KU Cruises to 13-0 with win over Yale

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Crouched low, arms flailing like hyperactive windmills, feet sliding like he's on a 94-foot shuffleboard, Russell Robinson is the kind of player opposing ballhandlers hate to see.

The guy isn't much of an offensive threat, but, boy, can he play defense.

Robinson had eight steals, Darnell Jackson scored 20 points, and No. 3 Kansas overwhelmed Yale 86-53 on Saturday night.

Robinson has never averaged more than 9.3 points in a season and has managed 7.5 per game this year -- seventh-best on the team. But the senior guard has been one of the Jayhawks' most indispensable players, teaming with Mario Chalmers in what may be the best defensive backcourt in college basketball.

"Russell, I wouldn't want him guarding me," Kansas coach Bill Self said.

Though he took just four shots against Yale, finishing with four points, Robinson set the tone early with his in-your-face style of defense. He had five steals by halftime and got his hands on several other passes, helping Kansas put the game out of reach in the first 10 minutes.

Robinson's intensity never wavered in 25 minutes on the court and he came off for good to a nice ovation with 4:46 remaining, finishing one steal short of the school record set by Aaron Miles against Iowa State in 2003 -- a mark Self told him about shortly before removing him from the game.

"He told me I had one minute left and I really wanted to get one before I came out," said Robinson, who had five assists. "It would have been nice, something to be proud of, but eight's good."

With Robinson and Chalmers disrupting nearly everything Yale tried, Kansas built a 23-point lead in the first half and coasted from there, improving to 13-0 for the eighth time in school history -- it best start since opening the 2004-05 season with 14 straight wins.

Chalmers and Darrell Arthur had 11 points each and Brandon Rush added 10 for the Jayhawks, who had 18 steals.

"I've seen them play about 15 games on tape and they've done the same thing to just about everybody," Yale coach James Jones said. "That was pretty much par for the course for them."

Yale (3-7) had won two of its previous three games and lost to Stanford by just nine early in the season. But the Bulldogs hadn't played since losing to Boston University on Dec. 11 and really never stood much of a chance against the deep and talented Jayhawks, turning it over 27 times and shooting 37 percent.

Robinson and Chalmers led the charge, blanketing Yale's guards from the moment they touched the ball, picking their pockets if they dribbled more than a few seconds. The Bulldogs made it easy at times, throwing passes up for grabs, out of bounds and from bad angles.

"We knew they were going to press, but we just couldn't even get into our offense," Yale's Nick Holmes said. "That was our main problem tonight. We just couldn't execute anything."

Kansas hounded Yale from the start, pressuring the Bulldogs into mistakes with fullcourt pressure, forcing them into awkward shots that caromed off the side of the backboard or barely nicked the rim -- if they hit anything at all. Yale missed 11 of its first 15 shots and was 7-of-26 from the field in the first half.

"We took some shots that were some of the worst that I have ever seen," Jones said.

Kansas had steals on five straight possessions -- three by Robinson -- during its game-opening 18-4 run, and had 11 by halftime. The Jayhawks let up for a few minutes after the opening flurry, then poured it on again, building the lead to 42-19 by halftime.

Kansas kept it going after the break, with Jackson making a remarkably athletic play for a big man, getting a steal in the backcourt, hopping over Yale's Matt Kyle, finishing off a three-point play with a spin and a scoop shot. Rush followed with a 3-pointer, then scored on an alley-oop from Robinson -- after yet another steal -- to put the Jayhawks up 52-21.

"That will probably be my last spin move," said Jackson, who finished one point short of his career high. "I wanted to dunk it, but I got fouled and it just happened to go in."

Porter Braswell had 13 points and Eric Flato added 10 for Yale.


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