Sherron Collins still doesn’t know what all the fuss was about.
“I bet you if that left-handed shot went in, nothing would have been said about it,” Collins, Kansas University’s junior guard, said.
“It” was the Mohawk haircut — and star cut-out on the left side of his head — Collins sported for last week’s game against UMass, a game in which his running six-footer clanged in the closing seconds of a one-point defeat.
Feeling the heat from fans and media alike, Collins returned to Watson’s Barbershop for a second haircut in two weeks Friday night and looked like his old self, with a traditional closely cropped cut, Saturday.
He scored 19 points off 8-of-18 shooting (including three of seven threes) and had six assists against two turnovers while playing 36 minutes in the Jayhawks’ 71-59 victory over Temple in Allen Fieldhouse.
Backcourt partner Tyshawn Taylor, who also had his Mohawk removed Friday, had 11 points and eight assists against one turnover, with four steals, as the Jayhawks erased the memory of last week’s stinker in Sprint Center.
“It drew too much attention,” Collins said of the Mohawk. “I really didn’t come here to be judged on my haircut, just to play basketball. I eliminated all those problems and cut it.”
At first, roommate Brady Morningstar — in a good mood after helping hold Temple standout Dionte Christmas to a 6-for-14 shooting effort (21 points) — tried to take credit for Collins’ current hairstyle.
“I’m trying to become a hair-cutter. I practiced on him. How does it look?” Morningstar said in the interview room after contributing 11 points off 4-of-6 shooting, including three threes in four tries.
It looked fine, but the credit goes to the professionals at Watson’s.
“That’s OK. They lie to me, too,” KU coach Bill Self joked of his players.
“I thought the look was a look I am much more comfortable with tonight than last week,” he added, indicating Collins and Taylor might have been told to get rid of the Mohawks.
“I am not sure they reached it (decision) on their own,” Self added with a smile.
He gave thumbs-up not only to Collins’ haircut, but more importantly, his play.
The 5-foot-11 junior guard missed 15 of 21 shots — forcing some on a day he was weakened by the flu — in the loss to UMass.
“Sherron took the shots we wanted him to take,” Self said of a healthy version of Collins on Saturday. “I thought he played very well. He looked like a point guard who can score today. I thought Tyshawn had a good game, also, probably as good as those two have been together, in large part because they were efficient.”
Collins hit a layup and found Morningstar in the corner for an open three, keying a 7-0 run that gave the Jayhawks a 38-30 halftime lead.
Collins had 11 points off 5-of-8 shooting the first 20 minutes and had a spectacular assist, hitting Markieff Morris in stride for a layup. Collins cashed a three and set up Morris for another bucket and foul shot, keying a game-breaking 15-2 run that gave the Jayhawks a 63-48 lead with 6:30 to play.
“I forced some things in the UMass game. Today I made a conscious effort to score within the offense rather than trying to just break somebody down and go get a shot,” Collins said. “I was in there trying to make a play for somebody else, get somebody else a shot.”
Cole Aldrich contributed 13 points with 11 rebounds despite battling flu-like symptoms. Marcus Morris scored nine points and Markieff eight in earning bragging rights against Temple, a school located in their hometown of Philadelphia.
“I think we lost last week because of the way we approached the game. You have to approach practice a different way. I think we were a lot more upbeat Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week,” Self said. “I think the guys decided it won’t be as much fun around here unless we improve.
“I could care less about making shots. I do care about approaching practice as wanting to get better, as opposed to putting time in and wanting to get out of there. We had good, crisp practices. Their attitude has been good.”
KU (8-2) will practice today, then fly charter to Tucson, Ariz., site of Tuesday’s late 9:30 p.m. (Central time) game against University of Arizona at McKale Center. The Wildcats (7-3) lost to UNLV, 79-64, on Saturday afternoon in Vegas.