Little's Free Throw Pushes Kansas Past UCLA

Dec. 2, 2010

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Senior Mario Little’s free throw in the final second of the game made the difference in No. 4 Kansas’ 77-76 victory over UCLA in Allen Fieldhouse Thursday night. Little finished the game with nine points and a team-high eight rebounds, while senior Tyrel Reed and junior Tyshawn Taylor tied for the team lead with 17 points apiece. The 17 points marked a career-high for Reed, who shot 5-for-7 from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range.

With the victory, Kansas improved to 7-0 for the third time in the last four seasons and extended the nation’s longest active home court winning streak to 64 games. UCLA dropped to 3-3 with the loss.

Sophomore Tyler Honeycutt led all scorers with 33 points for UCLA, making 11 of his 15 shots from the field, including 5-of-6 three-pointers. Freshman Joshua Smith added 17 for the Bruins.

With seven-tenths of a second remaining in the game, Little stepped to the free throw line in a hushed Allen Fieldhouse with two attempts to win the game. Little made the first of two to give Kansas a 77-76 lead. Little missed the second attempt and time expired on the rebound to keep Kansas perfect on the season.

After Honeycutt made a three-pointer to tie the game at 76 with five seconds remaining, KU quickly inbounded the ball and pushed it up court. UCLA junior Malcolm Lee fouled Little as time expired on the scoreboard. The officials checked the monitor and determined the foul occurred with 0.7 seconds on the clock, allowing Little the chance to win the game at the charity stripe.

With 29 seconds remaining, Taylor made one of two foul shots to give KU a three-point lead, 76-73. Following a Lazeric Jones miss on a 1-and-1 free throw, Little grabbed the defensive rebound for Kansas, but a Reed turnover as he was falling out-of-bounds allowed Honeycutt to make a three-pointer with five seconds remaining to tie the game at 76.

Both teams shot well from the floor, with Kansas making 50.9 percent of its field goal attempts versus UCLA’s 48.3 percent. Each team shot above 40 percent from three-point range as well with KU going 5-for-11 and the Bruins hitting 6-of-14 from long range.

Junior Marcus Morris finished the game with 16 points and six rebounds, while Markieff Morris chipped in nine points and seven boards.

With 8:15 remaining in the game, Kansas found itself behind, 64-60. The Jayhawks answered with an 8-0 run capped off by a full-court pass from Markieff Morris to his twin brother Marcus in transition for a one-handed slam to make the score 68-64. Kansas never trailed from that point forward, maintaining its lead the rest of the way solely on free throws and layups.

Down by 51-45 with 16:30 left in the game, a Markieff Morris layup and an ensuing block by Marcus Morris sparked an 8-0 run to give the Jayhawks the lead again, 53-51, with 14:18 remaining. A Taylor steal led to a fastbreak layup by Reed to finish the run, bringing the entire crowd to its feet with the noise level peaking at 111 deciblels in KU’s 152nd consecutive sellout.

Early in the second half, a four-point play by Honeycutt gave UCLA a 45-44 lead. The Bruins extended their lead to six, 51-45, making five of their first eight shots following the intermission.

Down 22-19 with 11:21 remaining in the first half, KU called a timeout and then went on a 7-0 run in the next two minutes to lead by four. However, UCLA fought back, obtaining a 39-35 advantage with Jones’ three-pointer with 3:51 left in the opening period.

KU held UCLA scoreless the remainder of the half, scoring seven-straight points to take a 42-39 lead into halftime. During that stretch, a two-handed dunk by Robinson tied the game at 39 and a three-point play by Little gave Kansas its smallest halftime margin of the season.

After UCLA grabbed its first lead of the game, 4-3, with 17:24 left in the first half, Reed made back-to-back three-pointers to put Kansas in front, 9-4. On KU’s next possession Markieff Morris converted a three-point play to cap off a 9-0 Jayhawk run in the span of 1:04.

Reed led the Jayhawks with 15 points in the first 20 minutes, including 3-for-4 from three point range. KU only had eight assists versus seven turnovers in the first half.

Kansas will return to action next Tuesday when it takes on Memphis at Madison Square Garden in New York City as part of the Jimmy V Classic. That game will tip off at 6 p.m. and be televised on ESPN.