2007-08 Feb. 4 KU-Mizzou Hoops
- Bill Self talks about Monday's win, including the contributions of his big men off the bench
- Brandon Rush talks about feeling more comfortable with his knee, leading to him possibly playing without the brace this Saturday
- Cole Aldrich talks about his performance, plus how much he's developed since Late Night
- Darrell Arthur talks about what the big men behind him did once he left with foul woes
- Sasha Kaun talks about asserting himself as much as possible down the stretch run of his senior year
Some thoughts...from Allen Fieldhouse
Gary Bedore, Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer
"It was a good game, a good effort by KU. Sasha Kaun was superb in scoring and getting a lot of hustle points. KU was able to win big despite Darrell Arthur's foul problems. Brandon Rush had a big game against his brother's school. Mario was good. Russell Robinson looked like he was looking for his own offense again, which was nice. Missouri played well. KU didn't get many steals again, mostly because MU has good guards and has a pretty nice team. Good win."
Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor
"Time is running out on Sasha Kaun's career and it looks as if he wants to kick to the finish line. Kick, in mid-air, was what Kaun did in celebration of an and-one bucket in the first half. Kaun was aggressive, played with tons of emotion, and had plenty of company in both regards."
Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor
"I thought the biggest difference in this game was the rebounding. Of course, you look at the stat sheet and see KU outboarded MU 48-25 and let out a big 'duh.' But what impressed me most was how hard the Jayhawks hit the glass. Bill Self has yearned for it all year, and it's been inconsistent for the most part. Tonight was an example of how dominant KU can be on the boards when attacking them as hard as possible. Also, Missouri's abysmal three-point shooting didn't help the Tigers...again."
Inside the numbers
9: Cole Aldrich and Darnell Jackson each had nine rebounds for KU, but the performances came in completely different capacities. For Jackson, a senior starter, nine rebounds is a very solid night and is for the most part expected. For Aldrich, it goes as a sign of how much he's progressed, now becoming a trusted option for Bill Self off the bench. Aldrich's team needed him with Darrell Arthur sitting all but two minutes in the first half in foul trouble, and he came through.
19: Brandon Rush scored a team-high 19 points, and was aggressive from start to finish just like he was in scoring 15 points Saturday against Colorado. Rush showed some serious spring in grabbing six rebounds and had his three-point stroke looking good. Rush said he will try playing in practice without that knee brace this week and may make his debut sans brace as early as Saturday against Baylor.
84: KU hit 21 of its 25 free throw attempts (84 percent), giving the Jayhawks three straight above-average showings at the stripe. In the last three games, KU is 59-of-70 from the line, improving the team's percentage for the year to 68.1. In conference play, KU is 75.5 percent from the line. That shows a good trend.
10: Missouri missed all 10 of its three-point attempts, making the Tigers 5-of-38 from long range in two games with Kansas this year. Looking deeper into the numbers, Matt Lawrence, who hit four treys and scored 19 points last year in Allen Fieldhouse - is just 1-of-14 from deep in the two Border Showdowns this year. Monday night he was 0-for-5. KU hit seven of its 21 attempts, including three from Rush and a pair from Sherron Collins.
19: Going back to the rebounds one more time, Bill Self was impressed after the game with his team's 19 rebounds on 35 missed shot attempts. Aldrich, Kaun and Arthur each had four offensive caroms.
Just in case you missed it...
Missouri coach Mike Anderson lifted the suspensions on seniors Darryl Butterfield and Jason Horton for Monday's game at KU, but neither made much of an impact in Mizzou's favor. Neither scored in a total of 13 minutes played between the two.
Also, Ed Hightower again headed the officiating crew, but the refs were much more lenient on the whistles this time around than on Jan. 19 in Columbia. In meeting No. 1, 52 fouls were called. On Monday, only 37 infractions were tallied.
Hopefully you didn't miss it...
Sasha Kaun was a monster on both ends of the floor in the first half, scoring nine of his 12 points in just nine minutes played before the break. At the end of the night he had played just 13 minutes, but when Darrell Arthur sat in the first half, Kaun was KU's best weapon inside. While all of the points weren't necessarily pretty, the senior was again efficient. In Big 12 play, Kaun has the second-best field goal percentage on the team at 57.5, plus he's a solid 9-of-14 from the line.
They said it...
Brandon Rush on his knee: "My knee's starting to get a lot better. I'm starting to get back to 100 percent. I'm starting to take off the knee brace this week, so it's pretty good...I'm gonna take it off this week, try to play without it this Saturday."
Brandon Rush on Sasha Kaun: "He's starting to play pretty good. He's rebounding the ball now, and he's starting to score down low on the block. I don't think anybody down there can stop him because he's so long and big and strong."
Sasha Kaun on going against Cole Aldrich in practice: "It's been helpful to him. It's my last year, not much left here, so I'm just trying to play harder and set an example for the younger guys, and hopefully they'll pick it up looking at it."
Cole Aldrich on his improvement as the season's gone on: "I really enjoy watching myself improve. It's fun to really go through practice and think 'Wow, four months ago, I couldn't score against Sasha, I couldn't do anything.' Now, I get a few moves on him every once in awhile."
Bill Self on Bobby Knight's sudden retirement: "I'm disappointed, selfishly. He has a right to do it however he wants to do it, and I'm sure I'll talk to him at some point and say congratulations, but he's great for our league. He brings interest to our league. I know that from a selfish standpoint I'd love for him to come to Allen Fieldhouse one more time and that kind of stuff, so I'm disappointed, but not for the right reasons. I kinda felt the same way when Barry Sanders retired. You know? How could he do that? How could Barry retire when he had so much good stuff left? And I kind of feel that same way about coach. I'm happy for him, but still at the same time, I think it takes away from the interest level a little bit in our league."
Bill Self on the first half: "I thought the first 8-10 minutes was fabulous basketball. I thought Missouri played great the first 10 minutes. We couldn't guard them, and they couldn't guard us, to be honest with you. Both teams scored at will to start, but the intensity level was pretty good. We've got to get better defensively. We don't guard on the perimeter, but our big guys are really starting to rebound the ball better."
Bill Self on his team's offensive rebounding: "We missed 35 shots and got 19 of them back, so I would say that anytime you're above that 50 percent, that's pretty good, and that doesn't happen very often."
Bill Self on Cole Aldrich: "I thought he was great. Cole gets nine rebounds in 12 minutes...He's gonna be a really good player...Cole's smart, and he picks up stuff quick...It amazes me. Everybody talks about Darnell being most improved, and he is based on last year, but our players would tell you Cole from Late NIght to now, it's unbelievable the progress he's made. I think that Danny's done a great job with him, but I also think those other three big guys have done a great job with him."
Bill Self on Sasha Kaun: "I think Sasha's really a good player. I think sometimes he doesn't play to his athletic ability and size. He's getting more consistent doing that. He played pretty good out in Boulder, as well."
Bill Self on defending the three, especially against Matt Lawrence: "They didn't get off many threes today. Lawrence got off I thought about three good looks in the first half and we were lucky he didn't make them, but I didn't think they got off a ton of good looks, I really don't. I think that's one thing we did do, and primarily Brandon, who did a pretty good job guarding him."