Archive for Thursday, January 14, 2010

A fresh start

Collins, KU open Big 12 with win

Kansas guard Sherron Collins pressures Nebraska guard Sek Henry during the second half Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins pressures Nebraska guard Sek Henry during the second half Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

January 14, 2010


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KU vs. Nebraska

Kansas made it past Nebraska in its Big 12 Conference opener.

— A red-clad Nebraska basketball fan, who was seated in the student section, yelled in the direction of Sherron Collins after Kansas University’s 84-72 victory over the hometown Huskers on Wednesday night in Devaney Center.

The fan was not out to bury KU’s senior point guard, but to praise him.

“I heard him say, ‘Collins. You the man. How does it feel to go undefeated here against us?’ I just gave him a head nod,” Collins said with a smile.

The 5-foot-11 dynamo scored 22 points off 6-of-11 shooting and drilled four three-pointers in five tries. He also went 6-of-6 from the line and had five assists against two turnovers, pretty much willing the Jayhawks to Collins’ fourth victory in as many tries in Lincoln.

It marked KU’s 14th straight victory overall against NU and sixth straight in Devaney. And it marked the 19th straight season KU opened conference play with a victory.

All that was made possible largely because of Collins and Marcus Morris, who responded to his removal from the starting lineup (Thomas Robinson earned the nod) to the tune of 19 points and seven rebounds.

“It wasn’t easy. It’s never easy here,” Collins said. “They never backed down. Give credit to Nebraska and their fans. Doc (Sadler, NU coach) had ’em ready. It was a hard-fought win for us.”

The Jayhawks (15-1 overall, 1-0 Big 12), who were coming off Sunday’s loss at Tennessee, fell behind 12-1 just 21⁄2 minutes into the game and frankly looked like a team that might get run out of the gym.

Enter Collins, who hit three threes and steadied the ship, as KU trailed just 17-14 at 13:01.

“I thought we were really ready to play,” KU coach Bill Self said. “They steal the opening tip, and then it was just downhill from there. A couple guys were sped up, but I thought we were really ready to play. So even though we were down 12-1, it wasn’t the end of the world.

“And then Sherron put us on his back. Sherron got us back to the point where it was a basketball game, and we played a lot better after that.”

The Jayhawks were down just 44-43 at halftime only because KU matched NU three-pointer for three-pointer. The Jayhawks hit nine of 14 to NU’s eight of 11.

It was Collins who again steered KU in the right direction after Brandon Richardson’s eight-point flurry gave NU a 54-53 lead at 13:11.

Collins scored two buckets — on one, he wound up landing on his backside — to open a 12-2 run that gave the Jayhawks a 65-56 advantage at 8:52. NU did cut the gap to six at 68-62, at which point Morris scored four straight, and Tyshawn Taylor iced a three to boost KU’s lead to a comfy 13 points with 51⁄2 minutes to play.

“Sherron was big. He’s always big. He’s our leader. He’s the engine that keeps us going,” Morris said.

And on this night kept the Jayhawks from falling behind by what could have been an insurmountable margin early.

“I was not worried. It was too early in the game to be worried,” Collins said. “Coach called a timeout, and I tried to get my team calmed down. They were hitting tough shots. We took their best shot. We knew we’d come along.”

Nebraska did finally cool off. The Huskers hit 11 of 21 threes to KU’s 13 of 21.

“We stayed hot,” KU coach Self said of the Jayhawks, who hit 58.3 percent of their shots the first half, 57.1 the second. NU hit 55.6 the first and just 30.8 the second.

“The law of averages. Isn’t that amazing how it works?” Self said. “They missed a lot of the same shots they made in the first half. Fortunately for us, we got the ball in tighter the second half yet stayed hot. We were able to make shots for the most part the majority of the game.”

Self thought the Jayhawks played decent defense that wild first half.

“I didn’t think they got that many open looks,” he said. “I thought we played the scouting report, and I thought that Jones (Eshaunte 4-for-11 threes, 12 points) got some looks, but I don’t think they were wide-open. They’re averaging five threes a game. Guys made them that haven’t been shooting them that well. I thought we were turned up and tried to guard them. I had fun coaching them tonight.”

Next up is Saturday’s home game against Texas Tech. Tipoff is 12:45 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse.


tj_hawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Didn't Brady Morningstar go in for Sherron, briefly, at the heighth of the 'bleeding?' Brady Morningstar is, "Mr Wholepicture." He knows he is and plays like one of five that is reality. He facilitates the ball movement, spacing on offense, and delivers as its supposed to be done. He may not have the physical skills, speed, etc. Sherron and others have, but he MORE than makes up for it in the intelligent team basketball he brings this team back to everytime hes on the floor. How many Jayhawks got a rebound because Brady tipped it out of a Husker hand? How many passes (without a dribble) changed the flow of our offense? Come on now, lets give Brady the props he deserves here, candidate for national award or not.

jonas_opines 8 years, 5 months ago

The announcers were quite positive on Morningstar. It's not like he's being ignored.

tj_hawk 8 years, 5 months ago

True is, and I was appreciative. Just giving props, where props are due. Sherron is amazing, and I'm so glad he's ours. I just had a hard time getting with him takin a forced 3 with 23 seconds left on Sunday, when there was so much time left and so few Jayhawks down the floor to get the board. Don't wanna squash his ability to take it on himself, but for his sake as well as ours (especially in March) hope he's still learning there is a time for it and a time to stay in there with the whole 'table of 5.' You know, take a breath and see the whole picture. We have too much talent to force it when it's not necessary.

Rex Russell 8 years, 5 months ago

Let me be blunt. I know he's a freshman but, Xavier needs to go into each game with a little more swagger. Not arrogange but confidence. Shoot or drive, either way. Enough of the timid stuff. Masybe I'm wrong, maybe coolege ball is a shock to him. Did'nt think it would. Another one is Cole. My favorite guy on the floor. Lacking in go-gettem and a little timid lately.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 8 years, 5 months ago

Fresh start?!?! They were still soft most of the game and I still can't figure out why Self, with one of the deepest benches in college basketball uses so few of his weapons. Roy Williams would send those guys in in waves until somebody started firing on all cylinders. Why Self didn't do that against Tennessee is beyond me. If they have walk ons on the floor against your first stringers and your first stringers aren't doing so swell, send in some of the other folks from your bench. Send in Johnson and CJ Henry, they're hungry for glory too and maybe they might have taken the game more seriously. As it is we're getting back to having everyone stand around and watch Sherron. Underachievers.

helter_skelter 8 years, 5 months ago

Uhlrick, I couldn't have said it better myself. Well put. We have the single deepest bench in the entire NCAA and we just don't see them play.

Uhjh 8 years, 5 months ago

What game were you guys watching? The Hawks had some very poor possessions early while Nebraska rained down threes and leading 12-1. The Twins showed up, Collins had his normal grit and the Hawks win by 12 that’s a 24 point turn around. Hey Texas had a hard time with Iowa State and won by 7 (90-83). This is Big 12 basketball and if you think teams are going to fold like a cheap accordion you in la la land. Nebraska has talent, a good coach and is no slouch. Self didn’t appear over concerned and it is going to be a tuff season. You bought it to the hype the about the Hawks number one rating, think they should slaughter anyone they play and if they don’t their soft. Next time they play take a good look at the athleticism on floor and just walk up and call them soft. Quit being so damn negative and support this team. Maybe you could be a walk on coach if you are so smart about basketball.

MIke Mallory 8 years, 5 months ago

was it me or did sherron purpasely not pass the ball to brady last night, at least on 3 ocasions did I see it. please respond if you saw the same thing.

jonas_opines 8 years, 5 months ago

"I still can't figure out why Self, with one of the deepest benches in college basketball uses so few of his weapons."

Is assume by "so few of his weapons" you actually just mean Elijah Johnson and CJ Henry? The answer is probably that throwing untried freshman into extremely hostile atmospheres in tight or scrambling situations and hoping one of them is clicking on full cylinders, after they've watched the first 8 guys get strung along a bit, is a remarkably chancy and likely ineffective strategy.

Anyway, second guessing something that's already happened is pretty comfortable, since your strategy had no chance to fail, not being implemented.

"What game were you guys watching?"

My guess is the game that they thought they'd be watching. It's amazing how often that gets confused with the game that actually happens.

maxcrabb 8 years, 5 months ago

lionbacker- Collins forced a pass to a driving Morningstar by literally bending around the defenders waste and bounce passing it by two more before Morningstar caught it and scored on a reverse layup.

But maybe we saw different games.

Uhjh 8 years, 5 months ago

lionbacker (Anonymous) says…

was it me or did sherron purpasely not pass the ball to brady last night, at least on 3 ocasions"

I have one word for you bigot.

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