Final, KU wins 109-51
The five Kansas University seniors started the night running things on the floor in Allen Fieldhouse Monday, and by the time they walked off - one by one to standing ovations - business had been taken care of and then some.
The class of Russell Robinson, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun, Rodrick Stewart and Jeremy Case finished their home careers as KU waxed Texas Tech 109-51, improving to 27-3 overall and 12-3 in Big 12 play. Chants of 'Thank-you-seniors' replaced the Rock Chalk hymn in the final minute, as each senior played a role in the most emphatic win of the season.
Robinson led the upperclassmen with 15 points, including three shots from beyond the arc sandwiching the intermission, at which KU led 51-26. Darnell Jackson's late three-point play gave him 10 points, while Jeremy Case brought the Fieldhouse crowd to its feet in loud fashion three times in the second half, hitting a trio of deep balls. Rodrick Stewart hit two threes, finishing with six points, while Sasha Kaun had a workmanlike 10. Even walk-on Brad Witherspoon hit a pair of free throws to get in the books in his final home game.
KU dominated the stat sheet all over the place, notably by winning the rebounding battle 54-24, dishing out 27 assists and hitting 14-of-24 three-point attempts. The Jayhawks also sizzled from the floor, going 40-of-67.
The Jayhawks wrap up regular season play Saturday at Texas A&M at 3 p.m. For more on tonight's game, including video, photos, audio, The Spodcasters and videos of each of the senior speeches, log back onto KUSports.com.
6:39, second half, KU leads 93-40
Cole Aldrich wiped out a Texas Tech offering inside out of the timeout, and after that Jeremy Case made the Fieldhouse crowd explode yet again by hitting his first three-pointer in three tries. Then, after missing one, Cole Aldrich spilled in two off the offensive rebound with a short hook shot, giving him seven points and KU a 44-point lead at 82-38.
Case then hit another three, and followed it with a defensive rebound off a Martin Zeno miss. His third three-pointer kept the Fieldhouse crowd on its feet. The hits kept coming, with Rodrick Stewart cashing a three, then Case flipping an assist underneath to Sasha Kaun, pushing KU ahead 93-40 at the 6:39 mark.
11:32, second half, KU leads 75-34
Sasha Kaun slammed home his seventh and eighth points of the game after a short Martin Zeno jumper rolled in off the back iron, keeping him as the only Red Raider in double figures with 12 points.
Kaun then blocked a Mike Singletary offering, and Rodrick Stewart canned his first three-pointer since December 5 against Eastern Washington, doing so from the right corner for his first points of the night.
Sherron Collins then stroked two free throws to build KU's lead to 42 points at 73-31, then hit his fourth acrobatic lay-up of the night in transition as a response to a Martin Zeno two, giving Collins 12 points on the night.
A Texas Tech free throw out of a full Red Raiders timeout led to Cole Aldrich and Tyrel Reed checking into the game for some extended run with KU up by 41 at 75-34.
14:51, second half, KU leads 66-29
Russell Robinson, who hit a late three-pointer in the first half, swished home two more long balls to start the second, giving him 13 points as the Jayhawks opened the half on a quick 10-1 run. It was capped by a Robinson layup in transition off a long Darnell Jackson feed.
Brandon Rush then tried to hit a three-pointer with one shoe, after losing the left one in a tie-up on the Texas Tech end, but he missed to the left. He had a chance to slip it back on when Darrell Arthur was slow getting up after a collision on the defensive end. Mario Chalmers extended the run to 13-1 on his third trifecta of the game, and after Martin Zeno ended the stretch with a two, Sherron Collins went acrobatic with an up-and-under layup to push KU ahead 66-29.
Halftime, KU leads 51-26
After an emphatic Sasha Kaun swat underneath and a John Roberson air ball, Russell Robinson hit a pair of free throws, giving him seven points in the first half. Alan Voskuil hit his fourth bucket of the night in response for Tech, but KU still held a commanding 49-26 lead.
Esmir Rizvic missed the front end of a one-and-one trip, and the rebound by Kaun gave KU the chance at the final shot of the half. It turned out to be quite the highlight, as Mario Chalmers was turned around in traffic underneath on a drive, flipped the ball over his head as a shot attempt, but it caught nothing but air. Instead, it turned into a pretty assist for a Darrell Arthur slam. It was a fitting end to a first half KU dominated, leading 51-26 in the locker room.
Sherron Collins and Russell Robinson each scored seven points in the first 20 minutes, while Mario Chalmers led the way with eight points, including a pair of three-pointers. Alan Voskuil led Tech with eight points.
2:18, first half, KU leads 47-24
Cole Aldrich's solid first half showing continued out of the timeout, as he went up between two defenders underneath after a failed lob attempt and threw home a one-handed slam while drawing contact. The free throw missed, but after a Texas Tech three-point misfire, Mario Chalmers swished his second three-point goal of the game.
Aldrich then got to the line again after a pair of Trevor Cook charities for Tech, hitting one of two this time, extending KU's lead to 14 points at 38-24.
Brandon Rush then took down a tipped defensive board off the fingers of Darnell Jackson, but Aldrich, going hard underneath again to the rack, this time missed. Rush scored after another Tech shot was off, following his own short miss in transition with a tip-in off the glass, bringing his point total to seven.
Russell Robinson then got into the act with his first points of the game coming on a long two-pointer, and after a Darnell Jackson steal, Mario Chalmers sprinted ahead for an outlet feed and an easy layup. It gave KU a 44-24 lead and forced Pat Knight into another timeout call.
Robinson canned a three-pointer after the break, forcing the Fieldhouse crowd to explode, and the momentum continued as Mario Chalmers drew an offensive foul on Martin Zeno.
6:02, first half, KU leads 32-22
Martin Zeno and Darrell Arthur traded buckets out of the timeout following Darnell Jackson cashing a free throw to complete his old-fashioned three-point play. Sherron Collins then hit his first three-pointer of the game after a Charlie Burgess miss from deep on the other end, forcing Pat Knight into a quick timeout with his team down nine suddenly, at 25-16.
Cole Aldrich missed on a two after bobbling the feed inside out of the quick breather, but Darrell Arthur gathered the miss and got himself to the free throw line in traffic. He hit one of two, giving him four points and KU a double-digit lead at 26-16.
Trevor Cook and Brandon Rush then swapped misses, and a pair of Texas Tech misses from three-point range couldn't snap the drought. Sherron Collins followed that by adding to KU's lead with a finger roll in close, giving him five points on the night.
Martin Zeno then missed a mid-ranger for Tech, and Cole Aldrich went to work in close with a turnaround two for his first points. John Roberson finally snapped Tech's cold stretch with a three along the right wing. Roberson then hit another off a Darrell Arthur air ball on the baseline.
Sherron Collins dropped in another two in traffic just like the last time before heading to a full break with the Jayhawks leading 32-22.
11:04, first half, KU leads 19-14
Darrell Arthur saved a long offensive rebound from going into press row out of the timeout, and after two passes, Mario Chalmers cashed a three from straight-on. Alan Voskuil's third bucket of the game was Tech's answer, which was hit while drawing a foul. The free throw was no good, and Arthur then hit one of two in a trip of his own moments later. KU corralled the offensive board off the miss, but couldn't convert, despite two open Brandon Rush jumpers.
Martin Zeno got to the line for the second time on the night after Rush's misfires, hitting both to again make it a two-point game.
Rush then made up for the misses by knocking home an open three in the corner off of a feed from Sherron Collins in the paint. Rush's second foul of the game came quickly thereafter, though, replacing him with Russell Robinson just inside the 14-minute mark.
Zeno scored again after a Darrell Arthur turnaround look was well short, forcing Bill Self into a 30-second timeout call with 12:58 to play in the half.
Sasha Kaun scored on a long possession out of the timeout, saving a ball from being turned over on the baseline and then converting the two off the glass. Sherron Collins tried to add to it in transition off a Tech miss, but saw his shot just fall off the iron. Mike Singletary scored on the other end, keeping Tech within three.
Collins was then off on a three from the wing, but Singletary missed aone of his own, and Darnell Jackson slipped in two underneath while drawing contact, sending the game into its second full break.
15:49, first half, KU leads 8-6
Texas Tech controlled the game's opening tip, and on the opening possession Alan Voskuil canned a mid-range baseline jumper over Sasha Kaun to put Tech on top to start things off.
Darnell Jackson quickly evened it out with a tough two off the glass inside between a pair of Tech defenders.
Jackson was then short on a jumper of his own following a Texas Tech timeout, and KU couldn't score again despite Kaun's hustling offensive board.
Kaun got himself to the free throw line after a short Martin Zeno miss for the Red Raiders, where he hit both tries, putting KU ahead for the first time, 4-2.
Voskuil had a long two rim out for Tech, and Kaun extended the lead to four points by banking in a short two from straight on. Voskuil came back down to score his second bucket of the game on a swooping, driving lay-in.
Rodrick Stewart was tied up going for two on the other end, but lost control, and Martin Zeno got himself to the line in transition moments later. In between his two free throw makes, Brandon Rush, Sherron Collins, Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur checked in, leaving Jackson in. Rush quickly scored two inside to put KU ahead again, 8-6.
It's been two years since Kansas University's men's basketball program has recognized a senior class, but tonight against Texas Tech the Jayhawks will do it in a big way. Five scholarship seniors will not only start the game, but play in front of 16,300 fans for the final time in Allen Fieldhouse.
Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun, Russell Robinson, Rodrick Stewart and Jeremy Case suit up for the final time as KU (26-3 overall, 11-3 Big 12) has an opportunity on its hands to stay neck-and-neck with Texas atop the Big 12 standings. A win actually would put KU a half-game ahead of Texas, who plays tomorrow night at home against Nebraska.
Though the Jayhawks in their final home game of the 2007-08 season take on the team responsible for helping them pull up alongside the Longhorns. Texas Tech (16-12, 7-7) upset Texas Saturday in Lubbock, 83-80, and enters the Fieldhouse under new head coach Pat Knight - the son of legendary sideline stroller Bob Knight. So far, Tech is 4-4 under the new ball coach.
The Red Raiders roll into town with a guard-heavy lineup, with just one starter standing taller than 6-foot-5. But those guards can score, led by 6-5 senior Martin Zeno, who averages 15.9 points per game. Freshman John Roberson scores 12.1 per, while outside sniper Alan Voskuil, a 6-3 junior, averages 13.5.
Tip-off is set for 8 p.m., and the game can be seen on ESPN (Sunflower channel 33, 233 HD).