STILLWATER, OKLA. Raef LaFrentz looked mighty comfortable manning the middle of Kansas' zone defense during the second half on Monday night.
"I was the 5-man in our point zone. My job was to roam the middle. It was my role to block shots," said LaFrentz, who skied for three blocks in the Jayhawks' 76-61 win over Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
LaFrentz also contributed 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting and had a game-high 11 rebounds as KU outboarded OSU, 41-34.
"My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball in position where I could score," LaFrentz said. "We knew we had a size advantage. We wanted to capitalize on our size."
The taller Jayhawks held OSU to miserable 11-of-33 shooting the final half. They used the point zone extensively after using zone just a couple possessions in the first half when KU led, 32-30 at the break.
"The point zone has bailed us out a couple times this year," LaFrentz said. "It's a good defense for us. We denied the passing lane and seemed to contest every shot in a frenzied atmosphere."
LaFrentz believes the victory, KU's 11th in 12 tries, could be a big one. "It's nice to see what we could do in a frenzied atmosphere," he said of packed Gallagher-Iba Arena, which seats 6,381 fans. "We came together as a team tonight, especially during that one stretch."
He was referring to a 19-2 burst to open the final half.
"It's encouraging for us to play like that," LaFrentz said.
Hard foul: Jerod Haase was hammered by Jason Skaer on a layup try late in the game. Haase said he had no problem with the hard foul.
"He hit me high," Haase said. "If he hit my knees I'd have had a problem, but he didn't do that."
Correctible mistakes: KU's Jacque Vaughn pointed out to the officials OSU had the wrong player -- Adrian Peterson -- march to the free throw line for a pair of second-half throws. The officials corrected the error, sending Andre Owens to the line. He swished a pair after Peterson's first charity was wiped off the board.
"It's my job to pay attention to things like that," Vaughn said.
Also, during the second half, KU led 56-36 but the scoreboard only gave the Jayhawks a 53-38 advantage. It took about a minute for the scorekeeper to get it right.
Stats, facts: KU hit 15 of 28 free throws to OSU's 14 of 20. ... KU had just six bench points, two each from B.J. Williams, Ryan Robertson and Sean Pearson... R.W. McQuarters had 14 off the bench for OSU. ...Paul Pierce (15) scored in double figures for the ninth time in 10 games... At one point the second half OSU was called for six fouls; KU none. The fans cheered loudly when KU was tooted for its first of the half...
Back woes contagious: Roy Williams isn't the only coach in the country who has experienced back problems this season.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski missed most of last season following back surgery. Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson recently had a second surgery on his back to correct a disk problem.
"I think it's just a coincidence," Williams said. "With Mike and Kelvin... the stress has been there a long, long time. They have been able to handle it.
Eddie lauds Steve Robinson: Okie State coach Eddie Sutton on first-year Tulsa coach Steve Robinson, an assistant under Roy Williams at KU for seven years. Tulsa beat OSU, 57-53, last week in Tulsa.
"I think Steve has done an excellent job with the Tulsa program," Sutton said. "They do basically the same thing Kansas does. He introduced the Kansas system to Tulsa."