2007-08 March 8 KU-Texas A&M Hoops
- Bill Self discusses what he called his team's most complete road performance of the season
- Cole Aldrich talks about the effect KU's double-teams in the post had
- Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins talk at the postgame podium about everything that went into Saturday's win
- Mario Chalmers talks about benefitting from the defensive pressure KU's big men applied
- Russell Robinson talks about winning his fourth straight league regular season crown
College Station, Texas It was just like they'd drawn it up a couple of times earlier this season.
Only this time it worked.
That was the case for the Kansas University big men, who swarmed, sweltered and suffocated the Texas A&M posts in Saturday's 72-55 league-title-clinching victory in Reed Arena.
"We were supposed to do it a few times (before Saturday)," said freshman Cole Aldrich of the double-team traps in the paint against the Aggies. "But sometimes it's a little tough when you're playing in a game and you get out of sync.
"Anybody's really going to get frustrated if you've got a constant two guys coming at you every time you touch the ball."
The trio of senior Joseph Jones, sophomore Bryan Davis and standout freshman DeAndre Jordan probably wouldn't disagree. The three shot a combined 4-of-15 from the floor, totaled 16 pedestrian points and accounted for nine turnovers in their 2007-08 home finale. For some perspective, coming into the game, the three averaged a total of 27.4 points per game and each shot at least 50 percent from the floor on the season.
"We haven't trapped the posts a lot this year, but I thought we did a pretty good job trapping the posts," KU coach Bill Self said. "Even when they scored, sometimes that can protect you from foul problems when you trouble. So even though we did play out of foul trouble almost the entire second half, we did a pretty good job trapping and rotation rebounding, and we came up with some big steals the last 10 or 12 minutes when we did trap the posts."
The Texas A&M paint frustration was clearly visible on the day's final stat sheet.
Points in the paint: KU 44, TAMU 12.
It turned out to be a lopsided affair on paper between the two teams that entered the day as the league's best in field-goal-percentage defense, both allowing right at around 38 percent. KU was 27-of-54 Saturday (50 percent) and A&M just 15-of-47 (31.9).
Junior guard Mario Chalmers benefitted as much from the interior defense as anyone. His four steals were a team high and marked the seventh time this season he has registered at least four swipes.
As a team, KU had 11 steals, marking just the third time the Jayhawks had recorded double digits in steals in conference play after doing so in 11 of 15 non-conference games.
Chalmers' biggest pick of the day came at the 6:29 mark in the second half, feeding the ball to Sherron Collins, who dished it back for Chalmers to throw down a one-handed slam while drawing contact from A&M's Josh Carter. The subsequent free throw gave KU its biggest lead yet at 60-46. KU led by double figures from that point on.
"We knew that the key to their team was Jordan and Jones, so we tried to take them out of the game early," Chalmers said. "And once we did that, we got them frustrated, and we were able to get steals."