Markieff Morris Nets 19 Points to Lead No.1 Kansas Past UCLA

Dec. 6, 2009

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Sophomore Markieff Morris scored a career-high 19 points to help lead the top-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team to a 73-61 victory versus UCLA Sunday afternoon in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.

KU moves to 7-0 overall for the third time under head coach Bill Self, including 2-0 in games played away from Allen Fieldhouse. UCLA dropped to 2-5 overall in its fourth-straight loss.

Freshman Xavier Henry and senior Sherron Collins joined Morris in double figures scoring 16 and 14 points, respectively. KU collected its 73 points behind a team 44.4 percent shooting from the field, but held the Bruins to 36.1 percent shooting as UCLA became the 81st consecutive opponent to shoot under 50 percent versus KU.

Kansas also held a 43-36 advantage on the boards. Junior Cole Aldrich finished with a game-high 12 rebounds in his third-straight contest with double-digit rebounds. Marcus Morris pulled down nine boards in the contest, two shy of his career best.

When the second half of play began with Kansas leading 35-28, UCLA scored six of the first nine points to come within four points of the Jayhawks. But it was the closest the Bruins would come during the game as Kansas soon expanded its lead to double-digit points once again.

Following a KU timeout, sophomore Marcus Morris scored his first points of the game with a dunk at 17:02. Xavier Henry then added a three-point basket to push the Jayhawks ahead, 43-34. Kansas hit four treys in the second half compared to just one in the first half and shot 40.0 percent from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes

With 11:36 left in the game, Markieff Morris sank a free throw to complete a three-point play and shift the momentum for the last time. Markieff Morris proceeded to score KU’s next four points while Henry capped a 9-2 Kansas run with a three-pointer to keep the Jayhawks’ advantage at 60-46.

UCLA never got closer than 11 points for the remainder of the contest.

Kansas scored 18 of its 35 first-half points in the paint. The Jayhawks also converted 11 UCLA turnovers into 14 points.

Leading 7-6 in the first half, KU scored eight unanswered points over the next two and a half minutes, including six points off UCLA turnovers, to expand its lead to 15-6 with just under 12 minutes to play.

The Bruins whittled its deficit down to seven points at 7:32 before back-to-back baskets from sophomores Tyshawn Taylor and Markieff Morris quickly gave the Jayhawks back an 11-point lead at 25-14.

Kansas was able to hold onto an eight point-plus lead for the remainder of the half until a three-pointer from UCLA’s Nicola Dragovic with 30 seconds left. The trey put the Bruins within seven points at 35-28 heading into the break.

Dragonvic was one of three Bruins to score double-digit points in the game with 14. Michael Roll finished with a team-high 16 points.

KU returns to Lawrence Wednesday, Dec. 9 to play host to Radford. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. from Allen Fieldhouse.