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Southern Illinois vs. Kansas Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Posted by Mike on March 22, 2007

Tonight Southern Illinois plays Kansas in the Game 1 of the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. The Salukis are looking to shut Kansas down with their defense and halfcourt game, while the Jayhawks will try to run the floor and keep this game in as fast a pace as possible. Whichever style prevails will likely determine the outcome of this game. I have the Jayhawks in the Final Four, so I’m pulling for Kansas.

7:11 pm: Jay Bilas and Dick Enberg are calling the game.

San Jose is definitely not a college basketball town. I see a lot of empty seats at tipoff.

Russel Robinson drives inside and gets a layup before the shotclock expires. 2-0, Kansas.

7:13 pm: 4-0, Kansas. It looks like the Salukis are dictating a slow, halfcourt game. Even so, the athletic Jayhawks may be too much for them to handle.

7:14 pm: 4-2, Kansas. Falker puts SIU on the board with free throws, and then Kansas turns the ball over.

7:15 pm: 8-2, Kansas. The Jayhawks finally play at a pace that better suits them. Rush gets two straight easy layups in transition.

If UNC and Kansas meet in the championship game, we might get the most entertaining, nerve wracking game of the year.

7:19 pm: Falker misses the dunk! As we go to an official timeout, the pace of this game is starting to get away from Southern Illinois.

7:24 pm: 10-5, Kansas. As the shot clock expires, Julian Wright gets an easy dunk. I think it was a shot clock violation, but the call stands. Tony Young hits a three on the next possession for SIU, their first FG.

7:25 pm: With the exception of the transition shots, Southern Illinois has done a very good job on defense. I can definitely see the Jayhawks getting frustrated with this at some point in the game.

7:26 pm: 10-8, Kansas. Tony Boyle gets the basket and the foul to bring the Salukis within two.

7:28 pm: 13-11, Kansas. Robinson hits a three, but Tony Boyle gets one of his own. As one of the forwards for SIU, Kansas left him open.

7:30 pm: 17-11, Kansas. I don’t know what’s worse for Southern Illinois right now: Missing open shots from the bonusphere or allowing guards like Sherron Collins to run the transition game and penetrate the paint.

7:36 pm: Hmm…two minutes without any scoring whatsoever. Believe it or not, this favors a team: SIU.

7:37 pm: The Salukis tried an uptempo offensive game for a couple of possessions…and they failed miserably.

7:38 pm: 17-13, Kansas. Randall Falker is relentless on the offensive glass.

7:39 pm: 19-13, Kansas. Julian Wright hits the midrange jumper before the official timeout. 7:27 left.

Southern Illinois is well within striking distance, if they can keep the game as slow as possible. With Kansas’ quick, aggressive guards, that’s easier said than done.

7:42 pm: 19-16, Kansas. Southern Illinois hits a three, but it was pre-empted by a dunk from Memphis.

7:43 pm: 19-18, Kansas. Shaw gets the basket AND the foul! He didn’t play against Va. Tech, but He’s making some big contributions tonight, with 8 of SIU’s 18 points.

7:45 pm: 21-21. Tony Young finally hits another three, and Southern Illinois has tied this game. Unbelievably, they have done so playing at a relatively fast pace compared to Sunday against the Hokies.

7:46 pm: Brandon Rush is now in foul trouble. Three Jayhawk players now have 2 fouls.

7:47 pm: 22-21, SIU. Falker hits 1 of 2 from the line, and the Salukis have their first lead of the game.

7:48 pm: 24-21, SIU. Jamaal Tatum gets on the board with a long jumper, and SIU is now definitely in control of this game.

Kansas is starting to turn the ball over frequently, succumbing to the Saluki defense. They need to protect the ball if they want to reestablish their pace.

7:50 pm: 24-23, SIU. Julian Wright gets the easy two-handed dunk off a great pass by Darrell Arthur.

7:54 pm: 25-24, Kansas. The Jayhawks take back the lead, as that basket by Darnell Jackson was WAY too easy.

7:56 pm: 27-24, Kansas. The threes are going cold again for the Salukis. This can be big trouble.

7:59 pm: Tatum’s floater at the buzzer falls short, and Kansas leads 27-24 at halftime. Both of these teams controlled this game in short stretches, but this is a much lower scoring game than the Jayhawks are used to. That’s the big reason Southern Illinois has been able to keep it close. To win in the second half, these teams will need to play the game at their pace longer than their opponent.

8:20 pm: Whoa. Kansas shot 62% in the second half to 28% for SIU. This means that the Salukis are dominating the offensive glass.

8:23 pm: 28-27, SIU. Tatum hits two midrange jumpers to give the lead back to SIU.

8:24 pm: 30-27, SIU. The Jayhawks turn the ball over again, and Tony Young gets an easy layup on the other end. Southern Illinois has dictated the second half so far. But there’s still 17 and a half minutes left. Kansas has plenty of time to reestablish a uptempo game, but they need to have better ball control.

8:26 pm: I am sick of these Pontiac convertible commercials. They’re bizarre, but in a bad way.

8:29 pm: Sorry, Extrapolater, and screw my bracket. I’m rooting for the Salukis now.

8:30 pm: 33-30, SIU. Tony Young hits another three for Southern Illinois. He now has 14. But he doesn’t get back on defense, and Kansas gets three the old-fashioned way.

Official TV timeout.

8:36 pm: 34-33, Kansas. Sherron Collins fights his way inside, and he makes a great to Rush, who drains the midrange jumper and gives Kansas the lead.

I noticed that Falker just came back in. Maybe his absence is the reason the Jayhawks have made a run here.

8:38 pm: 35-34, SIU. Do you think Jamaal Tatum has a rap song for the Salukis’ run in the tournament this year?

8:39 pm: 36-35, Kansas. All but 8 of Kansas’ points have been inside the paint, and all but 8 of SIU’s points are from outside the paint. Hmmm…

8:41 pm: 37-36, SIU. Falker scores inside to give the Salukis the lead back with 12 minutes left, as we hit another official timeout.

8:44 pm: 39-36, SIU. Tyrone Green takes the ball away from Kansas on the offensive glass, and he gets an easy putback. That’s 24 of SIU’s 39 points off turnovers. Kansas needs to tighten up.

8:46 pm: 41-37, SIU. Tatum is fouled. I was nearly sure he traveled.

8:48 pm: 41-39, SIU. Robinson hits a nice floater, but Southern Illinois continues to force turnovers.

8:49 pm: 43-39, SIU. Falker gets another shot to roll in inside.

Southern Illinois seems to get every loose ball in this game. If Kansas doesn’t tighten up, they will lose this game.

9:04 left.

8:53 pm: 45-43, SIU. Rush hits another pull-up jumper to reduce the lead to two. He has 8.

8:54 pm: 45-45. Arthur ties the game with an emphatic alley-oop from Rush.

Seven minutes left.

8:58 pm: 47-45, Kansas. Robinson drives inside again, and he hits a floater over Mullins and Falker to give Kansas the lead.

9:00 pm: 47-47. Tatum hits another tough midrange shot to tie the game after Falker misses two free throws.

Both teams have enough fouls to be shooting a lot of free throws down the stretch.

9:01 pm: 50-49, Kansas, 5:00 left. Tatum hits another unbelievable shot to give SIU a one point lead, but the Jayhawks respond immediately.

Now it’s Kansas who are forcing offensive turnovers.

9:02 pm: 52-49, Kansas, 3:55 left. Wright deflects the ball after the missed shot, Rush gets the offensive rebound, and he gets the basket and the foul. At this point, the Salukis seem to be suffering late from foul trouble and perhaps a thin bench. Like Kansas early, they need to control the ball.

9:06 pm: 52-51, Kansas. Falker scores inside again, but Chalmers responds immediately. Kansas is starting to play at their pace by attacking the inside.

9:08 pm: 54-53, Kansas. The Jayhawks are very lucky to have the lead. Bryan Mullins steals the ball clean and tries to get an easy layup, but the Salukis miss two point blank shots. I hope that won;t end up being the difference in this game.

9:10 pm: 57-53, Kansas, 1:35 left. The Jayhawks are putting this game away with rebounding and shooting free throws.

9:11 pm: 58-53, Kansas, 1:08 left. Tatum hits a three, and it could not have come at a better time. SIU is still very much in this game, but on the next possession, they must clamp down on defense, they must get the rebound, and they ideally should not foul.

9:12 pm: 59-58, Kansas, :46 left. Tatum hits another insane shot to cut the lead to one.

Kansas’ missed free throws have left the door open. If they make all of the double bonus shots from the stripe, they’re up 4 now.

9:17 pm: 61-58, Kansas, :18 left. Brandon Rush drives inside, and he hits another difficult floater. With little time left, the Salukis may have to go for a three.

9:19 pm: Falker gets the offensive rebound, but oh, no, he throws the ball away! And with 2 seconds left and Wright at the free throw line, this game looks over. Poor Randal Falker, he will likely end up being SIU’s scapegoat if they lose this game. Which is a shame, because he’s played very well tonight.

9:21 pm: Wright misses his free throws, Southern Illinios gets the rebound, Tony Young has a halfcourt shot at the buzzer…and it bounces off the backboard for a miss. Kansas hangs on, 61-58. Don’t blame Falker, because Kansas forced some turnovers late in the game, and Brandon Rush was always there when the Jayhawks needed a shot. Kansas escapes from the potential upset against a great Southern Illinois team, and they will face the winner of Pitt/UCLA (perhaps the most boring close game of the entire tourney) for the right to go to the Final Four.

Coming up next…Ohio State vs. Tennessee Live Blog.


One Response to “Southern Illinois vs. Kansas Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16”

  1. Great game…came close to ending a championship run

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