Archive for Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jayhawks rise to challenge

Kansas guard Sherron Collins lets out a celebratory yell as the Jayhawks pull away from rival Kansas State during the second half, Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins lets out a celebratory yell as the Jayhawks pull away from rival Kansas State during the second half, Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

March 4, 2010

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KU vs. KSU

Sherron Collins played his final home game in Allen Fieldhouse against Kansas State Wednesday. The Jayhawks emerged victorious, winning 82-65.

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Kansas-Kansas State

Lost amid the tears shed by Sherron Collins and teammates who will miss him and chants for Cole Aldrich to return for “One more year!” came an emphatic answer to a question that dominated conversations in every establishment in town Wednesday.

Was the Oklahoma State loss an aberration or a symptom of cracks in the winning machine?

Well, Kansas University defeated Kansas State, the No. 5 team in the nation, despite the Jayhawks’ two best players not bringing much in the way of positive, first-half contributions.

Stillwater was an aberration, which isn’t to say it can’t return the instant Kansas gets too comfortable, but there were no signs of comfort Wednesday night. While clinching an outright Big 12 title, KU made it extremely uncomfortable for a K-State team that doesn’t back down.

Nobody asked that annoying 21st-century question: What’s my role? Everybody instinctively did what was needed, and in the first half that meant the other three guys on the floor to bring their best because Collins and Aldrich, overcome by the emotion of their fieldhouse finales, didn’t play like themselves until the final 17 minutes.

Marcus Morris, the team’s third-best player, didn’t have a typical night, either, so it was imperative for Kansas to flash its depth.

Xavier Henry, who might have been playing in his final game in Allen Fieldhouse, had plenty about which to smile. He buried three of four long balls and led the team with 19 points.

Reserve post player Markieff Morris matched K-State’s physical inside players, elbow for elbow, push for shove. He showcased his exceptional passing ability and totaled 10 points, nine rebounds (five offensive), two assists and a blocked shot.

Tyshawn Taylor played aggressively and under control, not always an easy juggling act for him. His 11 points, four assists and two steals came in handy on a night both of K-State’s talented guards, Jacob Pullen (in the first half) and Denis Clemente, hit tough shots.

Collins didn’t have his three-point touch, so Tyrel Reed made sure to bring his, dropping two big ones.

Brady Morningstar’s numbers weren’t flashy, but in a span of 12 seconds in the first half he set up Markieff Morris with a beauty of a pass to make the score 15-4 and then knocked the ball loose from Jamar Samuels for a turnover.

Later, after Clemente’s three-pointer with 17:08 left in the game tied it at 45, Collins and Aldrich were too lathered in sweat and focused on the battle to think about swan songs. They went to work. In the final 10:33, Kansas outscored K-State, 23-10, setting up the Wildcats for an intense postgame blistering from its coach, Frank Martin.

That took place while Kansas coach Bill Self held a microphone and charmed the spectators, gently breaking the truth about their desire for one more year from the center they love, the guy who played much of his sophomore season with a mask and all of his junior year with a missing front tooth.

“I’m all for that,” Self said. “But don’t hold your breath on that one.”

Instead, focus on where Aldrich, Collins and a supporting cast that performed so well in the season’s final home game can take Kansas: into April.

Comments

Michael Rowland 5 years, 2 months ago

Ok, seriously, need to choose better titles for stories on KU basketball. It's not a challenge if you win by almost 20 points. It's a challenge if you win by 1 point in second overtime. There's a big difference between the two.

Armen Kurdian 5 years, 2 months ago

I think they did rise to the challenge. KSU is really good. This was very tough game, and it's great that we got them at home. I'm really most happy about Taylor's play last night. The guy needs to run the floor like that in every game.

Scruggsy 5 years, 2 months ago

Great game by Xavier last night. Looked like he was jumping higher on his shot and his form looked better. And he responded to the physical play, even playing down low for a bit when we needed him to. He might be getting his second wind at the right time...

Mel Briscoe 5 years, 2 months ago

as the old nursery rhyme goes "we whipped them all soundly and put them to bed".

Mandie Eutsler 5 years, 2 months ago

YAY!!! Rock Chalk! Great Job guys, thanks for all the hard work!

amrcngrl75 5 years, 2 months ago

Vote for Sherron! Beginning February 5, via the Bob Cousy Award’s website – www.cousyaward.com – fans will be able to vote for the top point guard. The player that receives the most fan votes will receive one vote toward the final committee vote. Fan voting will run one month – beginning February 5 and will conclude March 5. Fans can vote one time per e-mail address per 24 hour period.

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 2 months ago

That game was pretty close until about half-way into the second half. KU started playing lock-down defense and KSU just kinda started playing dumb.

The refs sure weren't afraid to use the whistle last night were they? Seemed like a lot of fouls on both sides...

rgh 5 years, 2 months ago

You gotta love the team rebounding after Saturday's miserable game where OSU shot lights out.

We scored a lot of points against their zone defense and the double teams. I loved the fact that coach didn't allow the guys to get out of hand with the Big Monday win vs. OU. He wanted that Big XII title outright and they got it. I noticed they got to wear the t-shirts after the game last night.

Now we need to finish off by beating Misery and taking the Big XII tourney title then move forward. At least this was one step at a time and the other guys stepped up big time when Sherron and Cole were both struggling the first half.

Was anyone else put off by Reid Gettys (not sure of the spelling) doing the color commentary?

monkeyspunk 5 years, 2 months ago

ESPN has Cole in the Top 10 draft picks.

1-5 is a whole lot different than 6-10, hopefully he will stay.

Xavier still outside of the top 10 in most mock drafts. A strong March will probably improve that spot.

Sean Livingstone 5 years, 2 months ago

Prove something..... KU is not overrated as perceived by many Wildcats fans (saw the comments in many places). Sure, they lost to OK State.... it's part and parcel of basketball game.

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 2 months ago

OSU has beaten both teams...that tells me they're pretty good.

AlligatorMama 5 years, 2 months ago

Gadhelyn you obviously didn't watch the same game as the rest of us...they not only beat the number 5 team who happens to be our rival BUT they did it by 20. That IS rising to the challenge. In a big way!! KSU is a good (and dirty) team that came out ready to play. The last 10 minutes KU didn't give them a chance to win it.

Awesome game, Sherron will be missed greatly!!! Doubt Cole stays but wish he would!!

hesshawk 5 years, 2 months ago

It's all about playing defense the way they have been taught. If they will all buy into that and do it every time they step on a court, there is no team that they can't beat. Last night, every time the kitties made a run, KU was playing poor transition defense and allowing 3 pointers off transition. When the defense was good, they didn't get those wide-open looks. Defense, my friends, will carry them through the post-season.

Rock Chalk

nineteen84 5 years, 2 months ago

To K-State fan:

Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah! Mum-mum-mum-mum-mah! GaGa-oo-la-la!I want your ugly I want your disease I want your everything As long as it's free I want your love Love-love-love I want your love

Sean Livingstone 5 years, 2 months ago

The usual ranting.... why the wind is so strong in Lawrence? Because K-States blew and Missouri SUCKS!

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