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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Keegan

Jayhawks beat Aggies without rhythm

KU basketball team takes down Texas A&M without big offensive numbers

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor knocks the ball away from Texas A&M forward Naji Hibbert during the first half on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor knocks the ball away from Texas A&M forward Naji Hibbert during the first half on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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KU 2011 Senior Night speeches

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Kansas seniors Mario Little, Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed addressed the crowd after their last game at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters after the Jayhawks' 64-51 victory over Texas A&M on March 2, 2011.

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Tyrel Reed senior speech, pt. 1

Kansas senior Tyrel Reed gave his senior speech after his last game at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

Peer beneath Wednesday’s Senior-Night speeches, the outstanding final home performances of Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed, the spectators stopping and taking a look back at the Fieldhouse on their way out because they knew they wouldn’t see the inside of it again until Late Night in the Phog, and what remained was an encouraging sign from the nation’s second-ranked basketball team.

It doesn’t always have to run up huge offensive numbers or dominate the interior to win games. It can grind its way to victory, too. That’s exactly what Kansas University did in defeating Texas A&M, 64-51, to clinch at least a share of the Big 12 title and run its record to 28-2 overall and 13-2 in conference play.

For a change, the Jayhawks weren’t a spectator’s delight in this one. At halftime, about the only thing that could have riveted the crowd would have been a video playing on the scoreboard featuring tips to combat boredom.

It takes more than style points to win NCAA Tournament games. It takes grinding away on days either too many whistles or defensive game plans too well-executed throw elite teams off their games.

The defense swarmed Marcus and Markieff Morris. It took them both awhile to figure out how to get through the maze to produce, and they figured it out. With so many defenders in the paint, accurate outside shooting was required, and Kansas delivered by hitting eight of 17 three-pointers.

“The game had no rhythm,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “It was an ugly game. That’s how (the Aggies) had to play to give them the best chance. And I actually thought we guarded them very well. I thought we did a good job muddying up because we’ve been a pretty team. I thought today we were much more equipped to win a game with no rhythm. That was good for us.”

Reed has played in enough NCAA Tournament games to know that advancing when dancing requires doing it with some ugly ones now and then.

“That’s going to help us out down the road,” Reed said. “Those are tournament-type games, where shots aren’t falling, you’ve got to grind them out, can’t really get in a rhythm. It was probably a good game for us.”

It definitely was an important game for KU.

Instead of making 60 percent of their shots, which is their remarkable season average, the twins made 50 percent. Nobody panicked, and the seniors from Kansas hit crucial shots. Morningstar and Reed combined for eight steals and made seven of nine shots and five of seven three-pointers.

The Jayhawks finished the game the way prize fighter Oscar De La Hoya used to finish bouts. The instant De La Hoya smelled blood, his fists flew faster and stung harder. His legs became fresher, his focus sharper. His nickname was The Golden Boy. Others accused him of being a pretty boy, but there was nothing remotely beautiful about the way he flattened noses, swelled eyes shut and generally carved faces into bloody messes. The first sign of vulnerability in the opponent energized De La Hoya. The same could be said for Kansas in its home-court finale.

Reed and then Morningstar hit consecutive threes that started KU on a 21-10 finish that covered the last 10 minutes. The twins’ shots started falling, and their defense toughened. Elijah Johnson, batting a thousand in his three games as the team’s starting point guard, blocked a shot, denied his man the ball, setting up steals for Reed and Morningstar, threw down a perfect lob from Marcus Morris and played like a point guard who was in no hurry. A much tougher test awaits him Saturday in Columbia, against Missouri, one of the nation’s toughest teams when playing at home.

“I thought that we buckled down at the end,” Marcus Morris said. “We started guarding toward the end, when we really needed it. We got stops and rebounds.”

Everything’s easier at home, and the players know that. That’s why they sounded so eager to prove they can bring that finishing act on the road Saturday in search of an outright Big 12 title.

Comments

okjhok 3 years, 6 months ago

Couldn't watch the game...did Releford really not play?

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okjhok 3 years, 6 months ago

don't have that kind of broadband in Iraq, bro

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addlime 3 years, 6 months ago

LIttle played a decent number of minutes because of senior night, and I think that may have cost releford. Not sure he's 100% yet either.

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Alohahawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, Releford did not play. Not really sure why.

As Coach Self said, it was an ugly game. Imagine, starting the first 10 minutes shooting 15%, but still being ahead on the scoreboard. Neither team could get their offense going, and it wasn't really because of a lot of fouls. It was just poor shooting and decent defense. Loved that Reed and Morningstar each got four steals. Too bad Little couldn't get one to fall. Marcus (maybe it was Markieff?) purposely tried to get him the last shot (3 pointer) at the end, but it wouldn't fall.

Seemed like the fieldhouse really started rockin' when we began to hit some shots.

Now that the Hawks have that down and dirty game out of their system, let's hope they can get their normal shooting touch back against Missery.

One at a time, Hawks.

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KGphoto 3 years, 6 months ago

I actually think they ran an entire play out of the time out, just to get Mario that shot.

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Scott Smetana 3 years, 6 months ago

I actually saw Mario asking Coach to run a certain play during the time out. Coach shook his head OK.

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Dirk Medema 3 years, 6 months ago

Marcus got the ball to half court, and passed to Kief under the basket for what would have been an uncontested dunk - except that he passed the ball out to Mario. Glad someone else noticed. FOE

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3 years, 6 months ago

Noticed that as well. Very unselfish, giving up a wide-open dunk to try and help Mario have a special moment on Senior Night.

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ajhk 3 years, 6 months ago

What's rhythm?!!

I think Bob Knight has some input on that. @2:25

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5QvuZOdczg&feature=related

Just happened to see that when knight came up earlier on another board.

Great game hawks. All of you seniors should be very proud of your accomplishments.

Crush Mizzou!

Dunno 'bout Releford. Still suffering from the injury?

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bradh 3 years, 6 months ago

It was nice to have a good second half. Something we haven't had many of this year.

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AsadZ 3 years, 6 months ago

It was an ugly game but its clear that Self is shortening the bench and as a result Releford's mins are going down

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jhox 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm excited about seeing Johnson get more minutes next season. I thought he had an outstanding second half last night. Defensively he may be the true lock down guard we've been badly in need of this season. He's finally started to figure out spacing. I believe the only thing standing between him and an all conference type season is playing time. At times he still doesn't look all that comfortable out there, but the talent and potential is undeniable. And how about that alley oop dunk? How many point guards can not only gather a pass like that and dunk, but wind up and flush it with style?

I was sorry to see Releford didn't get in last night. He was such a big contributor for us early in the season, and he's one of our best defenders. He's got to be really discouraged right now with the way his playing time has dwindled. I understand Self has to worry first about winning, but surely he can find a few minutes for someone of Travis' caliber.

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eastcoasthawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Great to have this win and another conference trophy. But have to say I was disappointed in how our offense was totally predictable in the first ten minutes of the game. It makes the opponents job a lot easier to defend when you know what is going to happen. That and the shots weren't falling. But when the shots aren't falling we need to hit the boards harder than we did. It wasn't until TT came in and shook things up offensively that we really broke loose.

Also, I thought Travis Releford would have been perfect against some of their outside shooting long bodies.

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JHawk74 3 years, 6 months ago

Travis Relefod must have been hurt or had a 1 game suspension. He didn't even play in the last 30 sec of the game when Bill Self cleared the bench for the crowd to recongnize the Seniors and Morris Twins. Maybe Self gave him a 1 game suspension without making a big deal about it like they did with Taylor. Who knows? It was good to see Kansas get a grind it out game and pick up a win. It seems many games in the tournaments are the grind it out type games. EJ played a great second half and it's great to have a PG playing consistent. Taylor actually looked pretty good in the minutes he got. Selby had a decent game also. Reed is such a clutch 3 pt shooter and we are going to need that in the Big 12 tournament and NCAA tournament this year. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

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Dyrk Dugan 3 years, 6 months ago

great job by Kansas in a tough game....Coach Self deserves a huge amount of credit, and he should win Big 12 coach of the year. Seven straight league titles....unheard of, in the modern big time college basketball environment. Great job by these Jayhawks.

Releford? it is what it folks. he got hurt, and he hasn't been able to recover. not much more simple than that. he had one decent game...at home vs. KSU...since the injury, and he just hasn't played as well.

He'll be on the court Saturday....we'll need him with the flying bodies at Mizzou. I really want to win that game. if Moo finishes 8-8 in the league, are they a good team? i'm thinking not.

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Steve Gantz 3 years, 6 months ago

I think we're all so expecting to win this thing every year that we lose sight of the accomplishments of the Jayhawks and Coach Self. Great article by Jason King about this amazing accomplishment. http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/news;_ylt=AqQFqYmEorTyVxKEtDCQiEPevbYF?slug=jn-kansas030311

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Alohahawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Great write up. Also, it leads to Yahoo's '11 first team ffor the Big 12, which includes both the Morris twins. And the last entry, Morningstar, as most underrated (or was it under appreciated)

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Robert Brock 3 years, 6 months ago

Releford will play Saturday. He won't miss the chance to slap the Miss-ur-ah ragamuffins around a little.

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Clarence Haynes 3 years, 6 months ago

The rythmn came when KU made that run in the second half. The players on the floor were EJ, Brady, Tyrel, and the Twins, the best five that we have right now.

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 6 months ago

These are the type of games that we'll see in the Big 12 Tournament and possibly in the National Tournament. Saturday's game could be a track meet. Can't lose our composure. Easier said than done. Nice win guys. Congrats!

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hawksince51 3 years, 6 months ago

Agree that it was good to have to win ugly going into post-season. And while I was happy to see Little start, I did not understand his shot selection--jacking up 3's when his range is 10-15 feet. When Reed and Morningstar are hitting let them take the 3's to open up the inside. I also missed Releford and have to assume something was up that we do not know about. I like him at the 3 spot better than Little and feel he could be a key for us in post-season. IMO, Mario is better at the 4 even though he is undersized. Saturday will be a big test and is important beyond winning the conference out-right. A win there could do a lot for the confidence and character of this team.

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Eric Schneider 3 years, 6 months ago

It's going to be interesting to see what they do at the point. Elijah is definitely better on the defensive end. But Tyshawn is clearly more capable on the offensive side of the ball. TT made three or four plays, especially that pass to Markieff, that EJ simply cannot make. He also seems to have remembered how to attack the rim successfully while he was on suspension. The biggest difference, EJ is always going to be team first. Tyshawn, usually will, but you never know.

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Vittorio1224 3 years, 6 months ago

Coach Self: Your ability to lead a diverse group of young men, and raising the level of their play to unprecedented heights makes you a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, surrounded by a question mark. Whatever it is you do... just go DO that voo-doo that YOU do, so WELL!

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Scott Smetana 3 years, 6 months ago

I like the size of Mario, but Releford is very smooth on the offensive wing (and probably a better shot). Of course if Tyrel is having a bad night (never happens), Travis will be ready to go there too.

I'm more worried about getting the rust off of TRob. The twins play a different game when in foul trouble (as they should). It's sure nice to have TRob come in and kick butt. I'm thinking it would maybe help to post up a little farther from the goal? He seems to get clogged up under the rim against bigger defenses. Hopefully more minutes at Mizzery will get him going again.

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jddehoff 3 years, 6 months ago

I've heard a lot of talk about one of the Morris bros throwing another elbow last night but did anyone see the Texas am player run his fist straight into one of the Morris brothers face and their was no call , that was bs !!! I know the Morris bros have thrown some dumb elbows but every team has players that throw elbows every game and I never hear anything about them .

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Alohahawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Remember that straight arm, flat palm in Morris's face play as the A&M guy was running toward the baseline. As a result, believe Morris fell straight back to the floor. It could easily have been intentional but nothing was called.

The Morris elbow appeared to be more of a defensive hold off. The A&M player was driving to the bucket and Morris (Sorry, have to review the tape to see which Morris twin) put his arm up defensively (as most people would) to protect himself. The A&M player was shorter and ran into his arm at neck level. Morris didn't push off, he just stood there with his arm out horizontally across his own chest. I thought the announcer made more of it than it was.

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Mike Bratisax 3 years, 6 months ago

Off subject..did BYU really dismiss Brandon Davies for having sex with his girlfriend? I hope HCBS a t least considers giving this kid a call (obviously within ncaa rules). This is a kid w/solid potential.

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Alohahawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Suspended for the season, but possibly back next year for BYU? Doubt Davies would consider transferring anywhere else. And, if he did, he'd have to sit a year.

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Mike Bratisax 3 years, 6 months ago

You are probably right Alohahawk, but do you need to sit out a year if the school dismisses you? Premarital sex is not a NCAA violation

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Alohahawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Hmmm. Your observation could be right about dismissal. I'm not a rules expert, so don't know.

Give BYU credit for holding to their code book. Jeez, how do you get highly rated recruits while having a "no sex" rule. High octaine teens are going to have high testorone levels. Despite what some tea toting parents might think, that's a major (pun intended) part of college life. In fact, I've known some students whose second major was sex.

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Scott MacWilliams 3 years, 6 months ago

Hey Hawks, That was an UGLY win. Looked like you all had to kiss your sister before the start of the game!! Senior Night? Yikes! Still a W, and gets you one step closer to the big prize.

Off the topic a bit I found an article on the Big12 website Men's hoops series Covering the Baseline - "Team Stats Eventually Tell The Truth"; Feb. 25; with some VERY interesting stat comparisons:

CONCEPT of BALL MOVEMENT STAT: ASSISTS PER GAME Big 12 Rank: 1st- Kansas, 4th - Texas A&M, 5th - Texas KU gets an incredible 18 assists per game. That's three more per game than Mizzou, which is second. In fact, the Jayhawks don't have one player in the (Big 12's) top four of individual assists. It's called sharing the ball!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ There you are, statistical proof of why I love watching the Hawks. You can't run as fast as somebody can throw a pass!! ROCK CHALK, JAYHAWKS!!

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Hank Cross 3 years, 6 months ago

We could end all this speculation about Travis if Keegan looked into it instead of writing puff pieces about Brady and compiling useless rankings. Maybe he is afraid to ruffle any feathers because the next stop in his career is probably teaching high school journalism in the Aleutian islands.

As for the game last night - it looked like a giant step backwards to games like Cal where although the opponent wasn't scoring, neither was KU. If it's going to be a line-up of the twins, Brady, Tyrel and TT for the majority of the time in the tourney, it is unlikely that they survive another game like that. The twins need the perimeter players to get it going otherwise the other team will collapse on them. TT is plagued by careless turnovers and thinking of his shot before his teammates. That's not a bad trait per se, but not one you want in your point guard. Tyrel and Brady basically score when the defense breaks down, and not because they break down the defense (although Tyrel is certainly more offensively aggressive than Brady).

Concerning the bench, Selby looks confused as to his role. Is he supposed to look to drive or shoot a 3 first. It's too late to see if he could function as a triple-threat weapon at the point, so he'll just have to find a way to stick his nose into the game as best as he can. You have to feel sorry for TRob, it looks as though the surgery on top of all that tragedy has finally taken its toll emotionally. He's not bringing that same type of interior ferocity he did earlier in the year. Hopefully he can look to the conference and ncaas tourneys as a re-set.

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JHWK 3 years, 6 months ago

Congratulations, Jayhawks!! 7 in a row is amazing!!!

Thanks for a great season, Beat The Tigers!!

Rock Chalk!

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