LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Big things are expected of No. 2 Kansas
because of four talented seniors with Final Four experience.
So how come freshman Russell Robinson was the one making crucial
plays Saturday night in the final minutes of a come-from-behind
64-60 victory over South Carolina?
"Russell had the guts to go make a play," said Kansas coach
Bill Self, who seemed disgusted with just about everything else his
Jayhawks did. "There were a lot of guys nervous about going out to
make a play because things hadn't gone well. He kind of stepped up
and made several."
Robinson scored four points in the final 36 seconds and allowed
the Jayhawks to escape an upset bid by unranked South Carolina,
which led most of the game.
The Gamecocks (5-2), 17-point underdogs in their first road
game, came out with a full-court pressure defense and seized an
11-0 lead over the fumble-fingered Jayhawks.
But point guard Robinson glided in for a left-handed layup and a
61-58 lead with 36 seconds left.
The Jayhawks (7-0) would have been the highest-ranked team
beaten by South Carolina on the road. The Gamecocks' previous best
was a 72-66 victory on March 2, 1997, at No. 3 Kentucky.
"We played a great team on their home court," South Carolina
coach Dave Odom said. "This is not the best game (Kansas) has
played and hopefully, we had something to do with that."
Robinson has been competing hard in practice against senior
point guard Aaron Miles, who is on the verge of becoming the Big
12's career assists leader.
"I'm starting to feel real comfortable," Robinson said. "The
coach is confident in me and that gives me confidence."
Wayne Simien had his sixth double-double with 20 points and 11
rebounds, but injured his left thumb in the second half. He came
back with the thumb taped, and will have the injury examined on
"He's going to have some X-rays, an MRI or whatever they do to
look at that," Self said. "He's definitely injured. But to what
extent, we don't know."
Kansas had five turnovers and a blocked shot in its first six
possessions, and did not get its first lead until Langford fed
Christian Moody inside to make it 54-52 with 5:03 to go.
"We had some big mental mistakes out there in the first half,
but fortunately we were able to turn things around in the second
half," said Moody, who fouled out with four points and two
"They were a lot faster than what they looked like on film,"
South Carolina held a 58-57 lead when Simien scored underneath
to put Kansas on top 59-58 with 1:37 left.
Then J.R. Giddens rebounded a miss by South Carolina's Antoine
Tisby, and Robinson darted in for his layup.
The sellout crowd knew it was going to be a tough night when
Kansas freshman C.J. Giles rebounded Josh Gonner's miss on a foul
shot and dropped it into the basket for a South Carolina bucket
that put the Gamecocks on top 30-23.
Giles immediately was pulled from the game by Self and didn't
Self didn't get an explanation from Giles.
"I didn't ask," Self said. "What's he going to say?"
Perplexed by South Carolina's pressure defense, the Jayhawks had
16 turnovers and shot just 35 percent in the first half. They were
only 3-for-11 from beyond the arc.
Tarence Kinsey's 3-pointer at the buzzer sent the visitors into
halftime with a 33-25 lead.
"We do have potential," Odom said. "Potential will get you
fired if that is all you do."
Giddens had 13 points for Kansas and Langford had 11. Powell had
13 for South Carolina, Gonner had 12 and Kinsey had 11.