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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Titans troubled by Jayhawks’ size

Elijah Johnson (15) defends against a driving Ray McCallum (3) during the first-half of Friday's game against the Detroit Titans in a second-round men's NCAA Championship game in Omaha, NE.

Elijah Johnson (15) defends against a driving Ray McCallum (3) during the first-half of Friday's game against the Detroit Titans in a second-round men's NCAA Championship game in Omaha, NE.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 65-50 victory over Detroit on March 16, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey

Kansas juniors Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 65-50 victory over Detroit on March 16, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Detroit's Ray McCallum, Ray McCallum, Jr. and Eli Holman

Detroit coach Ray McCallum and players Ray McCallum, Jr. and Eli Holman talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 65-50 victory over Detroit on March 16, 2012.

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KU vs. Detroit

Box score

— He entered the night billed as the only former McDonald’s All-American on the floor, but played a game more befitting of a Hardee’s all-star.

Behind a 4-of-15 shooting performance from sophomore guard Ray McCallum Jr., the University of Detroit Mercy could get little going on offense and fell quietly to Kansas University, 65-50, at CenturyLink Center on Friday night.

“I take the blame for this loss,” said McCallum, who finished with eight points and five assists in 37 minutes. “I knew I had to have a big game for us to have a chance, and my mind-set was to come in and be aggressive. But I just couldn’t get anything going.”

There were many reasons for that.

For starters, McCallum Jr. said Kansas was by far the biggest team Detroit had played all season. The Jayhawks’ length and size — particularly that of 7-foot center Jeff Withey — created problems for the Titans all night.

“We couldn’t buy a basket,” said Chase Simon, who finished with six points on 2-of-11 shooting.

Added McCallum: “We haven’t played against a lot of guys with that kind of size. (Withey is) long, and I think that affected us. I know I drove into the lane, and he blocked one of my shots, and that contributed to my night.”

KU’s defense forced Detroit to settle for jumpers and forced the Titans out of their normal flow. UDM finished 20-of-63 (32 percent) from the floor and just 3-of-17 (18 percent) from three-point range.

“You can’t shoot 20-for-63 and expect to beat a good team,” senior LaMarcus Lowe said. “We just couldn’t get our shots to fall, and I think that allowed them to get out in transition a little bit. I think that was the biggest difference.”

Despite its shooting struggles, Detroit (22-14) hung around for most of the first half. The Jayhawks owned a 10-point advantage at the break, but only pushed it to 10 on the final shot of the first half.

While most of the second half was played with KU (28-6) firmly in control, that didn’t stop the teams from getting after each other. Nowhere was that more evident than in the highly anticipated battle of big men, where Detroit’s Eli Holman and KU’s Thomas Robinson pounded away all night.

After the game, as he struggled to shake tears from his eyes, Holman talked about his match-up with Robinson, a showdown that was made more intense by a mini war of words played out in the media leading up the game.

“It was all respect,” Holman said with a smile. “He gave me a hug after the game and told me good luck. I appreciated that. And I think he appreciated me. He told me there aren’t a of guys in the country who are willing to stand up to him. He told me that at the free-throw line. That was cool. If I have to go out, I can’t think of a better way to go out than playing against one of the best players in the country.”

Like Robinson (16 points and 13 rebounds), Holman picked up a double-double of his own Friday, finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds. As he had done so often throughout his Detroit career, he bowed out with the respect of his teammates as well.

“Neither one of those guys took it easy on the other,” McCallum Jr. said of Robinson and Holman. “I think there was a lot of respect between them. You could tell by the way they played.”

Comments

deberg81 7 years, 7 months ago

I don't think its fair to Call mccallum a "hardees all American" he did a good job of penetrating and dishing. They were just physically over matched.

KUFan90 7 years, 7 months ago

No kidding. Classless, uncalled for low blow Keegan.

Let's save the trash talk comments for a team that deserves it, like Mizzou.

actorman 7 years, 7 months ago

"Classless, uncalled for low blow Keegan."

I believe that's his full name.

WilburNether 7 years, 7 months ago

Hellooooo..... The article was written by Matt Tait, not Keegan.

actorman 7 years, 7 months ago

Good point, Wilbur. I stand corrected (in this case). But the name still generally fits.

Steve Reigle 7 years, 7 months ago

I agree. The kid showed some class. Let's respond in kind.

Jeff Schartz 7 years, 7 months ago

They read everything carefully except the Title & Author! That's more humorous than the article!

tdscpa 7 years, 7 months ago

"By Matt Tait"

For some reason, I thought that meant Keegan did not write it. Silly me. I want my money back I wasted on my KU education.

Also, I thought it was funny.

yates33333 7 years, 7 months ago

KU should give you your money back because you wasted it? I think that is funny, too.

fansincewilt 7 years, 7 months ago

You have to give the kid some respect. He could have played at Kansas yet chose to play for his dad instead. Gotta admire that. I hope he makes it to the next level.

milehighhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

Tait - love your stuff, buddy, but the Hardees line seems unbefitting.

Michael Auchard 7 years, 7 months ago

Compared to a lot of the rude comments I often see on here, that all-american comment was pretty PG.

farnamjayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

I sat right in front of the wife and daughter of Detroit's coach and they were both very nice. Loud and annoying for the first 15 minutes of the first half but very classy. Now the rest of the Detroit fans were not so classy......

John Mueller 7 years, 7 months ago

well, we have some loudmouth fans too.

I have never been more annoyed in my life than at a KU fan in SA in the championship game. He was acting like he was sitting at home on his sofa.

Non-stop banter and bitching and whining about the other team and the refs.

I wanted to punch the guy.

Pull for your team, love the game, be excited, but if you can't be a good sport and represent Kansas well, stay home to play jackass.

John Mueller 7 years, 7 months ago

PS i love me some Norfolk State this morning!!

Is there anything better than watching Mizzou get beat, by anyone, including the former Soviet Union?

love, love, love it.

SEC seems about right....

Displayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

Poor Methzzouri! They try so hard to be like KU, but they will always be SECond rate!

WilburNether 7 years, 7 months ago

If Missouri were playing the former Soviet Union, I'd cheer for the commies.

Clarence Haynes 7 years, 7 months ago

I can see why KU recruited McCallum. He handles the ball well, has athleticism, and strikes me a a nice well spoken young man. Our guards disrupted him as they have done with other Mickey Dee All Americans.

jayhawkinATL 7 years, 7 months ago

Just more proof that being named McDonald's all-American has become overrated. It's not quite the honor that it used to be.

baldwinbulldawg 7 years, 7 months ago

hardees all-american! i love it some of you guys need to lighten up

bradh 7 years, 7 months ago

All Star instead of all-american. I assumed he was playing on the fact that Hardee's symbol is a star.

Rock Chalk 7 years, 7 months ago

The best paragraph, however, is the one containing Holman's comments regarding Thomas.

“It was all respect,” Holman said with a smile. “He gave me a hug after the game and told me good luck. I appreciated that. And I think he appreciated me. He told me there aren’t a of guys in the country who are willing to stand up to him. He told me that at the free-throw line. That was cool. If I have to go out, I can’t think of a better way to go out than playing against one of the best players in the country.”

What a testament to Thomas and his character. No better sportsmanship anywhere than that. Reflects so well on this team, this university, this coaching staff. He deserves the Player of the Year honor for this alone ... well, in addition to everything else.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 7 months ago

Goodbye you Titans

It was the end of the road

Failures name....Detroit

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