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Recap: Morris, Collins top Baylor's LaceOffense
Baylor played its game Wednesday night, there's no doubt about that. Junior guard LaceDarius Dunn heaved (and made) some "What's he thinking?" three-pointers. Senior guard Tweety Carter controlled the offense like a savvy veteran despite an ugly shooting line (5-for-13). The Bears, led by Dunn and sophomore forward Quincy Acy, won the battle of the offensive boards. Baylor played the game at its preferred, often plodding, pace.
KU's advanced offensive statistics painted a very pretty picture:
• The Jayhawks scored on 59.4 percent of their possessions (50 percent is roughly average).
• KU struggled on the defensive glass but grabbed a good number of offensive rebounds. Four players had multiple offensive boards, led by Marcus Morris' four own-end carom collections.
• The offense flowed through the players with hot hands. Freshman guard Xavier Henry and junior guard Brady Morningstar weren't feeling it Wednesday, going a combined 4-for-17 from the field. Fortunately for KU, the pair combined for a combined 37 percent of the team's shots (40 percent would be average) during their time on the floor. On the other hand, Collins and Marcus Morris combined to take 51 percent of KU's shots, going 17-for-27 with 50 points.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/21/collins.jpg Sherron Collins had reason to celebrate Wednesday — Nick Krug/LJW Photo
For the third time in four games, KU's defense was lackluster. Baylor made its shots and took advantage of its size to gain extra possessions via offensive rebounds. We'll look at KU's defensive struggles in the 'Room for improvement' section below.
M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)
On one hand, Morris' performance was tarnished by his five fouls. On the other hand (and a couple more hands), Morris scored 22 points on 8-for-11 field goal shooting and 6-for-7 free throw accuracy. The key matchup wasn't between point guards Collins and Carter, but between power forwards Marcus Morris and Ekpe Udoh. Morris easily won that decision: He more than doubled Udoh's rebounding and scoring output in the same number of minutes.
Room for improvement
Obviously, KU would like to improve on its 1.12 points per possession allowed. A huge step toward controlling its opponents' offenses might be made by better dictating the pace of play.
Nebraska slowed the pace to a near halt (62 possessions) on Jan. 13 and managed to score 1.19 points per trip. Baylor kept the pace right at its season average (67 possessions) and a bit slower than KU might prefer on the way to 1.12 points per trip.
Baylor also committed turnovers on 29.9 percent of its possessions and benefited from some, shall we say, fortuitous long-range shooting (62.5 percent eFG%). That written, the "controlling tempo theory" is just a theory, nothing more. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the importance of pace in the comments section.
Hard luck line
No one KU player suffered through a miserable contest against Baylor, making this a tough decision.
• Sophomore forward Markieff Morris had trouble converting some easy looks but finished with five rebounds in 19 minutes.
• Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor didn't score in a reserve role but did contribute five assists and zero turnovers.
• Junior guard Tyrel Reed posted a nearly-statless 10 minutes. He recorded one steal and one missed field goal. It goes to Reed.
The Bottom Line:
Baylor came into Allen Fieldhouse, slowed down KU, converted some improbable buckets and still left with a loss. KU isn't pushing teams around like it did during the non-conference portion of its schedule, but KU is still playing like the best team in the country.