What this means...from press row
Gary Bedore, Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer
"Mario Chalemrs was about the only highlight offensively on a night KU struggled mightily.
The players are chalking it up to one of those ugly wins teams need to plug through in the course of a season. It seems KU has had more than its share of those type of games.
But nobody seems to be panicking, preferring to focus on a decent defensive effort. Another game in two nights so everybody will forget this one quickly."
Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor
"Mario Chalmers was solid, and in doing so KU proved yet another way it can win games - when only one player scores in double figures.
Chalmers' 22 points marked the first time this season such a sight has been seen in 13 efforts. KU will be better for it.
The big men were still able to contribute seven blocks despite being silenced in the scoring column.
A key to this game which might go slightly overlooked is that while just one player scored big, lots of guys contributed in little ways. Six players scored at least six points, and that's impressive considering Darrell Arthur was playing sick and Brandon Rush just fought off the 24-hour flu. But yes, the score makes the game look like more of a blowout than it actually was."
Inside the numbers
55: That was the Jayhawks' free throw percentage. Only two players (Julian Wright and Darrell Arthur) missed more than one attempt, but KU, which isn't a great free throw shooting team as it is, looked even sloppier than normal.
8: That's how many blocked shots KU threw away, including a game-high four from Sasha Kaun. KU's big men combined for seven of those eight, which was a big stat for the men in the post considering their slight point production on the night.
2: That's how many field goals KU had in the final 11:17 of the first half after building a 19-5 lead before the brutally bland stretch. Against a more offensively well-rounded opponent, a stretch like that could lead to an insurmountable halftime lead.
Just in case you missed it...
Brandon Rush deserves some credit, and Bill Self pointed it out in his postgame press conference, for playing a team-high 33 minutes just a day after battling through the flu. Rush was scoreless in the first half, and hoisted just eight shots on the night, finishing with nine points, five rebounds and two assists. He had two huge buckets down the stretch in transition to put the lid on the win for KU.
Hopefully you didn't miss it...
Just like he did several times Saturday against Boston College, Mario Chalmers had a huge counterpunch to what could have been a big basket for the opposition. With five mintues left in the game, a three-pointer from Muhammad Abdur-Rahim with the shot clock running out made it a 10-point game at 50-40. Just seven seconds later, Chalmers took a deep pass to the wing and without hesitation swooped in for a one-handed slam to keep momentum from swinging. It looks like Self's preachings to his players about being more aggressive sunk in with Chalmers especially. He has 44 points in two games.
They said it...
Julian Wright on how hard it is to shake an offensive drought like the one KU had in the first half: "It's pretty hard in terms of we were getting the ball where we wanted to, but we weren't converting on easy layups and shots that we step up every day and hit. Make or miss, we at least get it in the places where we're used to scoring. Coach just wants us to not be so focused on the past. He's always saying 'next play, next play.' I think after awhile we just said, you know, forget it and we're going to go out and execute down the stretch, and that's what we did."
Mario Chalmers on the KU big men struggling offensively: "They were sending the weakside man over on the backside, and it was hard to get the ball to the big men in a good position where they could score, so they did a good job of that."
Bill Self on his team's bland performance: "Fifty percent of our game today was pretty good. We guarded pretty well, did a good job on tehir big kid. We actually played really good in the first eight minutes of the ballgame. We had done pretty good, but the last 12 minutes of the first half was stale, to be very positive. And a lot of that was contributed by poor free throw shooting. We need to play a close game, to be honest with you, although the game didn't end up being close, but we played it like it was a close game...Other than Brandon's defense late and Mario's overall floor game, it was just a pretty bland performance that was good enough to win by 20."
Bill Self on Mario Chalmers' performance: "As far as an all-around player, he's as good as we have. Especially offensively...He's putting himself in the game, putting himself in position to score...Mario is in a groove where he's thinking catch it to score.