Sunday, February 8, 2009

Looming large

Aldrich rules boards in Jayhawks’ victory

Kansas center Cole Aldrich blocks Oklahoma State guard Byron Eaton's shot during the second half Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse. Aldrich was called for a foul on the play.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich blocks Oklahoma State guard Byron Eaton's shot during the second half Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse. Aldrich was called for a foul on the play.


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2009 KU-OSU Feb. 7

Reader poll

Which of next week's games will be tougher for KU?

  • KU at Missouri 86% 681 votes
  • KU at Kansas State 13% 102 votes

783 total votes.

Kansas University center Cole Aldrich, who had a five-inch height advantage over Oklahoma State’s tallest basketball starter, made it look easy in stretching for a career-high 18 rebounds on Saturday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse.

“Oh, it’s tough,” Aldrich exclaimed after the Jayhawks’ 78-67 victory over the Cowboys.

“It takes a lot out of you to get 18 rebounds. I think I had 18 up in Canada,” Aldrich added, correctly recalling an 18-rebound outing against McGill University last Labor Day weekend.

“In high school, I averaged 171⁄2 rebounds a game. I probably had a few games with 23 or 24.”

The 6-foot-11, 245-pounder’s 18 rebounds were two more than his previous high of 16 set against Syracuse back on Nov. 25 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. They were most by a KU player since Wayne Simien’s 20 versus Kansas State in March of 2005.

“This helps my confidence knowing I can play against a smaller lineup. I struggled against Nebraska,” Aldrich said of his eight-point, eight-rebound outing in a 68-62 victory over the small, scrappy Huskers on Jan. 28 in Lincoln.

“I knew they (Cowboys) didn’t quite have the size. I tried to grab every board to get our guards the ball so we could get easy baskets in transition.”

Aldrich scored 12 points off 6-of-12 shooting on a day Mario Little scored 13 off the bench.

Aldrich also drew coach Bill Self’s praise for his defense. Aldrich stepped up to help out on OSU senior point guard Byron Eaton, who scored eight points off 2-of-6 shooting (and 10 assists) after burning KU for 26 points in last year’s 61-60 OSU victory in Stillwater.

“Cole’s ball-screen defense was a lot better. He did a good job helping Sherron (Collins) contain Eaton on the ball,” Self said. “It’s how they beat us last year. I wish we could go back and guard them like that last year. He (Eaton) totally dominated that game (last year). He had a good game with 10 assists, but was not able to do much in the teeth of the game.”

Eaton did not score in the first half as KU (19-4 overall, 8-0 Big 12) raced to a 37-24 halftime lead.

Obi Muonelo and Marshall Moses scored 14 and eight respectively as just three Cowboys scratched the stat scoring sheet in the first 20 minutes. KU, meanwhile, had seven players score early, with Little tallying seven the first half.

OSU (14-8, 3-5), which trailed by as many as 20 points (64-44 with 8:41 left), never sliced the lead under 10 during the second half.

“We got nonchalant at the end of the game. We got a little comfortable with our lead and let them kick it out for open threes,” KU’s Collins said, not happy OSU had trimmed the gap to 11 points with 41⁄2 minutes to play.

“We were a little lackadaisical at the end of the game,” Aldrich noted. “Against Missouri, if we do that it’ll be a tough night.”

KU travels to rival Missouri for an 8 p.m. tipoff on Monday. The Tigers improved to 20-4 overall and an impressive 7-2 in the Big 12 following Saturday’s 82-68 victory over Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.

“It wasn’t that hard to not look ahead to Missouri,” Aldrich said. “We knew Oklahoma State was going to be tough. They proved it last year when we were ranked third in the country. We played at their place, and they made us look silly. That really hit home for Sherron and me and the guys that were on the team last year.

“We’ve got so many young guys. They’ve not had that feeling of another team’s fans storming the court. It’s one of the worst feelings you can have as a player.”

There’s a good chance MU’s fans will storm if the Tigers defeat the No. 21-ranked Jayhawks on Monday.

There’s also a good chance unranked MU will be ranked by game time.

Self likely will be satisfied if KU’s defenders can duplicate Saturday’s effort in Columbia. KU outrebounded OSU, 46-33, and held the Cowboys to 35.4 percent shooting. OSU did sink 10 of 32 threes, but just four of 16 the pivotal first half.

“We did some good things. I hate how we finished the game, and that’s the last taste in our mouths,” Self said. “We were miserable the last four or five minutes. That should’ve been a 20-point game. They (Oklahoma State) were trying to foul at the end, but they (the officials) never called it, which I haven’t seen very often. It was a win. I wish we would’ve finished the game better, but we were able to get through it, and now it sets the stage for a pretty big Big Monday.”

A really big Big Monday.

“It will probably be as difficult a setting as we’ve played in all year, but we need that. I think our guys will be excited, but, certainly, we have to take care of the ball a little better. We had 17 turnovers, so naturally we have to be much better against Missouri,” Self said.


kosovojayhawk 13 years, 10 months ago

Bill Self has earned his pay raise and proved to be one of the best coaches in the nation. Twice now in his short 6 years at KU, he has taken a "rebuilding year" team and turned it into a contender. Congrats to coach Self and all the players for a fantastic start to the conference season, much better than any of us could have hoped for! Keep it up hawks!

jaybate 13 years, 10 months ago

It amazes me that Cole has to gain confidence playing against short players, but Self has always been very conscious of the taller player struggling against shorter players.It amazes me, because I was only concerned by players taller than I was, not those shorter.But then I never played against guys 5 or 6 inches shorter than I was.

Scott Smetana 13 years, 10 months ago

KosovoJahawk, I feel the same. We spend hours on here analyzing the players, but without Bill, this team is mediocre at best. I feel KU fans were blessed with Roy, but I'm starting to think we did better with Bill. And to think, I thought the sky was falling after we lost to Syracuse and Roy announced he was leaving. PS - Cole reminds me of Sasha. Maybe a little better jumpshot and not quite as tough (yet) as Sasha as a senior. Anyone?

John Myers 13 years, 10 months ago

You're still carrying all that anger, soobawls? That's really sad..

TwistedFish31 13 years, 10 months ago

"There’s a good chance MU’s fans will storm if the Tigers defeat the No. 21-ranked Jayhawks on Monday."How incredibly low has a program become that their students would storm the court after beating a team ranked 21st? Although I'm guessing we'll be ranked around 17th by Monday night. The day our students storm the court for beating "any" team will be a sad day at KU! If mizzou pulls off the upset and those inbreds really do storm the court, I think it will show the nation just how pathetic their program has become.I give a pass to the kids for storming the court last year in Manhattan since none of them were alive the last time k-state beat the Jayhawks at home.

dylans 13 years, 10 months ago

You can't fault Roy for going home, it allowed Bill Self to bring a championship to Lawrence. Also Roy won one with someone else's players (you know he can't do it with his own) so good for him and good riddance. Dean on the other hand completely turned his back on his home state and asked Roy to do what he wouldn't and return home. Ironic considering that Dean was calling Roy away from what should be Dean's home.Out with the old in with the new. We love ya Bill!

Dan Pawlowski 13 years, 10 months ago

soobawls,Roy is an NC Alum. If you thought he would not jump at the chance to coach North Caronlina then you were fooling yourself and I have some land I want to sell you. When Roy turned it down the first time and recommended Matt Doherty he figured that was his last decision on where he would coach the rest of his career. Who would have thought the inmates would start running the Asylum at NC and get Doherty booted. I can not blame Roy for wanting to coach at his Alma Mater. Get over it! Let it Go. We are NC! Quite living in the past. Get some therapy !

KU1979 13 years, 10 months ago

In my much less than objective opinion, it appears to me that Cole gets hacked on a lot of his rebounds, especially when playing against smaller teams. Those little guys are constantly beating on him, and fouls rarely get called. It's like the refs are saying that little guys can't foul big guys. There wasn't even a foul called when his nose got busted. Like I said, I'm not objective, but that's the way it looks to me.

COJHawk 13 years, 10 months ago

Fun to watch this team continue to get better. Good ball movement on offense leading to wide open shots. More contributions from more guys. Just seems like a different team than 2 months ago and I'm enjoying watching them play.One quick thought re: yesterday...seemed like KU was fortunate to catch OSU on an off shooting day. They shot 30 threes and it seemed like more than half of those were WIDE open and they just missed. Not sure they can get away with that against a good shooting team. Thoughts from the peanut gallery....

cre017 13 years, 10 months ago

I don't ever want to loose to MU but this is not our "national championship" as one MU player has said. Hey MU we already have 5 and by the way they are not given away in February! Another MU player has said that "you thought Baylor was big". MU is gifted athletically but I don't think they possess the skills that our young KU team does. Bill Self's Jayhawks compete for national championships each and every year. MU v. KU is a big game but it's not everything. Look at what Mangino does with this rival, well at least publicly. Let's go hawks. Just drive on over to Columbia and get yet another victory in Columbia.

KirkwoodHawk 13 years, 10 months ago

Dylans,That has been my point all along! Dean Smith is the real piece of sh*t in that whole saga, and why we invite him back for anything, particulary when he wears that Carolina Blue sportjacket to rub it in, is just insulting. Yes, Roy did mislead with his statements, but we all know he speaks from the emotion of the moment, and that sometimes that gets you caught in a trap. I don't think he did anything intentional or malicious towards KU when he changed his mind. I cannot say the same thing about Dean Smith and his 1) refusing to come back when we asked him to return, and 2) his recruiting of Roy for the 2d time, and pressuring him during the NCAAs and not giving him a chance to think about it. He knew that Roy was an emotional person and if allowed to return to his players before making his final decision, Roy would be more likely to stay at KU, just like the first time.

jimmyspeachbaskets 13 years, 10 months ago

I always love when Mizzou is starting to get a little momentum (either basketball or football) and think big things are going to happen. Then we come in and ruin their dreams. Chenowith's line drive game winner; Orange Bowl v. Alamo Bowl; Reesing to Meyer. Nothing better than when we can beat Mizzou and demoralize them at the same time. Get ready for it to happen again on Monday. Final prediction: 94-80. Winner: the educated bunch.

jayhawker_97 13 years, 10 months ago

we want more! we want more! Cole can do more!seriously. i really like it when he taps the ball off the boards and grab it with authority!oh, and more blocks are needed against Caroll & his homeys, so rack that stat up, too..i can't wait to see the young Hawks clipping the tiger's claws!! go Hawks!

Chris Shaw 13 years, 10 months ago

Roy and KU had a beautiful marriage, but sometimes lurking around the corner is a beautiful woman that is 15 years younger and "Eager to Please". Hail to Bill Self! Too bad Bill Self doesn't have those sexy legs I was talking about. LOL! I was always a big fan of the Secondary Break and transition offense, but it allowed for weaker teams hanging around. I always had the mindset that you could just "Outscore" teams and my teams will always preach "Defense" first. That's the only way to go.

Matt Bowers 13 years, 10 months ago

Soobawis, why don't you lay off dude. We were blessed as a program with Roy. He helped keep our tradition rich and kept us in the top tier of college basketball. Self is the man, but he is able to recruit because of the work that Roy put in at KU. This is the first recruiting class that was not influenced by Roy Williams at Kansas. That is just an opinion but, now that Bill has won the big one it is program. When Danny inherits the program, he will benefit from Self. That said, if KU plays this well tomorrow night we'll win. Really looking forward to the (screw) Mizzou game. Every day I am falling more and more for our team. These guys are legit. How awesome is it that we are Kansas fans? Does it get any better? Rock Chalk

63Jayhawk 13 years, 10 months ago

On Roy Williams departure, has anyone considered the possibility that Roy contacted Dean Smith upon Doherty's departure (rather than the other way around) because he didn't want to continue working for Bohl, and that by the time Bohl was fired it was too late? Really, it doesn't matter. Roy did a great job at KU. I'm glad that he was our coach for all those years. He set high standards and high expectations. Then he left at a time which permitted us to hire a younger and better coach in Bill Self. What more could we ask? Thanks, Roy.

Dan Harris 13 years, 10 months ago

Soobawls- Get over it already! Didn't last year put all this crap behind us!!

Omegatron 13 years, 10 months ago

I can't hate Dean Smith. KU Grad, part of Phog Allen coaching tree. Promoted desegregation and emphasized the importance of athletes earning a degree.Even though he did all that at North Carolina, he still represented KU as an alum, like it or not (or he likes it or not).I can't hate Roy Williams. He left my school in very good shape, unlike Coach Brown who left KU with NCAA sanctions.But I guess not many people were following KU back then. Of course I was in grade school so that might be the reason it had more impact. Or maybe it has to do with the time thing, where time heals all wounds... That and a national championship...

Pam McCormick 13 years, 10 months ago

Sooobawls, Grow up and get a life. Yeah, I really was angry with Roy when he left, but once I saw the way Self coached and especially after we creamed UNC in the final 4, he is just another coach. Think about it

Dan Harris 13 years, 10 months ago

Soobawls- I shouldn't have said get over it, my mistake. What I shold have said is get a life! GEEEEZ!

Omegatron 13 years, 10 months ago

"Roy lied and left the cupboard bare on his way out. We can destroy UNC in the next 10 final fours and it won't change my opinion about him or North Carolina."Alright, I'm game. In what way?

NH_JHawk 13 years, 10 months ago

Like it or not, Dean and Roy are a big part of the storied heritage all of us so proudly promote when we talk about Kansas Basketball. I respect both men and recognize the significance of each of their involvement with our program. Let's face it, if it wasn't for Dean we wouldn't be printing t-shirts that say "Kansas, the birthplace of North Carolina basketball." I hope all you haters do understand this point.

Tony Bandle 13 years, 10 months ago

That mental picture of Roy sitting in the bleachers wearing a Jayhawk, even after KU eliminated his team from the NC was enough for me. There will always be a little Blue and Crimson under that powder Blue!!Nice post NH_JHAWK...actually you could add Kentucky to that list as well. In fact, you can add just about everybody to that list. Kansas, the birthplace of [fill in the blank] basketball!!!

jco8394 13 years, 10 months ago

Stop arguing about Roy!!!! We have bigger things to worry about!!! We need to be kicking some Missouri anus tomorrow night!!! I have 3 Missouri fans pissed at me right now and one is even my best friend (crazy I know) but we win this and it'll be like a knockout punch into an open mouth ran down the throat choking their very words of stupidity!!!

Layne Pierce 13 years, 9 months ago

KU is bigger than any coach, bigger than any player! We should all celebrate what we have had and what we have. Ted Owens, unfortunately was running the program into the ground. It stopped being unusual for us to loose at home, we were recruiting junior college players that nobody else wanted. Larry Brown came in and put us back on the basketball map. Yes, when he left we got put on probation for a piddly ass act of kindness for a kid who never played a minute at KU. But le'ts give him his do, he brought us back, he put the K for Kick-Ass back into KU. I used to walk over on game day and buy tickets, before Larry came. Roy Williams gave us a lot of great years, and he made us a top-notch program, consistently good, and able to recruit top-notch.Bill Self gives us a toughness, that Roy's teams simply did not have. Power to KU, rock-chalk, jay-hawk,Soarin high, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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