.C. I'm not sure where you're getting your info. I think the rant on the NCAA and UNC/Duke is a non-issue. It's very common that 1st/2nd round games are held in North Carolina due to Greensboro, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Raleigh all having NCAA-worthy arenas. Other areas don't have this chance since they don't have the arenas. KU will get it's shot with the Sprint Center next year, but don't expect games in Wichita or Topeka any time soon.

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tashe2 6 years, 6 months ago

I have been watching KU basketball for along time and last night was the best KU game I have ever watched. We had a blast watching it. At one point we couldn't control ourselves and got pretty wild. Everything was falling for us! I loved it and I am truly going to miss the senior class. It sucks to think those guys wont be back next year!

National Champions 2008

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DarthJayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

Congrats to the seniors. This game will be remembered for a long time, not because of the quality of the game(there wasn't a TV in the country tuned to this game after half time except in the state of KS), but because of all of the emotions involved. This senior class means a lot to all of us KU fans. What a way to close out their AFH careers.

I believe the new arena that Wichita is building is supposed to be big enough for NCAA tourney games. Once that is built, I hope they start having games there.

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bashe24 6 years, 6 months ago

maybe it was the pink gatorade.......perhaps russ rob should drink that every game from here on out......Texas A&M better have been paying attention or it could be real bad news badly for them on their senior night......on a side note how did chalmers prayer throw up that arthur hammered home not make the top 10 on sportscenter.......i mean seriously........

Rock Chalk Title Talk 08

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KU 6 years, 6 months ago

okjhok.....Thanks for disspelling the conspiracy theory about the East Regional-Duke-UNC-favoritism.

The fact is that there are more of the large venues on the east coast than we have in the midwest. The fact is, large population centers that have the large arenas are geographically closer together than the large population centers here in the midwest. Hence, the chances of an east coast team playing close to home are greater than a midwest team's chances of playing close to home.

The Greensboro Coliseum holds 23,500 for basketball. The RBC Center is Raleigh holds 19,700. The Charlotte Arena holds 20,200 for basketball. That's 3 large venues within the state of North Carolina, which isn't a very large state.

By comparison, we have the Sprint Center (18,000), Pepsi Center in Denver (19,300), Qwest Center in Omaha (18,700), and Scottrade in St. Louis (20,000). Those arethe closest large venues to our campus, but they are geographically much further away than the NC venues are from the 3 ACC teams in NC.

Why Kansas City wasted its time with a mere 18,000 seat facility is beyond me. Don't get me wrong, it's far superior to the old Kemper, but they needed to build it at least 20,000 seats if they want to be a major league player for the NCAA tournament first round and regionals.

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LAJayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

Field Goal percentage: KU 59.7% to Tech 29%. I'm actually surprised we didn't win by 100 with that kind of disparity.......

Great to see us so intense the last two games, and I hope they can keep that intesity up when it's not an emotional/revenge game. We're hard to beat when we play at that level.

Oh, and Darth, I'm in California and my TV was tuned in the whole game... :)

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TtownHawk 6 years, 6 months ago

Great win, i feel extremely lucky to have been in the stands last night watching it. even if it was in the "nose bleed" section. i must say, prior to the game when they introduced the seniors and their parents and they showed RusRob on the video board with a few tears running down his face, that brought tears to my eyes too. KU obviously means so much to these guys who aren't even from here.

what a game for Case, a few 3's, that loose ball he hustled down. great to see him knock em down. hell, even Stewart was draining 3's last night. what a way for these guys to go out.

Thank you so much seniors for 4 great years of basketball. good luck in the stretch run and lets bring it home!

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jayloco 6 years, 6 months ago

KU- Not to be an a-hole, but the Sprint Center is a player for the NCAA tourney. We are hosting 1st and 2nd rd. games in KC next year. I am not sure if you meant a Final Four. I know we can not host that with such a small arena. I would think Regional Semis and Finals would be in the future as well though.

I too was at the game and have never felt a wave of energy like last night. The KSU game set a new standard in my opinion, but the TTU game last night, blew that level away. It was awesome to see everyone from the bench to the coaches to all the fans screaming and cheering on every basket. Each player that got into the scoring column was cheered like they made a buzzer beater to win the game. It was electric.

All of the seniors did great with their speeches. They came off as genuine and not contrived. I too got a little emotional when they showed RR on the big screen with that tear running down his face. He and all of the seniors are the epitomy of class and dignity. I only hope that we can keep up this intensity and give all of the guys something else to celebrate. They deserve all of the accolades and awards that will come their way the rest of the year.

Lastly, does anyone know the deal on Witherspoon? He is a senior, yet did not get to speak? Anyone know the story there?

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ChicagoJHawk 6 years, 6 months ago

Great job last night to all the Jayhawks, very impressive win! Thanks to all the seniors for all your hard work and dedication to this team. It is very impressive to have watched all of you progress so much over the years! These are your last few college basketball games ever so go out there and give it everything you got, national championship 2008, Rock Chalk Jayhawk GO KU!!!!!

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KU 6 years, 6 months ago

jayloco......About Sprint Center......I realize they are playing the 1st and 2nd rounds there next year. But if they wanted to host regional finals they needed to think big.

The 18,000 capacity is actually smaller than Kemper. I realize they have much better amenities and 4 major league locker rooms to accomodate tournament play.

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not_important 6 years, 6 months ago

US Airways Center in Phoenix is hosting the West Regional Finals this year and it has 18,422 capacity and Sprint Center is 18,449. So it isn't that important because they will up price the tickets for a smaller arena due to higher demand. They will still make pretty good revenue.

Numbers don't mean everything for hosting regional final sites, but it probably wouldn't matter if Sprint Center was a few thousand bigger in that regard anyway. Regional finals are going to domes at least half the time now. Any Final Four site is automatically a regional final site the year before to practice for the Big Dance. Each of the next three years, the midwest regional final is going to be in a dome. and considering they are defining Detroit in the Midwest this year, San Antonio in years past, St. Louis, Indy, Minneapolis, all having domes (not to mention Dallas' new Jerry Jones Palace) and set in the Midwest region, it is a long shot that a regional final will ever be held in Sprint Center whether it's 18,000 or 22,000.

The key is to get in the rotation and host 1st round sites at least every three years. Winning a women's site every three years as well will keep the NCAA in KC 4 out of 5 years. The key to winning those bids to host, beyond having the new arena, is what happens outside the arena. There really isn't anything the NCAA can do to make the games any better, so they are now looking to the host cities to come strong with their Fan-Fests and atmosphere that surrounds the main event. With the KC Live district right across the street from the arena, that is going to make KC a very nice destination spot for the NCAA to pick. It means more to have a well-run tournament, a sold-out site, and a place people will continue to support than to have a few extra thousand seats.

If KC hosts the 1st/2nd round sites well enough a few times, then they can probably get in the mix for one of those few times that they don't have a dome bidding for the regional final site.

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not_important 6 years, 6 months ago

Also, don't forget in '04, we had a path to the Final Four starting in KC, then in St. Louis for the regionals. So the stars can align to make it possible to get a pretty nice path in the Midwest as well. Unfortunately, we came up short against Georgia Tech and didn't make it to San Antonio. Thanks Jim Burr for that call 40 feet behind the play fouling out Keith Langford. Not the deciding factor, but it still bugs me.

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jakejayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

In respect to the comments about Carolina schools playing in Carolina, I don't think the issue is as much how often this happens, but rather past comments by national media about KU playing at Kemper. There used to be so many cries against KU getting to play in KC but almost no one complaining about things like Carolina and Indiana venues. I remember once calling in to the "Sports Babe" show to discuss this. The result wasn't pretty. There is no question that the disparity exists, whether you blame demographics, structures, or bias. Population density is low in Kansas, we will travel more often than not. Bottom line: 6 wins in a row.

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Ben Kane 6 years, 6 months ago

quick note from espn: While the Jayhawks got the largest win in Big 12 history, it is not the largest win in Kansas history in a conference game. That would be a 68-8 win over Washington (Mo.) on Feb. 8, 1913, when both teams were in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Jayhawks' head coach in that game was Phog Allen, who had succeeded Dr. James Naismith as Kansas head coach five years earlier.

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apeoples410 6 years, 6 months ago

Apparently the ESPN/USA Today voters didn't watch the KU/KSU game or the Duke/NC State game. How in the world can you rank Duke ahead of KU after KU handled KSU with ease and Duke was lucky to escape with a 1 point victory to a team who's lost 7 in a row?!?!

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BCRavenJHawkfan 6 years, 6 months ago

apeoples410; Add to that the previous week when KU lost to a ranked team while Duke lost to an unranked team. It's otherwise known as the ACC bias and sometimes referred to the Dookies bias. Always has been, always will be.

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KU 6 years, 6 months ago

apeoples410......Um......perhaps the poll voters still had visions of that inconvenient LOSS to OSU dancing through their heads.

The difference between UNC/DOOKIE and KU: UNC and DOOKIE both escaped with wins, however ugly and unimpressive they might have been. KU lost.

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apeoples410 6 years, 6 months ago

I certainly can't argue the OSU loss, but apparently back to back losses to Wake (by 13) and Miami didn't linger in the minds of voters for Duke.

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Kit Duncan 6 years, 6 months ago

chuckberry32, to further clarify jhwkfan1625's message, in 1939 the rules calling for "center jump" after every made basket, were changed to giving the ball out of bounds to the team last scored upon. I would expect that KU in 1913 had a height advantage over Washington (Mo.), and likely won most of the jump balls.

Rock On Jayhawks!!! Way to go Senior Class! (and everyone else)

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ralsterKUMed95 6 years, 6 months ago

The obvious media bias towards the ACC is simply there for all of us to live with. Which is why if I could dream "big", it would be for KU to play Duke and UNC and beat them BOTH, and maybe beat UCLA for the title, if somehow such a matchup were possible. A trifecta of sweetness that would be!

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