for this game

Rush, Kansas cruise past Portland State

Mar 21, 2008 - 3:35 AM
OMAHA, Nebraska (Ticker) -- Kansas was in no mood for a miracle.

Brandon Rush scored 18 points to lead the top-seeded Jayhawks to a decisive 85-61 victory over No. 16 Portland State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Regional on Thursday.

Top seeds are now 93-0 against No. 16 seeds since the tournament expanded to 64 teams 23 years ago. UCLA can make it 94-0 with a victory over Mississippi Valley State in the West Regional later Thursday.

"I love being a No. 1 seed, but I will tell you this: (A No. 16 beating a top seed) is going to happen some time," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "And when it does, it's going to be the forever highlight that you're always reminded of.

"I was glad we (played well early) because it certainly eliminated any jitters or tension early to allow (Portland State) to think that they had a good chance."

The game was never in doubt for Kansas (32-3), which opened up early leads of 14-3 and 33-18 en route to a commanding 49-26 halftime advantage.

"I thought we played very well the majority of the first half and shot the ball great and got off to a pretty good start," said Self, who saw his squad shoot 64 percent (18-of-28) from the field in the opening half. "That was good, because I thought we'd have some first-game jitters. In the second half we kind of puttered around, but all-in-all I thought we played pretty well."

Though Kansas only outscored the Vikings, 36-35, in the final 20 minutes, Rush said the team never lost its focus.

"(We didn't lose any motivation) at all, because we know they're a good shooting team," he said. "They shoot a lot of threes and that's the way they can come back in the game. So we tried not to take (the half) off at all."

Darrell Arthur had 17 points and Mario Chalmers added 16 for the Jayhawks, who sunk eight 3-pointers in the first half and finished 12-of-25 from the arc.

Kansas - which lead by as much as 29 in the second half - also received contributions from Darnell Jackson and Sherron Collins, who had 10 and nine points, respectively.

Jeremiah Dominguez had 13 points to pace the Vikings (23-10), who were making their first appearance in the NCAAs. Alex Tiefenthaler chipped in 10 points for Portland State, which shot 38 percent (21-of-55) from the field.

Kansas, a regional finalist last season, next will face No. 8 UNLV, a 71-58 winner over ninth-seeded Kent State.