Kansas Tops Memphis 57-55 In Hall of Fame Classic

Nov. 17, 2009

Box Score | Notes |

Video: Collins | Aldrich | Mc. Morris

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – With almost as much suspense as the national title game of 2008, the No. 1 University of Kansas basketball team outlasted Memphis, 57-55, at the Scottrade Center in the Hall of Fame Classic. A last second missed three by Memphis preserved the KU win.

Cole Aldrich was named MVP of the game as he finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead Kansas.

Kansas jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Memphis scored the next five to give the Tigers their only lead of the first half at 5-4. KU went on an 11-4 run, and after a turnaround baseline jumper from Aldrich, Memphis called for timeout. The Tigers then closed the gap and KU led 16-14 at the under eight media timeout.

Aldrich continued to be active, scoring on a lob from Marcus Morris and a two-handed slam off a Morris miss as KU maintained extended its advantage to as many as six when it led 24-18.

The first half ended on a positive note for Kansas. Holding for the last shot, Collins drove the ball to the hoop and had his shot blocked. As he was recovering from the floor, Tyshawn Taylor hustled back, stripped the ball from the Tigers, and whipped it back to Collins for the shot at the buzzer. KU led 26-20 at the break to match its biggest lead.

Aldrich paced KU in the first half with eight points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. Collins added seven points and four boards. The Jayhawks outshot the Tigers 41.7 percent to 28.0 percent from the floor, and outrebounded UM 21-12.

Memphis cut the Jayhawk lead to three to open the second half, before Kansas went on a 12-5 run to go ahead by 10 at the 13:56 mark. Markieff Morris blocked a Willie Kemp attempt and pitched ahead to a streaking Xavier Henry who layed it in to give KU the double-digit lead.

Memphis called a quick timeout and then started to pick at the lead, but could get no closer than five until the 5:18 mark when Elliot Williams hit a three to cut the KU lead to 46-42. By the 2:59 mark the lead was down to three at 48-45.

During the Memphis comeback, Kansas was largely without the services of Collins who initially went down at the 13 minute mark with cramping. Collins tried to come back after briefly sitting down, but ultimately had to go to the locker room for treatment.

Collins re-entered the game at the 3:47 mark and, after the Memphis possession cut the lead to three, immediately brought energy to the floor as he spun to the hole and dished to Aldrich for a thunderous dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.

But Memphis was not just going to go away as the final three minutes were a slugfest. With just under a minute, Tiger Doneal Mack hit a long range three. Up two with 48 seconds remaining, KU had possession and called timeout.

Collins drove to the basket and put up a floater. Goaltending was called on Will Coleman and KU led 56-52 with 29 seconds to play. Williams then hit another long three, this time while falling down and KU was up 56-55 with 16 ticks to left.

A Memphis foul put Collins at the line, where he missed the first off the front of the rim and made the second. Memphis held for the final shot and went for the win as Williams got a good look at the game winning three that bounced off.

Aldrich led Kansas with 18 points and 11 boards for his 23rd career double-double. Collins added 12 points and Xavier Henry finished with 11. Williams led all scorers for Memphis with 21 points to go with six boards.

Kansas shot 46.5 percent from the floor compared to 34.5 percent for Memphis. The Jayhawks outrebounded the Tigers 35-21.

Kansas will host Central Arkansas on Thursday, Nov. 19, in the second game of the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase. The Central Arkansas game will tip at 7 p.m. and be televised on Jayhawk TV.