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Archive for Sunday, March 4, 2007

Takeover mode’ hits Chalmers

Kansas guards ‘terrific’

March 4, 2007

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The best way to sum up Mario Chalmers' relationship with the three-point shot during the Jayhawks' 16-game Big 12 Conference schedule is that of a true labor of love.

For Russell Robinson, it was merely a flirtation.

Saturday, those respective unions each had defining moments in a 90-86 Kansas University victory over Texas in Allen Fieldhouse.

"We had open shots, and we had no choice but to take them," Chalmers said. "We knew the second half they couldn't be hot again, so we had to fight their run."

No one battled back against Texas' 54-point first-half splurge like KU's starting guards, who each set career-highs for three-pointers made. Chalmers was a perfect 5-of-5, while Robinson hit three of four.

"He was in a takeover mode today," Kansas coach Bill Self said of Chalmers. "And I thought Russell was really good today, too. Both our guards were terrific."

Chalmers hit three of his three-pointers in a first half in which the Jayhawks fired away in a more-than-efficient manner.

But much of it was an afterthought, as the Kevin Durant hype machine reached an all-time high, with the Texas freshman phenom pouring in 25 points, including five treys of his own, before halftime.

"We just wanted to key in defensively, because we knew they weren't going to shoot as well in the second half," said Robinson, mirroring Chalmers' sentiment. "We were ready. We knew that 12 points was nothing. The way they played defense, we could get back in the game."

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2006-07 March 3 KU-Texas Hoops

The two seemingly took it upon themselves to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.

The first of Chalmers' two second-half threes came at the 16:34 mark, pulling KU within one point for the first time since Texas took over the lead early in the first half. His second, 4:46 later, gave KU its biggest lead since being ahead 4-0 in the game's infant stages.

Both were part of KU's 17-4 run to open the second half.

Chalmers, who for his career is better than a 37-percent three-point shooter, has endured two dreadful stretches from long range during league play.

The first came right at its onset, after he had been KU's offensive rock for four straight games. He hit just one trey in eight attempts over KU's first four Big 12 games and later had another span of hitting just two in four games.

Robinson's threes also came as part of a season-high 17 points, while Chalmers tied his best output of this Big 12 season with 21 points.

Chalmers also made light of the fact that free throws again became an issue down the stretch, with key misses from himself and Robinson included.

But the whole body of work put KU one step closer to a bigger goal, and that can mask a lot of things.

"I think this shows that we deserve to be a No. 1 seed," Chalmers said. "We were down 14, we fought hard, and we pulled out the victory.

"I think this is going to help us get our No. 1 seed."

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