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Monday, March 19, 2012

Switch stymies Robbie Hummel

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor can't get to a three by Purdue forward Robbie Hummel during the first half on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor can't get to a three by Purdue forward Robbie Hummel during the first half on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 63-60 victory over Purdue on March 18, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU guards Elijah Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor

KU guards Elijah Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 63-60 victory over Purdue on March 18, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Purdue's Matt Painter, Robbie Hummel and Lewis Jackson

Purdue coach Matt Painter and players Robbie Hummel and Lewis Jackson talk to reporters following the Boilermakers' 63-60 loss to Kansas on March 18, 2012.

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KU vs. Purdue

Box score

— For Kansas University basketball fans who believe in omens, Sunday’s 63-60 third-round NCAA Tournament victory against 10th-seeded Purdue had to be a sweet sign.

In each of the last three years, the team that has knocked out the Boilermakers in the NCAA Tournament has advanced to the Final Four.

In 2009, top-seeded Connecticut reached the Final Four after beating Purdue in the third round. A year later, the Boilermakers lost to eventual national champion Duke in the Sweet 16. And last year, Purdue — like Kansas — was one of the surprise victims of 11th-seeded VCU’s run to college basketball’s promised land.

“Ever since I’ve been here, the team we’ve lost to has gone on to the Final Four,” Purdue senior Ryne Smith said after Sunday’s loss. “It’s a tough feeling, but obviously Kansas has a great opportunity to go on and do that this year.”

It hardly looked like that was the case for much of the night. Kansas, seeded No. 2 in the Midwest region, trailed for most of the game and only was able to exhale after Smith’s last-second three-point attempt to force overtime banged off the front of the rim and fell to the floor.

A big reason the Jayhawks played from behind most of the night was the incredible first-half performance of Purdue’s fifth-year senior Robbie Hummel. Hummel torched Kansas for 22 points in the first half on 7-of-8 shooting, including a 5-for-6 mark from three-point range.

“I swear, if you had taken his jersey off, you probably would have found an S on his chest for Superman,” said KU’s proud and relieved director of basketball operations, Barry Hinson. “But (KU) Coach (Bill Self) made an adjustment. Sometimes in this business we get so stubborn and set in our ways, but he didn’t. He just looked at us and said, ‘We gotta do this.’ And it worked. I told him how proud of him I was.”

Hinson did not divulge exactly what that adjustment was. And it said a lot about it that the heartbroken Boilermakers couldn’t pinpoint it either.

“They threw in maybe a triangle-and-two, a box-and-one,” Smith said. “At some points in the game, I didn’t even know what they were in, but they were out there, and they were playing really good, and we just couldn’t get shots to fall down the stretch.”

Added Hummel, who also admitted to being confused by KU’s different defensive looks in a second half in which he made just two of five shots and missed all three of his three-point attempts: “They went to a triangle-and-two or a box-and-one or something and they did a very good job. They kept somebody on me the whole second half, and I probably should’ve been more aggressive, to be honest. But Kansas did a good job of switching their defense up, and that made it tough on me. I don’t even know what to say.”

One by one, the Jayhawks took turns on Hummel in the second half, sometimes with as many as two or three guys playing within arm’s length of Purdue’s 6-foot-8 wingman. Travis Releford. Thomas Robinson. Conner Teahan. Kevin Young. Elijah Johnson — they all took a turn. And they switched on screens repeatedly. That gave Hummel just enough pause to help Kansas survive.

“That was the idea,” Releford said. “We wanted to throw different looks and different guys at him all night to make him as uncomfortable as possible. We knew he was gonna score, and we knew we had to limit him. In the first half we didn’t. In the second half we did. That was the key to the game.”

Comments

cajayfan 2 years, 1 month ago

I remember last year Self saying he was going to look at why they kept flaming out early to lower seeds. I think his flexibility last night and maybe some encouragement from his not too shabby back seat coach, Larry Brown might have helped. Very glad to see the change, whatever the motivation.

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Steve Brown 2 years, 1 month ago

Robbie Hummel can ball,nice game Purdue.

in '88 Danny beat Vandy's Will Perdue, maybe an omen, like Kennedy shot in a Lincoln, Abe in a Ford Theater. Might have my years crossed, memory fades. If it was Danny's freshman year, perhaps we beat good NCState team to get to Final Four, recall a Michigan State Judd Heathcoat game clock game.

When MIZ.OUT fans have memories about past roads to final fours, wonder what they think about?

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William Blake 2 years, 1 month ago

Hummel played like a man possessed in the first half... which included a bomb trey from 28 ft away with TT in his face and no time left on the shot clock.

Lets admit the obvious fact that the guy wore out after such a flush of effort in the first half. The change in defenses may have confused him, but he was tired... too tired to figure out what to do or to generate more energy to overcome the change.

I cracked a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon in the second half when Hummel shot an open trey and bricked it far short. I knew then that he was tired, and this was our game to win if we could ever score points.

In fact... their entire team looked tired the second half and had a tough time scoring even though we were just focused on shutting down Hummel.

That looked like a tiring, grind game. Very physical play with few ref whistles to slow it down or stop all the body banging.

TRob didn't have a good stat night... but he deserves an award for maintaining his poise in such a big game where he was being banged constantly in the paint. It was rare when he was in the post without a player pushing him with both hands, elbows, hips, knees, backs.

Does anyone know what conferences the refs came from in this game? Seemed like B10 refs... letting all the big contact go and calling all the ticky-tack fouls on TRele, TT and EJ.

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Steve Gantz 2 years, 1 month ago

On another message board I saw some Purdue fans rightly moaning the apparent "prevent offense" kicking in during the last couple of minutes. It led to our winning points as their guard dribbled all over the court finally losing the ball. They moved the ball so well the entire game and then, surely accompanied by some intense defense on our part, stopped moving the ball.

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Matt Kenton 2 years, 1 month ago

I still am frustrated that we focus on defense so much. How we can stop them dictates our lineup. Why not have the mentality of "make them stop us?" I still think there are few teams in the country who can stop Robinson and Withey inside, when we key on that offensively. In the first half, Robinson got doubled and had no choice but to kick it back out. In the beginning of the second half we did have both in, but rarely got it inside with both in position. And whatever happened to the high-low??

I am just tired of seeing us play down to the level of these tournament teams that have three or four good guards and one or two that get hot. Had we lost, that would be losses to 9, 11, and 10 seeds the last 3 years as a 1, 1, and 2. Is the answer that we need to play better defense? I don't think so. I think we need better offense! Put a lineup on the floor that THEY can't stop!

Self even said it post game interview, he basically tells guys to go after the ball and rebound. Sounds like the offense is up to them. And fortunately last night, that was good enough.

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jhawkrulz 2 years, 1 month ago

A little credit to the poor coaching job on Purdue's part in the second half. Hummel was guarded (maybe not on every play), but he had some coverage...and couldn't miss, he was draining everything.

In the second half he got off three shots and still put up 4 points in those three shots. I've always believed in riding the hot hand and clearly Purdue did not try that until KU took the lead.

I know our defense stepped up, but I think they went away from their strength as well.

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jiminycricket 2 years, 1 month ago

The problem with T-Robs night was not the 2 for the 12 or his rebounding, His defense on man was terrible, he got push around, and should have had a lot more assists. That's not what a player of the year would have done, even if he wasn't making shots. Goodbye Naismith...Hello NBA

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rwhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

What I thought was most impressive was when Bill when extremely small, went man-to-man, and switched on every ball screen. They were unable to score (or at least get a decent look) when we did that.

They also really only got one easy basket when they were in the triangle and two.

Great coaching job in my opinion.

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iamakufan 2 years, 1 month ago

Funny how we talk about Robinson having a bad night. For anyone else, 11 and 13 would be considered an excellent night. I guess it's all perspective. In any case, what a game. I am really pleased the guys kept their poise and kept on grinding.

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jackoman 2 years, 1 month ago

Where was Withey. The second half they did not shoot many three's but had alot of layups. If I remember Withey blocks alot of shoots. Dah. Also he started the second half looking really good then he was gone. We played their game. We should have played to our big guys...

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Steve Kubler 2 years, 1 month ago

When I saw Conner guarding Hummel I started frothing a bit. However he did a damn fine job on him as did the rest of the team in the second half. However I did start penning a letter to the KU team in general about that time.

Dear KU BB Men

As I am getting older I would appreciate it if you would try to avoid first halves like occurred Sunday evening. By the time the half arrived I was a weak shivering mass halfway off the couch to the floor. Sadly, the second half did nothing to lower my heart rate, in fact with two minutes left I was calling out for nitro pills and a shot of bourbon. Thankfully those last two minutes brought me back from the brink leaving me calm if rather hoarse and shaky.

Could you please give me a 20 point blow out in the next game so I can relax a bit? It could possibly save my life, or at least my marriage!

Thank you for your time.

Kubie

(as jaybate would say "all fiction, no malice intended")

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clevelandjayhawker 2 years, 1 month ago

One play that made me mad was the end of the first half....guy drove all the way like the misery ucla game from years ago....how did we let that happen. but man what a win!!

Beat NC State!!

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nuleafjhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Just asking - is there some basketball etiquette rule somewhere that says you can't make adjustments until halftime?

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Michael Pannacciulli 2 years, 1 month ago

Hummel was incredible...Scary good early on. Glad we held on. EJ was awesome. He found his mojo when we needed it.

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JHFrenzy 2 years, 1 month ago

Another crazy nail biter!! I had a gut feeling KU was going to slip in and take it like a thief in the night. Usually that last 3min stretch KU will just clamp down and whittle at the opponent. It worked tonight. Gonna be another tough one on Friday. Looking forward for a UNC match up and a trip to Nawln'z. Got KU over UK for the title. Let's go!

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yates33333 2 years, 1 month ago

I forgot to say, Misery, that SEC power. Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!!!!!

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yates33333 2 years, 1 month ago

Hummel played in the first half like he did before his injuries. KU showed in the second half how you can't depend on one man the way Purdue has depended on Hummel when he is able to play. Even though Robinson and Withey had bad nights the others picked them up. I, for one, would never have expected that the others--excluding Taylor, who had his troubles shooting--would be able to do this. Man am I glad I am/was wrong!!! The longer I watch BB the less I know about it. I still haven't figured out how Norfolk State beat Misery. I am just glad they did.

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Scott MacWilliams 2 years, 1 month ago

WOW -- Great job guys!!!

What a tough game, and although I was always confident that we would win, it was really hard to watch TRob pushed around like that, and see his frustration. But everyone kept their composure, and that is what is different from last year's team.

Seems like having fewer options off the bench helps people focus and lock down on the task at hand. They know there aren't so many others sitting there waiting to bail them out.

WOW!! Rock Chalk, Jayhawks!!!

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SaltLakeHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

" Put Withey in the game!!!!!!!!!!! "

Those were the words I was screaming at my TV for most of the second half.

Either,

A. my suggested strategy was right, and we won in spite of a major coaching error

or

B. Bill Self is a genius

I'm goin' with B.

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hghawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Whatever it was, any adjustment is better than none which was a common theme in another early KU exit (UNI why didn't we press earlier) Either way good win. Lets smoke tobacco road RCJH.

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deepind 2 years, 1 month ago

Props to coach for making the defensive adjustments! Perhaps he has learnt from his own experience in the past - there is no room for pride/stubbornness in the NCAA tourney. Just do what it takes to survive and advance!! Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Let's end the season with a win. ;)

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