Archive for Sunday, December 24, 2006

Danger! Zone

Seldom-seen defense keys KU victory

December 24, 2006


Jared Dudley was prepared to face Kansas University's in-your-face, man-to-man defense for a full 40 minutes Saturday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.

Instead, Boston College's best basketball player and his Eagles teammates ran into 'Red 10' - the code word for KU's 3-2 zone.

"I haven't seen the Kansas Jayhawks go zone in years. It took us awhile to adjust," a befuddled Dudley said.

He missed 10 of 14 shots in the No. 11-ranked Jayhawks' 84-66 victory over the red-hot Eagles, who had a six-game win streak halted thanks in large part to KU's zone 'D.'

The zone, which protected several foul-plagued players, actually is brought out of mothballs on occasion. Not frequently, however, during the coaching regimes of Bill Self, Roy Williams and Larry Brown the past 24 years.

"We practice it, believe it or not, about 10 minutes every other day," Self said. "Today it paid off."

KU's coach didn't use the defense just to force the cold-shooting Eagles - who missed their first 11 three-point tries and finished 4-of-19 - to fire away.

"I thought at the rate we were going, we'd foul out our whole team," Self said, most notably alarmed when Brandon Rush (15 points) was called for his second foul just 8 1/2 minutes into the game.

Five Jayhawks finished the contest with four fouls.

"It all boils down to foul trouble, all your players being in foul trouble. It's why we went zone," said Rush, the man in the middle on the front line of the zone. "I like to play out there. You don't have to do too much running.

"We have never played that much zone in practice at all, (but) we've been practicing it the whole holiday break. We just pulled it out of the hat. To come here and have the zone be that effective today, I think we'll probably run it a lot the rest of the season. The zone was the key to our win tonight."

At times, KU had an oversized zone, with Rush at shooting guard and Julian Wright at small forward to go with a point guard and two true big men.

"It still has some holes in it, trust me," Self said. "Our zone looked better than it was because they didn't make any shots, at least not many threes."

Go figure

23-0 KU's advantage in points off turnovers in the first half 8-8 Scoring deadlock by both teams in points off turnovers in the second half 0-for-9 B.C.'s first-half three-point shooting 0-for-4 KU's second-half three-point shooting 14, 8 Points, rebounds by B.C.'s Jared Dudley 19.3, 9.1 Scoring, rebounding average for Dudley coming in 19, 15, 7 Points, rebounds, blocked shots by B.C.'s Sean Williams 10 Players on teams combined with at least four fouls (one fouled out)

Center Sean Williams, who blocked seven shots and grabbed 15 rebounds, was B.C.'s leading scorer with 19 points.

KU's zone defense, which Self said also was used to force longer possessions during a second half in which KU led by as many as 26 (56-30 with 16:40 left), was countered by B.C.'s matchup zone, which held the Jayhawks to 46 percent shooting, including five of 13 threes.

"We had a good run at the end of the first half," Wright said of a 24-4 run that was fueled by six points by Mario Chalmers and Sasha Kaun, five from Rush and four from Darnell Jackson.

"I think the fouls, the way it was called, we didn't get into a good flow the second half. Neither team did. Both teams were going through the motions. Coach was telling us to attack, to be aggressive."

Rush had just three points the second half, one in which Chalmers, who had eight, prevented the Eagles from creeping any closer than 13 points.

"We don't have that killer instinct yet, but I think it's something that's going to come," said Darrell Arthur, who scored eight points off 2-of-8 shooting with five assists in 38 minutes.

"We had them down big, and no disrespect to Boston College, but this is a game everybody should have been able to play in."

Instead, Self mainly used eight players. Brady Morningstar logged one minute the first half in a game that didn't reach blowout status.

"We wanted the game to be faster, and the officials called it so tight," Self said. "Neither team got any rhythm, especially in the second half. We would have liked the game to be a little faster. We didn't do a very good job in the last 10 minutes.

Audio Clips
2006-07 Dec. 23 KU-BC Hoops

"We were trying to put the game away and be aggressive and still use the clock. There's a fine line there."

The Eagles (7-3) outscored the Jayhawks (10-2), 43-39, the second 20 minutes.

"The guys did some good things. We practiced pretty well the last two weeks, and I'm proud of how they competed. It was a good reflection on how we played today," Self said.

The players, who now break for Christmas, will return for practice Tuesday night.

Next game is Thursday against Detroit Mercy. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse.


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