Kansas defeats La Salle, 90-65

  • 1 p.m., Dec. 12, 2009
  • Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Most excellent: Henry scores 31 in rout of Explorers

Kansas forward Xavier Henry stands up to applaud the play of his teammates along side Elijah Johnson, left, Cole Aldrich, Markieff Morris, assistant coach Kurtis Townsend and head coach Bill Self late in the second half, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas forward Xavier Henry stands up to applaud the play of his teammates along side Elijah Johnson, left, Cole Aldrich, Markieff Morris, assistant coach Kurtis Townsend and head coach Bill Self late in the second half, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.


Audio clips

2009 KU-La Salle

Reader poll

Which Jayhawk's stat line were you most happy with against La Salle?

  • Xavier Henry's 31 points on 10-for-15 shooting 31% 713 votes
  • Tyshawn Taylor's 6 assists and 0 turnovers 28% 653 votes
  • Markieff Morris' 12 rebounds and four blocks 13% 305 votes
  • Cole Aldrich's 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting 26% 613 votes

2284 total votes.

— Bill Self, who took his prize freshman out of Saturday’s Kansas-La Salle game with five minutes to play, summoned Xavier Henry back onto the Sprint Center court with 3:50 remaining.

The late substitution wasn’t to make sure Henry — who had exited with a career-high-tying 27 points — surpassed the total he’d set in the Jayhawks’ season-opener against Hofstra, was it coach?

“Nah. I didn’t care about that. A career high nine games in? Hopefully that won’t last long. At least I hope not,” KU coach Self said after watching Henry hit two free throws at 3:34 and a driving layup at 1:41 — and finish with a career-best 31 points — in the Jayhawks’ 90-65 victory over the Explorers.

Henry hit 10 of 15 shots (four of five threes) and seven of nine free throws and hinted even better scoring days may be ahead.

“It was all right,” the 6-foot-6 guard said of his effort, grinning when asked what would happen on a day he’s “really good.”

“I don’t know. It’ll be a good day, though, when I’m better than average.”

The Oklahoma City sensation knew he was close to his first collegiate 30-point outing when, with four fouls, he returned to the game for the final time.

“Yeah, and then coach was like, ‘Take him (defender),’ so I kept going to the hole and scoring easy layups. As soon as he said, ‘Take him,’ that’s all I needed to hear,” Henry said.

Henry became the first KU freshman to score 30 in a game since Paul Pierce, who hit for 30 versus East Tennessee State on Jan. 6, 1998. KU’s freshman single-game scoring record is 35 points set by Danny Manning against Oklahoma State in 1985.

“I thought he was ‘all right’ too,” Self said with a smile.

Henry picked up the scoring slack on a day Sherron Collins labored to scored five points off 1-of-12 shooting. Collins last had five points off 1-of-8 shooting against Davidson his sophomore season.

“When Sherron has a game like that ... that may be the worst game Sherron has had shooting the ball maybe since he’s been here. He couldn’t get in a rhythm,” Self said. “X just scored so easy. Getting 31 points on 15 shots is pretty good, especially for a freshman. He didn’t take bad looks. He shared the ball.

“We saw today something he has to do more of, which is attack the basket. He’s been so conscious to try to do what we want him to do, it’s probably taken away some of his aggressiveness as far as putting the ball down and attacking the rim. He can get to the hole and get fouled.”

Henry said he benefited from the solid play of KU big men Cole Aldrich and Markieff Morris, who had 19 and 12 points respectively off combined 13-of-16 shooting. Aldrich had five blocks and six rebounds.

“Most of the time, when I throw it inside, I’m wide-open for the three,” Henry said.

La Salle (6-3), which trailed just 21-20 nine minutes into the game, then was buried by a 21-7 KU surge, was victimized by 10 first-half points from Henry and 11 from Aldrich.

Not even a hard foul by Terrell Williams with 5:21 left could slow the sweet-shooting Henry.

“My neck popped a little bit. I’m always popping my neck anyway,” Henry said. “It popped, and it was burning.”

Not a surprise since he was on fire.

“The whole game is fun. Even feeding the post man is fun, getting good reactions out of everybody,” said Henry, who also had four rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes.

KU (9-0) will concentrate on final exams this week and next meet Michigan at 11 a.m. Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.


Steve Brown 10 years, 9 months ago

All I wanted for Xmas was to get 2 yrs out of the kid, seeming less likely as season unfolds.

James Miller 10 years, 9 months ago

Cole loves KU. Maybe he talks X into staying and defending. We all know how family oriented the Henry's are. He might want to play with his big bro another year.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 9 months ago

1)Offense: I thought the offense started a little "Slow" in the first half, but it finally started clicking towards the end of the half. It was good to see the "Focus" shift toward getting the ball inside. All in all, I thought the offense is "flowing" better and better every game. I think it's only going to be a matter of time before the offense is clicking on all cylinders. Good effort IMO!

2) Defensively: I thought the only "Low" point for the Jayhawks was in the rebounding category. KU gave up 16 offensive rebounds! Overall great "D", but work needs to be done in the defensive rebounding department so the opposition doesn't get so many second looks. I don't think it has to do with KU's "Big's", but has to do with the guards boxing out on long rebounds. I am still not a fan of double teaming in the post especially when La Salle is quite a bit smaller. I know Self wants to work on it and I know he probably isn't going to get rid of it, but it does completely irritate the living garbage out of me.

3)Tyshawn Taylor:Well Done Son! Best game you have had all year and Self rewarded you by starting you in the Second Half. This kid is definitely a fighter. Self is testing him every bit of the way and Taylor is going round for round with Self. Taylor played completely within himself today. That is the Tyshawn Taylor we know and love. Taylor did get very lucky with that fastbreak pass to Kieff for the dunk. Taylor should have just laid it in. Other than that, I have nothing negative to say about Taylor's performance. Well Done! Well Done!

Chris Shaw 10 years, 9 months ago

4)Sherron Collins: He had a very poor game, but I am still not worried for Collins. The only thing I was surprised about was his willingness to "Create" in negative situations. I think he was just completely frustrated by the middle of the second half and lost complete focus. Collins is still finding his way with his new "Role" this year. I have complete confidence in Collins and I know he will turn this game around next weekend against Michigan. Keep your head up Sherron.

5) Post Play that includes Aldrich, The Twins, and Robinson: They all played great IMO! They are really starting to put it together. The Twins had extra incentive to play well since this was against virutally their home team. Markieff was a man obsessed with his double-double of 12 and 12. Cole played Great. Self's verbal butt whoopin in practice must have paid off............."Be more aggressive"! Robinson got 4 boards in 8 minutes. He is coming along slower than I expected, but he is a great talent.

6)Elijah Johnson: I think EJ is playing well, but I wish he would have gotten more minutes. It would have been nice to have at least 10 minutes from him. I know what Self is doing with EJ and Taylor and I just want Self to be careful that he isn't so much "Toying" as he is "Sending a Message to Taylor". I know Self wants Taylor to produce more, but just becareful it's not at the expense of Johnson's development.

7)Tyrel Reed: He was virtually non-existent in 10 minutes of play

8)CJ Henry: It was good seeing the Henry brothers play together. Not sure how Self is going to juggle all this guard play. We Shall See

9) Travis Releford: He was the first person off the bench during every break in the action! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! What a true sign of a leader. It's great to see that as an observer from my living room.

10) Withey and Morningstar: They are expected to participate next week vs Michigan so it will be interesting from here on out how Self will juggle all these pieces and slowly incorporate these other two players. Should be fun to watch.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 9 months ago

The Best For Last at by yesterday's performance.

Xavier Henry: What else can I say? He was spectacular. I am not worried about his stroke at all even though I was shocked to see him shoot that "Airball". X will always have the "3" and he will always have the "J" from 12-17 feet when he pump fakes and takes 1 or 2 dribbles. It was good to see X not "Settle" and really showcase his driving ability yesterday. It was nice to see him attacking the rim and actually start to show signs of being comfortable while doing it. Not much esle I can say, but X is growing more and more confident with every game. This kid is a stud!

thmdmph 10 years, 9 months ago

kushaw, I don't think HCBS is toying or using Johnson for the benefit of TT. I think it's purely his attempt at putting the best team forward and experiment with the lineup and see who, how, and when he can use these guys to the best benefit of the team. And don't forget that Johnson was playing injured according to Self, that's the reason for the short minutes.

thmdmph 10 years, 9 months ago

As for X. This guy is phenomenal (Phe-Nom-Me-No). I really think this guy is better than Wall. X has completely played well within himself. Coach hasn't even come close to pushing X to his limit yet. Can you imagine X on a team where he's the main source of offense? He is so well rounded. His major point of development is defense and he's so open to learning that from X. That's a mature player. If you didn't know anything about the team and just start watching, you'd definitely think he's the senior on the team (granted he does make several freshman mistakes and turn-overs - but just ignore that and just go with me on this).

FairgroveJayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

“Yeah, and then coach was like, ‘Take him (defender),’ so I kept going to the hole and scoring easy layups. As soon as he said, ‘Take him,’ that’s all I needed to hear,” Henry said.

I agree X hasn't been pushed by Self yet, it also appears Self has been holding him back until he gets other fundamentals of Self's game under his belt.

Self set the primitive and natural side of X free Saturday. The dog is out of his cage and will be the atomic bomb of this team.

I think Self could be coaching the best scoring team he's had at KU. I bet he wakes up with a smile on his face, great position to be in.

Patrickulating 10 years, 9 months ago

"Henry became the first KU freshman to score 30 in a game since Paul Pierce, who hit for 30 versus East Tennessee State on Jan. 6, 1998."

Wasn't 1998 Peirce's LAST year, not his first?

Matt Bowers 10 years, 9 months ago

kushaw, i thought you were on the money with your run down. should be interesting to see how this line up ends up. it is safe to say that tyrel's minutes are numbered and morningstar is going to play for probably 10-15 min a game.

x is the man. it is good to let him play his game. put the shark in the water and let him eat.

there are so many players on the team who want to prove themselves that it is interesting watching it all unfold. the twin towers want to prove that they can bang. cj who has been banged up for over a year wants to prove his worth. tt who had such a productive summer wants to bring it to this season. x wants to prove that he is nba ready. morningstar wants to prove that he deserves position. with all that, this team might be hungriest teams ever.

possible line ups for self this season:

1st team: cole sherron x markief tt

second team: thomas rob ej marcus morningstar cj

subs: tyrel jeff w

thoughts about the possible line ups? this is of course made with limited basketball knowledge. either way, i know that hcbs will get all figured out.

rock chalk

KUFan90 10 years, 9 months ago

nice write up kushaw. Don't sweat the X airball. Great shooters occasionally throw one up now and then. It's the first I remember seeing this season so I'm fine with one every 9 games or so. ; )

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

First, a cracking good summary by kushaw.

Second, this is still a seven-man team, until Withey and Morningstar show up to make it a nine man team. And if Tyrel keeps doing the disappear-o, it is going to be an eight man team very quickly.

The Prophet disappeared against LaSalle's good, big guards, as did Sherron and Tyrel. Tyshawn and C.J. were the only two that could defend them and penetrate on them. We need Brady's D on the perimeter, whether at 2 or 3. The Prophet is still half a season away.

We also need Withey to plug and play in a big way. TRob looked really ineffective, even against some less than stellar bigs.

47% trey shooting creates blow outs.

Negative Steal-to-TO ratios imply a chink in the armor that a good defensive opponent will exploit. KU has to either raise its steals, or reduce its TOs, or it is going to get caught napping against a good defensive team on a night when Xavier is not shooting 75% from trifectaville.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 9 months ago

Jaybate: Go read the Haircut article about "MoHawks" My first two posts were about those two recruits from Texas in the class of 2011 that play the "Rush Spot".

They are going to have a replay of that high school game on ESPN U on Tuesday Dec. 15th at 5 pm est. You should definitely watch that game. LeBryan Nash is unbelievable. I wrote those posts for you, Jaybate. Thanks for the kind words. If you can't find it let me know and I will copy and paste it here.

Andy Godwin 10 years, 9 months ago

KU's competition will be improving from here on out.

FYI-After Temple upset #3 Villanova on Sunday the Temple fans bellowed "Overrated!" and stormed the court, Villanova's perfect record and city dominance were finished.

The fans demanded an encore after their biggest win in coach Fran Dunphy's four seasons, stomping the court and chanting "We Want Kansas!" in preparation for the top-ranked Jayhawks' visit on Jan. 2.

Steve Brown 10 years, 9 months ago

KU Shaw, the comment about Well Done Son and Mr. Taylor is spot on. Thanks for reports....

One of toughest challenges a coach has is to determine who may redshirt and who not....isn't that a little like trading the youthful present for the experienced future.

wouldn't it be easier if the rule said, just decide before league play or before 1.01.

I hesitate naming anyone that potentially should be redshirting for fear of your wrath.cause it is certainly not clear cut, yet could see TRob either way. Heck even EJ in some ways, depending upon TT, Brady, CJ gosh we're deep.

call me silly, even I am not comfort. with these comments of mine...just thinking..about the next few years.

Steve Brown 10 years, 9 months ago

theMD yes, X was phee-nom-in-mo no doubt.

Yet everytime I watch tape of Wall he scares livin' daylights out of me, he can't be denied and will be #1 draft and is one of those once in decade players. the other night he flew over a player and changed course in mid air.

his folks must have traveled with cirque du soliel... he has my respect,

easy to forget now, but think back if CJ would have been allowed to follow Cal and take little brother with him, then KY would be even better ....and my worst nightmare, glad things happen for a reason, count our blessings that Cal left Memphis.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 9 months ago

FYI-After Temple upset #3 Villanova on Sunday the Temple fans bellowed "Overrated!" and stormed the court, Villanova's perfect record and city dominance were finished.

I thought they were yelling "Novarated" "Novarated"! LOL!

Scott Smetana 10 years, 9 months ago

Great to see a future opponent doing well.... Go Owls, bring on the competition!

waywardJay 10 years, 9 months ago

nova's got a hole is it means.,... plenty of time to fill it.....

they lack someone who is a dedicated rebounder...... Temple's 6'9 center killed them on the boards

David Howell 10 years, 9 months ago

Overall I was extremely pleased with KU's effort. Nonetheless, we still lack that killer instinct to really want to dominate someone. At times our defense was lacking and our ability to block out or go after rebounds was non-existent. However, I feel by the end of the season we will see that LaSalle was a decent team and better then most of the punks we've been scheduled so far.

Henry was great ! No arguments here on him. But Collins was was below average. I can excuse him, because I know he has heart, ability, all of the above and will bounce back. But was it me, or did he not really start pressing / hurrying his shots early in the possession once Henry really caught fire ?? It was almost like SC said "Look punk, I am the senior and let me show you how its done" ..... But he couldn't back it up. Let's hope it wasn't an ego thing, but it sure seemed it at the time.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 9 months ago

Patrickulating asks...Wasn't 1998 Peirce's LAST year, not his first?

"Henry became the first KU freshman to score 30 in a game since Paul Pierce, who hit for 30 versus East Tennessee State on Jan. 6, 1998."

Yes, Paul ( was Freshmen of the year in 1996, and left after his junior year.

Paul burst onto the scene in Lawrence, earning Big Eight Freshman of the Year honors in 1996. He followed that with back-to-back Big 12 Conference Tournament MVP awards, and was voted an All-American after his junior season.

didjabuti 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm not for sure...but I didn't think Pierce even scored 20 till his sophomore year.

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