Freshmen emerging in early conference play

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bill Self on Saturday agreed with a reporter's assertion that McDonald's All-Americans Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins had been playing well of late.

"Yeah. They need to play more, too. Both of them," Self, Kansas University's basketball coach, said after the Jayhawks' 69-64 loss to Texas Tech in United Spirit Arena.

Collins, a 5-foot-11 guard, and Arthur, a 6-9 forward, combined for 22 points while playing 28 and 27 minutes, respectively, in KU's first league loss.

The freshmen had scored a combined 32 points in 26 and 20 minutes, respectively, in an 80-77 victory over Missouri on Monday night. They scored 17 of KU's final 19 points.

"You score 10 points in a game, it doesn't make you the best in the country. They are two of the better freshmen around," Self said.

Collins, who averages 19.9 minutes a game (24.3 minutes in Big 12 games), scored 10 points off 4-of-6 shooting with a career-high seven assists in 28 minutes against Tech. He hit a three-pointer to open a 13-1 run that erased a 12-point deficit down the stretch and also had a driving layup to cut a 65-62 deficit to one point at :57.

"Sherron to me is really emerging," Self said.

Arthur, who had six straight points at one point in the first half, finished with 12 points off 6-of-13 shooting with six rebounds in 27 minutes.

He averages 21.1 minutes a game overall and 20.3 in league play.

"I felt really good in warmups," Arthur said. "I've been working a lot on my shot and have felt good the last three games."

He's made 12 of his last 23 shots over three games and averages 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in conference play - 11.6 points and 3.8 boards overall.

Collins is averaging 13.3 points and 4.0 assists in the conference and 8.6 points and 2.5 assists overall.

"I'm playing with a lot of confidence, keeping my head up," said Collins, who has scored in double figures in his last four games. "I just try to help the team as much as I can. If it's not shooting the ball, it's penetrating."

¢ Life on the road: Collins is learning about life as a KU basketball player on the road. The Jayhawks hear it from the fans in the stands.

"They can get loud," he said of opposing crowds. "You need to have blinders on going down the floor, only worry about the game."

¢ League race: Texas A&M is now the league's only undefeated team with 25 percent of the league schedule completed.

The 4-0 Aggies travel to 3-1 Texas Tech on Wednesday. KU, 3-1, heads to 1-4 Baylor for a 7 p.m. tip.

"We definitely have to move on (from loss)," junior guard Russell Robinson said. "You can't let one game become two. We have to take good things from this game. We have a couple days to recover. There's nothing we can do about it now."

Texas also has a 3-1 record. Kansas State and Oklahoma are 3-2, followed by Oklahoma State (2-2), Iowa State (2-3), Nebraska (1-2), Baylor and Colorado (1-4) and Missouri (0-4).

"It's a tough loss. We have to regroup and get ready for Baylor," Arthur said.