Saint Louis senior Troy Robertson likes to tease his brother Ryan about last year's Billiken win over the Jayhawks. Troy will be on hand for Thursday's rematch; Ryan is now with the Sacramento Kings.
Not to rub it in, but ...
"It was a lot of fun to say, 'We beat you guys,' and hold it over my brother's head. I look forward to that the rest of my life," Saint Louis senior basketball guard/forward Troy Robertson said.
He was referring to last year's 78-64 Billiken victory over Kansas -- dubbed the "Battle of Troy ... and Ryan."
Ryan Robertson scored 13 points on 4-of-15 shooting, while his younger brother, Troy, tallied eight points with four assists in the game, played on Dec. 23, 1998 in St. Louis' Kiel Center.
"I definitely didn't want to lose, but I'd like to have seen Ryan play a little better. He had a tough night shooting," Troy Robertson recalled. Indeed, Ryan Robertson missed seven of eight three-pointers that night.
It made for a somewhat somber Christmas at the Robertson household in St. Charles, Mo.
"He was a little down because at that time, KU was struggling. At that point of the season they were not clicking very well," Robertson said of the Jayhawks, who fell to 8-3 after that game, finishing the year 23-10. "Ryan was a little worried about how they'd do the rest of the year."
KU and Saint Louis meet on Thursday for an 8:05 p.m. rematch at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.
However, this time only Troy will be on hand.
Ryan Robertson is on the injured reserve list of the NBA's Sacramento Kings, reaping the benefits of his one-year, $300,000 contract.
Troy is averaging 4.3 points and 1.5 boards in a reserve role for the Billikens.
"It's still a big game," Troy Robertson said. "KU is ranked (10th). It would be a big win if we could get it. I'm good friends with Nick Bradford, (Eric) Chenowith and (Terry) Nooner. I don't want to listen to them. I'd like to retire undefeated against KU."
Led by first-year coach Lorenzo Romar, the Billikens have won seven of 10 games. Saint Louis blew a double-digit lead against Kansas State and dropped a 69-68 decision on Dec. 1 in Manhattan.
"It was a game we should have won and didn't," Robertson said. "We had the ball the last 30 seconds and turned it over. (Tony) Kitt made a couple free throws with three seconds left. We choked that one off."
The Billikens did beat Missouri, 75-72, on Dec. 12 before a sellout crowd at the Kiel Center. Senior guard Justin Love, who burned KU for 24 points last year, scored 22 points against the Tigers.
"It was a lot like the game against KU," Robertson said. "We had another huge crowd (25,790) at the (TransWorld) Dome. You never want to lose against Missouri. As a senior, I didn't want to listen them talk forever."
The Billikens dumped a strong Dayton team, 83-74, on Dec. 23 at Dayton Arena. They lost to powerful Cincinnati, 79-64, at the Kiel Center.
"I think it'll be a great game. They'll come at us and we'll come at them hard. Last year, our defense was tough. KU had a hard time getting in their sets, running what they like. We pressured them," Robertson said.
"We like to run, but there have been games we've not been able to. From what I've seen, KU likes to press, run and trap, create turnovers. It should be a lot of fun."
Just like last year?
"I didn't play great, but I thought I contributed," he said of his 25-minute stint against the Jayhawks. "I made a couple shots, dished some passes. It was fun to play in front of that crowd. There was so much energy. I tried to bust it every minute I was in there."
He guarded brother Ryan on just one possession. "Just one play at the end of the game. He hit a three over me. Ryan reminds me about that," Troy said.
He hasn't seen Ryan at all since the start of the NBA season. Troy will be Ryan's best man next summer when Ryan gets married in St. Charles, Mo.
"He'll be mine (best man), too, assuming it'll happen," Troy said with a laugh. "Definitely we are best friends forever."
-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org