Sunday, December 30, 2007

Coast to Coast...like Tyus Edney against Mizzou


With so many games and so little time before I pass out, I will only give you the top tier games of the day.

#2 Memphis 76 #18 Arizona 63 - Here was the problem with my upset selection of Arizona, nobody knew until game time that stud PG Jerryd Bayless had sprained his knee and would be out for this game and potentially a few more. Without Bayless, the Cats had no shot. Surprisingly, it was Tigers reserve Shaun Taggert who controlled the paint, scoring 15 in 18 minutes. Robert Dozier added 18, and Chris Douglas-Roberts had 17. Memphis cleaned up on the glass, outrebounding Arizona 35-24.

Dayton 80 #5 Pittsburgh 55 - It was a bad night for the Panthers on several fronts. Not only did they get smoked on the road. Not only did they shoot just 3-25 from three point land. But they may have lost their emotional leader, PG Levance Fields to an anke injury. Dayton, on the other hand, should be ranked come Monday after this impressive performance. Brian Roberts again proved he can play with the big boys, leading all scorers with 31. Pitt big man Dejuan Blair was a non-factor all night long.

Wisconsin 67 #9 Texas 66 - The shocker of the day. Wisconsin played without G Trevon Hughes, its leading scorer, yet were hanging around in Austin all game. Trailing by two in the closing seconds, Michael Flowers drilled a game winning three with two seconds left, then stole the inbounds pass to seal the upset win. This is Texas' second straight loss and once again, they wore down towards the finish. They only got four points off the bench and four of the five starters played 36 minutes or more. I am starting to sound like a broken record. Props to the most underrated coach in America, Bo Ryan for pulling this one off.

#12 Tennessee 72 Gonzaga 62 - Is Tennessee underrated or is Gonzaga overrated? The Vols controlled this game from the opening tip and the Zags couldn't handle the Bruce Pearl full court pressure. 18 Gonzaga turnovers and 10 Tennessee three pointers were a recipe for disaster for Mark Few's club. Six Vols scored in double figures, led by Jajuan Smith's 18. Chris Lofton's season long shooting slump continued as he went 4-13.

Winthrop 76 #19 Miami 70 -I told you Miami was a fraud. Scheduling garbage always catches up to you.

Oklahoma 88 #23 West Virginia 82 Double OT - An excellent game nobody watched. Oklahoma is looking more and more like a tournament team with each game. Longar Longar led the way with 22. Blake Griffin and David Godbold had 18 each for a Sooner club who essentially lost this game before being saved by bad West Virginia ball handling down the stretch and a clutch, game tying three by Tony Crocker forcing double OT. "What a great college basketball game," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "West Virginia is a very good team. I think we are becoming a very good team. It was a heck of a win for us."

#3 Kansas 86 Yale 53 - The man crush Darnell Jackson had 20 and 5. That's all you need to know from me. For the rest:

Gary Bedore, Journal-World KU men’s basketball beat writer
“Nice pressure by the Jayhawks and Russell Robinson who was one off a school record with eight steals. It was a massacre from the start, now the Jayhawks get a whole week off to practice I guess.”

Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor
“Today’s world demands instant gratification. Consumers want the world and they want it now. That’s not what college basketball should be about, but too often it is. This year’s senior class of the Kansas University basketball team didn’t have an immediate impact, but it certainly has a chance to have a very lasting impact. Darnell Jackson and Russell Robinson, the team’s most consistent performers, again showed what maturity and confidence can do for young athletes. They play the game with such unrelenting intensity they are bound to continue to play well, even with the competition stiffening.”

Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor
“Sherron Collins and Tyrel Reed are slowly cracking out of their injury shells, and Saturday’s game against Yale presented the perfect opportunity for both to do so. Both took advantage. Each scored eight, each hit a pair of three-pointers. For Collins, it was his acrobatic up-and-under layin that showed flashes of his old form, while Bill Self made it sound like seeing the ball go in for Reed was big in terms of rebuilding the freshman’s confidence following a pair of ankle tweaks.”

Inside the numbers

8: Teammates gushed over Russell Robinson’s career-high eight steals, and Bill Self was sure to credit the senior guard for helping set the defensive tone in the blowout win. KU forced 27 Yale turnovers, and an impressive stat of note is that through 13 games, Robinson and Mario Chalmers have combined for 75 steals.

48: Bill Self said after the game one of his team’s new year’s resolutions needs to be shooting free throws better. The Jayhawks shot just 48 percent on Saturday, connecting on 12 of their 25 looks from the stripe.

20: Darnell Jackson hit the 20-point plateau for the second time this season, scoring exactly that many, including an impressive five-point run to start the second half. The first three came on what will go down as one of the better plays of his KU career. He stole a ball at midcourt, executed a spin move, leapt over a lying Yale player, then went up-and-under for a layup with a foul tacked on it. He hit the free throw, too, but so caught up in the crowd’s standing ovation, forgot to conduct his signature three taps to the chest.

5: The Holmes twins - Caleb and Nick - of Olathe, who entered Saturday’s game averaging a combined 17.5 points per game for the Bulldogs connected for just five total on two-of-10 shooting. The duo also collaborated to turn it over seven times on a rough night.

1,000: Mario Chalmers became the 50th member of the KU 1,000-point club. The junior guard joined fellow classmate Brandon Rush in joining the club this season. His night was highlighted by a 3-of-5 showing from three-point range in the first half, finishing with 11 points.
Just in case you missed it...
Darnell Jackson’s 20 points were impressive, but more eye-popping has been his overall efficiency on the offensive end this season. With his 9-of-12 performance tonight, Jackson is now 62-of-92 from the floor this year, and his 67.4 percent floor efficiency is second on the team behind Sasha Kaun’s 72.5, though Kaun has attempted 41 fewer shots.

Hopefully you didn’t miss it...

Mario Chalmers usually gets tagged as KU’s ‘steals guy’ because of his knack for taking risks. Russell Robinson usually doesn’t have as many chances to take, well, chances because he is needed as KU’s on-ball glue defender in the backcourt. But Saturday he could show what his strength and stickiness as an on-ball defender can do, registering a career-high eight steals. His 35 steals this season give him 203 for his career, ranking him sixth on KU’s all-time list. Mario Chalmers has 40 this year, bringing his career mark to 226 and ranks fourth. Robinson is only three behind Kirk Hinrich’s 206 swipes for fifth place.

They said it...

Mario Chalmers on Russell Robinson’s defensive ability: “Russ is just so strong that he can body defenders, and once he does that, they get kinda loose with the ball and he just takes it. I mean, Russ is just strong like that. I think he’s one of the best on-ball defenders I’ve ever seen.”

Mario Chalmers on preparing for Boston College next Saturday: “We know they run a lot of flex, so we’ve got to guard the flex and I think that’s going to be the main emphasis this week in practice. If we can do that and stop Tyrese Rice and all the other good players, I think we have a good chance of beating them.”

Darnell Jackson on his highlight play to start the second half scoring: “That was great. I got the little spin move, and the crowd...I just got goosebumps...That’ll probably be the last spin move I do. I don’t want to get carried away.”

Russell Robinson on the eight steals leading to transition points: “That’s the best part about it, because we’ve got so many athletic guys, you can get out, get some good athletic plays in transition and easy baskets, which gives us momentum, gets the crowd into it.”

Russell Robinson on coming close to Aaron Miles’ record: “He might need to be worried. It felt kinda good. I’m gonna try for it again. I didn’t know it was that many, but I’m gonna definitely to do it again.”

Bill Self on Darnell Jackson: “He’s confident. He’s playing with a free mind. The play he made in the second half was about as good a play I’ve seen in awhile, for a guy that size to be that agile and steal it, kick it, run it down, fall down, dribble it, and do a spin move and finish, that was pretty good. And you could tell by his smile he was pretty proud of himself after he did it, too.”

Bill Self on his backcourt’s knack for getting steals: “To be real honest with you, Mario’s the guy that is probably as good at taking a guy’s ball as I’ve been around. But Russell, I wouldn’t want him guarding me. You can take advantage of our guards, too, with speed and things like that, because you can’t gamble on those type of players, but tonight they were able to gamble a little bit and then recover, and Russell and Mario are just as dangerous after you beat ‘em as they are when you know where he is. Because when you beat ‘em, they’re pretty good at coming from behind and tipping the ball when you get past ‘em.”

Bill Self on his team’s new year’s resolutions: “Well, I think most KU fans would agree that we will shoot better free throws. It’s brutal. You can’t put it on one or two guys, it’s the whole team. I think everybody on our team, with the exception of Sasha, that plays major minutes is shooting between 60 and 70, and that’s not good enough. We’ve got to rebound better. Sasha, Darnell, Brandon and Shady don’t go after the ball like they should. We’ve got to get where we rebound the ball better. And just become a little more consistent. And we can’t be happy where we’re at. The new year’s resolution for the team would be stay hungry.”

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