Self: Rush 'has to step up'

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

— Now is not the time of year for Brandon Rush to get tentative.

He knows it.

His coach knows it.

His teammates know it.

"Let's call it like it is. Brandon has to step up. He can't score eight points or five points. He's better than that offensively," Kansas University coach Bill Self said after Rush hit for nine points off 2-of-7 shooting with four turnovers and seven rebounds in the Jayhawks' 67-65 victory over Oklahoma on Monday in Noble Center.

"He has to do more offensively for us to look good. He shied away from plays tonight," Self added. "That's what he can't do. We've got to get better at that."

Rush, who along with several other players appeared frazzled at times - "I think the whole group showed frustration tonight; the body language wasn't as good," Self said - admits he has been struggling.

He has made just seven of his last 24 shots over three games.

KU barely tops Oklahoma in tough conference play

The Jayhawks had a hard time with Oklahoma Monday night, but was able to come away with the road victory over the Sooners, 67-65.

"I'm just worried about making a mistake," Rush said.

Why's that?

"I don't know. I've had in the back of my mind, 'Don't make mistakes,'" Rush said. "I need to have a free mind when I'm out there, not worry, just move on to the next play."

Rush made two of four shots in the first half, but went 0-for-3 after intermission.

"I couldn't get myself into the game, I guess. I was getting frustrated with myself, missing shots, air-balling. I just need to do a better job out there," he said.

Junior Russell Robinson said he noticed frustration in Rush.

"It's our job as guards to get Brandon easy shots, get him going, get him in rhythm," Robinson said.

Rush was pleased to see Julian Wright and Mario Chalmers save the day with 18 points apiece.

"They stepped up and led us," Rush said.

It has been a different guy each game for KU much of the season.

"No question Sherron (Collins) has been our best player in crunch time until tonight," Self said. "You could almost ask me who our go-to guy is between TV timeouts, it changes so frequently."