KU coach Bill Self, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 72-56 victory over UCLA on Nov. 22, 2011.
Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self is definitely energized about Wednesday’s 9 p.m. Maui Invitational final against Duke.
“It’s pretty common knowledge they’ve never lost a game in Maui,” Self said of the Blue Devils, who will take a 14-0 record into Wednesday’s game against KU.
“We felt if we could get to the finals, that’s who we would be playing. So I don’t think that’s a bad or cocky statement at all,” he added of wanting to play Duke. “If you are going to win the tournament, you are probably going to have to play Duke. History shows that. We’re excited to have the opportunity to play them. Obviously they’re a terrific team, and they have a lot of things going for them and are a class program, which I think we are, too, and we don’t get a chance to play them very often.
“This would be big for us. I’m sure it’s big for their guys, too, to get a chance to play Kansas. I think it will be a fun, fun game. Hopefully we play really well, because we’ll have to have a chance to win.”
Duke leads the all-time series versus KU, 6-2. KU won the last meeting, 69-65, on March 27, 2003. That was a 2003 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game in Anaheim, Calif.
KU forward Nick Collison had an incredible game. He scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed 19 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes. He scored seven straight points to give the Jayhawks a six-point lead with 5:41 left.
“With it all on the line, if you lose, you’re done. I’ll be proud of this one for a long time,” Collison said at the time.
The Jayhawks advanced to the NCAA title game in ’03, falling to Syracuse, 81-78, in New Orleans.
KU coach Roy Williams left for North Carolina after that season.
Duke bested KU, 69-64, in a second-round NCAA Tourney game in 2000 in Winston-Salem, N.C., and, 72-65, in the 1991 NCAA title game in Indianapolis.
In 1988, KU tripped Duke, 66-59, in the Final Four semifinals at Kemper Arena. And in 1986, Duke stopped KU, 71-67, in the national semifinals in Dallas.
Elijah Johnson on how UCLA looked with Jerime Anderson (14 points, four assists) running the point:
“I felt he had a chip on his shoulder. He felt like he had to do something for the team. He stepped up. For some reason, Jones (Lazeric, eight points, no assists) came out of the game for a while, and he (Anderson) tried to put the team on his back. He felt he had to do something, so he struck. And when he struck, he had a couple plays where he did big things, a momentum boost for the program. He tried to get them rolling. That was something we had to put an end to real quick. The game would have got real intense.”
Anderson had 10 points the second half as UCLA cut a 20-point deficit to five, but could get no closer than that.
Tyshawn Taylor now has 996 career points and 404 assists.
He is 14th player in KU history with 400 or more assists.