Sunday, February 19, 2006

They’re grrrrreat!

Jayhawks 'kick 'em in the teeth,' avenge setback


Mario Chalmers concocted an effective rallying cry while getting his hair clipped with three of his Kansas University basketball teammates Friday night at Watson's Barbershop.

"We've got to 'dub' em by 20 - win by 20," Chalmers said to Darnell Jackson, Russell Robinson and Brandon Rush on the eve of KU's Border War rematch against Missouri.

Twenty points, Chalmers reasoned, would be sufficient payback for Missouri's overtime victory over KU on Jan. 16 in Mizzou Arena.

"That's considered a blowout in most games," Chalmers, a freshman point guard, said.

The Jayhawks did much, much better than that, rolling to a 79-46 annihilation of the Tigers on Saturday in sold-out Allen Fieldhouse. The 33-point margin of victory was biggest in the series since KU's 34-point victory (100-66) in 1986, also in Lawrence.

It marked MU's lowest point total versus KU since 1982.

"Everybody was like, 'Yeah, yeah, we're going to get them. We're going to burn 'em," Rush said of the immediate response to Chalmers' barbershop mantra. "It was more than revenge.

"We were trying to embarrass them, put 'em down and don't let 'em get up," added Rush, who scored 13 points in 32 minutes.

The Tigers (11-12 overall, 4-8 Big 12 Conference) - 89-86 winners last month in Columbia - never were in the ballgame. KU (19-6, 10-2) rolled to a 16-2 lead after eight minutes and never looked back.

"We needed to win big to show the first one was a fluke," Rush said of the teams' first meeting. "We just knew in our heads we were going to kill 'em. Coach (Bill Self) said, 'When you get 'em down, kick 'em in the teeth.' He kept saying it every time they tried to make a run: 'Kick 'em right in the teeth.'''

Rush was extra motivated - not just to make up for the loss in Columbia.

"Some of their players were talking a little junk on us," Rush said. "One of my friends down there read in the paper what they said. I told my teammates we were going to murder them for saying stuff like that."

Rush wouldn't say what inflamed him so, the only somewhat radical quote Thomas Gardner's pregame boast of: "I'm going to go up there, and it's going to be tough for Kansas to really guard me."

Gardner, who scored a career-high 40 points versus KU in Columbia, settled for 15 this time off 5-of-17 shooting. Hounded by Rush, Russell Robinson and Jeff Hawkins, he missed seven of 10 threes after swishing seven of 14 at MU.

"We wanted to beat them by as many as we could. We wanted to beat them by 40," said senior Jeff Hawkins, who apparently didn't get the Chalmers memo about winning by 20.

"It's a good number. Gardner hit 40 on us, so we wanted to beat them by 40," Hawkins added after hitting three threes in four tries.

The stats explained the domination.

Photo slideshow: The Border Showdown

KU outrebounded MU, 19-6, the first half and 41-20 for the game.

Also, KU had 22 assists to the Tigers' five and held the Tigers to abysmal 31.9-percent shooting - 1-for-18 marksmanship the first 15 minutes of the second half.

"They gave up at the end. They were not even trying," Rush said. "I could tell they were careless and laid-back, not trying to score quick, relaxing and laughing and having a good time. I guess they were having a good time getting blown out. Me and Gardner were having some jokes."

Gardner, whose heart may not have been into the game - he was close to coach Quin Snyder, who was forced out last week - admitted clowning with Rush.

Go figure

6 Second-half field goals by Missouri

14 Second-half field goals by Kansas

31.9 Missouri's field-goal-shooting percentage

52.5 Kansas' field-goal-shooting percentage

6 First-half rebounds by Missouri

19 First-half rebounds by Kansas

17 Consecutive bricked field-goal tries by Missouri

15:25 Elapsed clock time between second-half baskets for MU

"I was just asking him, 'Five minutes left in the game, why is coach putting you and Mario (Chalmers, 14 points, 25 minutes) back in the game when you're already up 30?''' Gardner said. "He (Rush) was just laughing and said he was trying to keep his average up."

Rush said: "It's Missouri. You don't show pity."

Actually, all 13 Jayhawks played, and 11 scored. Senior Stephen Vinson completed the scoring by draining a three with 14 seconds left.

It had some MU fans claiming KU ran up the score.

"There were 35 seconds left (after MU's final score). He hadn't had a chance to shoot the ball. It was nothing about trying to make Missouri look bad," Self said.

"Our leading scorer only had 14 points, so that is pretty good balance. Other than turnovers (18 to MU's 21), it was a pretty good day for the Jayhawks. I think today we got 'em pretty good."

KU next will meet Baylor at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.


katethegreat 16 years, 7 months ago

What a game!!! I'm so glad Moody got some time to shine as well!

Brad Miller 16 years, 7 months ago

The payback was so sweet! One thing puzzled me a bit; Darnell Jackson played just 6 minutes. Did I miss something about him? Anyway, they played great!

RonBurgandy 16 years, 7 months ago

Very good guys, keep it up. In contention for the big 12 title on a "down" year. Other schools would kill just to be in contention in their best years.

didjabuti 15 years, 8 months ago

....I'm confused. Post a score of the last meeting. Ok, got that. Then rerun an article....not even about that same game?

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