Kansas Stunned by Bradley in First Round of NCAA Tournament
March 17, 2006
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Despite 18 points and seven assists from sophomore Russell Robinson, the University of Kansas was stunned, 77-73, by Bradley in the first round of the NCAA Tournament’s Oakland Region. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
The 13th-seeded Braves out of the Missouri Valley Conference led by as many as 14 in the second half, but Kansas rallied behind freshman Mario Chalmers’ 15 second-frame points to pull within three at the 3:38 mark. After Bradley extended its lead to six, senior Jeff Hawkins’ three-pointer from the corner again brought the fourth-seeded Jayhawks to within three with just under a minute remaining. However, the Braves outscored <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas 7-6 in the final 50 seconds — including five-of-seven from the charity stripe — to clinch the upset.
Kansas struggled offensively through much of the game, especially in the first half, where it shot just 39-percent and committed 10 turnovers, allowing Bradley to use an 11-0 run to take a ten-point lead at the break. Overall, the Jayhawks were pressured into 18 turnovers while being held to 45-percent shooting from the field.
Brandon Rush, a first team All-Big 12 selection and Kansas’ second all-time freshman scorer, added nine points and seven rebounds, while fellow-freshman Julian Wright scored eight. Hawkins chipped in with 11 points, and sophomore Sasha Kaun added six points and eight rebounds.
Chalmers, a Big 12 All-Defensive and All-Rookie team selection, became the sixth-highest freshman scorer in KU’s history with his 15 on Friday, while Rush’s seven boards left the Big 12’s Freshman of the Year one shy of fifth-place on the Jayhawk’s rookie rebounding list.
KU recorded 12 steals and forced 17 turnovers while holding Bradley to just 44-percent from the field. The Braves, however, connected on 11 three-point shots to offset their low shooting percentage.
The regular and post season Big 12 Champion Jayhawks end the season with a record of 25-8, including 15 wins in their final 17 games. This season marked the 14th time in the past 16 years that KU finished with nine or fewer losses.