Archive for Saturday, February 2, 2008

CU senior aching for win over Jayhawks

February 2, 2008

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KU looks to bounce back

Bouncing back is the phrase of the day at Allen Fieldhouse. It's something the Kansas men's basketball team hasn't had to do all season until now. Enlarge video

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— Colorado's Coors Events Center was considered a home-away-from-home for Kansas University's basketball team during the 12-year Ricardo Patton era.

Year after year, 3,000 to 5,000 loud crimson-and-blue-clad KU supporters crammed into the 11,064-seat arena to the dismay of Patton and his Buffaloes, who managed just one victory over KU in first-year Northern Illinois coach Patton's many years in Boulder.

That victory came in 2003 - CU's only victory against KU in the last 16 seasons.

"Yes it does," CU senior guard/forward Richard Roby said, asked if playing before so many KU supporters in Boulder has bothered him in 29-, 12- and 15-point losses the past three years.

"We expect it. You have to use it as motivation."

It remains to be seen how many KU fans will be in the stands at today's 2:30 tipoff - coach Jeff Bzdelik's debut game versus the Jayhawks.

The Buffs, in an effort to stop the KU migration to Boulder, implemented a new ticket plan for the game. Starting in the fall through mid-January, single-game tickets for today's contest could be purchased only as part of a three-game package.

On Jan. 15, however, all remaining tickets for the game were put on sale - with purchases to no other Buffs' home games required.

One would think some CU fans might want to dump their tickets considering KU enters with a record of 20-1 overall, 5-1 in the league to the Buffs' 9-11, 1-5 mark.

"It's one of two teams I haven't beaten since I've been here - Kansas and A&M," said Roby, a 6-foot-6 native of San Bernardino, Calif. "A&M already got us (86-69 on Jan. 12). We have two chances to do it (beat KU). Hopefully we can do it on our home floor on national TV (ABC). I definitely look forward to playing them and getting an opportunity to finally get a win."

Roby is 0-6 versus KU with another game set for Feb. 16 in Lawrence.

"I love the opportunity to play against great players. The Big 12 is full of them," said Roby, who takes a 16.5 scoring, 6.5 rebound average into today's game. "(Brandon) Rush and I have had the opportunity to go against each other two years. It's a good matchup, a fun matchup."

Roby exploded for 30 points off 10-of-15 shooting in CU's 97-74 loss to the Jayhawks last Jan. 27 at Allen Fieldhouse. KU's Rush had 21 points off 8-of-13 shooting in that game.

Roby scored seven points off 3-of-9 shooting in the rematch - CU's 75-46 loss to KU on Valentine's Day at Coors Events Center. Rush also scored just seven points off 3-of-10 marksmanship.

"He's good. I don't think he's as good as he used to be, but he's still good - still leader of that team," KU guard Russell Robinson said of Roby.

Not as good as he used to be?

"His freshman year he was lighting it up. He's a talent regardless, very talented," Robinson added of Roby, who averaged 17.3, 17.0 and 16.0 points-per-game during his first three years at CU - 19.1 ppg in conference games his sophomore season.

Of Roby, KU junior Rush said: "We've just got to go strong at him whenever he has the ball and just limit his shot attempts. They run a different kind of (Princeton) offense and we're going to have to guard that to a 'T.'''

Roby, whose brother, Kenyon Martin plays for the Denver Nuggets, has aspirations to play in the pros. After his 27-point outburst in a loss to Kansas State, NBAdraft.net placed Roby on the board - 42nd overall pick of the Sacramento's Kings.

"I wouldn't have declared my sophomore year if I didn't have the ability to play at the next level," said Roby, who ultimately pulled his name out of the mix and returned to college. "It's up to me improving to have the opportunity to be a high pick."

Roby - his four CU teams enter today's game with a combined record of 50-57 - says he's worried about helping the Buffs and first-year coach Jeff Bzdelik turn things around. The squad has lost six of seven games, including Tuesday's 57-41 decision at Iowa State.

"I worry about the name on the front (of jersey) not the back," Roby said. "It's all about winning. (Michael) Jordan wouldn't be considered one of the greatest players if he never won championships. You have to win ballgames. We have the pieces to win games."

Roby's importance to the Buffs' winning can't be overplayed. Recently, the school's No. 4-all time leading scorer picked up his third foul with CU leading Texas, 41-28. By the time he returned to the game the score was tied at 43. Texas used a 24-2 run to win, 69-67, in Austin.

The 49.6 percent shooter fouled out after scoring just 13 points in 34 minutes in Tuesday's loss to ISU. He has picked up a team-leading 60 fouls.

Today, he'll obviously have to keep his fouling to a minimum if he's to claim his first career victory versus the Jayhawks and their legions of fans.

"I'm doing great. I'm just looking forward to playing (today)," Roby said.

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