Free Throws Seal Kansas Victory Over Arizona
Nov. 27, 2010
LAS VEGAS, Nev. –
Key free throws down the stretch and a balanced offensive attack led the sixth-ranked Kansas basketball team to an 87-79 win over Arizona Saturday night in KU’s final contest of the iBN Las Vegas Invitational.
KU improved to 6-0 for the second-straight season, while handing Arizona its first loss of the season as it fell to 5-1 overall.
The Jayhawks’ offense saw six players in double-digit points led by tournament MVP Marcus Morris’ 16 tallies, despite sitting out much of the second half with foul trouble. He was followed by a season-high 15 points from twin Markieff Morris. Markieff was also named to the all-tournament team along with sophomore Travis Releford, who added 10 points during the contest.
Sophomore Thomas Robinson (14), senior Tyrel Reed (13) and junior Tyshawn Taylor (10) rounded out KU’s double-figure scorers.
Leading 75-72 with 2:46 left in the game, KU hit nine of its 11 free throws in the final minute and a half of the game to seal the victory. The Jayhawks made 16-of-22 charity shots (72.7 percent) in the second half and went 20-for-29 (69 percent) during the game.
At 15:09 in the second half, Arizona took its first lead of the game at 52-51 and eventually went up 60-56, but it was the largest advantage UA would hold. KU stormed back with a 9-0 run with just over nine minutes to play jumpstarted by a three-point play from Reed.
The Wildcats threatened again at 67-65 but a coast-to-coast layup from Taylor followed by an alley-oop dunk to Robinson sparked the crowd and put the momentum back into Kansas’ hands for good.
Kansas dominated down low during the game scoring 42 of its points in the paint compared to Arizona’s 28.
In the first half, KU scored on seven of its first eight trips down the court to lead 15-10 four minutes into the contest. Twelve of those 15 points were scored by Marcus and Markieff. After an Arizona basket, the Jayhawks proceeded to go on a 12-0 run, increasing its advantage to 27-12.
UA soon heated up from beyond the three-point arc to close the gap. The Wildcats sank three-straight three-point baskets to cut its deficit to 33-24 with 9:18 left in the half. Over the next 60 seconds, Arizona chipped away even more to trail by just five points.
Releford diminished the threat in the Jayhawks’ next trip down the court getting a friendly rollback on a three-pointer and then hitting a jumper from the elbow to keep KU’s lead in double-digits at 38-28.
Neither team produced much offense in the final five minutes of the half. With less than a minute to go, Reed broke free with a steal and converted it into a fastbreak layup to give Kansas a 44-36 lead, but Arizona hit a big three-point shot with eight seconds remaining to give KU a five-point lead heading into the break.
Kansas is back in action on Thursday, Dec. 2 when it hosts UCLA at 8 p.m. That game is set to be televised on ESPN2.