Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lucas ‘got lucky’

Guard carries Spartans late


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2009 KU-Michigan State March 27

KU vs. Michigan St.

Reader poll

Who was KU's first-half MVP against Michigan State?

  • Sherron Collins 26% 16 votes
  • Cole Aldrich 46% 28 votes
  • Brady Morningstar 20% 12 votes
  • Other 6% 4 votes

60 total votes.

Reader poll

Other than Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, which Jayhawk will have the best game against Michigan State?

  • Brady Morningstar 37% 10 votes
  • Tyrel Reed 7% 2 votes
  • Mario Little 18% 5 votes
  • Marcus Morris 22% 6 votes
  • Other 14% 4 votes

27 total votes.


KU vs. Michigan State

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Complete coverage of KU's third NCAA match-up of 2009.


2009 Bracket Challenge

Get yer bracket on! Browse all brackets, check out out staff brackets, and check to see how your bracket's holding up after each match up is complete.


Kansas center Cole Aldrich attempts to block Michigan State guard Kalin Lucas' shot during the first half Friday, March 27, 2009 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

KU downed by Michigan State comeback

Kansas University's men's basketball team lost to Michigan State, 67-62, Friday night in a NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 matchup.

— Kalin Lucas wasn’t planning his move.

With the game tied, a minute left, and the shot clock winding down, he instead turned to instinct.

It ended up working out perfectly for the Spartans.

“That’s all I tried to do — tried to create,” Lucas said after Michigan State’s 67-62 victory over Kansas University on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. “I just got lucky, and I got him with the bump and scored.”

With 49 seconds left, Lucas drove in, gave a quick up-fake, then pushed his body into Sherron Collins before hitting the short shot.

The three-point play gave the Spartans the lead for good.

The one-on-one scenario might not have even happened if the Jayhawks hadn’t defended so well earlier in the game.

MSU coach Tom Izzo called a 30-second timeout before the sequence, and his plan was to spread the floor to let Lucas create.

Because the Jayhawks had been switching on all ball screens — and doing it well — the coach made sure that Lucas took on Collins one-on-one without the help of a screen.

“Things worked out,” Izzo said, “but they worked out because we executed some big-time plays out of timeouts.”

Lucas had MSU’s final seven points.

“I think that’s the type of person Kalin is,” MSU guard Travis Walton said. “When he plays against another big-time guard, Sherron Collins, he kind of wants to prove himself to the nation. Today, I think he took it personal. I think at the end of the shot clock, he wanted the ball in his hands.”

The Spartans also were able to wear out the Jayhawks. KU held a 60-55 lead with 3:22 left, but MSU came away with the next six rebounds.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Spartans ended on a 12-2 run.

MSU center Goran Suton admitted part of the gameplan centered on forcing fatigue from KU’s Cole Aldrich.

“We had to run some ball screens, make him guard me, too, so we can get him tired on the other end,” Suton said.

Izzo said his team’s biggest first-half problem was turnovers. The Spartans had 10 giveaways in the first 20 minutes, and many of them led to uncontested baskets on the other end.

“That ball felt like Christmas: We were just giving it away,” Izzo said.

MSU had just three turnovers in the second half.

The Spartans were outrebounded, 37-31. They had only been outrebounded three times coming into Friday’s game — the last time against Texas on Dec. 20, 2008.

“Kansas is a very, very good team. We beat a very, very good team,” Izzo said. “But I’m really proud of the way our guys fought back when they could have died a few times.”

The Spartans advanced to their sixth Elite Eight in the last 11 seasons.


Matt Bowers 10 years, 9 months ago

Lucas didn't get lucky, they got a couple of steels. REALLY didn't need an article about MSU.

Thank you for the enjoyable season Hawks. We shocked the world and proved not only how good of a team we are, but how awesome our coaching staff is. It has been one of the most enjoyable rides. Be good, take it easy, and thank you once again.

Rock Chalk

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

“That’s all I tried to do — tried to create. I just got lucky, and I got him with the bump and scored.”--Kalin Lucas on drawing the foul from Sherron Collins that created a 3 point edge for MSU and tipped the game irrevocably in MSU's favor

Overnight, I've thought a lot about "the bump," which can now be added to Mario Chalmers' "the shot" and to Jo Jo White's "foot out of bounds jumper" and to Danny Manning's "awesome performance" in the list of plays and things frozen in my mental legacy of KU basketball. Mercifully, I wasn't old enough to see Wilt's loss in '57, so its just part of "The Legacy" and not part of "my legacy."

"The bump," though exceedingly painful and just down right agony for Sherron, had all the characteristics of a great moment, even if it were one of the great moments that went against KU.

Everything was on the line.

Everything went into slow motion.

Everything began to happen in a slightly out of kilter way, too--a way that I, like Sherron, could not quite make sense of in time to prevent it.

Lucas brought the ball up court somewhat deliberately, considering the situation...or maybe it just seemed so in slow motion.

Collins assumed his defensive position behind the center circle, as he had done a thousand times in his KU career. Collins is not a great defensive player, but a good one and all he needed to do was get Lucas to fire a too distant three, or a hand in the face two. This was completely within his skill set even against a fine player like Lucas. A full stop was desirable, but a two would not have been devastating. The thing to avoid like the plague was a three.

The camera man seemed to understand the drama of the situation, because he held a wide shot of the whole floor for quite a long time, or at least it seemed so. He almost seemed to know what MSU was about to do.

KU was still in a very good position to win the game. Again, MSU getting a three seemed an avoidable worst case scenario. MSU getting two would have allowed us to pretty easily answer with a two, or put them behind the eight ball with the three. With Sherron and Collins on our team, a two point or less possession seems to keep the game the kind of game this KU team has been very good at.

But then something strange began to happen.

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

The MSU wings and 4 did not come forward to ball screen and receive a pass from Lucas, as they had time after time. And our defenders were not out on the wings actively contending. MSU's players receded to the baseline on both sides of the lane. Our defenders followed them, not sure, in the moment, what else to do.

Sherron Collins, out on point, manning up to the responsibility of leading this young team, fearlessly prepared for crunch time as always. He rubbed his palms, seemed to feel for screens as he positioned to defend, but again strangely felt none.

Lucas approached and the moment of battle started. Sherron lowered and started to slide backwards at a 45 degree angle, expecting at any moment to be screened.

Sherron! I wanted to shout, something is not right. But even 2000 miles away with the calm detachment of a computer screen streaming the game online, I could not put into words what my eyes were seeing.

Sherron! You are my man! I want to help you, but the perceptions in my mind are not processing into words fast enough for the situation. Some one help Sherron!!!

They had cleared out to let Lucas go one on one and Sherron seemed only to begin to realize it as Lucas began to zig zag him backwards in an absense of bodies. But by that moment the element of surprise had tilted the mano a mano battle of Lucas vs. Collins sharply in Lucas' favor.

Hey, all you KU players, shout to Sherron what is happening! Hey, Coach Self, shout to Sherron what is happening! Tell him don't foul what ever happens. Or someone run to double and strip. Foul before the shot if you have to. Do something. But no one moved.

Hey, Sherron! I finally shouted at my monitor, they are clearing out the court for Lucas to take you to the hoop! Guard the three stripe, let him have two, just don't foul on a shot! Just don't foul and we can turn this stinking trick by Ratso Izzo to our advantage. Surrender the two. Its okay. We don't absolutely have to have a stop. We have to have the ball back without them getting a three; that's all. Get the ball back with two and we're still in control of our destiny.

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

Alas, the chaos of surprise is sensitively dependent on intial conditions. Lucas had the advantage of knowing what was about to happen. Sherron had only his battered body, and his incredibly will to survive, and his great reflexes.

Collins backpeddaled as someone trying to figure out what was happening would.

And if anyone on his team, or anyone on the coaching staff was shouting to alert him, he could not hear them. And no one came to double, perhaps rightfully so, because defaulting the chaos to closer to the basket might have allowed Lucas to dish. But something in me then and now tells me, you cannot let a teammate be dictated to in a trap. The rule for the future should be never be dictated to by a trick play. Wreak havoc on it. Do not lay back and hope for the best.

And then Lucas just did what guys like Lucas and Collins have been doing on asphalt courts since they were in grade school in one on one games. He zigged and he zagged on the dribble until he got close for a little 15 foot j that he couldn't quite get off cleanly so he paused and tried to get his man in the air. Collins knowing he had played good defense, considering the weirdness of no one being anywhere in sight, guessed Lucas would fade away a little to make sure he got one away cleanly. It is the choice you make in maker-takes on the asphalt courts by the mean streets, where there are no referees. And when Collins took the fake, Lucas just did what he has always done, he delayed to see if Sherron would take the fake, and then went up instead of away ensuring Collins would bump him. Lucas made the little floater both players had made thousands of times in their career. The bump is one on the playgrounds that no one have called. But in the Sweet 16, north of Ten Mile in Detroit, in a brightly lit arena, with zebras who had been swallowing their whistles to the prolonged mugging of each team by the other, it was the kind of play even the no-call zebras had to call.

“That’s all I tried to do — tried to create. I just got lucky, and I got him with the bump and scored.”

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

You can almost hear some regret in Lucas' voice that it came down to having to trick Collins to beat him. Lucas is every bit as proud and ferocious a competitor as Sherron. They are cut of the same cloth. Chicago and Detroit, where they grew up, are two of the toughest places on the planet not currently occupied by the American military. These guys are survivors and tough with a capital T.

Lucas knew Sherron had beaten Lucas almost all night. It was not totally a head to head battle of course. Travis Walton guarded Sherron much of the time. but Sherron guarded Lucas much of the time. Lucas was 5-15. Sherron was 9-13. Sherron had made a bunch of TOs, Lucas had the better floor game, but then KU's entire defense was not geared to stop Lucas. It was geared to deny the trey to all of MSU's perimeter players. MSU had rigged to stop Sherron. Yet Sherron had already made some fabulous plays that MSU had no answer for. Sherron had almost won this rematch of great guards that had clearly gone Lucas' way the first encounter earlier in the season. Lucas had wanted to beat Sherron, not trick him. He had wanted to walk off the floor not just the winner, but the better guard. It seemed a draw at the end with a TKO from a trick play by Ratso Izzo.

I now like Kalin Lucas a lot, because of that quote.

"I just got lucky."

He's as great of a player as Sherron is. Not better. And he acted like it. I hope MSU wins it all. If it can't be Sherronatron and the Jayhawks, Lucas and MSU have the right stuff.

FlaHawk 10 years, 9 months ago

MSU was just plain a better team than KU. More experienced and even when shooting squat from any where but the FT line shoowed they had the composure to beat an inexperienced KU team.

Love Sherron and he makes the team go, but he always has been a liability on defense. This is why he has to score. Iif he is cold and can not score he has no Hawks.

Hoping Lance signs and we have another scorer as Collins and Aldrich can not do it alone. Frosh will be bigger and stronger next year, but lmited scoring improvement. KUwill be great next year, assuming Lance signs up.


Lance Hobson 10 years, 9 months ago

You have to have luck to win a game like this, just like we had some luck winning the Nat'l Title. What really was bad was their first missed free throw that somehow bricks back to MSU. That one we needed.

But yes, to have two possessions where we didn't even get a shot off was pretty bad, too.

rcaltrider 10 years, 9 months ago

Congrats MSU, enjoy having your @$$es handed to you tomorrow! I am now a huge Louisville fan. I can't stand Izzo or the way his team plays football on the basketball court. Here's hoping KU gets MSU in the tourney next year because if everyone comes back and the new guys live up to the hype, KU will win by 20 next year.

Please take the job in Arizona next year Izzo. I live in Big 10 country and can't stand seeing your whiny, pouty face and I can't stand watching your teams style of play. Go away, far away!

JBurtin 10 years, 9 months ago

Sorry Jaybate, but I just don't see this as a Lucas vs. Sherron battle.

If the rest of our team hadn't played scared the whole game then the opportunity for Lucas to make a play never would have happened.

The young players played "not to lose" and learned what every young team does.

You have to play to win.

As for Tom Izzo's quote, "“Kansas is a very, very good team. We beat a very, very good team”. Sorry, but this is also a bit of a stretch. Kansas was a decent team this year and certainly better than most of us expected, but when filling out a bracket, any realistic Jayhawk fan had us out of this tournament by the sweet sixteen, or at least the elite eight. We played to our seed as expected, and a decent Michigan state team is now set to take on a "very, very good team" in Louisville.

I think we will probably be a better team next year, and maybe even make the final four, but we'll probably have to wait until the twins, Withey and QT are seniors before we have another shot at the title. Experienced depth in the low post, combined with some nasty guards that are soon to join the ranks could be the winning combination again.

kufan4life79 10 years, 9 months ago

Yes...the Hawks did play a little scared the second half, Morningstar looks like he is asleep sometimes, luv the kid, but sometimes??? Collins was just trying to do too much, but then again like everyone has one else stepped up...they have got to have Cole not put the ball on the floor or bring it down waist level...Iam sure Danny has been telling him that all season, if you put it on the floor or waist level...your introuble, you've got to go up strong!!this had been a problem with Kansas big men in the past. We ran out of gas last night plain and simple, you could just see it...Cole really needs to work on his conditioning even more...great numbers for the year..but just think if he were in tip top shape..Hey, it was a great year..we were never suppose to be this good or get this how does the chant go for Collins..."ONE MORE YEAR"!!!!!!!!!..Our young guys are now hungry, they know what its like, they will want it more next year...Thanks Jayhawks for a great year...

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

JBurtin ,

I am quite fascinated by that particular play at the end, but if you read my assessment immediately after the game, or another I just wrote on Keegan's goofy claim that Lucas played magnificient and Collins couldn't do anything right, you will see that I put the loss entirely on the following:

  1. MSU bench outscored KU bench 25-7

  2. Outside of Collins' 40% trey shooting, KU's designated trey shooters went 1-10 and 10 percent trey shooting doesn't get a win.

  3. Self played Cole, Collins and Brady too many minutes. He gambled it was better to defend the lead by keeping the big three on the court 38 minutes, than fall behind by playing Releford and Little and Appleton and even Quintrel significant minutes and trying to come back fresh. The strategy kept it close to the end, but then the big three lost there legs at the end and just could not score, when we needed some separation to force MSU to foul us and let us start shooting free throws.

Regarding playing scared, that's just ridiculous on its face. In the paint, we basically have a three man rotation now that Thomas and Little have proven themselves ineffectual with the big boys. MSU has a six big man rotation that they run at the 3, 4, and 5 spots. This has nothing remotely to do with playing scared. MSU is mature and big and talented defensively and in rebounding. Our 3 bigs went toe to toe with the best muscle ballers in USA last night and gave no quarter. They just weren't talented and mature enough to beat their opponents. Our freshman bigs never quit, or lost their tempers, or asked to be taken out, or even fouled wildly out of control. They weren't strong enough to score inside and they got to tired to keep rebounding down the stretch. Frankly our guys took it to them on the glass and we wound up +4. Even Kieff, who made some bad plays on offense, due to being outmatched, got 8 rebounds against a bunch of bruisers. 8 rebounds against MSU by a frosh? That's great! Don't give me any BS about our bigs playing scared.

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

Now, on the perimeter, Ratso Izzo stayed big at the three, which kept Brady from having many good looks. But Brady took about the number of treys he is scripted to regardless, plus he made two steals and stuffed on both of them. Walton is even stronger than Russell Robinson was as a defender and he hounded Collins, who still burned Walton for 9-13. The mature Lucas is just bigger and stronger and better in every way than the freshman Tyshawn Taylor, but Taylor still fought and scrapped. Taylor's just a lousy dribbler; that was why he never played point in high school and probably why, despite a bunch of wet dreaming around here, he probably never will in college, except versus very slow PGs. To give you some idea how weak Taylor is on point, Self preferred to go with Tyrel Reed, one of the guys certain clowns around here say should not even be playing anywhere but a mid major. But Reed accounted for himself well enough at the point for us to be ahead by 5 with three minutes to go. Teams who are ahead of 2 seeds with 3 minutes to go are not playing scared. Frankly, I'm appalled by your suggestion that our guys played scared. MSU just had way more tools and strenght than we had. There is such a thing as force advantage. When it is exploited and wears down an opponent it hardly means the opponent played scared.

Regarding MSU generally, they would easily win it all this year were Morgan healthy. As it is, I expect them to upset Louisville. MSU beat KU with their B-game, just as KU barely lost with its B-Game. Both Izzo and Self were aiming for the Louisville game and a chance to get to the Final Four. Izzo and Self knew that they had exactly the right kinds of teams suited to take down a pressing team. If the unfairly short turn around time accruing from a late start for the MSU-KU game does not sap MSU's strength, and if MSU shoots 38-40% they will beat Ricky Pitt's Cards. Lucas and Walton will handle the Ville's press, just the same way KU handled MU's press the second game. And MSU plays ten guys every night anyway. Pressing is not going to wear them down. If MSU studies the game tape of KU vs. MU the second game and slices the press, Louisville will lose. I think they will.

As for Izzo's quote that KU is a very, very good team. It certainly is. But it is not a deep team. And the lack of depth caught up with it. But as MSU learned, KU was very, very good by season's end, despite all our remaining flaws and youth.

KULA 10 years, 9 months ago

jaybate, please don't post any more of your creative writing class assignments--they're embarrassingly mawkish.

KUballer 10 years, 9 months ago

Jaybate, seriously? Do you do anything but post on this website? Do you have a job?

Dan Harris 10 years, 9 months ago

Great season by the Hawks, Bottom line we should have won the game. We totally out played them until the last 3 minutes and that was the diffrence unfortunately. Never thought we would lose if we won the boards but we did. Play of the game was not rebounding the missed free throw which they converted for the tie. Candy and nuts, oh well, still a great year for our boys, cant wait till next year! RCJH!!!!

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago


What, your blow drier got a short in it today? Or did John Truby just add "mawkish" to one of his I want to be a screen writer hustles? Now I know you are feeling a huge sense of accomplishment about living and dying in LA, and you're still telling yourself that the hydrocarbon sunsets are worth the SIG alerts, so take your freaking raspberry beret off and flip it in the air like some naive combo of MTM and Dorothy and use the page down button you moron.

Is this "mawkish" enough for you? :-)

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago


Seriously, you respond this way so you have a yob?

Lin Rahardja 10 years, 9 months ago

KU lost not because Lucas 'got lucky', on average MSU defenders did a great job on KU players. KU again didn't get enough production from our bench. MSU's bench players combined for 19 points on 8 - 17 shooting (3 of 7 from 3 pointers). KU's non-starters combined for 7 points on 3 of 11 (1 of 4 from 3 pointers).

It was a good season for KU basketball, for such a young team, the team over-achieved. Congrats on all the accomplishments!!!

JBurtin 10 years, 9 months ago

Our guards didn't shoot threes when they were open.

Our bigs fought hard for rebounds, but went up weak on the offensive end as if they were scared to miss the shot, creating a self-fulfilling prophesy.

We played scared as most young teams do.

End of story.

P.S. I don't know what the heck Mawkish means and I really don't care to look it up, but if it means you act like a know-it-all douche, then I guess the shoe fits.

KULA 10 years, 9 months ago

hey jaybate, Moron? OUCH!!! You have stung me with your rapier wit. But maybe you're right, cuz I don't know who John Truby is. But you certainly do, don't you? You're wasting your writing talent on this site. You should submit your short stories to a publisher. Or have you already? Is that why you foist your maudlin melodramas upon this site? Because you couldn't get a publisher to read past the first paragraph of that hackneyed drivel? Are you hoping to be discovered in a chat room as the next great American writer? This is a DISCUSSION board, not a venue for wannabe novelists. That's why the comment box is set to a specific size. Take the hint! I do wish you luck with your writing endeavors, though. I suggest romance novels or Mother's Day cards. Sports writing? Not so much. Btw, I am SO proud of the fact that I moved out of mom & dad's house. It's the GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT I COULD EVER HOPE TO ACHIEVE!!! And you know what? I AM gonna make it after all! And if you don't have any luck getting "The Bump" (oooh, I still get goosebumps just thinking about it) published, I found another use for it--I poured it over my pancakes this morning when I ran out of treacle.

KULA 10 years, 9 months ago

JBurtin, Close enough on the mawkish definition, lol. And I agree w/ your assessment of the game--young guards afraid to shoot and bigs not strong enough on O. Like a young team. But next year we won't be young--can't wait!

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