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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Four-for-four!

KU clinches share of league crown

The Kansas University's men's basketball team receives the Big 12 Conference championship trophy from league commissioner Dan Beebe, left. KU's 72-55 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday in College Station, Texas, gave the Jayhawks at least a share of their fourth league crown in four seasons.

The Kansas University's men's basketball team receives the Big 12 Conference championship trophy from league commissioner Dan Beebe, left. KU's 72-55 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday in College Station, Texas, gave the Jayhawks at least a share of their fourth league crown in four seasons.

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Jayhawks drop A&M; share Big 12 title with Texas

The Kansas men's basketball team defeated Texas A&M Saturday afternoon for a share of the Big 12 regular season title, along with Texas.

Audio clips

2007-08 March 8 KU-Texas A&M Hoops

Go figure

12

Texas A&M's points in the paint

44

KU's points in the paint

1995-98

Last time Kansas won four straight league titles

7, 0

Assists, turnovers for KU's Sherron Collins

1

Three-point shots made by KU in each half (in 11 total attempts)

11

Steals by the Jayhawks (led by four from Mario Chalmers)

24.1

A&M's second-half field-goal percentage

1 or 2

KU's seed for next week's Big 12 tournament

— Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe handed a special piece of hardware to Kansas University's Darnell Jackson and Russell Robinson in a downright giddy visitor's locker room late Saturday afternoon at Reed Arena.

Mobbed by their teammates, the two seniors hoisted the league championship trophy amid a mass of bodies, many of the players holding four fingers in the air while reveling in a 72-55 victory over Texas A&M.

It's a victory that assured the Jayhawks a piece of their fourth league crown in four seasons.

"It was pretty sweet," KU coach Bill Self said, reflecting on a celebration that included him bear-hugging each player individually.

"I told those guys what I thought of them, which obviously is a lot," added Self, who with just under a minute remaining in the game walked down the KU bench forcibly slapping hands with all of his players and coaches.

"After the Oklahoma State game, if you told me this was going to happen, I'd have had my doubts. A lot of guys are awfully excited right now."

One of the happiest Jayhawks was junior Brandon Rush, who rammed a vicious slam dunk with 2:41 left, giving KU a 15-point lead and putting an exclamation point on the victory that lifted the Jayhawks to 28-3 overall, 13-3 in the Big 12.

"That's our boy. That's that bad boy," Rush said, pointing to the Big 12 title trophy. "That one is ours. Texas can get one, too, if they want."

The Longhorns (12-3 in the league) can claim a share of the crown and the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament by beating Oklahoma State today in Austin, Texas.

That is of no concern to the Jayhawks, who cannot be denied their fourth-straight crown.

"To win four in a row in such a competitive league is a remarkable accomplishment," Self said. "This class continues to amaze me. We'll be judged by our performance in the postseason like all teams, but for those kids to win four rings and a chance to win three conference championships is a remarkable accomplishment."

KU senior guard Russell Robinson, who had 11 points and four assists on a day five KU players scored in double figures, would agree.

"It's real special," Robinson said. "We did it in a tough environment, on the road. Everybody was focused in better than in the past. The energy level was there."

It showed early. Sophomore Darrell Arthur, who said he was especially motivated in trying to bring home a league title ring to strength and conditioning coach Andrea Hudy, whose mom, Mary, died Saturday morning, scored eight points in a 12-3 surge that gave the Jayhawks a 26-18 lead at 5:20.

He scored 12 points and had six boards, while Mario Chalmers had nine in helping KU to a 36-26 halftime margin.

"We played together as a team. We are on an up-tick now," Arthur said after totaling 16 points with nine rebounds in 28 minutes.

He helped hold A&M big men DeAndre Jordan and Joseph Jones to a combined 12 points. The duo had 14 rebounds; KU outboarded the Aggies, 37-32.

"They are a very good rebounding team, and we won the boards," Self said.

As much as A&M (22-9, 8-8) struggled in hitting 31.9 percent of its shots and committing 15 turnovers, the Aggies were not put away until a 9-2 surge gave the Jayhawks a 60-46 lead at 6:27.

Robinson had four points, Chalmers three and Rush two free throws in the run.

"We're still first in the league in threee-point percentage over the season and in conference play," Self said, adding, "but we've been inconsistent beyond the arc.

"Mario was the only one who made a shot today," he said of Chalmers, who was 2-for-4 from three, his teammates 0-7. "We will not have a chance to go far in the postseason without better performance from the perimeter."

Yet it was no day to dwell on negatives.

"That was as whole a game as we've played away from home," Self said. "That's the most complete road game we've played."

The result was a day of celebration, and not only for the seniors.

"It was fun. This is something we'll all remember the rest of our lives," freshman Cole Aldrich said after contributing three points and two boards in 14 minutes. "The senior have won four. I hope I can squeeze a few more out of my years. It's hopefully one of many."

Up next is the Big 12 tournament. If KU, as expected, is the No. 2 seed, the Jayhawks would play at 6 p.m. Friday at Sprint Center in Kansas City. If Texas loses today and KU is the No. 1 seed, Kansas would play at 11:30 a.m. Friday. The No. 1 seed plays the winner of Thursday's game between seeds 8 and 9. The No. 2 seed plays either the 7 or 10 seed.

Comments

Larry Smith 6 years, 8 months ago

Nice work fellas. 4 in a row, must feel nice.

Kevin Long 6 years, 8 months ago

Good job guys! Playing a lot better this last week. This team really needs to at least make the final four though. If they don't make it the rumors will start to fly around about Self.

scootja32 6 years, 8 months ago

I want to be the first one on this page not to give props.

Go Hawks.

Michael Auchard 6 years, 8 months ago

Hell yeah, Hawks. Much respect. Much love.

R Greene, there's a typo in a Cole quote more than half way down.

"The senior have won four. I hope I can squeeze a few more out of my years. It's hopefully one of many."

If I was on your timeline I would make mistakes similar to yours on "senior(s)" in that quote, though.. In fact, I wish there was a better way to report typos to you guys, because I feel like an ass doing it this way.

No disrespect, you do a great job.

fansincewilt 6 years, 8 months ago

4-peat. How sweet it is. This is a very successful group. I hate to see this season end.

jayhawkinATL 6 years, 8 months ago

Congrats, men!!!!

Let's make sure the Longhorns don't get the tourney trophy.

jayhawkliz 6 years, 8 months ago

Congrats Jayhawks! You have made us proud and happy. Thanks to the Seniors also, we will miss you all! Arthur, I hope you stay! Chalmers, you better not be thinking about leaving lol! Collins the spark, thanks. Thanks to all our team, it is truly a team that I am proud of, not only the winning, but how you conduct yourselves! AWESOME!

1977kufan 6 years, 8 months ago

Super, super article, Gary. Great season Jayhawks and everyone of you guys deserve lifting the league trophy. Gee, I know that lifting a few more and cutting down some nets are in order. Great season Coach Self, Coach Manning and every assistant, team trainer and manager. Let's roll into KC and pick up another trophy. ROCK CHALK, JAYHAWKS!!!

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 8 months ago

yahweh, were you gonna let this one slide?

"We're still first in the league in threee-point percentage over the season and in conference play," Self said, adding, "but we've been inconsistent beyond the arc.

I think the word three really is better with 3-e's

Winning the past 4 conference titles is great. Of course this year we have to thank Texas Tech for beating Texas late in the season, and was it two years ago that A&M beat them late in the season to put us into a tie with the horns? Back when they had Buckman, Aldridge, and Gibson. And Abrams was already deadly even as a freshman. They beat us bad in Austin in the regular season and we got paybacks in Dallas in the Championship. There's a good chance we'll get the rematch at the Sprint Center!

okjhok 6 years, 8 months ago

I much as I want the conference crown outright, I think I want to be the 2-seed. That way, if OSU ends up the 7-seed, KU can play them, then KSU, then UT in the championship, thereby avenging all three regular season losses. Now that would be a nice conference tourney.

okjhok 6 years, 8 months ago

Actually, I don't know if it is possible, with the tie-breaker for the 7, 8, 9-seed. If OSU loses today, they might end up the 8 or 9-seed.

actorman 6 years, 8 months ago

"I want to be the first one on this page not to give props."

?????

I like your idea, okjhok. If it did work out that way, it would be another tie-in to '88 (with avenging the home losses to KSU, Duke and OU).

bashe24 6 years, 8 months ago

lets be honest and give props where there do.......Sherron Collins has been playing like a man possessed and totally and utterly controlled the basketball game on both ends.....he is starting to look like the collins from last year......our " X" factor if you will......we are going to be a force to be reckoned with...

ROCK CHALK TITLE TALK 08

William James 6 years, 8 months ago

Well, I want to be the second one on her that doesnt give any props. I hope you can all respect me for my disrespect.

OklahomaJayhawk5 6 years, 8 months ago

I dont think the one or two seed really matters much either way. If we are the 2, Kansas State is not beating us in KC. It looks like to me that we are going to have another Texas Kansas thriller!

Greg Lux 6 years, 8 months ago

Self said "We will not have a chance to go far in the postseason without better performance from the perimeter."

I am so happy he's focused on that now that our inside game is humming along nicely. Because he is exactly right teams will pack it in on us so it's Key we are able to score and score consistently from beyond the arch. Chalmers, Rush, Collins and Robinson with some added help from Case will be key to our journey. I am confident if we keep Arthur and Jackson from shooting 3's (JOKE) (I cringe when I see them shooting with their foot on the line) we have a great chance to score and score plenty from outside. Chalmers and Rush are the leaders from beyond the arch and we need them to step up and knock them down: Rock Chalk !!!

vegasartie 6 years, 8 months ago

When Sporting News rated the top programs in the country, the biggest factor they looked for was Conference Championships, not National Championships. To win the conference means great overall play, day in and day out. I want to thank the seniors and the entire team for a great conference season. Now, let's see how far we can get over the next month. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

KGphoto 6 years, 8 months ago

Look within yourselves boys. Championships are just trophies. Find something new, within yourself.

I've never been more comfortable with a team. I've never been so sure KU is the best team in the country. You are holding the dreams of Kansans everywhere. You have the opportunity to be godlike. With only a few weeks left, you can stamp your identity on the greatest American sport ever. I believe in you. I believe in you Sherron. I believe in you Brandon, I believe in you Mario, Rob, Darrell, Sasha, Darnell and Cole.

GO WIN THIS!!!

Go Be the Best!!!

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