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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Keegan

Game dull, but outcome not

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

KU coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 70-58 victory over Oklahoma State on Feb. 27, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU players Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson

KU players Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 70-58 victory over Oklahoma State on Feb. 27, 2012.

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KU vs. Oklahoma State

Box score

— Midway through the second half Monday night in Gallagher-Iba Arena, Thomas Robinson stole the ball at midcourt and dribbled in for a dunk, but the rim rejected it because it didn’t fit this game. Too exciting a play.

If this counted as a Big Monday, what was the Missouri game, Jupiter on Steroids Saturday? It was a comedown akin to seeing Bruce Springsteen peel paint for three hours one night and two nights later getting chained to a chair and forced to watch three consecutive reruns of the “Lawrence Welk Show.”

And all we had to do was watch it. It wasn’t easy for the emotionally spent Kansas players to play in it after Saturday’s remarkable comeback victory, and it showed. Jeff Withey mistook a front of a one-and-one for a two-shot foul, and when he caught the missed front end, he handed the ball to the referee.

Tyshawn Taylor, weary from chasing Keiton Page all over the floor mined with screens, watched Page score 11 of his 29 points in a span of 2:58 in the later stages of the second half.

Robinson missed two dunks.

It wasn’t the best effort for the nation’s third-ranked team, but it was plenty good enough to accomplish the goal of winning the game, 70-58, and the outright Big 12 title that went with it.

Not surprisingly, Taylor and Robinson, an even more dynamic duo than Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, made sure there would be no delaying the clinching party. Their once-wild games, from experience and from accepting the responsibility tossed onto their shoulders, have been tamed to the point they know how to win games without the aid of emotion.

“We’re the leaders of this team,” said Taylor, who has been a starter for half of the eight consecutive league titles. “After a few of our early games, we just established T-Rob and I have to come to play every game or our team won’t be as effective. T-Rob and I have been having a lot of talks about that.”

The thing that differentiates these league champs from the previous seven is that it has such a shallow bench, and it also is different from most of the other seven in that it had an underdog feel to it, especially after the top two recruits, Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor, were declared academically ineligible.

Taylor’s the lone returning starter. Robinson didn’t have the Morris twins drawing the attention of the opposing defenses to keep the pressure away from him. The only proven three-point shooter, senior Conner Teahan, never had been in the rotation.

And here the Jayhawks are ranked third in the country with a 25-5 overall record and a 15-2 Big 12 mark, setting up the three main men most responsible for the overachievement for national awards.

Robinson has as good a shot at anyone of winning National Player of the Year honors. If Self’s case for National Coach of the Year isn’t stronger than everybody else’s, then whose is? And if Taylor isn’t the first-team All-American point guard, name a better one.

Taylor played 44 minutes against Missouri, 37 against Oklahoma State. He lit up the Pokes for 27 points and turned it over just twice. That’s three turnovers in 81 minutes in three days. Tired or not, he had to keep track of Page, never an easy assignment. On every play, the Cowboys set more screens for Page than Joan Rivers has faces.

Taylor still had enough left in his tank to score the game’s only points during a span of 3:03 when KU’s lead expanded from eight points to 18. Three-pointer, tear-drop shot, dunk and another three-pointer, and Taylor alone gave KU a 70-52 lead with 2:07 left.

Taylor sounded gassed after the game, and he wasn’t alone in that regard. This is a team that needs to catch its breath before playing again. That’s why the quick turnaround from Saturday, although it increased the chances of an upset Monday, was a fortunate bit of scheduling.

The Jayhawks can re-energize in time for an 8 p.m. tipoff Saturday and a Taylor senior speech that would have to run past midnight to cover all the twists and turns of his ever-compelling, ever-improving Kansas basketball career.

Comments

krakatoea 2 years, 1 month ago

Have been reading comments for years and all I can say is "REALLY", to the morons who constantly bag on Kegan. No, "REALLY", the main focus of the comments are focused on Kegan's writing. "REALLY morons, get a life or a writing job so the others can bag on you.

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 1 month ago

Seriously, longtime-----

Jesse had a lot of patience with you. I, for one, would have lost my patience with you, way before Jesse did. I was taught and coached by a lot of fine teachers/coaches in my time growing up in Lawrence. I also, was taught to respect the person of authority whoever it was. Jesse is in charge of the live blog. He gave you a simple request. You did not choose wisely. Everybody makes choices. Hopefully, next time, if there is a next time, you will choose to follow the rules. Rock Chalk!

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Janet Olin 2 years, 1 month ago

Congratulations, Jayhawk players and staff, for 8str8! Wow. Tyshawn has certainly played stellar ball during conference games this year; he should probably be considered for player of the week this time. I'm also impressed with Jeff's development late this season, and Kevin's strong relief contributions. Rock Chalk.

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John Dalke 2 years, 1 month ago

I would rather watch 3 consecutive Lawrence Welk reruns than sit through a concert by one of the most pretentious "artists" in the history of rock and roll.

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actorman 2 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, I would call it dully beautiful. In a lot of ways, winning at OSU is more impressive than what they did on Saturday. As a fan it was hard to get fired up for the OSU game; I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for the players. Yet they found a way to get a solid, workmanlike victory. As much as I'm nervous about the lack of depth going into the tournament, the fact that they could so comfortably win this game does give me some hope that they could go far.

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HawkKlaw 2 years, 1 month ago

This game was pretty dull, but give OSU credit. They did not want to go away and fought hard until the bitter end. We're just lucky TT and TRob were there to keep OSU at arm's length. This team is really figuring out how to win tough games. Can't wait for March!

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longtimehawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Tom we need you on the live KU blog, at the games, someone with knowledge about basketball and can keep up with what is going on, so that you can relay it to us than can't get the game on tv. The present guy really doesn't know what he is doing and doesn't seem to know a baskeball at all. Don't know were your paper got this guy but, we could do without him. Please see what you can do. Thanks Tom.

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Mallory Rempp 2 years, 1 month ago

This article definitely made me chuckle. Though I still managed to lose my voice yelling at the TV, so I didn't exactly find it dull. This team has definitely grown three-fold since the beginning of the season. Watching those first games, I was terrified about when the next turnover would be, who would try to shoot the next awful three, or what the hell Young was doing playing in the game at all. Clearly, that's all changed (save for the Three's...still haven't got a hold on those, but they're better). I'm proud of how far these guys have gone and the fact that they've proved everyone WRONG who said we couldn't do it. RCJH!

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Steve Kubler 2 years, 1 month ago

Anyone notice that when Withey had his brain dead moment not a single player moved in at the shot? They all just stood there flat footed until after he had the ball then one OK player tried to steal it. Makes me wonder what the ref told them before the free throw, if anything.

Could you imagine HCBS's reaction if the game was close when that happened? I shudder to think of the carnage. It would have been epic, even now I'm guessing Jeff will never live it down even after dusting all the steps in AFH.

I got the impression JW's wheel is not working right. He seemed to have trouble turning and accelerating. No push off ability on that side perhaps. I hope his ankle gets enough of a break to heal before the dance.

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William Blake 2 years, 1 month ago

Another great write, Tom!

I especially like the detail you put into describing TT's contributions over recent days. The guy has put on a clinic this year and I am hard pressed to think of a Kansas guard who has ever been better. TT is a warrior!

This is a special team... it means so much more when there are tall hurdles to success, and this team has met all challenges and are proving they can achieve regardless of the hurdles. This team leaves it all on the court... guts, soul, their bodies.

Congrats again to the entire team for coming together to get the job done!

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VaJay 2 years, 1 month ago

Does anyone know what was our free throw violation in the second half? I can't remember which Jayhawk was shooting them, but either Withey or Releford caused it (maybe by moving to their spot on the lane after the shooter was given the ball?).

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nicka 2 years, 1 month ago

while Teahan is a "proven three-point shooter", he's far from a proven three-point maker.

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iamakufan 2 years, 1 month ago

Even worse than the Saturday-Monday turnaround, it was a Wednesday-Saturday-Monday turnaround with that exhausting game in the middle.

I'd really like to see a National Coaching Staff of the Year award. With the exception of some of the much-deserved media recognition for Danny Manning, assistant coaches just don't get the recognition they deserve for their roles in developing the kids and the outcome of the season. I applaud our entire coaching and support staff.

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chalked 2 years, 1 month ago

Forgot about the Withey gaffe. When he handed the ball to the ref, I thought it must have been a 2 shot penalty myself. I hope he's not in la-la land during the tourney, we'll definitely need him.

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Kyle Neuer 2 years, 1 month ago

I am nervous about the tournement. We're not very deep.
Yet, that seemed to work out pretty well for AZ in '97, if I recall correctly. I guess we'll just have to play and find out.

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manginorh00lz 2 years, 1 month ago

Why is he comparing the Missouri game to watching someone peel paint?

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ccarp 2 years, 1 month ago

Jupiter on Steroids Saturday...Lol! This title is so sweet! Keep it going Jayhawks!

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Lindsey Buscher 2 years, 1 month ago

"Their once-wild games, from experience and from accepting the responsibility tossed onto their shoulders, have been tamed to the point they know how to win games without the aid of emotion."

Lackadaisical maybe, but without the aid of emotion? You are a horrendous writer, awful to the point that you write without the aid of intelligence.

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Steve Corder 2 years, 1 month ago

Ho Hum. Another title.

This TEAM has special qualities that makes for a great tournament team. 1. Great guard play. 2. Inside All American. 3. Role players that can fill the needed gaps in a game. 4. Mental & physical toughness. 5. Great coach that has the complete trust of his team.

This year is beginning to reveal the benefit of having outstanding talent stay more than 1 or 2 years. If this team advances to the Final Four then having a stable of McDonalds All Americans may not always be the ticket to the big dance we often think.

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AcesWild 2 years, 1 month ago

bob night is just picking up espn partners namely jay bialis i notice that they never say anything about the charge call on t rob . say anything the game at mu. they want to focus on one call ,that is never made in the last second ,could you imiage that call being made at duke north carlina not in million years , and i thing the ref in the big 12 is terrible , they should all be fired the person that hired should be to .bunch drunk football ref is pinkel ref games down at mizz

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jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

We are coming for you Kentucky...one game at a time.

We seek to pit our teamwork against your AAU ball on steroids.

We seek to do to you what UNC once improbably did to us in '57. Upset the more talented team.

Nothing is ever over in college basketball, or Howth Castle and Environs. Its just one long commodius vicus. One time the team we must beat appears as Memphis with Wes, one time it appears as UK with Wes. And each time the question is not who will win, but if forfeits will follow.

We are coming for you Kentucky. The team vs AAU on steroids. We're coming for our second shot. And we are going to shoot 40% from trey this time, not 25%. We're coming.

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jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

• After the Miracle on Naismith Drive, they iced the title. They got it done.

• The Law Offices of Taylor, Robinson, Releford, Johnson, Withey, Teahan, Westley and Young will take any case and defend the heck out of it.

•Page having a big night meant only that if a team sacrifices the rest of its offence to screening, one player can score alot. Look at OSU's FG %.

• KY is wisely making his case for partnership in next year's rotation now. His briefs still lack polish on defense, but more and more he has discovered not just how hard to play, but how to play hard.

• Every hardwood lawyer in this firm has a great story, but my favorite is Travis Releford. This guy, who never played much before because of wildness, has quietly become the guy I trust to be the steadiest, even with only one good wheel. He makes big plays on defense routinely. Will score a bundle next year. But is the man who settles this team down again and again, keeps it on task. As Self often does, he takes a gifted player, casts him against type, and against his historical tendencies, and the guy finds himself in his new role. Meet Mr. Reliable, Mr. Rock Solid, Mr. I Completely Get It Now.

• Another great against type story is Elijah Johnson. Here is a sensitive, articulate mind in an impact savant's body body. He is assigned to stretch the defense with his trey and become a lockdown man at the other end, and oh yeah, while you're at it, play more and more point when TT's exhausted. By playing against type, EJ has found himself at last.

•Much more could be written of the amazing transformations of Counselors Taylor, Robinson and Withey, but it already has been. And anyone that does not get the near spiritual transformations of these three, or the impossible step up from Lamar also ran to D1 backup post defender on a 4th ranked team by Justin Wesley is ".. Lost in the rain in Juarez, and its Easter time, too..." and their gravity has failed them and their negativity won't pull them through, either. And I thank the other kid from the north country fair, the one who was not a great post man on the last "rebuilding team", the song and dance man who cannot dunk, but who rose out of obscurity and doubt to do it his way, as these Ku players are doing, well, I thank him for that assist. And say, Vitale and Knight "...coulda treated this team better, but we don't mind/cuz they just kinda wasted our precious time,/ so don't think twice cuz its alright."

• Rock Chalk, champs, Rock Chalk!

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jayhawker_97 2 years, 1 month ago

i wouldn't say the game was 'dull' at all. it was just as exciting as misery game. part of it because the scare Paige had on us. it's so unbelievable to see we could match their scoring spurt even when the team was dead tired. the team's effort tonight is just as important as the outcome. it's a fun game.

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Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

I had to chuckle about the Springsteen-peeling-the-paint...I guess one had to have 'been there'. But growing up in the 80's, I would have to give paint-peeling-prowess to VanHalen, Scorpions, Motley Crue, etc, etc, etc...

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actorman 2 years, 1 month ago

Gotta hand it to Keegan, that is a HYSTERICAL first paragraph!

And the article ain't bad either.

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