Kansas defeats Colorado, 75-54

KU knocks off Buffs for 23rd straight time in Fieldhouse

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Colorado made it close for a while late in the game Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse, but the Jayhawks weren't going to lose on Senior Night and Max Falkenstien's last broadcast in Lawrence. Kansas went on a 14-2 run over the final minutes to defeat Colorado for the 23rd straight time in the Fieldhouse, with a 75-54 victory.

Mario Chalmers led the Jayhawks with 14 points, while Brandon Rush added 13, C.J. Giles had 11 and Russell Robinson scored 10 on a night where the Jayhawks struggled mightily from the free-throw line, hitting just 10-of-22 charities.

CU, which missed 19 straight shots in the first half, cut the game to single digits, 61-51, with under five minutes to play. Marcus Hall led the Buffs with 12 points, while Richard Roby had 10.

Because of Texas' loss to Texas A&M (46-43), Kansas can split the Big 12 crown with a win over Kansas State in Manhattan on Saturday.

At halftime legendary Max Falkenstien was honored for his 60 years of broadcasting Jayhawk sporting events.

Longtime partner Bob Davis introduced his partner while Lew Perkins gave Falkenstien a bronze Jayhawk. A banner by the retired KU jerseys was unveiled with the No. 60 on it for Falkenstien.

Max Falkenstien was honored during halftime in his last home game broadcast.

"Thank you so much," Falkenstien said. "I guess I thought this day would never come, but since it has, I'm glad I'm here to enjoy it."

"Statistics are for the record book, but friendships are for life," said Falkenstien, who received roar after roar from the packed Fieldhouse crowd. "I can't say this on the radio because I have to be semi-objective, but I can tell it to you now at my swan song, GO Hawks!"

After the game all three seniors, and Moulaye Niang, who before the season announced that he would not play his final year because of injury, took turns giving traditional senior speeches.

Christian Moody who went last got the loudest applause and told the KU fans that the they were the Jayhawks inspiration.

"It's because of you guys that it's an honor to have Kansas on our chest," Moody said to a loud ovation.

Second Half Action

Colorado scored five quick points to open the second half to cut KU's lead to 12.

But the Jayhawks came back with a pair of free throws by Sasha Kaun.

Marcus Hall hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to close the gap to 34-23 with 17:31 to go.

While it was CU that hit just 19-percent in the first half, Kansas is 0-5 from the field at the sart of the second 20 minutes.

But C.J. Giles nailed a long-range baseline jumper to make the score 36-23. Russell Robinson scored on a lay-in after a steal.

Richard Roby had a shot count on a goal-tending violation by Giles.

Mario Chalmers scored on a drive to make the score 40-25 with 15 minutes to go.

Andy Osborn hit a three from the left corner, but Giles came back and scored down low and was fouled. The KU big man hit a free throw for the three-point play.

Marcus Hall scored on a break-away lay-up.

Rush hit a three from the right side with just over 13 minutes to go to put Kansas up 46-30.

Christian Moody scored his first basket for the 18 point lead.

CU walk-on Scott Senger scored again to put his name up with the Buff leaders tonight.

Stephen Vinson hit an open three from the left side to give the Jayhawks their biggest lead at 51-32.

Roby hit an open three from the left corner.

Wright was fouled on the way to the rack. The KU freshman missed both free throws. Robinson hit one free throw on KU's next possession.

Hall hit a three for CU to cut the score to 52-38 with eight and a half minutes to go.

Hawkins came back with a three of his own -- the KU senior's second of the contest.

Osborn hit a three to cut the contest to 12 with 7:47 to go.

Chalmers hit a three, but CU came back to cut the game to 10, then Ashby made the score single digits when a shot under five minutes.

But Chalmers answered with another three to put KU back on top 61-50.

Ashby followed with a putback as CU continues to dominate KU on the boards.

The Buffs are on a 14-6 run.

Wright hit a pair of free throws to put KU up 63-52 with 3:33 to go.

Robinson fed Wright for a big stuff to put KU up 65-52 with just under three minutes to go.

Robinson then threw a lob to Giles for a huge dunk. The basket gave Giles 11 points.

CU scored, but Rush answered with a three-pointer from the right wing for a 70-54 lead with a minute and half to go.

Rush hit a pair of free throws as all three KU seniors checked back in with a minute left and KU up 72-54.

Self then substituted for all the seniors so they could get a standing ovation.

Jeremy Case hit a three and KU will win on Senior Night 75-54.

Halftime

Kansas fans have had a lot to cheer about on Senior Night as the Jayhawks three seniors, Jeff Hawkins, Christian Moody, and Stephen Vinson, helped KU to a 12-2 lead.

Colorado took care of the rest, missing 22 straight shots before finally finding a little momentum at the end of the half as Kansas leads 32-15 after 20 minutes.

The Buffaloes ended the half shooting 5-of-27.

Had Kansas shot a little better from the free-throw line (KU was just 2-of-11) the Jayhawks might have had a bigger lead.

Kansas was led by Russell Robinson's seven points, while Mario Chalmers scored six.

At halftime legendary Max Falkenstien was honored for his 60 years of broadcasting Jayhawk sporting events.

Longtime partner Bob Davis introduced his partner while Lew Perkins gave Falkenstien a bronze Jayhawk. A banner by the retired KU jerseys was unveiled with the No. 60 on it for Falkenstien.

"Thank you so much," Falkenstien said. "I guess I thought this day would never come, but since it has, I'm glad I'm here to enjoy it."

"Statistics are for the record book, but friendships are for life," said Falkenstien, who received roar after roar from the packed Fieldhouse crowd. "I can't say this on the radio because I have to be semi-objective, but I can tell it to you now at my swan song, GO Hawks!"

First Half Action

Kansas won the tip, but turned the ball over.

Colorado, which has lost 22 straight in the Fieldhouse, misfired on a three-pointer, and Brandon Rush, who turned the ball over on KU's ensuing possession, nailed a three-pointer for the Jayhawks.

Rush's early three points already equaled the total the KU freshman had in the loss against Texas.

Stephen Vinson had his second three-pointer spin in and out, but Sasha Kaun rebounded the ball and was fouled. Kaun missed both free throws.

Colorado scored on a break-away by Jayson Obazuaye to cut the Buffs deficit to one.

After a couple of loose ball scrums, Jeff Hawkins drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key to put KU up 6-2 in the first five minutes.

Kaun scored off an entry pass from Vinson to put KU up 8-2, then scored again on a big dunk

At the 14:17 mark KU coach Bill Self switched his three seniors for Russell Robinson, Mario Chalmers, and Julian Wright.

Wright threw a behind-the-back pass to Rush for an easy lay-in on the break that put KU up 12-2 at 13:02 left in the first half.

The Jayhawks, who are on a 9-0 run, have hit five of its first nine shots, while CU is just 1-of-12.

CU's Julius Ashby bounced in a free throw, but Chalmers came down and drilled a three-pointer.

Wright missed KU's third free throw, but connected on his second charity to put KU up 16-3 with just over 11 minutes left.

Obazuaye hit a free throw.

CU, which is just 1-of-16 from the field, had its second shot-clock violation.

Colorado coach Ricardo Patton was whistled for a technical foul as he was upset when he felt Martane Freeman was undercut by Chalmers.

Chalmers hit one of two free-throws on the technical to put KU up 17-4 with under eight minutes to go.

While CU has just one field goal, Robinson got a lucky bounce as he hit an off-balance jumper that fell through the hoop.

Buff leading scorer Richard Roby hit a pair of free throws with 5:58 left in the half to make the score 19-6.

KU is just 2-of-10 from the free-throw line as Wright missed a pair when he was fouled on a dunk attempt. But on KU's ensuing possession, Wright threw down a one-hand jam.

Robinson came down the next time and scored on a drive that put KU up 23-6 with four and a half minutes to go.

Rush missed a shot in the lane, but C.J. Giles tipped in the ball for his first points of the night.

Freeman hit a free throw to make the score to 25-7. Moody missed a charity.

Chalmers came away with a steal and dunk for the 27-7 score.

With 1:49 to go, Scott Senger scored for the Buffs, who were 1-of-23 to that point from the field.

The CU walk-on came down on the next possession and scored again.

Chalmers hit a three, and Hall came back and hit CU's third consecutive basket.

Hall scored CU's fourth consecutive basket right before the break to cut the score to 32-15.

Kansas started its three seniors, Jeff Hawkins, Christian Moody, Stephen Vinson, along with Brandon Rush and Sasha Kaun.

Colorado countered with forwards Julius Ashby and Chris Copeland, and guards Richard Roby, Jayson Obazuaye and Marcus Hall.

Pregame

Perhaps lost in all the comotion of Senior Night and the celebration for Max Falkenstien last game at Allen Fieldhouse, is the actual basketball game tonight when No. 18 Kansas takes on Colorado at 7 p.m.

"They're a dangerous team," KU coach Bill Self said of the Buffs (18-7, 8-6 Big 12), who are on the bubble of the NCAA tournament. They're going to come in and fight hard. They'll play hungry just like they should, but we should too."

Indeed there undoubtly will be a lot of emotion tonight for the Jayhawks with KU's four seniors (Jeff Hawkins, Christian Moody, Moulaye Niang, and Stephen Vinson) playing there last game in the Fieldhouse. Add in legendary broadcaster, Falkenstien's final call at KU after more than 60 years in the radio business and the old barn should indeed be rocking.

"If you stop and think of all the lives he has touched along the way, people in western Kansas who have or have never seen Max but know his voice the first time they turn on the radio, it will be a great night for him," Self said. "I certainly hope our fans pay homage to him in a way that will make this go down as one of the most memorable nights of his life because he deserves it."

Falkenstien has said a lot of people over the last couple of months have asked him to continue his gig, but he said he thinks the time is right to hand over the microphone.

"You feel you finally come to a point you should hang it up and let somebody else do it," Falkenstien said. "I'll miss it tremendously, but it's the right thing to do. It wouldn't be fair for the person who replaces me."

After falling to Kansas on Jan. 11, Colorado rattled off five straight wins and currently tied for fourth with Texas A&M in the Big 12 race entering the final week of league play. The Buffs average a Big 12-high 79.5 points per game and give up 69 per contest. CU leads the league in three-point field goals made at 8.6 per game and in offensive rebounds at 15.64.

Sophomore Richard Roby leads the team in scoring at 17.8 points per game which is fifth in the Big 12. Roby also leads the team in rebounds with a 5.6 average. His 2.32 steals per game are third in the conference. Junior Marcus Hall leads the Big 12 in assist-toturnover ratio at 2.28 and his 4.28 assists per game are fifth in the league. Hall is scoring 9.4 points per game. Senior Chris Copeland is second on the team in scoring at 12.3 points per game.

"They're very hard to guard because they can stretch it from all five spots," Self said. "They're not a conventional team at all."

Kansas has won six straight home games and is 13-2 in Allen Fieldhouse this season. KU is scoring 75.7 points per game and giving up 61 per outing. Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage defense, at 36.8 percent. The Jayhawks also lead the Big 12 in assists at 18.11 per contest.

All season, Brandon Rush has led the Big 12 freshman class in scoring. His 13.7 points per game rank 16th overall in the league. Rush is also sixth in the league in field goal percentage at 50 percent and 12th in rebound average at six per contest. He is shooting a team-best 50.7 percent from three-point range. Freshman Mario Chalmers leads the Big 12 in steals at 2.7 per contest to go along with his 10.7 scoring average. Chalmers is eighth in the conference in assists at 3.89 per game.

Sophomore Russell Robinson took over the team assist lead with his eight at Texas Saturday. Robinson is scoring 8.7 points per game and his 4.11 assists average is sixth in the Big 12. Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week Julian Wright is averaging 19.5 points in his last two games and is shooting 81.8 percent from the field in that span. His scoring average is up to 8.7 per game.

Self said while it's KU young guys that have turned it on for the Jayhawks, Kansas is where it is now because of its senior class.

"It's obviously not as decorated a class as they've had come through here, but as far as maximizing their abilities, these guys did it pretty well," Self said. "One big reason why the freshmen have done better here and done so well in the league is because the seniors have accepted their roles and haven't fought it. If they had fought it, our chemistry wouldn't be near as good as it is."