Jayhawks Open Conference Play With 84-72 Victory at Nebraska

Jan. 13, 2010

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LINCOLN, Neb. – –

Senior Sherron Collins and sophomore Marcus Morris combined for 41 points as the Kansas men’s basketball team won its Big 12 Conference opener, 84-72, at Nebraska Wednesday night.

KU won its 19th-straight conference opener as it improved to 15-1 overall. Nebraska suffered its second consecutive Big 12 loss as it dropped to 12-5 on the season, 0-2 in league play.

Collins posted his third-straight game of 20-plus points scoring a game-high 22 points, and hit 4-for-5 from beyond the three-point arc. For the contest, Kansas finished with a season-high 61.9 shooting percentage from three-point land, just one game after shooting a near season-low 25 percent at Tennessee earlier this week.

Marcus Morris, junior Tyrel Reed and sophomore Tyshawn Taylor also contributed double-digit points as Morris chipped in 19 points and Reed and Taylor had 11 points a piece.

Nebraska opened the contest with a 12-1 run, hitting five of its first six shots, to hand KU its largest deficit of the season before Collins sparked a 6-0 run to put the Jayhawks within a more manageable four points.

KU then used its accuracy from long range to earn its first lead of the game at the 12:15 mark on a trey from Reed. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, Nebraska also benefitted from the three-point shot and stayed within four points for the remainder of the half.

Despite losing its lead at 25-24 and facing three tied scores in the final nine minutes, Kansas managed to keep the advantage. Collins hit two free throws with 14 seconds left in the half to push KU ahead 43-41, but a deep three-pointer by Nebraska’s Brandon Richardson went through with just four seconds remaining and the Jayhawks faced a 44-43 deficit heading into halftime.

Nine of Kansas’ 14 baskets in the first 20 minutes were three-pointers, while Nebraska missed just two attempts from beyond the arc and sank eight (72.7 percent).

Kansas tightened up on defense in the second half limiting the Cornhuskers to 28 points in the final 20 minutes of the contest.

The Jayhawks came out of the break with a 10-2 run, which NU quickly erased and even took back the lead at 54-53. However, Nebraska soon went nearly seven minutes without a field goal to allow Kansas to build up a double-digit lead, 72-62, with 5:52 left in the game. Nebraska never got closer than that for the rest of the contest.

Despite grabbing season-low numbers on the boards, Kansas still managed to out-rebound Nebraska 31-23. NU’s 23 boards were also the fewest rebounds by a KU opponent this season.

Kansas returns home for two conference games as it plays host to Texas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 12:45 p.m. and then welcomes Baylor on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 8 p.m.