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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cornell didn’t falter

Big Red not intimidated by KU

Kansas center Cole Aldrich clears out Cornell center Jeff Foote and teammate Tyrel Reed following a free throw during the second half, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich clears out Cornell center Jeff Foote and teammate Tyrel Reed following a free throw during the second half, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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2010 KU-Cornell

Reader poll

Following KU's 71-66 win over Cornell, do you think that was Sherron Collins' best game as a Jayhawk?

  • Yes 68% 1851 votes
  • No 24% 656 votes
  • Undecided 6% 176 votes

2683 total votes.

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KU escapes Cornell

Sherron Collins led the Jayhawks past a close one against Cornell with a career-high 33 points.

Generally speaking, there is a moment in every men’s basketball game played at Allen Fieldhouse when the opposing team seems to take stock of its surroundings — Kansas University’s stable of All-Americans, the unrelenting fan base, the decades of history packed into the old venue — and realizes that it’s in over its head.

A couple of costly turnovers and a few botched possessions later, and no matter how promising things might have started off, the opponent ends up leaving Lawrence disappointed, the most recent victim in the Jayhawks’ quickly growing 51-game home winning streak.

It was hard to pinpoint that moment Wednesday night, however, during the Jayhawks’ closer-than-the score-indicates 71-66 victory over visiting Cornell, a game in which the underdog Big Red led nearly the duration and did not seem particularly interested in any of the hoopla surrounding the vaunted Kansas program or its athletes.

For 40 minutes, the Big Red took everything Kansas and its fans threw at it in stride.

When KU point guard Sherron Collins got rolling, for instance, as he is wont to do with some regularity, Big Red forward Ryan Wittman did, too, finishing with 24 points, four rebounds and three assists.

When the Jayhawks looked to be gaining some momentum at the conclusion of the first half, Cornell responded by opening the second half on an 8-3 run.

And when the thunder of a surprisingly boisterous Kansas crowd — given the number of empty seats due to inclement weather — began rolling down the bleachers midway through the second half, the team’s players didn’t seem to notice.

“There was very few times when I thought, ‘Man, we just lost our poise here,’” Cornell coach Steve Donahue said. “They were aggressive. We matched it.”

Added Wittman, “We just knew it was going to come down to the defensive end and getting those key stops. They started to get into a little bit of a rhythm whenever they made their run. Collins made some great plays, but we were just saying ‘Keep executing, keep poised.’”

Which is precisely what they did.

With the exception of a couple of miscues in the game’s final minutes —Wittman missed a pair of three-point attempts, and center Jeff Foote missed a layup that allowed Kansas to extend its lead to three with three minutes remaining — Cornell played well enough to hand the Jayhawks their first loss of the season.

The Big Red outscored Kansas, 22-14, in the paint and 16-10 off the bench and led by as many as eight in the second half. They scraped and clawed and gave Kansas just about all it could handle.

“We did everything we could,” Donahue said, “except win the basketball game.”

In the end, Collins proved too much, scoring six of the Jayhawks’ final eight points, including two free throws with 25 seconds left that gave Kansas a 67-64 lead.

The run proved demoralizing to a Cornell team that came within a minute of becoming the first Ivy League team in history to knock off one of college basketball’s cornerstones.

“That’s why they’re No. 1,” said Foote, who finished with 12 points and six rebounds. “They find a way to win.”

Comments

Larry Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

“That’s why they’re No. 1,” said Foote, who finished with 12 points and six rebounds. “They find a way to win.”

As ugly as it may have been, and as much as people will complain about it, the above quote sums it up nicely.

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Mike Kendall 4 years, 6 months ago

Crunch time, baby! Sherron lives in that presence all the time!

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4 years, 6 months ago

Exactly Jayhawk86. Great teams find a way to win, it's all about heart, sherron has shown he has it- I hope the rest of the team shows it too.

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LHS1980 4 years, 6 months ago

That was just a great college basketball game!

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Steve Brown 4 years, 6 months ago

I know it isn't fair, I've been blessed and had the pleasure of seeing games in AFH since late 60's when I was in HS and last night was "just a great college basketball game" LHS1980 wrote.

one of the very best actually against a smart worthy foe...well done Cornell well done.

smoke Tennessee....

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bradynsdad 4 years, 6 months ago

hats off to cornell they played like a top five team. foote matched with cole very well and they proved to be more deadly than us with the three ball. great game thank you sherron.

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hawk316 4 years, 6 months ago

Give credit where credit is due. Cornell is a very good basketball team. I wouldn't be surprised to see them go deep in the tournament in March.

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truefan 4 years, 6 months ago

Cornell is a good team and I respect their ability, however, they live and die by the 3 and last night the 3-ball kept them in the game but eventually killed them in the final minutes. They did outscore KU in the paint but if you watch the game again and notice how many uncharacteristic misses KU had right by the hoop then it's not that surprising. If KU had hit those bunnies the game would not have been close at the end. Give Cornell credit, but they will have a game or two when they don't shoot well and they will lose badly. Cornell and Temple essentially had the exact same game plan, chuck threes, the difference was that Temple missed everything and Cornell made just about everything. Either way it results in a loss to the #1 team in the nation.

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WilburNether 4 years, 6 months ago

This is not the #1 team in the nation right now. One hopes they will be in April, but at this point in the season, they are overrated.

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kufaninmo 4 years, 6 months ago

a real scare, but a great game to watch...had KU lost, i'm sure i wouldn't feel this way, but that cornell team was amazing. i've never watched them before but if they play like that day in day out, the nation WILL take notice and they will get ranked. props to sherron though, GOD how does he do it!?

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WilburNether 4 years, 6 months ago

ralster, The "supposed KU fans" are the fools who lose all sense of objectivity when mindlessly cheering for "their" team. Those are the people who need to get a life.

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waywardJay 4 years, 6 months ago

wilbur, he's pointing out objectively that who the number 1 team is .... is largely dependant on who is looking at the ranking...

TO Cornell... they look at the polls and gauge themselves they were withing 2-3 points of beating the "best" team on their home court.....

To self or Barnes.... our teams have had lapses and have not played like the best teams in the nation while in large we are considered two of the best....

to our guys, they have another day of the swagger than that little one beside our number provides....

Perhaps it just serves as a barometer of where we are... not so much how good we are supposed to be..... Should we still be undefeated playing the teams we have, or should we have lost already...Considering 330+ teams have already lost... and only 4 teams remain -0 intact.... i think that's prety impressive..... even if we did almost manage to lose last night to an IVY.....

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