Archive for Saturday, January 19, 2008

Extra Minutes: Kansas 76, Missouri 70

January 19, 2008

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Some thoughts...from Columbia

Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor

"One crazy college basketball Saturday in which North Carolina and UCLA lost to unranked teams, Kansas survived, with a little help from its foes. What does it all mean? No team in the nation should be considered a Final Four lock. Better teams than Maryland, which upset North Carolina, USC, which topped UCLA, and Missouri, which gave Kansas a scare, will be standing in the way in late March.

Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor

"Well, they can't all be pretty. And given the way KU had looked in two Big 12 blowouts heading into Saturday night, that might have been tough for most Jayhawk fans to swallow. But here's the thing - KU's bread and butter guys got it done still. The two guys who have been more valuable than any this year - Mario Chalmers and Darnell Jackson - were consistent in an unbelievably inconsistent game."

Inside the numbers

40: The two teams combined to hoist up 40 three-point looks, hitting just nine of them. The lack of long range marksmanship was symbolic of the overall shooting Saturday night from everywhere on the floor. That includes the free throw line, where KU was just 28-of-45 and Mizzou was 11-of-22.

27: Brandon Rush, Darnell Jackson and Darrell Arthur combined for 27 rebounds, each snatching a clean nine boards. The defensive glass was where those rips were the most important. Missouri was just 27-of-71 from the floor, and those three combined to pull down 23 of KU's 38 defensive rebounds.

6: Bill Self said it himself that KU's gaudy numbers in terms of steals would go down once Big 12 play started. That showed tonight, as the Jayhawks registered just six swipes and forced only 10 Mizzou turnovers. KU got sucked into Missouri's type of game for most of the night, but as any great team can do, they adjusted and still came out on top.

7:23: The Jayhawks converted just one field goal attempt, which was a Mario Chalmers layup in the final 7:23 of the game. Coach Self admitted after the game that the Jayhawks' free throw shooting down the stretch made closing out the contest a little tougher than he might have liked it to have been, but the team defense wasn't too bad, either.

14: Brandon Rush was asked after the game to remember the last time he shot the ball so poorly. Of 14 field goal attempts, he converted just two of them Saturday night. But his teammates and coaches were far from disappointed, as for the third straight game since being asked for more aggressiveness on offense by coach Self, he delivered. Even though he wasn't making shots, he got to the free throw line, where he was 9-of-14.

Just in case you missed it...

Russell Robinson said afterwards that he thought Mario Chalmers was the only Jayhawk to play up to his potential Saturday night. The stat line showed it, as he led the team with 18 points, had five rebounds, two assists, three steals and just one turnover. In fact, on one of KU's worst shooting nights this year, KU's two most valuable players to this point in the season - Chalmers and Darnell Jackson - combined for an efficient 9-of-14 performance from the floor.

Hopefully you didn't miss it...

The Jayhawks knew they had an advantage coming in in the paint, both in numbers and talent. On one side of the ledger, Missouri star junior DeMarre Carroll was held to just five points on 2-of-11 shooting. Then, on the other end, Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson combined for 23 points and 18 rebounds. Mizzou was able to play much of the game at their tempo, but when the shots weren't falling, (MU missed 44 shots on the night) KU was doing most of the cleaning on the glass. KU had 38 defensive boards compared to 14 MU offensive rebounds.

They said it...

Bill Self on his team's free throw shooting: "We made just enough to win the game, but we made it hard on ourselves down the stretch by not converting. We had a lot of 1-for-2s, and we've got to do better than that."

Bill Self on Brandon Rush's night: "I think he just didn't make shots. I thought he was pretty aggressive. Brandon put himself in position to shoot a lot of free throws. Some of them were late, but I bet 10 of the 14 were out of him attacking the rim. So I thought he was aggressive. This is a big game for him, but it's also a hard game for him. He likes a lot of people over here, Mizzou was obviously good to his brother, he catches some crap every time he comes over here, and he should because that's the way it goes. It's good for him to play in this environment. But it wasn't his best game. Though I thought he did some other things well."

Bill Self on his team's standing in the national polls after Saturday: "I could really care less what Carolina or Memphis does. And our players should care less. It's early. It's a long ways away."

Brandon Rush on his shooting: "I had to go way back to last year when I shot the ball so poorly. But I still managed to help my team out a lot by getting to the free throw line."

Mario Chalmers on whether KU is the best team in the nation: "Time will tell. We'll see."

Mario Chalmers on the shooting in Saturday's game: "It was an off night for everybody. Coming into Missouri, it's a hard court to shoot on...Anytime one player gets 14 shots, especially Brandon, it's good. Unfortunately he wasn't making a lot of them, but He was still being aggressive and that's what we need him to do."

Russell Robinson on KU pulling out an ugly win: "I think that's a great sign of a good team. When you've got players that don't play as well, you've got other guys to step up and pick up the slack. Besides Mario, I don't know who played up to their potential today, but we were able to still grind up a win, and you've got to continue to do that in situations like this later in the season."

Russell Robinson on whether KU is the best team in the nation: "I think we're the best team in the nation, but until you get out there and play that game, then that's when you know who's the best. Right now, we're going to just handle our business in the Big 12, and hopefully later in the season we can decide that."

Russell Robinson on watching the North Carolina game earlier in the day: "Just like we watched it, Missouri watched it. You think Missouri will get their eyes wide open like 'Hey, that could be us.' So it put a little more pressure on us, but we were able to take care of business like we're supposed to."

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