Sherron Collins normally acts as if he has not a care in the world in Kansas University's locker room and training room on game day.
"I joke around when I'm getting taped, dance a little bit to the music. I was just listening to my iPod alone today," Collins, Kansas University's freshman point guard, said Saturday.
The 5-foot-11 dynamo realized he needed to prepare himself mentally for his second start of the season, his first since KU's season-opener back in November.
So it was a tape of Lil' Wayne that soothed him prior to a 12-point, six-assist, career-high-tying three-steal effort over 32 minutes that propelled the Jayhawks (25-4 overall, 12-2 Big 12 Conference) to an 89-52 pounding of Iowa State (14-14, 5-9) in Allen Fieldhouse.
"I was pretty nervous, not too much. Julian noticed, though," Collins said of Julian Wright, who was one of six Jayhawks to score in double figures (12 points) on a day regular point guard Russell Robinson was out nursing a right foot injury.
"Julian said, 'The freshman is nervous today,'" Collins added with a smile. "Julian said, 'Don't force things. If you don't feel it, just give it up.'"
Collins was a steadying force the first half. He played the first 16 minutes without a breather, as the Jayhawks easily survived what should be their only game without Robinson.
17.9 Iowa State's field-goal shooting percentage in the first half51.5 KU's first-half field-goal shooting percentage18 Iowa State's total field goals19 Iowa State's total turnovers6 Jayhawks scoring in double figures0 Cyclones scoring in double figures10-0 KU's record against the Big 12 North this season0 Cyclones who shot better than 50 percent against KU
Robinson, who wore a white shirt, blue sweater, slacks and gym shoes on the sidelines, worked out on Saturday and said he could have played if necessary. He fully expects to play in Monday's 8 p.m. contest at Oklahoma.
"At shootaround, I felt good, confident," Robinson said. "If we didn't have a game Monday, I'd have played. Everything is feeling good regarding my foot."
Robinson, who made sure to huddle with Collins before the game, said he thought the freshman played well.
"I talked to him. I didn't sense anything wrong with his mind-set. He's already had a couple starts under his belt," Robinson said of one exhibition game, to go with the opener against Northern Arizona.
"He knows what to do out there. If anything, he could have maybe gotten Brandon more shots. Aside from that, he was great today. Everybody is playing well. Our confidence is rising."
Brandon Rush missed six of eight shots and finished with six points on a day the Jayhawks claimed a season sweep of all their North Division rivals for the first time since the 2001-02 season.
Also, Mario Chalmers, who helped hold Mike Taylor to seven points off 3-of-10 shooting, scored 18 points.
The Cyclones hit 32.7 percent of their shots and had more turnovers (19) than baskets (18).
KU also had 14 steals to ISU's two and outrebounded the Cyclones 47-30.
"Everyone we put out there produced pretty well," said coach Bill Self, who turned to Rodrick Stewart (three rebounds, two points, two assists, one steal) for 16 minutes with some depth needed at the guard slot in Robinson's absence.
"Our big guys are playing better, and the emergence of Sherron has allowed some other guys to get some easy baskets. We're playing the best we have all year. We have to keep it up for one last huge week (of regular season), and then the real fun begins."
It has been fun for KU fans to watch Collins lately. Saturday, just like Robinson in games past, Collins wound up being the fifth starter introduced by public-address man Hank Booth.
"He says, 'Russell Robinson,' the fans say, 'New York, New York.'' They aren't going to say, 'Chicago, Illinois.' It's not quite the same,'' he added of fans' chants. "When you are the last guy introduced, the guys will push you to the middle of the huddle.
"I said a few words, some cussing words in the middle (of huddle) I can't say now. It was a big game."
The Jayhawks, who held ISU to 5-of-28 shooting the first half in building a 41-15 lead, remained tied with Texas A&M; for first place in the league with two games to play.
"We have to be focused, not be distracted. We just need to go out and win the games and get at least a share of the title," sophomore forward Wright declared.