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Kansas routs Ohio in Rush's homecoming

Dec 16, 2007 - 2:58 AM KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- Brandon Rush enjoyed his homecoming.

Making his first start of the season, Rush scored 13 points in his hometown as third-ranked Kansas coasted to an 88-51 victory over Ohio on Saturday.

Rush was projected as a first-round pick in the NBA draft before tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a pickup game in May.

He was expected to be sidelined until December but only missed the Jayhawks' first two games. The junior guard came off the bench in Kansas' previous seven contests.

"I was motivated because this was my first start and it felt good to get out there," Rush said. "We set the tempo early and I made some open shots and tried to help the team out."

Ohio was coming off a 61-55 victory over Maryland but the Bobcats (6-3) never had a chance against the Jayhawks (10-0).

Making its first appearance in the Sprint Center for the Kansas City Shootout, Kansas raced to a 29-9 lead midway through the first half. Rush hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first two minutes to ignite the Jayhawks' offense early.

"We are starting to play good basketball right now," Rush added. "We are sharing the ball and getting the ball down low to our big men. It felt good to come out here and get a win against a good team. It was good to be home for the first time in about a year."

Kansas shot 55 percent (17-of-31) in the first half while holding Ohio to just 17 percent (5-of-30).

The Jayhawks dominated inside, outscoring the Bobcats, 20-2, in the paint in the opening 20 minutes.

"They pretty much overmatched us at every position," Ohio coach Tim O'Shea said. "In most games we play, we can score inside readily. Against a team like Kansas, where the size differential is so great, they took that away from us."

With the contest not in doubt, Kansas coach Bill Self used his bench liberally in the second half. No Jayhawks' starter played more than 25 minutes.

Mario Chalmers paced the Jayhawks with 17 points, while Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson chipped in with 14 and 11, respectively.

"The guys played pretty well," Self said. "We had some athletic plays. It is a great building. I think this place will be jumping for the Big 12 tournament."

Bert Whittington IV scored 10 points off the bench for Ohio, which 39 percent in the second half to finish at 28 percent (17-of-60).

Kansas also dominated the boards, outrebounding the smaller Bobcats, 46-27.

"They were banging a lot down low, but I thought we did a good job clogging up the middle because they were kind of small," Arthur said. "We just made them shoot over us and kept them off of the glass."

Ohio guard Bubba Walther, who scored eight points, acknowledged that the Bobcats were badly outplayed.

"There was one possession in the first half when they had four rebounds," Walther said. "When we beat Maryland the other day, we got every loose ball, every rebound. To go along with their talent and their size, if they were going to outrebound us, they were going to blow us out, and they did."

In a statistical oddity, Kansas also made 17-of-31 shots in the second half. The Jayhawks have shot better than 50 percent of their 10 games this season.

    --- --- -----
    OHIO 20 31 51
    KANSAS (3) 46 42 88 FINAL

    Dec 15 6:53 PM


    Dec 15 5:50 PM