Collins Lifts No. 1 Kansas To Narrow Basketball Victory
Jan. 6, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sherron Collins recorded a career-high 33 points and netted 15 of Kansas’ final 22 points to lift the nation’s top-ranked team to a come-from-behind 71-66 victory against Cornell Tuesday night.
The No. 1 Jayhawks improved to 14-0, while Cornell dropped to 12-3. KU’s 14-game winning streak, the second-longest in the nation, and the Jayhawks’ 51-game homecourt winning streak, the longest active streak in the country, remained intact, but just barely.
Cornell led most of the tightly-contested game, including holding the largest lead of the contest at 49-41 early in the second half. The Big Red led 60-56 on a Jeff Foote layup with 5:45 left, but KU responded to gain its first lead of the second half.
KU’s Cole Aldrich hit a jumper, then blocked a shot at the other end of the floor on the following possession. After a Cornell turnover, Tyrell Reed drained a three-pointer on an assist from Collins to make it 61-60 KU at the 3:55 mark. Collins hit two free throws and the home team led 63-60 with 3:00 left.
Consecutive baskets by Cornell put the Big Red up 64-63 with 49 seconds left. Collins then hit a layup and made a free throw as part of a three-point play and then made three free throws in the final 25 seconds.
Cornell’s Ryan Whittman, who scored 24 points and made five three-pointers on the night, missed two three-point attempts in the final 25 seconds and a pair of free throws by Xavier Henry with five seconds left gave KU the final margin.
Collins’ 33 points topped his previous best scoring night of 32 points vs. North Dakota State last season. Collins had reached 20 points just once this year, scoring 23 points in the season-opener vs. Hofstra.
Henry scored 14 points, while Aldrich added 13, nine rebounds and three blocks for KU. Two Big Red players scored in double figures in addition to Whittman’s 24, as Foote scored 12 and Louis Dale had 10.
KU shot just 36.7 percent from the field, but took advantage of numerous trips to the free throw line. The Jayhawks made 28 of 36 free throw attempts. Cornell shot 43 percent from the field and made nine three-pointers on the night.
The first half was a back and forth affair as the score was tied seven times and the lead changed hands 11 times. Cornell built the game’s biggest lead when it led 41-36 in the final minute of the period before Collins scored to send the teams into the break with the visitors leading 41-38.
Collins keyed the first half for KU scoring 14 points on six of 10 shooting. He battled Cornell’s Whittman, who drained four of seven threes in the first half en route to 15 points at the break.
Cornell led 17-14 when Jayhawk Head Coach Bill Self received a technical foul. After a made free throw Cornell led 18-14. The technical appeared to fire up the Jayhawks, who scored the game’s next five points to lead 19-18 with 6:25 remaining in the period.
However Whittman hit a three-pointer to put the Big Red up 21-19 and KU found itself trailing for most of the rest of the half. Four straight points by KU put the Jayhawks up 34-33 with 1:51 left, but Cornell scored five straight points to regain the lead.
Kansas will play at Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 10 in a game which will be televised on CBS at 3:30 p.m. Central. The Jayhawks will then open conference play at Nebraska on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. Central.