Strong Second Half Gives Kansas Basketball 72-53 Win Vs. Boston In NCAA Action

March 18, 2011

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TULSA, Okla. – A 10-3 run to start the second half, a 21-4 run later and a strong second-half defensive effort helped Kansas overcome a shaky first period and defeat Boston 72-53 in its opening game of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Friday.

The Southwest Region number-one seeded Jayhawks improved to 33-2 on the season and won its ninth straight game. Boston fell to 21-14 as the Terriers saw their 11-game winning streak stopped.

Four Jayhawks scored in double figures as Marcus Morris had 16, Markieff Morris 15, Brady Morningstar 13 and Tyshawn Taylor 10. Marcus Morris pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, while Markieff grabbed eight. Taylor handed out seven assists.

Leading 33-29 at halftime, Kansas used a quick start to the second period to finally gain some momentum from a very closely-contested first half. Markieff Morris scored six points and Morningstar capped the 10-3 run with a reverse layup to put the Jayhawks ahead 43-32 less than seven minutes into the second half.

Boston cut the margin down to six at 47-41, but after a Josh Selby acrobatic layup, Morningstar, Taylor and Markieff Morris hit consecutive three-pointers to put Kansas up 58-43 with less than eight minutes left in the game. The Jayhawks built up a 68-45 advantage during a 21-4 stretch.

Poor shooting plagued both teams in the early going. Kansas hit just four of its first 13 shots, while Boston made four of 11 in the game’s first nine minutes.

Boston’s bright spot early was John Holland, who scored 10 of the Terrier’s first 12 points en route to 15 points by halftime. KU’s first four baskets came from four different players.

KU came out of the second media timeout looking like it might gain control of the game as Tyshawn Taylor and Marcus Morris scored easy baskets to put the Jayhawks up 14-10. However, BU responded minutes later to take the lead at 16-15.

That was the theme of the first half, as every time Kansas appeared poised to take charge with consecutive baskets, Boston would respond. KU would inch ahead by four or five points, but the Terriers would never let the Jayhawks escape.

The Jayhawks, the nation’s leading field goal shooting team, made just 13 of 31 shots from the field for 41.9 percent in the first 20 minutes. Marcus Morris led KU at the break with 10 points, but hit just four of 10 shots. Tyrel Reed scored eight points, hitting three of four attempts in the half.

The second half was a different story. KU hit 61.5 percent of its shots, making 16 of 26 attempts. KU also clamped down on the Terriers, holding the 16th-seed to 26.9 percent shooting (seven of 26). For the game KU made 50.9 percent of its shots to BU’s 35.3 percent night.

KU also dominated the boards in the second half and out-rebounded Boston 40-25 for the game.

BU’s Holland, who was the America East player of the year, scored just four points in the second half as he finished with 19 points on seven of 19 shooting. DJ Irving scored 13 points for BU, which received just three points from its bench.

Kansas, which is playing in its 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament, a national active best, and 40th overall, will play No. 9 seed Illinois, a 73-62 winner against UNLV, on Sunday at approximately 7:40 p.m. as the second game of the day in Tulsa. That game will be televised on TNT.