Kansas Basketball Opens Exhibition Season With Victory Against Fort Hays State

Nov. 3, 2009

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Video: Self | Collins | Johnson | Taylor

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Preseason All-Americans Sherron Collins, with a game-high 19 points, and Cole Aldrich, with a double-double, paced Kansas to a 107-68 victory against Fort Hays State in its season-opening exhibition basketball game Tuesday.

Kansas improved to 52-7 in all-time exhibition games and won its 34th straight practice game dating back to the 1995-96 season. It also marked the fourth win in four games against Fort Hays State in exhibition play.

Collins scored 13 of his 19 points in the first half, while Aldrich scored eight of his 13 points in the second half. Aldrich also grabbed 13 rebounds, while posting three blocked shots.

In all six Jayhawks scored in double figures and all 10 players who saw action scored. Nine of the 10 Jayhawks who played made their first shots. The exception was Collins, who missed his first two shots before making three consecutive three-pointers in the first half.

2009 starter Tyshawn Taylor came off the bench to record 15 points, a team-high five assists and a game-best four steals. Markieff Morris was one rebound shy of a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds. His brother Marcus Morris added 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.

The night marked the collegiate debut of highly-touted freshman Xavier Henry, who drew a starting assignment. He scored 14 points on three of seven shooting, which included two of four from three-point range.

Fort Hays State, a member of the Mid-Amerca Intercollegiate Athletic Association, was led by Corbin Kuntzsch, who registered 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Two other Tigers reached double figures in Dominique Jones and Dijon Smith, who both chipped in 11 points.

Kansas opened the game scoring the first seven points. Markieff Morris excited the crowd early with a dunk for KU’s first basket. Henry then drained a three-pointer on his first shot to put KU up 5-0.

Later in the half Fort Hays pulled within 28-21, but a three-point play by Aldrich, a Taylor layup off a steal and an Elijah Johnson dunk off a Taylor steal made it 35-21 KU.

The Tigers clawed their way back to 42-31 before Collins drilled back-to-back three-pointers to ignite a 10-0 run as KU went ahead 52-31. The half ended with KU up 54-35.

KU started the second half on a 12-0 run, which included seven points by Aldrich, as part of a 22-4 run which gave the home team a 64-35 advantage. An alley-oop dunk by Johnson from Taylor ignited the crowd as KU went up by 18.

KU reached the 100-point mark on a Johnson layup to lead 100-63.

Kansas used its height advantage to out-rebound Fort Hays State 47-34 and record 10 blocked shots, including three each by Markieff Morris and Aldrich.

KU also outshot the visitors 53 percent to 33 percent from the field and converted 36 of 43 free throw attempts.

Kansas will play its second and final exhibition game when it hosts Pittsburg State on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Jayhawk TV. The Jayhawks will open regular season play on Nov. 13 hosting Hofstra at 7 p.m. That game will also be televised on Jayhawk TV.