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Archive for Saturday, March 17, 2012

Defense carries Jayhawks

March 17, 2012

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 65-50 victory over Detroit on March 16, 2012.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey

Kansas juniors Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 65-50 victory over Detroit on March 16, 2012.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Detroit's Ray McCallum, Ray McCallum, Jr. and Eli Holman

Detroit coach Ray McCallum and players Ray McCallum, Jr. and Eli Holman talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 65-50 victory over Detroit on March 16, 2012.

KU vs. Detroit

Box score

— The Kansas University basketball players were back in the team hotel when Norfolk State knocked Missouri out of the NCAA Tournament.

They were listening to their coach, Bill Self, give his pregame speech when Lehigh had Duke on the ropes.

Self tried to time his speech right, but with the Purdue-Saint Mary’s game taking a little longer to wrap up than he anticipated, Self had an opportunity to fill time with another reminder.

“The Duke game, there were five seconds left or 20 seconds left when I finished with my pregame talk,” Self said. “I told them, ‘Hey, Duke’s getting ready to get beat.’ So that’s a 15 beating a 2, a 15 beating a 2, a 13 beating a 4, an 11 beating a 6, all today. I didn’t make a point because sometimes when you make a point, it adds pressure because you’re almost saying it’s possible.”

With inspired play from Dunkin’ Doug Anderson, the most spectacular dunker in college basketball, Detroit Mercy was trying to show it was possible, but it didn’t last, and Kansas moved on with a 65-50 victory.

Anderson’s reverse jam put Detroit up 21-19, but from there Kansas went on a 34-7 run that featured terrific defensive pressure on the perimeter.

They make automobiles in Detroit, not bicycle baskets. Not baskets of any kind, evidently.

Anderson is a remarkable dunker, as advertised, and Eli Holman a physical force.

But if you can’t shoot the ball, you can’t score, and if you can’t score, you can’t win. A laser-focused Kansas defense made sure it was not going to let its opponent get easy baskets. It made sure it was not going to become the third No. 2 seed to fall in one day after it hadn’t happened once in the previous 10 tournaments.

Detroit made just two of 22 field goals during the 34-7 run.

Guarded by long, slender LaMarcus Lowe and with physical and long Eli Holman helping, Robinson figured out how to get shots, made seven of 13 and produced game-high totals in points (16) and rebounds (13).

The rest after a semifinal loss to Baylor in the Big 12 tournament seemed to restore energy to Robinson, who has carried so much of the load this season for a Kansas team shy on depth.

During KU’s run, Robinson showed he’s no slouch as a dunker either. He intercepted a pass near midcourt and dribbled it all the way in for a two-handed flush that sent the pro-KU spectators to a high point and triggered a Detroit timeout.

Robinson said he and teammates didn’t talk much about the upsets — they didn’t really have time to digest Duke’s — but they didn’t ignore them, either.

“It did wake us up, give us a little more energy, make us realize it’s March, anybody’s capable of getting beat right now,” Robinson said.

Kansas played like a team that knew it was facing a team loaded with high-flying athletes and knew the best way to avoid an upset was to make the Jayhawks’ biggest strength (keeping teams from scoring) combine with Detroit’s weakness (scoring). That’s exactly what happened.

“I don’t think we were surprised,” Robinson said. “Coming into this game, we were expecting a tough game. And that dunk, we weren’t surprised at all. We watched the highlight tape, and that guy’s a walking highlight tape.”

Anderson fouled out in just 15 minutes of playing time and still led Detroit with 15 points. He made five of eight field goals, and four of them came on dunks, which to a large extent was the extent of Detroit’s range.

The Titans made just three of 17 three-pointers (.176), and some of that could be attributed to KU not giving them very many clean looks.

Comments

cato_the_elder 2 years, 9 months ago

"He (Anderson) made five of eight field goals, and four of them came on dunks, which to a large extent was the extent of Detroit’s range."

That's because KU was in turnover city during the first ten minutes of the first half. Many of our first-half passes were atrociously bad and could have been picked off by a high school team.

Yes, the tenacious defense that was AWOL in Kansas City is back, and that's great, but for gosh sakes let's make better decisions on offense and quit turning the ball over like we did last night.

Jeff Kilgore 2 years, 9 months ago

Grandma, I feel sorry for your grandchildren. Aren't you just a Missouri troll, sorry that your team got sent home early?

bwag 2 years, 9 months ago

It can be mentioned without making a big deal of it.

Gregory Newman 2 years, 9 months ago

the dribble drive by Ej made them play defense. Thats the key to winning the tournament you still have to score. Defense is a KU staple its just have to be reminded every now and then.

Armen Kurdian 2 years, 9 months ago

It was good to see Detroit making plays, taking leads, and our guys not panicking. They played tough and didn't let up. Note how much better we did when we took care of the basketball. That's our real Achilles heel. If we take care of the basketball, we're unbeatable.

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