Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Some thoughts....from Norman
Gary Bedore, Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer
"The Jayhawks blew a 17-point lead, but no biggie. KU won, and that's all that matters this time of year.
The Jayhawks need to get Brandon Rush going. He had another off game. He's had three mediocre-to-sub-par outings in a row.
The freshmen were due for a sub-par outing.
All in all, it's good to win on an off night. Winning on the road isn't easy and KU has made a habit of it the past two seasons."
Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor
"The NCAA Tournament is all about surviving and advancing, even when little goes right.
On its final night of February basketball, Kansas survived, despite not getting a single point in a combined 39 minutes from freshmen standouts Sherron Collins and Darrell Arthur."
Inside the numbers
0: That's how many points KU's freshman duo of Sherron Collins, who has been KU's best player the past two-plus weeks, and Darrell Arthur combined for. It was the first time that's happen since the two arrived in Lawrence, and most notably the first time it's happened in Arthur's KU career. It almost cost KU, as there wasn't one player for the Jayhawks Monday who was offensively dominant from start to finish. The closest was Julian Wright. Collins and Arthur are still great players, so don't consider this a bash-fest. But that can't happen too much if KU wants to be consistently successful.
12: Oklahoma outscored Kansas by 12 points in the second half, and did it in a fashion about as ugly as you'll see on a basketball court. Methodically, the Sooners did it from the free throw line and with a sample of timely jumpers, at one point tying KU thanks to a Michael Neal three from the corner. Basically, this game wound up closer than it rightfully should have been against an offensively porous team.
10: No 10 made shots were more important than the 10 free throws KU sophomore Mario Chalmers hit. During the free-throw-fest that was the second half, Chalmers was really KU's only response to OU's bit-by-bit attack.
5: As soon as OU's Taylor Griffin was called for his fifth foul late in the second half, the Sooners struggled because their energy source was pretty much unplugged from the wall. Griffin was gritty, with 12 points and seven rebounds, and the Sooners simply couldn't replace his adrenaline. Really, no one else in crimson and cream seemed to show emotion.
Just in case you missed it...
KU's freshman duo of Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins combined to score nothing on 0-for-7 shooting. Collins at times looked to revert to his earlier season form, with two assists and two turnovers. The second turnover came late and could have been costly, as he went to fast down the sideline towards the bucket and collapsed near the baseline, loosing the rock out of bounds. Arthur, who had been much better about fouling as of late, was again plagued by whistles, picking up three untimely fouls which limited him to a season-low six minutes on the floor (his previous mark was 12). It was also his first scoreless performance of his KU career. For Collins, it was his fourth time with a goose egg in the points column, but his first since Dec. 23 against Boston College. KU will have a tough time winning in the tournament when the freshmen are that quiet. Fran Fraschilla made a great point during the ESPN telecast, saying Monday's game closely resembled what KU as a one- or two-seed could expect in the second round of the NCAA tournament from a seven-, eight-, nine- or 10-seed.
Hopefully you didn't miss it...
Russell Robinson basically hit his season scoring average on the head by putting home seven points Monday night, but two of them came at the most crucial of moments. He hit a pair of late free throws which made it impossible for OU to win, on a night where everyone but Mario Chalmers was far from a lock at the free throw line. Sure, Robinson's numbers don't really ever pop off a stat sheet, but after missing a game with a foot sprain, he showed why he'll be important in games like this - because they will come again - come the postseason.