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Archive for Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Marcus finds his spot

Freshman favors straight-on threes

January 20, 2009

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Little scores 15 in Jayhawks' victory

It looks like Mario Little made the right decision. Little, who pondered red-shirting this season, scored 15 points as KU beat Texas A&M by 20. Enlarge video

Little scores 15 in Jayhawks' victory

It looks like Mario Little made the right decision. Little, who pondered red-shirting this season, scored 15 points as KU beat Texas A&M by 20. Enlarge video

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Marcus Morris’ secret is out.

“I like shooting from the top of the key — I don’t know why,” the freshman forward said. “It’s just straight on. I’ve got a better chance of making it.”

Morris couldn’t miss the shot during a 38-second stretch in the second half of Kansas’ 73-53 victory over Texas A&M on Monday.

On two straight possessions, the 6-foot-8 Morris buried three-pointers from an identical spot just outside the three-point arc.

With his 2-for-3 performance Monday, he is now 4-for-7 from three-point range (57.1 percent).

“It gets me energized, when I shoot a three and you hear the crowd,” Morris said. “That’s just something I’ve been working on a lot is trying to stretch the defense, basically. Just trying to make the guy guard me, because I know maybe on some teams’ scouting report, they see that I haven’t shot the three well, so they were giving me space.”

Morris has made a commitment to his shot since Big 12 play began.

Most days, he and brother Markieff are the first ones in the gym. Marcus said his goal is to get 200 extra three-pointers in before and after practice each day.

He also has adjusted his shot based on advice from the coaches. Because most of his early shots were low line drives — and missing by either hitting front rim or back rim instead of veering off to the left or right — Marcus has focused on getting more arc on his three-pointers to give them a better chance of going in.

KU center Cole Aldrich might be the biggest beneficiary if Marcus can continue his long-range touch.

“It opens the defense up a lot,” Aldrich said. “Sometimes, they tend to really sag down and kind of crowd you and what-not. Him making open shots outside kind of releases a little of that burden.”

Marcus critiqued his rebounding; the forward had just one board in 20 minutes.

KU coach Bill Self, meanwhile, would like to see a better effort from the free-throw line, as Marcus went just 2-for-5.

“He and his brother should both shoot threes and not free throws, because he definitely shot (threes) better than free throws,” Self joked. “He’s definitely playing better. He had a pretty good game in Boulder. If those guys play, I don’t want to say less minutes, but in that 20-minute range, it seems like their energy level is a little higher.”

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