Kansas University's offense was clicking in Wednesday's 27-point rout of Kansas State.
Brandon Rush knows one reason why.
"The emphasis in practice has been setting good screens. We had a lot of players setting a lot of good screens," said Rush, who hit five of eight shots the first half, including three of four threes, in helping the Jayhawks to a 47-35 halftime lead. He finished with 18 points off 6-of-11 shooting, including four of seven threes, in a 97-70 victory.
"The pick and roll, everything was open," Rush added.
Of course, it also helped that KU outrebounded the Wildcats, 46-24, and had its running game going off defensive rebounds. Yet it's undeniable the Jayhawk players worked to get their teammates open perhaps better than they have all season.
Five players finished in double figures for the first time in nine Big 12 games - the first time since the Winston-Salem State game on Dec. 19.
"Our inside guys played well. We shot it well from the outside," Rush said.
Big men Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson had 14 and 13 points respectively, while guards Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins had 11 apiece.
The balance tells Rush it may not be a big deal the squad does not have what is termed a "go-to guy."
"I think every team needs a go-to guy," Rush said, "but our team ... we have so much balance anybody can be the go-to guy. Like Sherron against Texas A&M;, he was our go-to guy (with 18 points in Saturday's loss)."
Collins on Wednesday played a season-high tying 28 minutes, most minutes since the Texas Tech game on Jan. 20.
"He's getting better all the time," KU coach Bill Self said of the 5-foot-11 Collins, who hit five of 10 shots versus the Cats after making 6 of 9 versus A&M.;
"He is pretty good off the bounce. He can get to where he wants to go. He doesn't need much space. You've heard the saying, 'Your performance is a direct reflection of your attitude?' He's had a fabulous attitude. Even when he was struggling, he kept grinding and grinding.
"He is reaping the benefits of being a sponge and wanting to be coached, understanding the big picture," Self added.
¢Players classier than fans?: KU's basketball players did not say anything after the game to inflame the Wildcats, who will be seeking revenge in a rematch on Feb. 19 in Manhattan.
"It was just one of those nights. We know when we go to K-State it'll be a different game," Rush said.
Coach Bill Self added: "As difficult as it was for K-State to win here, it will be a very difficult game for us when we go to Bramlage. There's definitely a different attitude, interest and enthusiasm with what's going on there. We know how hard it'll be."
KU's fans probably didn't help the cause, however, with some questionable behavior.
The fans chanted, "DUI, DUI," at KSU coach Huggins the second half. Students in the north and south end zones also held up copies of Wednesday's student newspaper which had an illustration of Huggins behind bars and the words "Hugs and Thugs."
Also, a KU fan and Huggins had a brief shouting match after the game as the Wildcats headed to their locker room.
KU athletic director Lew Perkins phoned KSU AD Tim Weiser on Thursday to apologize for the fan behavior in the fieldhouse.
"Our students make Allen Fieldhouse what it is. They can do it without crossing the line," KU associate AD Jim Marchiony said on Thursday. "Last night at times they crossed the line.
"For example," Marchiony said, "chanting 'Just like Football,' was great. It is the students being enthusiastic," he added of the fans referring to the Jayhawks stopping KSU in both football and hoops this seaosn. "Some of the other chants and the newspaper ... there's no reason to get personal like that."
Marchiony said the incident with the fan and Huggins was not a big deal. The fan supposedly shouted, "Nice game, Huggins," at the first-year Wildcat coach, who responded with words of his own.
"Our fan should not have said that," Marchiony said. "This is a highly emotional sport. Two teams laid it on the line for more than two hours. He (Huggins) had to listen to what, at times, were inappropriate comments (from crowd), and when you confront somebody after a game like that, you get a reaction sometimes. That was over very quickly and should not be overblown."
Marchiony thinks, however, the fans in Allen should cease chants such as "DUI, DUI," poking fun at Huggins' run-in with the law a couple years ago.
"The student newspaper centerfold was embarrassing to the university and athletic department as well as the newspaper itself," Marchiony said. "Several chants were embarrassing to the university. There's no place for that in college athletics.
"We hope the behavior of our fans will reflect the class with which our players play on the court. We want the behavior of our fans to reflect how they would want to be treated.
"This is not exclusive to the University of Kansas. Many of us have spent decades in collegiate athletics and never been to an event where somebody (in crowd) doesn't say or do something. We think we have great fans and would hope they continue to represent themselves and the university well in the future."
¢Next up: KU will travel to Missouri for a 2:30 p.m. tipoff Saturday.
"We're going to start running today in preparation for that game," KU's Rush said. "That '40 minutes of hell' (style of coach Mike Anderson) can be tough. We know it'll be a tough game."
KU tripped the Tigers, 80-77, on Jan. 15, in Allen.
¢Ostertag supportive: Former Utah Jazz center John Amaechi, who has become the first professional basketball player to openly identify himself as a homosexual, had praise for former teammate Greg Ostertag, who played his college ball at Kansas.
ESPN quotes Amaechi as saying Ostertag was the only Jazz player to ever ask him if he was gay.
"You have nothing to worry about, Greg," Amaechi was quoted as saying. He said he felt Ostertag and Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko were both accepting of his lifestyle.