Kansas Dominates the Paint Against Valpo

Nov. 16, 2010

Through his first two seasons at Kansas, Markieff Morris recorded one double-double, a number he has tripled by posting double-doubles in each of the first two games of the 2010-11 season. After scoring 14 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in the season-opener against Longwood, Morris had another strong outing Monday night against Valparaiso with 12 points and 13 rebounds in only 19 minutes of game action.

All of Morris’ scoring and 10 of his rebounds came in the second half after he only played five minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. Morris said he was ready to make an impact coming out of halftime.

“(Getting into early foul trouble) was frustrating,” said Morris, who has scored in double-digits in six of his last nine regular-season games dating back to Senior Night on March 3, 2010 against Kansas State. “I wasn’t much of an impact in the first half. Sitting on the bench with two fouls is always tough. Coach (Bill) Self told me that the second half was going to be my half. I tried to bring energy by rebounding the ball and defending. I let the game come to me.”

While the second half was Markieff’s, the first half belonged to his twin brother Marcus, who had 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists and no turnovers in the first 20 minutes. Valparaiso forward Kevin Van Wijk said the Morris twins provided a very difficult matchup defensively.

“I knew they were really physical,” said Van Wijk, who tied for Valparaiso’s team high with 10 points. “I have played against guys that were heavier, but not as strong as they were. Adjusting to it was kind of hard in the beginning. We knew coming in that they could shoot, and we tried to adjust as much as possible, but it’s hard to defend somebody who can do both things (play inside and outside) instead of just one.”

In addition to the Morris twins, Thomas Robinson had eight points and 10 rebounds in the post, marking the first time since Nov. 29, 2002 that three KU players recorded double-digit rebounds in the same game. Kansas head coach Bill Self was impressed with Robinson’s hustle throughout the game.

“I thought Thomas played better today than he did on Friday because he went after the ball,” said Self, whose Jayhawks have now won 61 consecutive games at home. “There were a couple of loose balls that he just went and took them. They were 40-60 (40 percent chance of your team getting the ball) and he got them. That’s what he’s got to do. I was really pleased with our big guys. I thought they played pretty well.”

Through its first two games, Kansas has already scored 100 points in the paint compared to 58 by its opposition. The solid interior offense has enabled KU to shoot 58.3 percent from the field in its two victories. The Jayhawks have also out-rebounded their opponents by a combined 86-62.

Kansas will look to continue its strong play down low when it hosts North Texas Friday night at 7 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.