Five Jayhawks scored in double figures and everyone who suited up scored in a 56-17 second half en route to a 53-point win over the Cornhuskers Saturday afternoon at Allen Field House.
“I thought we played great the second half. Eight-of-12 from three (point range) and our second unit shot the ball great," said Kansas head man, Bill Self. "Defensively we didn’t force a lot of stuff, but they shot a pretty low percentage and we rebounded the ball pretty good. I thought we shared the ball very well.”
Arthur explained the second-half blitz simply: “We were in attack mode.”
Rush expressed surprise that the game was so uneven. "I didn’t think it was going to be this easy. We came in and got them on one of our better days, when everything was going right for us and they couldn’t make any shots,” he said.
The game was nearly a mirror image of the game between these same two teams in Lincoln on January 29th. Kansas hit Nebraska with the knockout punch in the first half by jumping out to a 39-6 lead and won, 76-56.
KU led 36-22 after a first half that saw neither team shoot particularly well.
“To be honest, I didn’t think we came out with that good a focus,” Self said. “I thought our defense was fine the whole day but I thought – you know – just paying attention to the scouting report... I knew for us to look good early, we were going to have to make shots because I knew they were going to cram it back in there tight. We didn’t make shots so we didn’t look very good early.”
In the second stanza, Kansas seemingly hit everything they threw at the rim and Nebraska couldn’t buy a basket. KU shot 66.7% in the second half while the Huskers took over 14 minutes to add 10 points to their halftime total.
Self empathized with first-year NU coach Doc Sadler, acknowledging that he, too, had been on the short end of routs while rebuilding at Oral Roberts.
“It’s not much fun,” he said.
Self also observed, “When that snowball started going down the hill (for Nebraska), it just didn’t stop. The basket gets a lot bigger when you’re loose.”
Sadler couldn’t do anything but agree with Self’s assessment.
"Kansas wasn't at that magic level (early) so it allowed us to be in the game. Then, the last seven minutes of the (first) half, we gave them 18 points and we can't score enough points to give 18 free points away in seven minutes. And then (Kansas) got on a roll and we couldn't stop them."
To tell you what kind of day it was for Kansas, the quartet of Roderick Stewart, Jeremy Case, Brennan Bechard and Brad Witherspoon were 4 of 6 from behind the arc in the closing minutes. When that happens, you may as well not even show up, if you’re the Cornhuskers.
Self was careful about drawing too much from Saturday’s rout, however.
“We should go back and watch the first half but forget it after that,” he said. “This isn’t a true indication of them at all. We’ll get a lot out of watching the first half tape but I can’t see learning much after that.”
Nebraska’s Aleks Maric followed up a 41-point game against Kansas State with just 14 against KU. Only two came in the second half, however, thanks to halftime adjustments that resulted in much-improved defense by Sasha Kaun and Arthur.
Brandon Rush led Kansas with eight rebounds, and Julian Wright had seven. Russell Robinson continued his season-long assist clinic by dealing eight against just one turnover.
With a win, KU kept pace with Big XII co-leader Texas A&M, who beat Oklahoma, 56-49, at Norman Saturday afternoon.
Up next: Kansas heads west to Bramlage Coliseum for their fifth Big Monday appearance, taking on Kansas State and their coach, Bob Huggins. KU fans may remember Huggins called his shot at KSU’s late night event, predicting an end to the Jayhawks’ Bramlage winning streak this season.