As a sophomore and junior, Ryan Robertson used to set up Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce for easy baskets.
Now as a senior and a major scoring threat himself on Kansas University's basketball team, Robertson is recipient of dishes from freshman point guard Jeff Boschee.
Boschee found shooting guard Robertson wide open for three straight baskets during a 30-3 run that lifted Kansas to a 95-57 rout of Texas A&M; on Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse. Robertson, who scored 20 points, finished with 13 in that surge that busted an 11-11 deadlock.
"I think it's one of those deals we now have played with each other a little while. I know where to be when he penetrates. I know when he's going to pass the ball," Robertson said of Boschee.
"One of the things coach (Roy) Williams always stresses is shot selection," noted Robertson, who hit nine of 12 shots. "We always know it is a good shot when somebody penetrates and kicks out. Whenever I know I am taking a good shot in coach Williams' mind, my confidence level automatically goes up five to 10 points.
"Whenever Jeff Boschee penetrates and kicks, I always feel a lot more confident."
Boschee -- he had nine assists to two turnovers in 24 minutes -- says he didn't make a concerted effort to find Robertson.
"It's what I try to do every game," Boschee said. "Some nights it works better than others. If I penetrate, it'll draw Ryan's defender to me and Ryan will be wide open. He can knock down the open shot. Ryan had a great game tonight."
Boschee hit his first three-point attempt on Saturday, snapping his 0-for-11 skid over two games. After that he cooled and finished with one hoop and nine misses. He's now hit three of his last 26 threes over four games and nine of 36 shots overall.
"I am not worried about my shot," Boschee said. "My job really isn't to score here. I shoot whenever it's there. I'm not worried about my shot at all. It may be a little flat right now."
He is always concerned about his assist to turnover ratio. For the year, Boschee now has 54 assists to 49 turnovers following his best passing game of the year.
"Coach Matt Doherty said, `Don't determine the way you play by your jump shot,''' Boschee said. "I had seven assists, no turnovers the first half and nine and two for the game. I feel that's a great game. It's what I'm most proud of. It's the first thing I look at after ever game (in box score)."
Now 1-0 in the league, the 9-3 Jayhawks travel to Baylor on Wednesday for a 7:05 p.m. tip. Baylor is 6-8 overall and 0-1 in the league following Saturday's 93-62 loss to Texas Tech.
"It was a big win, just to send a message to all the teams out there. That this team is for real and the conference championship has got to come through here," Boschee said. "If you are going to try to win the conference championship, it comes through here."
"It's a wake-up call to us that we can be really good this year," noted center Eric Chenowith, who scored 25 points with 17 rebounds. "It's a message we can play hard. If we play hard and do what coach wants, we can get a lot of wins like this."
Forward Lester Earl has played in just six of KU's 12 games this season because of his left knee injury. He's hoping to miss just one more game, then return for Saturday's home contest against Iowa State.
"It feels the same as it did when I played the first six games," Earl said. "The swelling has not been back for three days now and I returned to practice a couple days ago. Hopefully that's a good sign.
"Hopefully by running on it and doing the stuff I'm doing -- pool work and weights -- it will strengthen it up. We'll try to shoot for Iowa State."
Earl insists he's not frustrated by the inactivity. "I need to run to get some action going, to get my legs adjusted to running and the physicalness down low," he said. "I'll not be playing 15 to 20 minutes right away, not until I get the feel back in my legs."
-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org