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Archive for Monday, March 19, 2012

Sweet survival: Jayhawks rally past Purdue

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor goes wild after a three by teammate Elijah Johnson, left, put the Jayhawks up by one for their first lead of the game against Purdue during the second half on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor goes wild after a three by teammate Elijah Johnson, left, put the Jayhawks up by one for their first lead of the game against Purdue during the second half on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

March 19, 2012

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Final thoughts following KU's dramatic win over Purdue

Journal-World sports reporters Jesse Newell and Matt Tait give their final thoughts following KU's dramatic 63-60 win over Purdue on March 18, 2012. Enlarge video

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 63-60 victory over Purdue on March 18, 2012.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU guards Elijah Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor

KU guards Elijah Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 63-60 victory over Purdue on March 18, 2012.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Purdue's Matt Painter, Robbie Hummel and Lewis Jackson

Purdue coach Matt Painter and players Robbie Hummel and Lewis Jackson talk to reporters following the Boilermakers' 63-60 loss to Kansas on March 18, 2012.

KU vs. Purdue

Box score

— Tyshawn Taylor pulled his Kansas University basketball jersey over his head, breathing a quick sigh of relief.

Teammate Elijah Johnson thrust his hands high in the air, celebrating with fans who were dancing in the aisles of CenturyLink Center after the final horn sounded in KU’s 63-60 NCAA Midwest Regional victory over Purdue on Sunday.

Two of the game’s biggest heroes then embraced before finally heading to the locker room following quick TV and radio interviews, their season still alive with a Sweet 16 date with North Carolina State on tap at 9:17 p.m. Friday in St Louis.

“We kept grinding and grinding and never gave up,” Taylor said. “You’ve got to trust your teammates. I trusted Elijah to knock that shot down, and he trusted me to go get that lob. That’s what we did. The trust we have in each other is the reason we won the game.”

Johnson, who scored 18 points off 7-of-14 shooting, stroked a deep three with 3:01 left, giving KU a 57-56 lead — its first lead of a game in which the Jayhawks trailed by as many as 11 the first half.

“Money,” Johnson said, asked what he thought when he let the shot go. “I had a smirk on my face because I knew it was going down.”

Undaunted, Purdue, which was led by the 26-point performance of Robbie Hummel (he had 22 the first half), scored the next four points and led, 60-57, at 1:58.

Johnson lofted a lob to Taylor, who dunked at :59.9 to slice the gap to one.

“I was throwing that lob whether I threw it off the backboard or not,” Johnson said. “That’s our game.”

“We’ve got that play so many times, me throwing it to him, him throwing it to me. He trusts me, and I went and got it for him,” the 6-foot-3 skywalking Taylor said.

Still down one, KU benefited from the Taylor-Johnson combo once again. Taylor knocked the ball from senior guard Lewis Jackson with 27 seconds to play. Johnson secured the steal and raced in for a layup at :23 to give KU a 61-60 lead.

“It’s not the biggest layup of my life,” Johnson said with a smile, “but it’s one of them.”

Still, Purdue had a chance to win. Hummel, who was guarded by Thomas Robinson, hoisted a three with about eight seconds left, with Robinson rebounding and passing to Taylor, who instead of trying to run the clock out dunked at :03 to give KU the 63-60 lead.

“I thought about it (running it out), but I thought, ‘I’ve got to dunk it,’” Taylor said. “You can go up by three points, and they would have to make a three-pointer with only two seconds left, so they would have to make a long pass. I laid it up, but I did think about it.”

Up three, KU sweated out one final possession. Ryne Smith missed a three that banked off the backboard — but did hit the rim — at the buzzer, assuring KU’s victory.

“It was pure joy,” KU junior Robinson said after the shot missed and KU won. “I felt pride — pride in my teammates, pride in the fans who were here, the coaches, everybody.”

“It was awesome. We get to live another day,” noted center Jeff Withey, who scored just four points with two rebounds while playing only 15 minutes because of match-up problems against a Purdue team that hit eight of 18 threes, seven of 10 the first half.

KU coach Bill Self used a triangle-and-two defense with smaller players Johnson and Conner Teahan doing the chasing on Hummel and either D.J. Byrd or Smith the second half.

“We were all speechless. To come back and win like that and make plays at the end takes so much toughness,” Withey added. “We played defense the last 10 minutes. That’s why we won the game.”

Self, whose team trailed 36-30 at halftime and 45-36 with 14 minutes to play, loves the way his team clawed until the end.

“How we won this game is who we are: getting stops and making plays,” Self said.

“Thomas tried so hard,” he added of Robinson who finished with 11 points off 2-of-11 shooting with 13 rebounds. “They tried to take him out of the game. When Teahan goes 2-for-7 (from three on day KU goes 6-24) and Travis is 0-fer (0-for22, finishing with 10 points) and Tyshawn is 0-for-4 (from three, 10 total points) and can’t get to the paint and Thomas can’t get touches ... it’s good to be able to still find a way to win. This should help us down the line.”

He said the game reminded him of KU’s overtime victory over Missouri in which KU battled back from a 19-point deficit. The players, too, noticed the similarities.

“My message to the team at halftime was, ‘We’ve been here before. Don’t get discouraged,’” Taylor said. “Just keep playing. It’s a long game, a game of runs. Coach always says that.”

“What went through my head,” Johnson noted, “is the whole time coach preached to us it’s going to come down to one possession. No matter the score, I felt it would come down to one possession, no matter what. We knuckled down and put our past experiences into effect today.”

Hummel brought back bad memories of former Purdue great Glenn Robinson in the 1994 NCAA Tournament (he had 44 in a victory over KU) by scoring 22 in the first half and lifting Purdue to a 36-30 lead at the break.

Hummel hit seven of eight shots before intermission. He knocked down five threes in six tries. He also made three of five free throws and had six rebounds in 18 minutes.

Robinson had just three points off 1-of-5 shooting with eight boards in 17 first-half minutes. Withey, who had some problems defensively early, did not score with no rebounds in nine minutes. Taylor had just four points off 1-for-5 shooting in 16 minutes.

KU had just four assists against four turnovers in the entire half.

Seven players scored for KU in the first half, with Travis Releford leading the way with eight points. Purdue hit seven of 10 threes in the half to KU’s four of 16.

Comments

Paul R Getto 2 years, 9 months ago

Rock Chalk! On to the next round and that's all that counts. The headline should have read:

K - W h e w !

grammaddy 2 years, 9 months ago

Amen! I'm getting too old for this.Rock Chalk!!

FlintlockRifle 2 years, 9 months ago

Great job guys of hanging in the game, Hummel was just shooting lights out the first half, but had a lillte problem the second, good player. But the Hawks came through in a winning form, GO HAWKS

Kent Richardson 2 years, 9 months ago

Purdue players and head coach showed class immediately after the game.

Armen Kurdian 2 years, 9 months ago

I think Withey was on the bench because they were using our size against us, so we went a bit smaller with only one big man at a time. They were collapsing on T-Rob and we needed KY's speed to even things up. KY really worked his butt off last night and came up w/some key plays too...he's the unsung hero in my book.

Overall, Coach Self was out-coached start to finish last night. Looking at him, it almost seemed like he was going into a big of a panic mode...maybe I'm just imagining things. Teams know how to beat us now...either get hot on the perimater or make T-Rob miserable.

NC State will be a very hard team to beat...I actually had them going to the Elite 8 over us. They are no 11-seed. They are as good as anyone right now.

windjammer 2 years, 9 months ago

It is amazing how many arm chair coaches we have here in Lawrence.

Jayhawk1958 2 years, 9 months ago

Ditto. As poor as we played we didn't deserve to win. One of these days we will lose doing this kind of thing. Though good to know that we now have a 3rd weapon in EJ. But T-Rob and TT will have to play well to beat NCS.

windjammer 2 years, 9 months ago

Where did you Larry Native get all of your coaching expertise? Have you ever played in a real game? And no T Ron did not have the flu.

drillsgt 2 years, 9 months ago

robinson..pride? pride in what ? haveing a bad attitude on the court? you were getting outplayed cause tv showed you had givin up..your teammates won that game..you had nothing but a terrible attitude during that game..if those boys shut you down ..you will be outplayed by better players friday..your attitude was no better than a game at veterans park...you better show up and play team ball..

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 9 months ago

Chill-- it's only a game (and not a close-order drill)

Bursting 2 years, 9 months ago

Hate to say it, but Robinson's defense looked so lazy and he barely moved at all on the offensive end. I hope he isn't playing NBA ball already because this is the NCAA Tournament and we are gonna need much better effort out of him.

Jayhawk_4_Life 2 years, 9 months ago

yeah, they clearly don't know too much about the game basketball

Shane Garrett 2 years, 9 months ago

I liked how the network showed T-Rob being surrounded by.. count'em.. 1,2,3,4 Boilermakers under the basket. And He still went up with it. Toughness when it counted. Yes, that game was so intense, that at half I had to make a beer run. Great job by a great team during a game for the ages. And I thought Self coached his butt off during that game.

Gregory Newman 2 years, 9 months ago

EJ and REL have to dribble drive they are too big and fast not to take fools off the dribble. Shoot that mid-range 7-14 jumpers or blast in for dunks they both jump to the moon. They could win this thing. The fastest group of guards in the Nation but won't dribble drive.

The 08 and 88 guards took fools to the hoop. Then when folks pulled away from the bigs to help out it was lob city.

mosshawk 2 years, 9 months ago

sad that there arent more players like Hummell, guys who grind it through injuries and end up being studs working their tails off to get better. we won, but it would have been almost tolerable losing to such a great team. man the big ten is way better than i thought this year

jonas_opines 2 years, 9 months ago

"One of these days we will lose doing this kind of thing."

Dunno, after the last four years, I'd say this was more of a case of: "One of these days we were going to win playing like that." We've lost plenty. Most everybody has a bad game in the tournament (Davidson '08). Some teams are either good enough or lucky enough to win those. First half we just got flat beat in every way. Second half first 10 we started to put together the things we do well (coaching more than playing, really), and the last 10 we beat them with defense, hands down.

Hummel's first half versus second half stat line says all that there is to say about the coaching, as far as I'm concerned. They killed us the first half because of him, and then we found a way with adjustments to shut him down.

rgh 2 years, 9 months ago

Come on folks. Beat Purdue and continue the season or be a Misery fan and lost to #15 in the first round while giving up 86 points? I'm taking Coach Self and the boys even though this was way to close for comfort. This was a gut check and shear will to win on an off night.

martyks 2 years, 9 months ago

Some people are crazy enough to actually believe Coach Self was outcoached. Wow. He had to resort to junk defenses, making changes throughout the game. He did an amazing job. One of the talking heads said something about Syracuse when they had trouble beating a 16 seed. "You're a number one seed. You don't make adjustments." What a pile of crap that was! If Self had not made adjustments, we'd be reading files about next year's recruits right now instead of the next game. Hummel was in the zone. Not one Jayhawk was shooting at all well. Robinson was being smothered. We had no penetration worth anything. We weren't even hitting free throws while even their 42% guy was knocking them down. How we outscored them can be summed up in two words... Coach Self.

Purdue, remember, is not a terrible team. The Big Ten this year, is the strongest conference in the country. Ohio State, Michigan St., Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, and Wisconsin all have shown up to play. If someone had said we would be a number two seed, having won the Big Twelve by two full games, and we would make it to the Sweet Sixteen, how many of us would have jumped at that? This team is full of over-achievers. It's been an amazing year! TRob shouldn't be criticized for last night at all. Be proud, young man. Be very very proud!

Next stop... NCS... one game at a time, boys.

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