Kansas Men's Basketball Toughs Out A Win At K-State, 85-74

Feb. 14, 2009

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Behind solid play from veterans Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, and an inspired effort from Marcus Morris, the University of Kansas men’s basketball team toughed out an 85-74 victory over Sunflower Showdown rival Kansas State Saturday afternoon in front of a sell-out crowd of 15,528 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas improved to 20-5 overall and 9-1 in the Big 12, while K-State dropped to 17-8 overall and 6-5 in the league and snapped a six-game winning streak.

Collins and Aldrich combined for 40 points, but it may have been the effort of Marcus Morris that gave KU the edge it needed to complete the season sweep of K-State. Morris finished the game with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals in 28 minutes of action.

For the game’s first four minutes, both teams came out strong taking care of the ball and knocking down shots and KU led 11-10 with just over 16 minutes on the clock. Just before the first media timeout, Wildcat Jacob Pullen was fouled attempting a three. After the commercial break, Pullen converted two of three chances and KSU proceeded to go on a 10-0 run over the next four minutes.

During the short drought, KU went 0-7 from the field, missed two free throws and turned the ball over twice. By the 10 minute mark, KU trailed 26-13 and as a result, head coach Bill Self had called timeout three times to try to settle the team down. To that point, K-State was not overly impressive from the field (9-of-21 shooting overall), but had drained 5-of-7 three-point attempts.

Kansas state continued to keep a safe lead until the final 3:30 of the half. Trailing 29-38, Collins was whistled for a charge to negate a three-pointer from Brady Morningstar. A TV timeout was called and the Jayhawks finally found their rhythm.

Tyshawn Taylor scored on a fastbreak off a Marcus Morris steal. Collins converted another Wildcat turnover into fastbreak points, Aldrich hit a pair of free throws. Then, with 1:38 ticks left in the period, Morris knocked down a trey to knot the game at 38. A minute and half later the teams entered the locker room with KSU narrowly leading 43-42.

Collins, Morningstar and Marcus Morris each had nine points to lead KU’s first half effort, while KSU was paced by Denis Clemente with 18 points including four 3-pointers.

Kansas came out of the locker room and quickly reclaimed the lead 44-43. Five minutes into the half the score was even at 49.

From there, Kansas expanded its lead to 10 several times and led by that many as late as the 10:10 mark when the Jayhawks were up 63-53. Behind buckets from Dominque Sutton and Pullen, K-State tried to claw away at the lead. With 5:34 left, Pullen completed a four-point play to draw KSU within two at 67-65.

Down the stretch, it was just a matter of which team wanted it more. Kansas got tough play from Marcus Morris who got a crucial tip-in and another bucket as well as keeping the ball alive on the offensive boards. In the final minute, KU made 7-of-8 charity shots while KSU missed a pair of charities and three 3-point attempts.

In the end, KU prevailed 85-74 with its largest lead of the game.

Aldrich posted 21 points and seven rebounds to pace Kansas. Collins added 19 points and six assists. Marcus Morris (15) and Morningstar (12) each scored in double figures. Kansas shot 56.8 percent from the floor while holding K-State to 42.4 percent shooting. The Wildcats were paced by Clemente with 26 points and Pullen with 22.

KU’s next game is Wednesday, Feb. 18, when the Jayhawks host Iowa State at 7 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be televised on the Big 12 network.