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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Extra Minutes: Kansas 100, Baylor 90

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2007-08 Feb. 9 KU-Baylor Hoops

Some thoughts...from Allen Fieldhouse

Gary Bedore, Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer

"100 points? Wow, and without one single three. Arthur, Collins and Robinson were great and the Jayhawks withstood a tough test from a good Baylor team. I'm speechless about the three-point thing. Great great win, though. It keeps KU in the hunt for the league title. A surprise loss woulda been a killer heading into Texas."

Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor

"Scoring 64 points in a half without the benefit of a three-point field goal against a quality opponent such as Baylor requires playing at sprinter's speed, and that's the way Kansas played with Sherron Collins, pushing the pace. Collins is back and so is Brandon Rush, who frustrated Aaron Bruce into an unproductive night."

Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor

"If Bob Knight coached KU tonight, he probably would have actually enjoyed the zero three-pointers hit, seeing how he constantly voices his disliking of the bonus shot from long range. As for the Jayhawks, they didn't fret about it, and Russell Robinson put it best - KU was still able to play its game and get any shot it wanted. Brandon Rush looked plenty comfortable without the knee brace for the first time and his rebounding in the first half was big. I'm gonna guess Darnell Jackson scores big for KU Monday night, as he'll now be coming off of back-to-back six-point showings."

Inside the numbers

0: KU didn't hit a three-pointer in a game for the first time since the 1999-00 season. Gary said it best in that that stat stands out even more considering the Jayhawks topped the century mark. It's the third time in school history that a KU team has scored 100 without the aid of a single trifecta. The last time was in 1992, and the first in 1987. Bill Self also pointed out the rarity in 63 shots being taken by his players with just nine of them coming from long range. That's one in every seven shot attempts.

64: KU's 64 points scored after halftime marked the Jayhawks' highest-scoring half of the season, topping the 58 points scored against Washburn in a half in the season's third game. Brandon Rush was one blown dunk in the closing minutes away from giving KU six players in double figures in the point column. Inside the three-point arc, KU was efficient, going 32-of-54 from the floor.

22: Russell Robinson was consistent after a slow start against Baylor's guard-heavy lineup. Included in his 22 point showing was setting a new career benchmark in both free throws attempted and made, going 14-of-15 from the stripe.

23: Darrell Arthur needed Saturday night after playing just two minutes because of three fouls Monday against Missouri. His 23 points were well-spread out against Baylor, and he did it in a variety of ways, with both tough inside buckets, free throws and nice mid-range jumpers. He also had 10 rebounds for the double-double.

17: Sherron Collins' 17 points made this his most impressive performance since returning to action from his foot injury. It wasn't the point total, though, but rather how it was put together. Collins was as fast as he's looked since the injury, sparking most notably a big six-point run in the second half with a pair of acrobatic layups in transition sandwiching a sidearm bounce pass to Brandon Rush through traffic on the break which Rush finished with a finger roll.

1: After turning the ball over seven times in the first half, KU can pat itself on the back one more time for giving it away just once after the break during that 64-point spurt.

30: It's hard not to throw some credit in the direction of Baylor guard Curtis Jerrells, who scored 30 points in about as tough a fashion as 30 points can be scored. He was 11-of-21 from the floor, 4-of-8 from three, had four rebounds and four assists.

Just in case you missed it...

Brandon Rush played for the first time this season without a knee brace and protective sleeve covering the better portion of his right leg. Self said after the game it didn't play a role in how Rush performed. The junior was pretty solid, with nine points, seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocked shots. Self said earlier in the season around Feb. 1 was when Rush would be pretty much back to normal, and taking the brace off to play for the first time on Feb. 9 makes that prognostication pretty accurate in hindsight.

Hopefully you didn't miss it...

It was just another way in which KU has won a game this year, really. They've won grinders and blowouts, now add another track meet to the tally sheet. Though Self said afterwards this was a style he'd rather not revisit down the road, citing that allowing 90 points come tourney time means more than likely the end to your season. Despite allowing 90 points, though, Self said he was pretty pleased with the way his guards applied pressure, sighting the abundance of guarded shots Baylor was forced into hoisting. Most of them just happened to go in, which speaks to the abundance of talent Scott Drew has in the backcourt.

They said it...

Russell Robinson on responding to a slow start which put him on the bench for a bit: "It was definitely a lot of frustration because we didn't get off to a good start. They hit some tough shots and took a nice early, but we had a chance to turn it around and we did...I was able to look at the game, catch my breathe and came out with a lot of aggression and sparked the team."

Russell Robinson on Baylor's guard set: "That's the best set of guards I've seen, and hopefully that's the best set of guards we'll see all year, because they definitely, one-through-four, they can score the ball and are a pretty tough team to guard."

Darrell Arthur on Russell Robinson's play: "He was a big key. We needed him out there, he got in there, fought for some tough rebounds, got fouled, got to the line whenever he wanted to and I thought he had a solid game."

Darrell Arthur on staying out of foul trouble: "I'm surprised I didn't pick up one in the first half, thought I did pretty good playing in with my head and my feet."

Darrell Arthur on going against an improved Damion James Monday: "Without Durant, I knew he was gonna start going off. But he's always been a good player. I've been watching him for a long time now. He gets some things done, he can play inside, he can play outside. He's got nice touch from three, he's got a nice pull-up game, and he's rebounding the ball real well right now, so it's gonna be a tough matchup."

Sherron Collins on adjusting the style of play: "Early in the game, we let their bigs change our shots instead of just taking it right through them. Once we started taking it right through them, getting fouls, we're a good free-throw shooting team once we concentrate and knock them down, and I thought we did that."

Bill Self on the second half showing: "Second half, offensively, is probably as well as we've played all year. You go 26-of-32 from the line, shoot 63 percent from the field and you don't turn it over. That's about as good as we can do offensively. Unfortunately, they did just as good, offensively, or close to as good."

Bill Self on his guards' job defensively: "Before we evaluate our guards' defense, we should see how many hard baskets they made. Be real candid with you, if they're taking hard shots, the guards are doing their job."

Bill Self on Russell Robinson and hitting free throws late: "I thought Russell played real well. Of course, it was great to see him make his free throws, and it was good to see how we did step up and make our free throws late, because if we would have missed our free throws, anything could have happened because of the way they were throwing everything in the basket."

Bill Self on Baylor's guards as a preparation for Texas' Monday: "It's the best collective set of guards back-to-back in the league, and we're going against the best guard - D.J. - and Abrams has always been a thorn in our side. I'm not sure offensively we'll play any guards that will actually play any better than what Baylor played tonight. I could be wrong, but hopefully nobody's gonna hang 77 on us again just from the guard spot."

Bill Self on the style of play in Saturday's shootout: "I'd rather win 80-70 any day of the week. It's fool's gold. You give up 90 points in the tournament, you go home."

Bill Self on Sherron Collins: "Shady was terrific, Russell was solid and played great, but Sherron was the spark tonight. I thought in the second half he changed the pace of the game and got us easy baskets in transition...From a health standpoint, he looked faster tonight than he's looked all year, and that's what he can bring to the table."

Comments

jayhawker_97 14 years, 3 months ago

Collins, RusRob, Arthur - way to attack the basket!!! that's what we needed!

chalmers2wright 14 years, 3 months ago

Did you read what self said? He said the guards played good defense but they just made everything they threw up. You can't do much better then to make a team shoot tough shots. They just happened to make most of them. This was one of those games that on another day could've been 100-50.

Purposive 14 years, 3 months ago

Our guards' defense has really fallen off the last few weeks.

What's going on with them? If they fall asleep on D against Texas, we might find ourselves a two-loss team.

Joe Ross 14 years, 3 months ago

Self is totally right. We gave up 90 POINTS!

Yes we scored 64 in a half. BUT WE GAVE UP 57!!! We have to do better defensively. We have to...

Why are there no stats that tell that Baylor shot lights out (forty percent) from three? FORTY PER CENT? Are you kidding me? As a TEAM? Wow! Wow...

WOW!

Against Chalmers, Rush, Collins, and Robinson?

Wow...

jaybate 14 years, 3 months ago

I missed the second half, which must have been quite a show.

I've never seen a defensive team that can win without treys AND defense.

Frankly, one of our most remarkable wins ever.

THREE POINT SHOTS? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING THREE POINT SHOTS.

I know all of us are worried about KU giving up 57 points in a half, but let us remember that Baylor shot 41% on 29 trey attempts; that will score a lot of points anytime.

And so it did.

The truly amazing thing is that we won by ten without making any treys and only attempting 2 in the second half. Talk about playing take what they give us!!!

Eddie Sutton has got to have a big smile on his face, if he's seen this box score. He's probably saying, "See? If you just take what they give you and exploit your match-up advantages, you win. Atta boy, Bill, you have come far, pilgrim."

When all is said and done, the only thing that really worries me about this game is this: Brandon go scorched by the two inch shorter Lacie Darius Dunn. I conclude that this is not the same Brandon Rush as last year; the incredible defensive stopper who was so tough Self put him on Kevin Durant when the going got tough.

Lacie Dunn would have been putty in Brandon's hands last year.

Pause for reflection...

You know, we take heart when they find a way to win ugly in a grind it out game.

I reckon we need to take heart when they find a way to win without defense, or effective defense, anyway. 40% outside shooting happens once in a while, even with a hand in the face.

Go Jayhawks!!!! Keep finding weird ways to win.

KUglow 14 years, 3 months ago

I agree, Chalmers. I think if KU-Baylor played again, with each team taking the same exact shots, guarded the same way, this is a 30 point blowout. I know in the last 2 minutes they hit a few shots that were way beyond the line. It happens, it didn't rattle us, and we continued to play our game. I think this was one of our better wins in a while.

Joe Ross 14 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate...

I know you take a lot of flack for length of posts, etc., but I have to say your posts are as thought-provoking as anyone else's here bar none.

That said, there's something about the last post that I disagree with. Its nothing I can really put my finger on, but you dont seem so bothered about the way we win and I have a general feeling that, while the win was good, the way in which we won was not.

Heres the thing...

You want close grind-it-out games. In that sense, the game yesterday is a feather to stick in your cap. However, you dont want close games where you give up 57 points in a half. Self said it best when he said he'd rather have a 80-70 win than a 100-90 win. Same margin, same close game, different ramifications defensively.

Our defense was simply terrible. Yes we scored 60 plus points in a half, but we gave up 57. Some teams dont score 57 points in 40 minutes of play. Baylor did it in a single half. People seem to rationalize this by saying the way Baylor shot was miraculous (hands in their faces, many threes shot late in the game, etc.). Thats not a cause to feel better though, because teams can do that in the tournament too, and all the points count the same no matter how or when they come. So in my limited wisdom, I disagree with Coach's take: "Before we evaluate our guards' defense, we should see how many hard baskets they made. Be real candid with you, if they're taking hard shots, the guards are doing their job."

For one thing, many of the shots they got off in the first half were completely uncontested, with the defender 5 to 10 feet off the ball. THATS not the guards "...doing their job".

We've got some serious work to do. Might Texas be one of those bellwether games?

chalmers2wright 14 years, 3 months ago

Jross I do agree with you that the uncontested shots need to be cut down and I'll agree with most people on here that our defense is not as good as it was in the nonconference season. But, I'll have to disagree and say that I didn't mind the way we won. You say that teams do shoot lights out in the tourney and that's absolutely correct but this showed me that we are going to be a team that will be able to handle it. With only about 3 players playing well we were able to hold off a team that was (towards the end of the game) shooting lights out. We didn't panic (like alot of tourney teams do when faced with a team that just can't miss) and did what we needed to hold a comfortable lead most of the second half.

Joe Ross 14 years, 3 months ago

Point taken Chalmers...

But this was Baylor, on our home court. Not Duke, Memphis, or UCLA on a neutral floor. Its one thing to struggle defensively on your home floor when it doesnt matter (i.e., during the regular season when you get to keep playing), but its another thing to scramble during the postseason.

I value your perspective as it adds to the climate of discussion. We are left with a disagreement. But consider this. If IM wrong, and the defense is really good enough, then there is nothing to worry about. If YOURE wrong, and winning in this way really holds trouble for us down the road, then we will be a bunch of regretful Kansas fans by seasons end.

OCCAMS RAZOR: One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.

The simplest explanation for our ills of late is that our defense is suspect. There is a body of evidence to support this. Better to discover this in February than in March.

mom_of_three 14 years, 3 months ago

Baylor was making contested three point shots. They were making pretty much everything they put up, and some of them were amazing. (I especially liked the flops by the Baylor guards for the 4 point play and the 3 foul shots). We were in their face for some of those shots and they still went in. Sometimes you can play defense, and a team can still shoot lights out. But their defense couldn't stop the bigs, and once we started running, they couldn't stop our guys.
Coach was getting after those refs and rightly so. But Coach Drew has done quite a job with this team. Hope they make it to the tournament and do well. Can't wait to see them play Kstate.

jaybate 14 years, 3 months ago

jross1972,

We agree that there is evidence that something has changed with the way we play perimeter defense.

We differ on the trigger.

You analyse quite rationally that our guys are just not up and in their jockstraps the way they were up until a few weeks ago and attribute it to a decline in effort and an erosion in fundamentals. You could well be right and Coach Self agrees with you at least partly, calling 100-90 wins fools gold for a team corner-stoned on defense.

But as you rightly note, Coach Self also hedges his analytical bets a bit and says all you can ask of defenders is to make offenders take tough shots. Sometimes they make them despite the hand in the face.

I look at this and say that teams are starting to accrue enough game video and insight into tendancies about this team's guards to learn how to prevent our guards from running roughshod over them the way they did early

I also think as the season wears on, our guards' experience contributes less and less of an edge. Other teams young players are getting more and more experienced and less easily prayed upon by our wily veterans.

I suspect that as we more and more play against teams that run defensive schemes that require us to put Sherron Collins on the floor for more and more minutes for the offensive edge he gives us in penetrate-and-dish, the more we must bear the brunt of his sub-par defensive skills. Its not that Collins is a bad defender. He's not. He's just not stellar like Chalmers, RR nor intimidating, the way Rod Stewart was early when he had some confidence and optimism about getting to play.

jaybate 14 years, 3 months ago

Finally, I believe that Self had KU playing a lot of UCLA hack and slap defense in order to master Howland's approach that contributed mightily to beating them last year. I think in the pre conference games, the refs were letting them do it just like they were letting UCLA do it early. But when the conference season started, it seems to me that the refs have taken hack and slap away from KU. Alas, the Pac10 refs continue to let UCLA flourish with hack and slap during the conference schedule. Hack and slap really disrupts an opponent and if you have quick guards doing it and fast bigs, suddently it turns a half court game into a transition game favoring KU's speed. Without hack and slap, our take what they give us philosophy comes front and center. And if teams give us grind it out we grind it out. And if they give us a fast game we play fast with less ability to slow them down. In fast games, guards, especially short fast ones, can get a lot of uncontested looks at threes; that's what Baylor got.

You use Ockham's razor and cut to defensive want to and execution. You could be oversimplifying.

I use complexity of triggers and strategy of opponents and arrive at a different explanation. I could be confusing myself with too many variables and getting lost in multicollinearity, so to speak.

It is possible you are right. It is possible I am right. And it is possible we both are right. I doubt we are entirely wrong.

But time alone will tell.

Post Script: It also occurs to me that Self may just have decided to emphasize shutting off Baylor's bigs, rather than shutting off their guards and wasn't very successful at shutting off their bigs. Again, to me the thing to worry about is Brandon's complete inability to contain Dunn, and not be able to outscore him. Brandon is not the player he was and opposing teams are now going to know this. Henceforth, they are going to defend and offend accordingly.

Geez, I like talking basketball with you.

There just aren't that many willing to get down into it, regardless of agreement or diagreement.

danimal33 14 years, 3 months ago

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with our guys giving up 90 points, 57 in the second half also. BUT, you have to put this game into perpective. Usually Self's guys work a lot of passes and screens in on the half court offense and run the shot clock down to at least 10 seconds. This leads to less possessions, which leads to less opportunities for the opponent to score, which leads to lower point totals for the opposition.

Last night, Baylor was not getting back on defense, and was not defending very well in the half court set, Especially in the second half. This led to a lot of fast break points and buckets scored in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock. If you go back and look at the stats, I'm pretty sure you'll see that there were at least 10 more possesions per team than what a typical KU game would allow. I'm not arguing that the defense was soft, only that part of the baylor scoring can be attributed to more possesions due to the pace of the game.

danimal33 14 years, 3 months ago

I just confirmed my thoughts on the pace of the game at kenpom.com. Our average possesion per game is 70. in this game we had 79. Also our offesive efficiency was 125 compared to our average of 118. defensive efficiency was 112 compared to our average of 87.

Joe Ross 14 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate...

Nice demonstration of respectful disagreement...

kc_wildfire 14 years, 3 months ago

didjabuti...

True, probably should have narrowed it down to playing Top 5 teams.

2006-07 2003-04 2002-03 2001-02

Played a Top 5 team those seasons and had pretty good success in the tournament.

Who knows if that makes a difference or not. I just found it kind of interesting seeing the years we did well we played against at least one top rated team.

kc_wildfire 14 years, 3 months ago

Has anyone brought up the fact that maybe our guards' defensive ability has been over-hyped all year, or at least until the last handful of games, because they were playing against primarily less than stellar competition?

It is fairly easy for a Top 10 team to look impressive against teams like Eastern Washington, Northern Arizona, Yale, etc. Could our weak non-conference scheduling the last few years be one of the main factors as to why we have difficulty in the tournament?

Not having the benefit of playing an elite program in the non-conference portion of the schedule has not prepared the team for that moment when it comes tournament time. Inexperience is hard to overcome, especially by 18-20 year kids.

I know every game can't be against a Top 50 team but the converse is true as well...every game can't be against lower half DI teams either. Yale, Dartmouth, Northern Colorado, Western Illinois and others aren't basketball talented programs.

Yes, we did play USC, Arizona, Boston College and Gerogia Tech earlier but this year none of them had great teams. Bad luck as some scheduling is done a couple years out and it is hard to predict what programs are going to be top notch competition down the road.

However there are a good number of programs who you know will be good, if not great, year after year...Duke, UNC, Wisconsin, Michigan St., Pitt, Memphis (at least as long as Calipari has been there) and a few others.

A quick look back...

2006-07

1 Florida (W)

3-1 in the Tournament

2005-06

10 Arizona (L)

20 Nevada (L)

23 Kentucky (W)

0-1 in the Tourament

2004-05

9 Georgia Tech (W)

8 Kentucky (W)

0-1 in the Tournament

2003-04

4 Michigan St. (W)

17 Stanford (L)

NR Villanova- Up and coming with Sumpter, Foyem, Nardi and Ray (W)

3-1 in the Tournament

2002-03

7 Florida (L)

6 Oregon (L)

1 Arizona (L)

5-1 in the Tournament

2001-02

3 Arizona (W)

23 Wake Forest (W)

Toss in two games against OU which was ranked in the Top 5 (Split the games)

4-1 in the Tournament

2000-01

17 UCLA (W)

11 Wake Forest (L)

2-1 in the Tournament

This says one of two things...

A.) The years we did well and went far in the tournament we had good teams and should have went that far

or

B.) Playing a Top 10 team (doesn't matter if we win or lose those games) in the non-con portion of the season prepares us and we do better in the tournament.

Or I could have just wasted 20 minutes of my life as my way of saying I have been disappointed with the strength of schedule and lack of marquee match-ups in the non-conference schedules the last couple of years.

ralsterKUMed95 14 years, 3 months ago

2nd team (first was KState) to shoot over 40% 3s against us (are there more?), this time in our own gym. But maybe it was a game of taking what they give, as we found a LOT of points inside and short range and at the FT line. This might be a prelude to playing UNC? Look at the natural tendency of Baylor to help explain our appearance on defense: Their 4 guards are stellar and gave most of the points--and since guards are simply the quickest players on any bball team, it will be harder to contain all the things that guards do (penetration, etc..) compared to what wing and bigmen do. Jerrells DID have I think 7 turnovers...

chalmers2wright 14 years, 3 months ago

Jross- It's always tough to argue with Ockham's Razor haha. I do agree that it was a bit disappointing that we showed somewhat poorly defensively at home, and to further your argument we all know that not every court in the tourney is a neutral court...even for a #1 seed (ex: Us vs. UCLA in California). I think my first post came off a bit the wrong way. I in no way think that the team doesn't have work to do to sharpen up defensively. I guess I just viewed this game in a different way. A much improved Baylor team came in, shot very well and KU didn't play very well. Yet we still won by 10. Granted if you take the homecourt advantage away that could've been a much different game. I will say that though I hope we don't play that bad in the tourney I am glad that even the once bottom-dwellers are making the team work very hard and preparing us very well for the unpredictability that is the NCAA Tournament.

Joe Ross 14 years, 3 months ago

ralster good points, but one SLIGHT oversight.

Our backcourt was touted as the best in the nation going into the season because of its offensive AND defensive capability. Therefore, there is a reasonable expectation that even other great backcourts will do less well against Kansas than they do against other teams. They didnt. They had career nights.

Therefore, your argument (and I respect how sound your logic is consistently) that "...since guards are simply the quickest players on any bball team, it will be harder to contain all the things that guards do..." seems to be oversimplified here. It doesnt take into account that Baylor was playing KANSAS of all teams.

Joe Ross 14 years, 3 months ago

you know what...

agree or disagree, I have to say that this is one of the most civil exchanges of opposing points of view that I have witnessed here on the boards. props to all for keeping it respectful. and best of luck to our hawks tomorrow night in Texas.

didjabuti 14 years, 3 months ago

kc_wildfire, 2004 - 2005 we played two top 10 teams and lost in the first round, kind of puts a hole in your theory. I do agree with your general statement though. Not only does it prepare your team but gives you credibility, which as a fan I like. Even when I know or feel that we have a good team, without wins over top tier programs you can't tell anyone outside of the Big12 that you've got a great team. They all think we don't play anyone. Does anyone know if Self and Gillispie are cooking up a home and home? This is the first thing I thought of when Billy took the job. I seem to remember Self say something about giving him time to make the program his own. If we could have annual matchups with Kentucky and Memphis, we would be all the better for it. IMHO

I also wanted to say that from my viewpoint, yes teams do get hot in the tournament and make falling down 3's with hands in their face. Our defense can be better. However, we did win. And in winning, we can build confidence that we can win in a similar situation. I should say that JAYHAWKS can build confidence in themselves, and I can have confidence in my HAWKS. It's all a journey and I'm loving it. I know that right now, this team is not upset proof. But I also feel that we have a great chance to win against ANYONE.

I believe I just read a whole thread without someone calling someone else an idoit for having an opinion. It was actually pretty enjoyable to read.

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