Aldrich's Triple-Double Carries Kansas To Sweet 16

March 22, 2009

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – For the third straight time under Bill Self and the 26th time in school history, the University of Kansas men’s basketball team is headed to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 after defeating Dayton, 60-43, Sunday afternoon at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

In his return home, Minnesota native and hometown hero Cole Aldrich posted the first official triple-double in Kansas Basketball history with 13 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.

But as was the case all weekend for KU, it was both the inside play of Aldrich and the outside play of Chicagoan Sherron Collins that propelled the Jayhawks back to the Sweet 16. The duo combined for 38 of Kansas’ points against the Flyers two days after teaming for 55 against North Dakota State.

Kansas improved to 27-7 overall while Dayton ended its tournament run with an overall mark of 27-8.

Aldrich’s impressive statline also marked his 20th double-double of the season. Collins, who was Kansas’ offensive catalyst in the first half finished with 25 points, seven rebounds, two assists, a steal and no turnovers. Only three other Jayhawks scored.

Dayton was led by Mickey Perry and Chris Wright with 10 points apiece. Wright also added nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

After Dayton scored the first bucket of the contest, Kansas went on an 11-0 run, jumpstarted by the inside play of Aldrich who scored the Jayhawks’ first six points.

Focused on defending full court in an attempt to wear Kansas down, Dayton was unable to get into a flow offensively early on and missed 11 straight shots as Kansas built a 21-11 lead.

The Flyers started to find their rhythm offensively and were able to close the gap to two points with KU leading 23-21 with 5:09 left in the first half, but could not get over the hump and the Jayhawks led 29-23 at the break. Collins had 14 points by halftime to lead all-scorers.

In the second half, Kansas was able to extend its lead back to double figures when it led 40-30 at the 12:42 mark. As Dayton continued to struggle from the field, Kansas was able to take control of the game and was never really threatened the rest of the way.

KU, which shot just 36.4 percent from the field in the first half, rallied to shoot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) from the field for the game, while Dayton shot a dismal 22.2 percent (16-of-72). Kansas outrebounded the Flyers 50-43.

According to a note provided by CBS, Aldrich’s triple-double was the first in an NCAA Tournament game since Dwyane Wade in 2003, and the first that included blocked shots since Shaquille O’Neal in 1992.

In Kansas history, it has been documented that Wilt Chamberlain posted triple-doubles, but it was in an era before specialty stats like blocked shots, assists and steals were officially kept.

Kansas will next face the winner of No. 2 seed Michigan State and No. 10 seed USC on Friday, March 27 in Indianapolis, Ind. Game times will be announced by CBS.