Final, KU wins 84-49
Now it's official: Kansas University will head to Bramlage Wednesday night not just protecting an unscathed record in the Manhattan arena, but also a 20-0 record for the 2007-08 season.
For the second time this month, KU took off right from go and ended up throttling its neighbor to the north, besting Nebraska 84-49 Saturday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse.
Darrell Arthur was efficient yet again despite tweaking a calf muscle in practice Tuesday, scoring 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting. The sophomore forward also had seven rebounds. Brandon Rush scored 17 for the Jayhawks, including a 5-of-7 showing from three-point range. Darnell Jackson (13 points) and Sherron Collins (10 points) were the only other Jayhawks to notch double figures as KU improved to 5-0 in Big 12 play.
For Nebraska, the most telling sign of just how hard a day it was is in the stat line of senior center Aleks Maric. The Huskers' top offensive threat was held scoreless on 0-for-6 shooting in 21 minutes played, registering three fouls and three turnovers. Nebraska scored just 15 points in the first half, while KU rung up 44.
With Memphis' 81-73 win earlier in the day at home over Gonzaga, the Jayhawks and Tigers remain as the only two unbeaten teams in Division-I hoops.
KU heads to Kansas State Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. tip. The Wildcats are 13-4 overall and 3-0 in Big 12 play heading into tonight's 5 p.m. contest against Iowa State in Manhattan.
6:37, second half, KU leads 68-39
Sherron Collins got in on the three-point act after the timeout, following up two Chris Balham free throws with a trey of his own from just in front of the KU bench, giving him seven points and putting KU up 60-29.
After another full break, Paul Velander cashed a long three for Nebraska, but Darnell Jackson came back to hit a jumper, giving him 13 points on the day. That led to Jeremy Case checking in in place of Russell Robinson.
Sasha Kaun scored for the first time just outside of the nine-minute mark, and that was followed by a Sek Henry three for Nebraska, trying to keep the score respectable late in what is now somewhat of a slopfest.
Mario Chalmers scored his first field goal of the game while drawing contact in transition with just over eight minutes to play. That was followed by Darrell Arthur creeping closer to the 20-point barrier, hitting a turnaround two in the lane off the glass to give him 18 points with KU ahead 68-39.
14:40, second half, KU leads 57-26
Sek Henry had a follow-up dunk to a blocked Steve Harley shot to start the second half, but Russell Robinson responded with a three. Brandon Rush then did the same thing after a Cookie Miller layup.
Darnell Jackson pushed KU's lead back over 30 points, following up his own miss with a tip-in while drawing a foul. The free throw gave him nine points and put the Jayhawks ahead 53-20.
Brandon Rush gathered a defensive board, and on the other end, Darrell Arthur bumped his scoring total to 16 points with a short jumper. Jackson got himself into double figures with a short one of his own to put KU up 57-22. A couple of short inside looks helped Nebraska keep the second half pace, including Steve Harley dropping in two with a foul just before the media timeout.
Halftime, KU leads 44-15
Brandon Rush became the second Jayhawk to crack double figures in the scoring column, joining Darrell Arthur, with a pull-up jumper off the dribble, giving him 11 points on the afternoon and pushing the Jayhawks ahead 33-11.
Moments later, Russell Robinson recorded a steal at midcourt and was immediately fouled, swishing two free throws. Ade Dagunduro then spun in two of his own from the stripe to end another Nebraska scoring drought.
Darrell Arthur came back to hit a jumper from near the free throw line on the left edge, giving him a game-high 12 points.
Brandon Rush made the Fieldhouse crowd explode one last time in the first half, spilling in his third three-pointer from the left corner on the afternoon on a nice feed from Darnell Jackson.
Sherron Collins boosted the lead to 29 points with just over a minute to play, draining his second bucket of the half on a floater after a drive down the left wing. Arthur then scored once more in the half with two inside, giving him 16 in the first half.
Dagunduro scored once more before the half, but KU still thoroughly dominated the first half of action, leading 44-15 at the break.
Darrell Arthur had 14 points, while Brandon Rush scored 14 as well, including four three-pointers, giving him nine treys in three halves of action against NU this season.
Nebraska was just 6-of-29 from the floor, including a scoreless showing from senior center Aleks Maric. KU was 16-of-28 in the first half.
3:50, first half, KU leads 31-11
Darnell Jackson hit one of two free throws coming out of the time out, and a partially blocked shot sent the ball back with KU again. After a failed dunk attempt by Mario Chalmers, Jackson grabbed another defensive board and was fouled upon landing. Jackson hit one of two free throws - a common theme this afternoon - putting KU up 27-11.
Jackson kept it coming, laying in a finger roll in transition to end the free throw festival. He then took a seat on the bench so Darrell Arthur could come back in.
Arthur immediately scored two inside off a lob feed from Russell Robinson, forcing Doc Sadler into his third called himeout of the half.
6:49, first half, KU leads 25-11
Ade Dagunduro scored for Nebraska out of the timeout, giving the Huskers their first points since before the game's first media timeout at the 16-minute mark. Dagunduro was then called for a foul, though, and after that, Aleks Maric - still scoreless - earned his second foul, swiping at Darrell Arthur on his way up in the paint.
Arthur hit one of two free throws as Maric again took a seat on the bench.
Sherron Collins then took a seat on the bench after earning his second foul of the game, but Brandon Rush went to work from the corner yet again, hitting his third three of the game to put the Jayhawks up 21-7.
Russell Robinson was fouled while driving the lane after another Nebraska foul, putting the Jayhawks in the bonus just outside of the nine-minute mark. He hit one of two free throws, and Mario Chalmers did the same a moment later, sandwiched around a Cookie Miller jumper, making it 23-9 with KU out in front.
Cole Aldrich then came in for Darrell Arthur, and on his first offensive trip down the floor the freshman big man spun in two from the right block. That was countered by two from Steve Harley, finally putting Nebraska in double figures at the 7:32 mark, down 25-11.
11:43, first half, KU leads 17-5
Brandon Rush missed a three from the left corner out of the timeout, but then got a chance to redeem himself from the same spot and hit after Aleks Maric turned it over on the other end.
Maric then missed a turnaround jumper for the Huskers and Rush pulled down the board. Rush then tried a lob toss to Darnell Jackson, but was too high with the pass. After that, Rush and Darrell Arthur took seats on the bench in place of Sherron Collins and Sasha Kaun.
Arthur came back in a couple minutes later to replace Darnell Jackson and immediately ended a scoring drought with a mid-range jumper off of a penetration dish. Sherron Collins then added to it, with a steal-and-score from midcourt resulting in a 17-5 KU lead and another Nebraska timeout.
15:50, first half, KU leads 10-5
Darnell Jackson controlled the opening tip for KU, and the first possession ended with Darrell Arthur spilling in two off the glass as a follow to a Russell Robinson three miss.
Then, Brandon Rush forced a turnover at the other end. After dishing it off briefly, he was rewarded with the ball back, stroking a three from the right wing.
Aleks Maric then missed a look inside for Nebraska, and the senior big man then picked up a foul on the defensive end, hacking Darrell Arthur on his way up. Arthur made one of two charities, putting the Jayhawks up 6-0.
Cookie Miller then hit a mid-range jumper for the Huskers. Nebraska took the ball back again after Maric forced a tie-up with Arthur underneath on a rebound. Nebraska couldn't score, and Darnell Jackson made them pay with an up-and-under layup, forcing Nebraska to call a 30-second timeout at the 17:11 mark down 8-2.
Miller missed a step-back jumper out of the timeout, but KU couldn't respond, as a Darrell Arthur inside look rimmed out. Ryan Anderson then came down to hit a three for Nebraska, but the sophomore wing was then posted up and scored on by Arthur, keeping KU up 10-5.
While plenty of the buzz is shifting towards Wednesday's showdown with K-State in Manhattan, the Kansas University men's basketball team has other business to tend to first. On the line today is a potential season sweep of Big 12 North foe Nebraska and the 20th win of the season for the No. 2 Jayhawks.
KU took the first meeting with Nebraska in Lincoln 79-58 to open up Big 12 play. While the Jayhawks have stayed hot, winning three more league tilts since then, the Huskers are almost desperate for a conference win. After the home loss to KU, Nebraska fell at Colorado and then at home to Baylor by a combined six points, dropping Doc Sadler's ballclub to 11-5 on the year.
After the first meeting of the year, Sadler mentioned that he wasn't really disappointed with the way his team played, but rather impressed with what KU showed. In that game, after being called out for lax offensive aggression earlier in the week, Brandon Rush scored 19 points, including five three-pointers.
Again today, as is usually the case, Nebraska's offense will flow through senior center Aleks Maric, who had a team-high 19 points in the first meeting. That number is a bit misleading, though, as six of those points came in the closing moments of the blowout, and the Jayhawk big men were able to make him look uncomfortable for most of the night.
Tip-off today is set for 12:45 p.m. The Jayhawks are wearing traditional home whites with crimson and blue trim, while Nebraska dons its road reds with black and white trim.