Final - OT
  for this game

Rush helps Kansas hold off Arizona in overtime

Nov 26, 2007 - 5:57 AM LAWRENCE, Kansas (Ticker) -- Brandon Rush scored five of his 17 points in overtime as fourth-ranked Kansas held off a pesky Arizona squad for a 76-72 victory in the inaugural Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series on Sunday.

Darrell Arthur scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Jayhawks (5-0), who improved to 7-3 all-time against the Wildcats.

"The energy was there," Rush said of the win. "The whole crowd was into it. We made some stupid plays at the beginning and end of the game, so we had to come through. We had to win somehow, it was a grind-out game."

After nearly ending a back-and-forth affair in regulation when his three-quarter court heave at the end of regulation hung on the rim before spinning out, Rush helped Kansas open it up in the extra session.

"I thought it was going to go in," said Rush of his near miss. "I was praying that it was just going to drop."

Following two straight baskets by Arthur made it 69-65 with 2:49 remaining, Rush jumped a passing line as Arizona attempted to reset its offense following an offensive rebound and went down the court uncontested for a dunk.

The 6-6 junior, who opted to return to school only after suffering a knee injury in a spring workout for the NBA, added another dunk with 1:37 remaining for push the score to 73-65.

"In overtime I thought we just ran out of gas," Arizona interim coach Kevin O'Neill said. "I am taking nothing away from Kansas, they played a heck of a basketball game. We had our chances."

Rush, who had managed just 13 points in his previous two games after missing the opening pair for the Jayhawks, shot 6-of-12 from the field with two 3-pointers in 36 minutes off the bench. He also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

"We needed Brandon tonight," sophomore guard Mario Chalmers said. "He was big for us. He came in and gave us some great minutes, great points and great production. We really needed that from him and I think he needed that for himself."

Still working his way back from the injury, Rush had only had 28 minutes of action coming in, and the plan was for him to play no more than that in this one before foul issues changed that.

"Our game plan was to play him 20 (minutes)," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "Our medical staff kept checking him. When Tyrel (Reed) went down and Russell (Robinson) picked up the two foolish fouls to end the half to give him three, and then Rod (Rodrick Stewart) got a touch foul to give him three, we didn't have any bodies.

"I know one thing, (Rush) is getting the day off tomorrow. They all are."

Arthur shot 8-of-13 from the field and Chalmers added 14 points and seven assists for Kansas, which remained undefeated despite getting outrebounded, 38-29.

Last season's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Chase Budinger scored a season-high 27 points before fouling out within the closing minute.

"I felt the shots that I took were good shots," Budinger said. "I may have forced a few shots that I should not have taken. But most of the shots that I took felt good and they were good looking shots."

Coming off a myriad of screens, the 6-7 forward knocked down six 3-pointers and pulled down six boards.

"I was getting tired from going around those screens," Rush said about having to guard Budinger. "They set tons and tons of screens, and every time that he was open he would make on me. I was getting kind of upset about that."

Freshman guard Jerryd Bayless added 19 points for the Wildcats (3-2), who had a four-point edge on four different occasions in the second half but could not put away the contest.

This was the first trip to Allen Fieldhouse for Arizona since capturing a 91-74 win here on January 23, 2003.

Early on, the Wildcats knocked off balance, falling behind 20-9 after a jumper by Arthur with 8:21 expired. However, they managed to chip away at the deficit behind Budinger, who scored 15 points in the first half to forge a 40-40 tie at the break.

"In the first half we didn't defend like we should," O'Neill said. "Their size got us."

Arizona continued the momentum in the second half, as Bayless hit a jumper and both Jordan Hill and Budinger both split two free throws to give it a 44-40 edge - the first of four four-point leads for the Wildcats.