Kansas Elite Eight Bound, Defeats Southern Illinois 61-58
March 22, 2007
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
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The <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>University of Kansas men’s basketball team (33-4) rumbled its way into the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night, defeating Southern Illinois, 61-58, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The Jayhawks will now face UCLA at 6:05 p.m CST Saturday for a ticket to the Final Four in Atlanta.
With under a minute to play, sophomore Brandon Rush banked home a leaner in the lane to lengthen KU’s lead to the final score. On the night, Rush was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field and finished with 12 points. He also added five rebounds and five assists in the contest.
Freshman Darrell Arthur, sophomore Mario Chalmers and junior Russell Robinson each scored nine points in the victory. Junior Darnell Jackson came off the bench to add eight points and five rebounds, including several crucial boards late in the game.
KU weathered a 9-0 Saluki run to start the second half as Arthur responded by scoring the game’s next five points. The rest of the second half was a back-and-forth affair with the teams exchanging leads multiple times.
The Kansas defense really clamped down late in the game, as sophomore Julian Wright and Jackson made steals on back-to-back SIU possessions. For the game, the Jayhawks limited the Salukis to just 36 percent shooting (21-of-57) and registered nine steals.
Kansas took a 27-24 lead into the half as nine different Jayhawks scored in the stanza. KU employed stout defense during the opening 20 minutes, limiting Southern Illinois to 28 percent shooting from the field (8-of-29). On the other hand, Kansas shot the ball well in the first half, knocking down their attempts at a 62 percent clip (13-of-21).