|Related pages||Much of the talk before the game was about Jeff Boschee, playing against his hometown North Dakota University Fighting Sioux. After the game, many fans certainly noticed another guard from North Dakota, Curtis Munlin, who lit up the scoreboard with 18 points (4 of 5 from 3-point land). Itís important to note, however, that Jeff wasnít looking for his shot at all tonight. He didnít even attempt a 3-pointer and ended up with 4 points. Most teams expect a bit more scoring punch from their shooting guard, however KUís game plan tonight was to get the big men involved and to exploit KUís tremendous size advantage. In the end, Coach Williams didnít seem to care too much, saying: "I really liked that Jeff Boschee had zero points and had taken two shots, but he had four assists and zero turnovers, and wasn't trying to look for it. Then he had two (shots) in the second half and made both of them."
Nick Collison: STUD. Nick came out and scored 10 of KUís first 16 points with an array of short jumpers, low post scoring, and a sweet little jump hook. Nick had 12 points in the first half and ended the game with an incredible line: 16 points (on 8 of 11 shooting), 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. Can you say, "PLAYER OF THE GAME"? Everyone is talking about how athletic and active Drew Gooden is, but Nick is such a consistent, calming presence down low. He is methodical in his execution and can be counted on night in and night out. Watching him square his shoulders to the basket before he shoots reminds me so much of Raef LaFrentz.
Congratulations go out to Eric Chenowith, who became the 40th player to score 1000 points in a Kansas uniform. Eric put up solid numbers with 14 points and 9 rebounds. IF YOU ONLY WANT TO FEEL "NICE" THINGS ABOUT ERIC AFTER HIS TREMENDOUS ACCOMPLISHMENT, PLEASE SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAGH. IF NOT, READ ON: I still am not able to completely buy into the "new and improved" Chenowith at this point in the season. Ericís game tonight was difficult to figure out. He had two 3-point plays that were impressive, rebounded well, and hit a couple of nice jump shots. He also missed some turnaround jumpers, posted up too far from the blocks on several occasions, had trouble finishing on a few occasions, collected his fourth foul with about 12 minutes to go in the game (and remember he fouled out of both Coaches vs. Cancer games), and missed back to back free throws on his way to his 1000th point. I donít want to bag on Eric. I really want him to do well. Itís just that his game is like a roller coasterÖÖmany ups and many downs, and itís hard to watch at times. I just hope he develops more consistency and more tenacity on the court as the season progresses.
Kirk Hinrich had 9 assists and 3 turnovers tonight. He also hit a couple of 3-pointers. I am beginning to think more and more that Kirk needs to look for his shot more often. People say that this team has a lot of scorers and that itís ok if Jeff is just distributing the ball and letting other guys score. I donít know why we canít expect him to do both and let his tremendous outside shooting become more of a factor.
Kenny Gregory continues to be a consistent and active presence on the court, contributing 19 points (on 8 of 11 shooting) while grabbing 10 boards. KG is playing with a lot more confidence in his all-around game. He looked comfortable shooting his free throws tonight and put in a beautiful 3-pointer in the first half: squared to the basket, got good lift with his legs, had a nice release... and swish. I am thrilled that he worked on his free throw shooting and outside shooting over the summer. If he can keep that confidence up, he will continue to be a force to be reckoned with all season long. Oh yeah, and he continues to fly. I find myself in awe watching him float to the basket or jump quick for a rebound and then hang in the air for an eternity. Bottom line: itís just nice to watch him play.
Mario Kinsey looked like a freshman tonight. Maybe it was that he hadnít fully recovered from the flu, but he was really forcing things in the first half. Some of his "lowlights" were a missed three, an out of control drive to the basket where his shot was blocked, and another out of control drive to the basket where he found himself sitting on the floor with the ball in his hands (he quickly passed it out to the perimeter). Heck, who would have even thought this kid would have been playing when the season began? I can take a couple of games where he "looks" like a freshman.
Drew Gooden continues to perform, recording a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Drew is so active on the court and is just fun to watch. It is curious how he hasnít started the last couple of games. Is it because Nick has out-graded Drew defensively or is it because Coach Williams likes Drewís ability to come off the bench and provide an offensive and defensive spark? I say itís the latter. Regardless, Drew continues to be impressive and is deserving of all of the attention the national media has been giving him lately. Even more impressive is that he is showing a maturity beyond his years and is not getting "cocky" with all of the attention that is being paid to him. He also gets my "STUD" stamp of approval.
Coach Williams said he was going to give Jeff Carey more minutes tonight, but it didnít really work out that way as Jeff only logged 8 minutes. That being said, Jeff, as usual, responded with a solid effort, scoring 6 points and grabbing 2 rebounds. When I look at Jeffís numbers, I canít help but wonder what kind of numbers he would put up if he got Chenowithís minutes. Would there be much of a difference between the two over the course of an entire game? I like Jeff and when I see him getting so few minutes in a blowout game like this, I canít help but wonder if extra time on the court now would prove to be invaluable as the season wears on. I wonder about it even more when I see that Chenowith has fouled out of 2 of the last 3 games and almost fouled out tonight.
The Fighting Sioux were 5 of 18 from 3-point land in the first half. They had 34 three-point attempts for the night. Who cares? These guys came in and played hard, were well-coached, werenít intimidated by the Jayhawks or by the 16,000-plus fans in Allen Fieldhouse, kept their turnovers down, and fought hard for most of the game. They ran out of gas with about 10 minutes left in the game, but they played with a lot of heart, particularly since they were completely outmanned in the paint. Final stats on "points in the paint": KU 46, North Dakota 10. Ouch.
This team still needs work on their perimeter defense. Even though North Dakota ended up shooting 9 of 34 from 3-point land tonight, they started the game with four 3-pointers in the first 9 minutes. Most of their missed 3ís during the game were due to tired legs and the fact that they had no inside game at all. I havenít been impressed with KUís perimeter defense in any of the games I have seen. They definitely need to get that under control before they head into games with Wake Forest, DePaul, Tulsa, etc. Iíve seen too many KU teams in the past that have gone down to a team that was shooting lights out from 3-point land. It is imperative that this part of the game is not a weakness going into the conference season.
Overall, another impressive win for the Jayhawks. They did what they were supposed to do and still have some work to do to fine-tune their game. I expect this team to be in great shape heading into their matchup with Wake Forest in early December. Only time will tell.
|Email Mic||Keep Rockiní and Chalkiní... MJ|
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