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Monday, March 17, 2008

Three-peat

Kansas wins 'a heck of a basketball game'

Kansas head coach Bill Self takes down the remaining strings after the Jayhawks' third consecutive Big XII Tournament Championship win Saturday, March 16, 2008 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas head coach Bill Self takes down the remaining strings after the Jayhawks' third consecutive Big XII Tournament Championship win Saturday, March 16, 2008 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

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2008 Big 12 Tournament

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2008 Big 12 Tournament

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2007-08 March 16 KU-UT Hoops

Go figure

3

Consecutive years Kansas has defeated Texas in the Big 12 title game

14

Lead changes in Sunday's championship game

47

Combined points scored in semis, finals by tourney MVP Brandon Rush

2

Points scored by Texas' bench in Sunday's title game

8

3-pointers by KU's Mario Chalmers, second most in KU history

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Minutes played by KU's Darrell Arthur

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Fouls charged to Arthur

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Seeds awarded to Kansas, Texas in the NCAA Tournament

— Bill Self stood off to the side and watched with pride as his Big 12 champions played with, and posed with, the league tournament title trophy high atop a podium Sunday afternoon at Sprint Center.

"That was a heck of a basketball game ... what an unbelievable game," Self, Kansas University's basketball coach, exclaimed after shaking hands with his assistant coaches following the Jayhawks' thrilling 84-74 victory over Texas.

The win not only avenged a regular-season loss to the Longhorns, but gave the Jayhawks (31-3) a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Regional over UT (28-6), which fell to a No. 2 seed in the South.

KU will meet Portland State in a first-round game at 11:25 a.m. Thursday at Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.

"That's about as well played a game as you can get," Self said. "It was one of the best games I've been a part of. It was humbling sitting on the sidelines watching those guys play. There were some hard-rocking guys out there today."

The 2008 title game proved to be an old-fashioned shootout.

KU hit a Big 12 tourney-record 15 threes - one off the school record set against Baylor in 2005 - in 25 tries to the Longhorns' 12 threes in 28 attempts.

Junior Mario Chalmers, who made the all-tournament team, hit eight three-pointers in 12 tries, good for a career-high 30 points, while tourney MVP Brandon Rush canned six treys in nine tries and scored 19 points.

Chalmers - his previous career high was 23 points twice - scored 17 points the first half to Rush's 12. Texas' D.J. Augustin answered with 18 points off 7-of-9 shooting (4-for-4 threes), however, and the Longhorns led, 46-45, at the break.

"It is pretty corny, but at halftime I told the team in front of Danny (Manning, assistant coach) ... I said, 'That's probably as good a half of basketball played in Kansas City since the '88 championship game,'" Self said of a 50-50 halftime score in KU's 83-79 victory over Oklahoma on April 4, 1988, at Kemper Arena.

"I asked Danny, 'What happened the second half of that game?' He said the game slowed down and we guarded. That's what happened today. We defended and rebounded the ball much better the second half and played about as complete a game as we've ever played."

Augustin hit missed nine shots without a make the final half and scored just two points off free throws. Chalmers and Rush, meanwhile, continued to sizz, scoring 13 and seven respectively.

Chalmers - his 30 points were most by a Jayhawk since Julian Wright's 33 versus Missouri last February - scored KU's first eight points of the final half. His back-to-back threes turned a 49-47 deficit into a 53-49 lead with 13:51 to play.

The Anchorage, Alaska native also iced a three to stretch a 72-71 lead to four points with 1:51 remaining.

And he stole an Augustin pass, was fouled and hit two free throws at :40.1, giving the Jayhawks an insurmountable 80-73 advantage.

He was so good on Sunday that teammate Sherron Collins made sure Chalmers had the ball in his hands as the clock expired.

The sophomore guard, who had seven assists and nine points, hand-delivered the ball to Chalmers, who tossed it high in the air and jumped into Rush's arms at the final horn.

"That's the best game Mario has ever played. I thought he deserved to be the one to end that game. I think it meant a lot to him," said Collins, whose clutch three-pointer with 5:40 left erased a 69-67 deficit.

Chalmers agreed it was his finest performance ... with one stipulation.

"It's the greatest game of my college career," he said after tying Billy Thomas (eight versus Texas in 1998) for second-most threes in a game in KU history, trailing only Terry Brown's 11 against North Carolina State in 1991.

What other game could possibly be better?

"One back in high school," he said with a smile, not providing any specifics.

Chalmers - he said the sprained patellar tendon in his left knee gave him no problems Sunday - certainly impressed his teammates with his performance and demeanor.

Chalmers was trading barbs with the Longhorn guards all day.

"They were talking back to us everytime they'd score," Rush said. "It was going up and down. Somebody gets hot and you're going to talk a little smack. I was hot. 'Rio was hot. 'Rio kept shooting the ball and giving his little 'yap-yap' to everybody. We spun it into a positive that way and got the win."

Thanks in great part to Chalmers. "I've never seen him that hot," Rush said.

Darrell Arthur was dandy with 16 points and nine rebounds. Rush was sensational as well, his 28-point semifinal effort against Texas A&M and 19-point, six-rebound, six-assist outing against UT earning him MVP honors in his hometown.

"It's definitely a special feeling now, having everybody in the city see how I played and getting the MVP," Rush said, noting the Jayhawks do not want to rest after sharing the regular-season title with Texas and winning the postseason event.

"We feel this is the year. We've got to do it. We've got five seniors leaving and some others might be leaving early (for NBA). We've got to make it happen now."

Comments

Michael Auchard 6 years, 1 month ago

Yo, Chalmers, I bet you can play like this every game.

FYI, sir:

"The eight 3-pointers by KU's Mario Chalmers is the second most in KU history."

Get free, hit shots, don't get greedy.

You, Rush, Collins... I pity the fools who plays the three of you when you're all on one page.

Be yourself, though; don't listen to idiot fans like me -- dominate.

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Michael Auchard 6 years, 1 month ago

RG, or whoever, I noticed a typo on this one:

"Augustin hit missed nine shots without a make the final half and scored just two points off free throws."

Thanks for giving us loonies a site to rant on.

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RockChalkNateHawk 6 years, 1 month ago

I am so anxious for the game thursday, i can barely contain myself. If the Jayhawks bring the same energy level they did against Texas, i am confident it won't even be a contest.

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Dirk Medema 6 years, 1 month ago

Great game! Besides BR & MC, plus some what lesser SC & DA stepping up, something else I appreciated was that MC gave it up for RR's D on Augustine. Even tho there were no points, you gotta love the fact that they are staying together as a team. My guess is that even more of that goes on in the lockerroom.

How much zone do you think we'll see in the tourney?

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KGphoto 6 years, 1 month ago

Hah! Ron Burgundy!

"Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it Allen Fieldhouse, which of course in German means a whale's vagina".

Stay classy hawkman.

And 100. Give it a rest. Good lord you sound like you're on coach crack.

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100 6 years, 1 month ago

Portland State will be ready. They've played UCLA at Pauley, Washington State, and Washington. Two of these games were very close, and UCLA only won by 19 or 20. To the KU players: Respect them, respect them, respect them. And play your hearts out, each and every game, just like that big 12 championship! EVERY game... That's the key. Passion and Hunger, every game for 40 minutes. Yesterday's game was like having Kirk Hinrich, Darnell Valentine, Danny Manning, Jo Jo and Jared Haas back in uniform. You guys have always been skilled and amazing ballers, but yesterday was the first time we've seen official 110% NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP passion (mixed with smart, confident crisp TEAM basketball) since that 2nd half Chalmers incident in the BC-KU game earlier this year. AWESOME! Have a chip on your shoulder just like after Chalmers got into it with the BC guy. Feel disrespected, fully energized and under control the entire tournament, just like that moment. A swagger each and every minute, just like yesterday. You guys control your own destiny. It's amazing how good you are when we get 1. SERIOUSLY pumped up 2. REBOUND!!! 3. Make simple, crisp passes to whoever's open 4. ATTACK offensively. 5. Keep the other team guessing, defensively speaking. JUMP their point guard occasionally and rip it or make him sweat at least! This is the NCAA tournament: No other opposing point guard should WALK the ball up the court more than 50% of his possessions. Never. If that happens, it will be a 5 point game at half. We're too good and deep to allow another team to control the tempo. To the KU coaches: The Portland State coach was interviewed today on the radio up here in the NW. The only thing he claims PSU's offense is preparing for is KU's half court man-to-man... MIX IT UP DEFENSIVELY!!! THROW Sherron back there in the backcourt every other possession. Make them RUSH the ball up the court, and make them do something they didn't practice!!!! Also, he said they will be slapping a 2-2-1 full court press on us. Slice and dish, same as we've done all season. Lastly, he said he's gonna have his team clamp the outlets as soon as we get the rebound because that aspect of our game "makes him nervous". Have the big guys prepared.

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bringheatwavewheat 6 years, 1 month ago

hawkman, you remind me of Ron Burgundy the way you write.

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RockChalkNateHawk 6 years, 1 month ago

What number 1 seed will fall to their demise first?

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actorman 6 years, 1 month ago

"Truly beware the Phog now. Not just a place... a culture."

Hawkman, I believe that qualifies as poetry. Well said!

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actorman 6 years, 1 month ago

We may get that "Africa" game after all. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm pulling for the Beasleys to get through their half of the bracket so we can crush them once and for all in Detroit to get to the Final Four -- just like in '88.

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cscher 6 years, 1 month ago

I hear that, hawkman. Good luck to Misery in the NIT...oops, maybe next year.

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Dan Harris 6 years, 1 month ago

Great win Hawks now get some rest and come out ready to play some of your best bb of the season starting thursday!There are no gimmies from here on out take EVERYBODY as a threat. Please no more Bradleys,Bucknells,Rhode Islands, UTEP"s!!!!

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Blake Post 6 years, 1 month ago

Did you see that double airball by Texas?

No need to disparage upcoming opponents.

No need to worry about the NCAA. Time to appreciate this moment. It was stupendous. Sprint Center and Power/Light District are good. The roar went up from the crowd in the courtyard after the game when the #1 seed for KU was announced on the giant screen. At the game, cutting down the nets, after in the courtyard: What a feeling...much like that Orange feeling a few months ago. Now what do you iffycats and tiger lilies have to say? Nope... can't hear you. OH... you didn't show up...scorched buns, you say? Well, Eat our jet exhaust. I can see that stealth Hawk fighter soaring now... scanning the earth for more critters like you, and other prey. Truly beware the Phog now. Not just a place... a culture.

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TtownHawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Great win! gotta love beating Texas for the third time in as many years. now onto the national tourney. we definitely have work to do, but no one has an easy time and we just have to work for it.

Good luck Hawks, make us proud!

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bhann 6 years, 1 month ago

We play like this in the tourney, well, NOT U.C.L.A., Memphis, which is overrated,or N.C., or anybody from the Big East can beat us, NOBODY!!

Go win it all, DON'T settle from anything less!

2008 NCAA CHAMPIONS, that has a nice ring to it!

Brandon Rush finally had back-toback great games and Arthur played without getting in foul trouble, and Chalmers finally showed what a gaurd he needs to be.

Topping that, Collins passed the ball when he wasn't open.

What is left, play Cole more, he is ready!!

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bdsnook 6 years, 1 month ago

Great game yesterday.

Now on to what really matters...

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DueFan 6 years, 1 month ago

Dear KUsports.com ,

Please put videos with slightly lower quality because the ones that are here are extremely big in terms of size. KU Fans overseas who have crappy connections like me wait literally 20 minutes for a 4-minute video to load.

Thank you,

Your Faithful KU Fan,

DueFan

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dminear60 6 years, 1 month ago

Outstanding! We are so proud of our team!

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rawkhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Congratulations, Jayhawks! I'm now even with my friend, a Longhorn fan. I was commenting how the Big 12 Tourney championship game has become a classic rivalry, although he had to add that Texas has not yet won. I'm liking our chances this year. I hope the team stays hungry!

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justanotherfan 6 years, 1 month ago

On back to back days Brandon Rush went off. The only reason it took me until this morning to really realize that is that Mario absolutely lost his mind yesterday. I honestly don't think KU thought they would miss a three yesterday.

I feel better about our "balanced attack" these last couple of days because we actually found a guy with a hot hand and rode that guy. We didn't try to get everyone between 7-13 points. Saturday we saw Brandon was hot and made sure Brandon got his shots. Yesterday once it was clear that both Mario and Brandon were dialed in, we kept getting them shots.

We finally crossed the hump where guys got hot and WANTED more shots. Before a guy would get hot but we would stay within what we normally did. There is a place for that, but you also have to ride the hot hand. Yesterday we had two hot perimeter guys and got them the ball. Yeah, when we went dry a couple times, we made sure and got the ball inside to Darrell or Darnell, but when we were in the flow it was Mario and Brandon firing away. I hope that our team keeps that attitude. The unselfishness of the group has to take a backseat to whoever has the hot hand.

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NH_JHawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Judging by the comments from Rush this team is playing with a sense of urgency. Chalmers gave us plenty of proof of that with yesterday's 3 point shooting clinic. This team finally has the hunger and that's the X factor leading into these last 6 games.

Hubert Davis has KU taking down UNC in Final Four and UCLA in the NC game. Duke Vitarheel, well he has us losing to Georgetown in Elite 8.

Message to Dicky V: You would be wise to listen to the Big XII tourney MVP. He said "We feel this is the year. We've got to do it. We've got to make it happen now."

I believe!

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Seth Peattie 6 years, 1 month ago

Portland State can ... SUCK IT?

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jayhawkinATL 6 years, 1 month ago

Just six more victories...is that too much to ask for???

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