Kansas City, Mo. Where have you gone, Kenny Gregory?
For the last three games, Gregory -- Kansas University's high-flying sophomore swingman -- had been in a wicked sort of groove. He scored 65 points and hit nearly 70 percent of his field goals in that span.
Then came Saturday, when Gregory was held scoreless for just over 33 minutes. He spent most of the first half in Kansas coach Roy Williams' "doghouse," and finished with just three points in the 13th-ranked Jayhawks' ugly 65-55 victory over Illinois in the Sprint Shootout at Kemper Arena.
"I didn't feel as good as I've been feeling lately," said Gregory, who hit one of four field goals, went 0-for-4 from the free throw line, had no rebounds and a turnover in just 22 minutes. "But I wasn't expecting anything bad to happen. It was just one of those games. I just have to bounce back."
History, Gregory insisted, is on his side.
"I've never had two bad games in a row," he said. "I'm looking forward to the next game."
He wasn't sure if he was looking forward to Saturday's second half. After an unimpressive nine minutes in the first -- 0-for-3 from the field, zero rebounds, zero points, zero assists, zero blocks -- Gregory was invited to sit on the bench, and there he stayed until intermission.
"I got in coach's doghouse," Gregory said. "He was ticked off, and that's his way of getting his point across. I would have liked to have been out there, taking more shots trying to work through it and helping the team, but I respect his decision."
Gregory's disappearance didn't prove fatal, thanks to Eric Chenowith and Ryan Robertson. Chenowith scored 18 points and matched his career best with seven blocked shots -- tying the standard he set just last Thursday -- and Robertson hit all 10 free throws and finished with 18 points to help KU (8-2) survive the defensive-minded Illini (7-3).
"It was one of those ugly games where you just have to grind it out," Robertson said. "We didn't play the best basketball, but we battled."
That they did, and that they won with Gregory, their leading scoring, having an off day, was a positive in Robertson's eyes.
"That's a big deal for us," he said. "Now we know we can play with our leading scorer struggling, not having the game he usually does."
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