Rush’s late burst leads No. 2 Jayhawks past Sooners
Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) – Brandon Rush scored 13 of his 16 points
in the second half, as the second-ranked Kansas Jayhawks beat Oklahoma, 64-47,
in quarterfinal round action of the Big 12 Tournament at the Ford Center.
Darrell Arthur added 10 points for the top-seeded and defending conference
tournament champion Jayhawks (28-4), who have won nine straight. Mario
Chalmers tallied nine points for Kansas, which will next face fourth-
seeded Kansas State in the semifinals on Saturday. The Wildcats beat Texas
Longar Longar had 13 points and 14 rebounds to lead the ninth-seeded Sooners
(16-15), who lost for the seventh time in eight games. Michael Neal added 10
points for Oklahoma, which shot a horrid 20 percent in the second half after
keeping it close through the first 20 minutes of action.
Kansas broke open a close game early in the second half. After Taylor Griffin
hit 1-of-2 free throws to draw the Sooners within 28-27, Rush spearheaded an
18-2 run with nine points that gave Kansas a 46-29 lead 8:27 into the stanza.
“He shied away from action the first half,” said KU head coachBill Self of
Rush. “We talked about that at halftime. The second half, he was more
aggressive…When he is aggressive, he gives us a whole different dimension
because he can get an easy basket getting to the rack or he can make three or
four threes in a ten-minute stretch. He just wasn’t looking to do that at all
the first half.”
The lone bucket during the run for the Sooners came from Longar at the 15:04
mark. Oklahoma wouldn’t hit another bucket from the field until Austin
Johnson’s jumper brought to halt a string of seven straight points for Kansas
with 5:10 remaining to make it a 59-37 contest.
The Sooners, who beat eighth-seeded Iowa State 68-63 on Thursday to advance to
the quarterfinal round, hit just 4-of-20 second-half shots, starting the
stanza just 1-of-14.
“Obviously we struggled scoring the ball in the second half,” said OU head
coach Jeff Cappel. “We have one field goal for the first 12 minutes or so
and when you are playing against a team as talented as Kansas, you have to
score. I thought defensively we did a decent job and the team average was 80
and they scored 64. But we didn’t score the ball enough to win.”
The first half was tightly contested throughout. Kansas’ largest lead was just
four points and came in the early going when Julian Wright’s jumper gave the
Jayhawks a 6-2 edge.
Oklahoma later grabbed its largest advantage when Longar converted a three-
point play to end a 9-3 surge for a 17-14 lead.
The Jayhawks responded and went into halftime with a 28-26 edge thanks to
Arthur’s lay-up with 45 seconds left until the break.
Kansas improved to 10-1 all-time in quarterfinal play at the Big 12
Tournament…The Jayhawks shot 25-of-52 (48 percent) for the game…Sasha Kaun
had eight points and seven boards for KU…OU shot 15-of-48 (32 percent)
for the game…Self earned his 100th win at the school.