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Archive for Sunday, February 27, 2011

Back in the hunt: KU’s win, UT’s loss forge tie at top of Big 12

Kansas forward Markieff Morris maneuvers for a shot around Oklahoma forward C.J. Washington during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris maneuvers for a shot around Oklahoma forward C.J. Washington during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

February 27, 2011

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 82-70 victory over Oklahoma on Feb. 26, 2011.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU players Tyrel Reed and Marcus Morris

KU players Tyrel Reed and Marcus Morris talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 82-70 victory over Oklahoma on Feb. 26, 2011.

— Cole Aldrich of the Oklahoma City Thunder joined 200 or so fellow Kansas University basketball fans in an impromptu celebration 10 minutes after the Jayhawks’ resounding 82-70 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday in Noble Center.

The score — Colorado 91, Texas 89 — flashed on the center scoreboard, informing the lingering spectators that KU had moved into a tie with UT for first place in the Big 12 standings with just two games left on the schedule.

“I rarely pull for anybody to win or lose, (but) I was happy to see a KU alum get a big win today,” KU coach Bill Self said, referring to coach Tad Boyle and his Buffaloes.

“At least it puts it back in our court where we can control our own destiny in our league. To me, winning league is a big deal,” added Self, whose Jayhawks (27-2, 12-2) have won six straight conference crowns. “To have a chance to win it is our goal every year. Our path is hard. This is probably a better scenario than I ever imagined for us (after falling two games back).”

The Jayhawks will play host to Texas A&M at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Senior Night for Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed and Mario Little, then travel to Missouri on Saturday.

Texas (24-5, 12-2), which beat KU in Allen Fieldhouse, plays host to Kansas State on Monday and travels to Baylor on Saturday.

“ Big, real big,” KU sophomore guard Elijah Johnson said of the magnitude of the Longhorns’ loss to CU. “We don’t know how big yet, but it could be as big as ... I don’t know. We’ll find out.”

Johnson could be forgiven on this particular day for struggling to complete that thought.

He was elbowed in the neck by OU’s Cade Davis, who was fouled by Johnson in hitting a three with 14:55 left. Johnson headed to the locker room, where he had X-rays taken.

The pictures showed no injury, and Johnson returned to the court with 4:39 left. He was accompanied by a team doctor as well as Angel Morris, mother of the Morris twins, who’d gone back to check on Johnson.

“When he released, on his follow-through, he came down on my neck,” said Johnson, who started his second straight game in place of the suspended Tyshawn Taylor. Johnson had five points and one assist in 16 minutes.

Asked if his injury felt like a football “stinger,” the colorful Johnson grinned and said, “I have another analogy for it. You know when you go to Chuck E. Cheese’s, they give you a hammer and you bop some people on the head? It kinda feels like that’s what happened to my neck. It’s nothing to worry about. I’ll get treatment on it and be back.”

KU coach Self said Johnson, “Got his bell run, hurt his neck. I don’t know how a guy hurts his neck when he fouls a guy on a three-point shot. He fell and did something to his neck. He was complaining enough they had to do an X-ray. He’s fine. He could have gone back in. He’s fine.”

Thomas Robinson also provided a bit of a scare when he banged his surgically repaired right knee on a Sooner and had to leave the game for a couple of minutes in the second half. He’s also “fine,” Self and Robinson indicated.

As far as Saturday’s game, the Jayhawks turned in a near-perfect first half in hitting 17 of their first 22 shots — 17-24 by halftime, including six of 11 threes in building a 45-33 lead.

The Morris twins combined for 20 points off 8-of-10 shooting the first half. Marcus Morris finished with 23 points off 7-of-10 shooting and Markieff 19 points off 7-of-11 shooting.

“Offensively, the first half we were terrific,” Self said. “We missed two shots inside the arc the first half. We shoot 71 percent and we look up and are up 12. We didn’t guard.”

The Jayhawks led by as many as 21 (58-37 at 17:23) and as few as 11 (75-64 at 3:26) in a less-than-dramatic second half.

The big story here was the league race.

Did Josh Selby like the Jayhawks’ chances after a loss to Kansas State on Feb. 14 dropped KU two back of the Longhorns?

“No,” Selby said, “but I didn’t give up faith, either. Every team wants to be on top. This will motivate us.”

Noted Marcus Morris: “We still have two tough games to go. Just because we got that break today doesn’t mean it’s over.”

Johnson grinned when asked what’s the ultimate goal for KU: winning the Big 12, getting a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament or perhaps something else?

“I want us to be in the best situation possible. That’s the biggest goal now,” he said. “We want to be in the best situation. Whatever that means, that’s what we want to do.”

Comments

greenworld 3 years, 9 months ago

I think the Morris brothers are the key to our success. If and when they play up to their capabilities nobody can stop either of them. These two dudes will make or break us when it comes to winning a championship. I will take the make us.

Vittorio1224 3 years, 9 months ago

Gotta have faith Selb! This team has had SO many adversities to overcome, that it should be our team's new mantra.... Although, normally I tend to eschew anything that has a George Michael (WHAM!) reference! LOL

mae 3 years, 9 months ago

I think our two consistent outside boys are. Morris brothers are a given when motivated, but give us two consistent shots out of the three that can also pass and it doesn't matter who the 5th is. Reed and Morningstar can make this happen if their shot remains on.

Jerry Collins 3 years, 9 months ago

KU's greatest asset is it's passing. If they pass and then fight to get open, they'll get the ball back. This concept is lost on Selby. On a fast break, when is the last time he passed off. He needs to stop reading his press clippings and realize he's just part of a good team and not the star.

xfitter 3 years, 9 months ago

^^ Oh i don't know maybe 2 games ago when he had a chance to dunk it himself but set up Releford for an amazing alley-oop that was passed off the floor on the fast break.... I don't know what press clippings you are referring to, remember he's a highly touted freshman phenom that hasn't been able to live up to his hype because he's A) a freshman and they're games go up and down and B) he hasn't been a regular minutes guy because of suspension and injury, he is still looking for his role on the floor, tough for this time of the season but that's how it is!

Glad EJ is alright, that was a nice play from Kobe Bryants playbook that Cade Davis pulled on his follow through for his shot, had that been a Kansas player it would have been reviewed and called a technical I'm pretty positive!

greenworld 3 years, 9 months ago

I heard on the radio the top 50 NBA prospects currently and KU has 4 in the top 20. They have Selby and TRob in the top 15 and the two Morris brothers in the top 25. We could be losing more than what you think. Better load up now and worry about being to deep later

greenworld 3 years, 9 months ago

Tx had a 2 game lead and folded like they had a bad hand- lets see if ku can run it out then beat tex-assssss in the big 12 tourney- we offered another point guard the other day- we might sign 2 point guards- that might signal we might not get ben mclemore- or maybe tyshawn is transferring. He is rated number 61 by rivals.com. we have 3 seniors leaving and weve signed 1 and are offering deandre daniels- the 6-8 guy too. So something has to be up. Mclemore is the 6-5, 6-6 shooting guard that we need. he is comparible to paul pierce.

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