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Archive for Monday, March 2, 1998

S FLUKE BASKET

March 2, 1998

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— Call it an early graduation gift.

Although Oklahoma State senior center Brett Robisch missed nine of his 15 shots in the Cowboys' 71-67 loss to Kansas at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Sunday, he did make one that by all odds he shouldn't have.

With 3:27 remaining, OSU sophomore guard Joe Adkins gunned a pass to Robisch who was positioned in the lane. Only Robisch wasn't ready as the ball went through his hands, glanced off his shoulder, off his head and into the basket.

``I couldn't hit anything and then something like that goes in,'' the senior said, shaking his head. ``That may have been the luckiest shot I've ever seen in my life. I deserve some sort of award for that.''

Instead of an award, the senior received recognition before the game as one of the three Cowboys seniors playing their last home game. Robisch, who was introduced along with guards Chad Alexander and Tommy Warner, received the loudest ovation of the three.

Which makes sense, according to his father -- former KU basketball All-American Dave Robisch.

``I thought he played well. The improvement he's made, I think, has been great,'' said the elder Robisch, who led the Jayhawks to the `71 Final Four. ``He had a couple good looks at the basket and he missed a couple in the second half, but they were all good shots. I've told everybody I think that now Raef (LaFrentz of Kansas) obviously is the best big guy in the conference and Brett's really, I think, second behind Raef now.''

Robisch, who sat behind the Oklahoma State bench, was decked out in a navy blue sweater. Was he actually pulling for his alma mater against the school where sons Brett and Scott play?

``I just happened to wear the blue. I don't have anything orange so I wore my Oklahoma State sticker,'' Robisch quipped. ``That's the only thing about today -- that Brett's last game had to be against Kansas. That was a little emotional.

``It was a heckuva game, the crowd was great, good basketball game.''

Injury update: KU seniors Raef LaFrentz and Billy Thomas missed a handful of practices due to injury last week. LaFrentz is nursing a sore shoulder he hurt Monday against Oklahoma, and Thomas has a thigh bruise he suffered against Colorado on Jan. 16.

``There's no ligament damage,'' said LaFrentz, who missed nine games with a broken bone in his right hand. ``It's not going to keep me out. I've missed too many games this year already.''

Thomas, too, downplayed his injury.

``It's a lot better,'' he said. ``I'm surprised I was able to move the last two days. I wasn't able to practice for a couple of days. But it didn't give me any problems. I should be able to go by Wednesday.''

Friendly rivalry: After the game Kansas coach Roy Williams and OSU coach Eddie Sutton had nothing but praise for the other.

``Roy's a good friend. He's a great coach and they've got a great program, quality program,'' Sutton said.

Compare and contrast: When asked about how this year's Jayhawks compares to last year's, Oklahoma State's Adrian Peterson said, ``I think they have a lot more skill players this year, a lot of players come off the bench, real good offensive players. But as far as the mental toughness like (Jacque) Vaughn and (Jerod) Haase had, I don't think that (Ryan) Robertson and (Billy) Thomas has that right now.

``But, they've been playing pretty good. I mean, they're 31-3 so you never know.''

Stats, facts: Robertson tied his career-highs for three-point goals (four) and set his career high for threes attempted, with eight. ... KU held its 21st straight opponent under 50 percent shooting. ... LaFrentz finished with the 16th double-double of the season and 53rd of his career. ... Thomas hit his 100th three-pointer of the season and passed Wayne Hightower for 25th place on KU's all-time scoring list. ... LaFrentz made his 126th career start. Only Danny Manning (147 starts) and Kevin Pritchard (139) made more starts in KU history. ... Pierce reached double figures in scoring for the 46th straight game. ... OSU lost on Senior Day for just the second time in Eddie Sutton's eight-year coaching tenure. The other Senior Day loss? To KU, in 1993. ... OSU has not shot better than 42.6 percent in the past five games and has topped the 40-percent mark just twice in that span. ... The Cowboys' 11 conference wins were the most since the 1964-65 team went 12-2.

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