2007-08 Dec. 15 KU-Ohio Basketball
Some thoughts...from Kansas City
Gary Bedore, Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer
"Brandon Rush got KU off to a quick start with 11 points and KU beat a pretty good team. Yes, Ohio is a good team. Nice game for Russell with 11 assists and Rush coming back home. Good win."
Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor
"Ohio University, which had just defeated Maryland, had one two-point field goal in the first 20 minutes against Kansas. Repeat: One two-point field goal in the first 20 minutes. The Jayhawks don't play good defense, they play great defense."
Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor
"There were so many positives to talk about on the floor, and that's become kind of ho-hum for this team so far. Why not talk about the Sprint Center? Gorgeous concourses, gorgeous arena, beautiful setup. Any NBA franchise (cough, cough, wink, wink, Seattle Sonics) would be lucky to have it as a home. Parking is a little difficult, but it becomes an afterthought once you're inside."
Inside the numbers
1: Ohio, which came in having its top four scorers standing 6-foot-5 or taller, couldn't bang inside successfully at all. At least not in the first half, when the Bobcats registered just one two-point bucket. A team has a hard enough time surviving on three-pointers alone. It's even more difficult against a team boasting the depth that KU does.
4: Mario Chalmers' four steals on the afternoon gave him 20 in his last four games combined. He held on to his title as KU's most versatile piece again, leading four Jayhawks in double figures with 17 points coming on three-of-four three-point shooting.
11: Russell Robinson set a career high with 11 assists, but Bill Self pointed out Robinson's importance also coming on the defensive end. He is the first line of defense for KU on just about every halfcourt possession, and held his weight Saturday with three steals and three defensive rebounds.
10: For the first time this season, Bill Self's full 10-man rotation was healthy and ready to go at near-full strength. Nine KU players registered at least 10 minutes on the floor, while Tyrel Reed, just off an ankle sprain, played eight. Robinson pointed out after the game that it allows KU to be even more aggressive defensively, meaning they can tire out and not worry about losing a step when bringing someone in off the bench.
28.3: KU's defense was the story, holding Ohio to a 28.3 percent showing from the floor on the night, and just a 17.2 percent clip in the game's first 20 minutes. KU had 12 steals, seven blocked shots and outrebounded the Bobcats 46-27, including a 32-16 advantage on the defensive glass.
Just in case you missed it...
Bill Self didn't plan on giving Brandon Rush his first start of the season in his hometown. Self said after the game that he wanted to start Rush last Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse against DePaul, but Rush's arrest two days earlier hindered those plans. Rush was great at the start, though, matching Ohio's early three-point hot hands, scoring 11 of his 13 points in the game's opening minutes and continuing to look more and more comfortable as the games go by.
Hopefully you didn't miss it...
Darnell Jackson and Darrell Arthur continue to solidify themselves as the long-term solution in the paint, combining for 25 points and 16 rebounds and silencing Ohio's offensively potent frontcourt. Sasha Kaun shouldn't be forgotten, as he was solid off the bench for the second straight game, finishing with eight points, seven boards and two blocks in just 17 minutes of work. Cole Aldrich also scored six points for the third straight game.
They said it...
Bill Self on his team getting healthier and healthier: "I think it's going to continue to get better, because I think Cole's going to be a nice piece, and I believe that Sherron's just a shadow of himself, so he's not out there like he will be. But we're getting close. Today, Brandon was great to start, but he's not quite there, but he's close. Sherron's not there, and Rod had a tough game today to say the least. So if we could just somehow get them on the same page, I think we can play better than this."
Bill Self on Russell Robinson's day: "I always like when guys score, but he was scoreless and controlled the game - about 3 minutes left in the first half he hadn't made a basket yet. The best thing he does, though, he creates pace defensively. We need him to guard the other team's point guard because he can create pace, and he did a good job of that the first half."
Bill Self on the Sprint Center: "I think it's great. This is the first time that I can say I've looked forward to this game. Going to Kemper, I haven't looked forward to going to Kemper, I don't think our players looked forward to going to Kemper, they look forward to coming here. And it's a great venue, and I can imagine the Big 12 will be fabulous. I just can't imagine it being anything other than that."
Russell Robinson on the Sprint Center: "It was great. That's the first thing we said once the game was over, was 'Can't wait to come back here for the Big 12.' I love it, got to see the College Basketball Experience last night, that was amazing. The Sprint Center's been great, and I just can't wait for the Big 12 to start...That's what everybody said when they walked in, it just felt good. A lot of room in the locker room, just nice. Can't wait to come back."
Russell Robinson on his passing role, racking up a career-high 11 assists: "I like to get Brandon and Shady going, because when they're striding, our team is definitely striding, and he was open, got him the ball, got him some good looks and he set the tone for us early...It's lovely, it felt good. I think I got my 10th one on Shady's 'oop, so that was nice."
Russell Robinson on the team's health improving the depth even more: "We've just got a lot of firepower, I think it plays into our hands because we can get out there and pressure, get tired, get into passing lanes, get up and running. And when we get tired, know that we have subs behind us that's going to control the game when we get out."
Darrell Arthur on having everyone back near 100 percent: "It just felt like last year. We've got all our players, Sherron's back, almost 100 percent, Brandon's back playing great, it just feels good."