Morris Twins Lead No. 2 Kansas To 90-83 Win Over Colorado In Big 12 Championship Semifinals
March 11, 2011
Box Score in PDF Format
KANSAS CITY, Mo. –
Kansas junior forwards Marcus and Markieff Morris combined for 17-of-19 points during a 19-4 Jayhawk run, spanning four and half minutes, midway through the first half of play that propelled second-ranked and top-seeded KU to a 90-83 win over Colorado in the 2011 Big 12 Championship semifinals Saturday evening at the Sprint Center. With the win, Kansas advanced to the finals of the Big 12 Championship for the ninth time in the 15 years of the tournament.
The Jayhawks used their depth in the second half to take advantage of a Colorado team that was playing its third game in three days after defeating Nebraska and Kansas State in successive days to open the tournament. Kansas opened the second period on a 19-7 run and held off the Buffaloes down the stretch as it improved to 31-2 on the season, while Colorado dropped to 21-13 overall. Kansas, facing Colorado for the final time as members of the Big 12 Conference, leads the all-time series with the Buffaloes 122-39 and has won 45 of the last 46 meetings.
Marcus Morris collected his third-straight double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead KU, while Markieff Morris also finished with 20 points and pulled down eight boards. Junior guard Tyshawn Taylor and senior guard Tyrel Reed were also in double figures with 15 points each. Senior guard Brady Morningstar had a team-high five assists, while Marcus Morris and Taylor dished four a piece. Kansas out-rebounded Colorado 41-26.
After struggling from the floor in Thursday’s win over Oklahoma State, Kansas shot 27-of-55 shots from the field, good for 49.1 percent. KU made 7-of-17 from beyond the arc (41.2 percent) and 29-of-33 from the foul line (87.9 percent).
The first half saw two significant runs by Colorado prior to the Morris-fueled Kansas run. The Buffaloes opened with six quick points and raced out to an 11-2 lead just two and half minutes into the game. Kansas closed the gap to three on two occasions before CU reeled of nine unanswered points to lead 22-10 with 13:03 to play in the opening frame.
The Morris twins then went to work with Marcus scoring seven-straight points and then Markieff taking over with 10-straight points of his own before a layup by senior guard Brady Morningstar off an assist from Marcus Morris capped the run and put the Jayhawks in front 29-26.
Marcus Morris started the run with a reverse layup and a free throw and then knocked down a jumper before hitting two more free throws. Following a jumper by Colorado’s Shannon Sharpe, Markieff Morris started his scoring by making one of two foul shots. He then scored on an easy basket down low and then on a put back. CU’s Alec Burks hit a baseline jumper and then Markieff knocked down a hook shot and a three from the top of the key for KU’s first lead of the game at 27-26 with 7:34 to play in the first half.
After Morningstar’s layup for a 29-26 lead, CU’s Levi Knutson hit back-to-back threes to put the Buffs back up by three at 32-29. Kansas outscored Colorado 14-5 the rest of the half to take a 43-37 lead into the break.
Kansas City native Burks led Colorado with 23 points, while Knutson had 17 points off of 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. CU edged KU from the field, making 49.2 percent (31-63) on the evening. The Buffs made 10-of27 from three with Nate Tomlinson and Knutson combining to go 8-of-11 from long range.
Kansas will return to the Sprint Center for Saturday’s Big 12 Championship title game Saturday at 5 p.m., where it will face the winner of Friday’s second semifinal game between second-seeded Texas and third-seeded Texas A&M.