for this game

Rush's strong start leads Kansas over Toledo

Dec 9, 2006 - 8:23 PM KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- Brandon Rush's quick start helped him overcome his recent struggles.

Rush scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half as No. 13 Kansas extended its winning streak at Kemper Arena to 26 games with a 68-58 victory over Toledo.

Last season, Rush was one of a trio of outstanding freshmen that led the Jayhawks to an unexpected share of the Big 12 Conference title with Texas. The 6-6 guard led the team in scoring, averaging 13.5 points.

Prior to this matchup, Rush had struggled through a rough three-game stretch where the sophomore averaged just 8.3 points on 24 percent (7-of-29) shooting.

Rush came out firing in this one, however, knocking down four of his first six 3-pointers to help Kansas (8-2) to a 44-34 lead at the break.

"He was more aggressive," Kansas coach Bill Self said of Rush. "He played better. He still didn't make shots from two, but he did a good job shooting the three. He didn't hesitate and I thought that was good.

"He's going to pop out of this (slump) and when he does it will be in a big way. Certainly, this was a good start today."

Although he cooled down after intermission, Rush finished with a career-high five 3-pointers on 10 attempts.

"My teammates looked for me a lot tonight because I have been in a slump and they just want to help me out of it," Rush said. "They found me and I made a lot of wide-open threes. I didn't do anything differently than I have been doing."

Unfortunately for Rush, the Jayhawks now have the next 10 days off due to the end of the semester and the upcoming Christmas break.

"The way we played today makes me wish we didn't have such a long break," Rush said. "The next 10 days will be pretty rough on us with two-a-days and having to deal with finals as well."

Sasha Kaun scored 10 points and freshman Darrell Arthur chipped in nine for the Jayhawks, who shot 46 percent (23-of-50).

Playing in the site where it claimed its last national championship in 1988, Kansas flexed some of its defensive muscle, finishing with a school-record 15 blocks. Rush and Kaun both had four and Arthur and Julian Wright added three each.

"If they are going to block shots against Florida they are going to block shots against us," Toledo coach Stan Joplin said. "We tried to use our perimeter play as much as we can, but still we got to the basket and they rotated over. We got the ball inside, but it's tough to finish over those guys."

"It was not a problem trying to run the offense, but once you ran the offense, executed it well and thought you had an easy shot, someone would come out of nowhere and block your shot," Rockets guard Keonta Howell said. "It was tough to get baskets inside. Usually our guards get to the basket pretty easily and finish, but today it was harder to finish."

The Jayhawks have not lost a regular-season game at Kemper Arena since a 64-61 loss to Ohio State on January 2, 1983.

Howell scored 18 points and Justin Ingram added 13 for the Rockets (2-5), who shot 36 percent (22-of-61) in losing their third straight game.

Trailing by 10 points at the break, Toledo got a 3-pointer from Howell and a jumper by Kashif Payne to close within 44-39 in the opening 1 1/2 minutes of the second half.

Rush came back with two free throws and the Rockets committed a turnover, leading to a layup by Arthur. The first-year forward added two jumpers after Toledo's Florentino Valencia split two free throws to make it 52-40 with 13:54 remaining.

The Rockets got no closer than six points thereafter.

    --- --- -----
    TOLEDO 34 24 58
    KANSAS (13) 44 24 68 FINAL

    Dec 9 3:01 PM


    Dec 9 1:47 PM