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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Keegan

Troubling? Nonsense; this one was wonderful

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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.

Danger loomed on the unsalted, unplowed roads. Cars spun out of control. Others stopped dead on hills, unable to climb the incline. Still, most of the 16,300 fans who held tickets showed up Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse and were rewarded with one magnificent college basketball game between No. 1 Kansas and underrated Cornell.

Those who don’t have the stomach to weather close games might prefer blowouts against the Alcorn States of the world, but for those who derive more pleasure from watching an exciting game than from boasting about their school’s powerhouse basketball team drilling another punching bag by 30-plus points, this was a rare nonconference delight.

This one had drama, with the underdog pulling ahead by eight early in the second half. It had star power, each team looking to its best player to hit big shots. Above all, it had suspense. Which team would win? It’s not often such a question is asked in the fieldhouse before Big 12 play starts. Too bad there aren’t more games such as this one in November, December and early January.

Somewhere today you are liable to hear a voice saying that it’s troubling Kansas could only beat Cornell by a 71-66 score and, horror of horrors, trailed with 48 seconds remaining.

Troubling? Nonsense.

For one thing, Cornell is a very good college basketball team, loaded with terrific shooters who also happen to be extremely aggressive, experienced, smart basketball players capable of running their offense so precisely. For another, it was one of those nights where nearly every KU player couldn’t get his shots to drop, yet Kansas still found a way to win. (The four East Coast players — Tyshawn Taylor, Marcus and Markieff Morris and Thomas Robinson — combined to play 68 minutes and did not make a field goal.)

A basketball game is at its best when each team’s superstar catches fire. Cornell’s 6-foot-7 senior forward Ryan Wittman did so in the first half, scoring 15 of his 24 points and showcasing extremely deep range and a blink-and-you-missed-it release. He made four of seven three-pointers in the first half, just one of seven in the second half, when Brady Morningstar’s reputation as a defensive stopper grew yet again.

“Wittman’s a terrific player, hands down,” KU senior guard Sherron Collins said. “I tip my hat to him.”

Wittman was all the pregame billing said he would be. He just wasn’t Collins, who played two great halves. Not many college basketball players are. Collins needed just 16 field-goal attempts to score a career-high 33 points.

“There was a lid on the basket for everybody but Sherron,” freshman forward Xavier Henry said. “I missed a ton of layups. Cole (Aldrich) missed a lot. The twins missed a lot. It was a tough night. It was just one of those nights it feels different. Sherron had to carry us. If he didn’t carry us, we don’t know what would have happened. We just had to let him go.”

A loss would have ended KU’s Allen Fieldhouse winning streak at 50 games. A sense of relief fell over the team and the crowd when a tough opponent finally was conquered.

“We were wiping the brow and saying, ‘Thanks, Sherron’ and thanks to our crowd,” Henry said.

Comments

Garry Wright 9 years, 11 months ago

Great article, great game, great opponent, great win, great finish by Jayhawks. A win like this did a world of good for our team. A real grind it out game. They are playing well. But what is the ceiling for this team? Give them two more months and they will really be scary. Sherron did carry us, but others hustled hard. Brady shut down their top scorer the last 10 minutes. I become more and more excited about this team.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 11 months ago

A bad shooting night is one thing, but 68 minutes w/o a FG? Are they still on EST?

Rodney Stice 9 years, 11 months ago

This game scared me after Saturdays big win at Temple. I was afraid that the team would look forward to the UT game and overlook Cornell. The team looked out of sync the whole game, kudos to Cornells defence, and nobody could make a shot. Cole even missed a put back dunk. Good job pushing forward and winning the game.

Kevin Long 9 years, 11 months ago

This is the best thing that cold have happened. A hot shooting, good team coming in here and giving us all we want. First of all it showed who will step up and be the go to guy when we need it. It showed these young kids that if you don't come out and get after it people will beat you. And finally it was just great to have a game where every play matters all the way to the end.

This will give Self a lot to work on in practice.

Mike Kendall 9 years, 11 months ago

I think the player that impressed me the most was Ryan Whitman. His dad was a NBA player and the younger Whitman will be, too. He could hardly be stopped in the 1st Half. I am glad Brady put the clamps on him the 2nd Half, sorta. It seemed we couldn't get over the hump, and then, Superman himself, Sherron Collins comes through with his career high scoring night. Thank you very much, Sherron! Jayhawk Nation loves ya! Rest up and go get Tennessee on Sunday!

georgiahawk 9 years, 11 months ago

soobawls, that is ridiculous, if any team member is not doing what the coach wants, he will be sitting on the bench. this was a great game, a great lesson for the younguns. They won't soon forget this scare! Go KU! I heard that UT will be having a Bob Marley theme night when they play KU. Ganja make the ball bounce maaan!

Robert Brock 9 years, 11 months ago

The thing that scared me about this game was the disappearing act performed by the Morris twins. We need them to step up in tough games. Didn't happen last night.

swense 9 years, 11 months ago

This was very much like a game KU might see in the 1st round of any Post Season tournament and when the chips were down the Best Guard in the Country came thru and the rest of the team will benefit from this and every game like it the rest of this great season. Great analysis Mr. Keegan

rawkhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Soobawls, I always get a kick out of your Oscar-the-Grouch commentary. I hope you get a hug from someone today. Good game from Cornell, and I think a good game for the 'Hawks. Nice to get a "W" on such a night, and still gain some insight on what needs to be improved. This game definitely had a NCAA tourney feel to it. RCJH

Dyrk Dugan 9 years, 11 months ago

jwhkfan,

did you post prior to the Temple game with the same optimism? You probably did. One of the things that most people don't realize that have never played sports, is the ebb and flow of each season.

The big upset was predicted on Saturday...and it wasn't much of an upset really, with Temple the Villanova slayer vs #1 Kansas. they beat #3, why not #1? and then we go out, motivated by the "we want Kansas!" chants, and we destroy them on their home floor.

then we come home, play a Sr. laden Ivy league school, who has beaten LaSalle, St. Johns and Alabama already this year...and the feeling is just the opposite. and these guys were good mind you....they stuck their offense in our face, and we couldn't buy a bucket on the other end.

This team is 14-0, and ranked #1 in the country, and we still have knuckleheads out there calling this team a "disgrace to Kansas basketball,"...due to a come from behind victory. Grow up, please. and your posts ARE a disgrace.

Ben Kane 9 years, 11 months ago

Definitely have to give Cornell some props.

However, I think we did everything we could to keep them in this game. It wasn't that we werent' trying hard, just that we didn't seem to have any motivation. Just look at what happened on the boards.

However, it's just one game. We got the W, now it's time to move on.

Bill Kackley 9 years, 11 months ago

I do agree with BROCK on the twins. They reverted to their play of last year. We were outplayed, no doubt and if Sherron had not done such a great job and, also give Reed credit for that big 3, we would have lost. The freshman can be excused, the sophomores not. Would you have believed we would have had 3 white kids in the game at the same time during crunch time. Lesson to be learned here is it takes more than talent to win the tight games. Also I thought Self choked a little as he didn't exploit the depth we have, game might not have been so close if we had worn them down with the numbers but then I was just wondering on the last part. What do you think?

Kyle Helmer 9 years, 11 months ago

"Except for Sherron, the Jayhawks were a disgrace to Kansas Basketball". jhwkfan162515, with that comment, you should consider yourself a disgrace to Kansas basketball fans. Do you remember 3 years ago when we lost to Oral Roberts? I'm sure you thought that was a disgrace as well, but we went on to win the Big 12 and go to the Elite 8. I have news for you......WE WON THE FREAKING GAME!!!. It was a tremendous effort by Collins and it is the type of game you have in the Tourney. Was it a "disgrace to Kansas basketball" when we only beat a similiar Davidson team 59-57 to go to the Final Four? Get some perspective.

adamjhwkfan 9 years, 11 months ago

Wow.. all you people complaining... sure this was a stressful game to watch, and sure, we almost lost, but games like this happen, and if we didn't have a great team this year, we would have got ran out of our own building.

Things were just not going our way... shots wouldn't fall (and no, it wasn't because we were taking bad shots), bad fouls were getting called, or not called... and Cornell was on FIRE the first half.

Self tried to find a combination that would work, but EVERYONE was off besides Sherron, and even he had some shots not drop like they normally do.

Jayhawk444 9 years, 11 months ago

I am inclined to agree with hawknhutch. What concerned me about last night is that with only two games to go before conference play begins, Self does not trust Robinson, Johnson, Withey, CJ, and even Taylor (Reed played a LOT last night) to play when the game is on the line. If we are not able to use our "incredible depth" when we need it (i.e., when McM/MkM/CA can't hit shots or get in foul trouble, or TT spaces out)...then that is concerning to me.

I was disappointed (and again, concerned) by our lack of inside game last night. It wasn't that the bigs were simply missing shots, it was more they were lobbing prayers towards the basket instead of taking good shots. Cole finally hit a couple of turnarounds late in the game, but he threw up a lot of trash as well. And we didn't rebound well.

Still...I'll be watching Cornell's results the rest of the year. They could have a Davidson-like tournament run in their future.

Blake Post 9 years, 11 months ago

good to come out with a win.
and still I ask: What does "soobawls" stand for? Where did this name come from? We know it has something to do with misery.

Blake Post 9 years, 11 months ago

jhwkfan162515, you are just plain stupid. The 88 championship team lost a bunch before winning it all. In that year, and in 08, there were games we barely won in the ncaa tournament. There are games along the way sometimes when you look bad. Fortunately, you and sueballs are not the judges of what is a disgrace to Kansas Basketball. The truth is, negative fans, or non-fans as the case may be, are the disgrace. People should let the coaches worry about fixing the problems. They have proven themselves, to say the least. We should be about the positives, such as, even though the total team concept we had in 08 creates the most optimism, it is good to see that Sherron's tendency to go one on one when the heat is on demonstrated some real Clint Eastwood. He shot 'em dead.

lawrence_is_my_middle_name 9 years, 11 months ago

I'm pleased with the win, our younger guys definitely needed that slap in the face. All credit to Cornell too, they are extremely fundamental and a legit tourney team capable of a Sweet 16 run. Last night, though, epitomized the biggest differences between this year's bunch and the championship team of two years ago.

1) Sasha. Darnell, and Russel were seniors, while Tyshawn and the Morris Twins are only sophomores. Those extra two years of experience are HUGE!

2) This team has a true leader, Sherron of course (though big credit to Cole for being a monster on the boards and on D toward the end, to Brady for his superb defensive performance, and to Tyrel for an ice-cold-three-pointer to finally give us the lead). Two years ago I believe Self, when asked who his go-to-guy was, said "whoever is open." This year, not the case. If we're struggling on offense, we go-to Sherron and it looks like he's completely ready to carry the team on his back if he has to.

What I'm most pleased about is that Self saw that the youth wasn't up to task, and played our four most experienced players at the end of the game. Great work Coach!

milehighhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Hawkman - it's a Devo song.

Sorry, but those of you claiming this was a "bad" game for us to have don't understand basketball.

We needed a test like this.

Just because their name is Cornell and they're an Ivy League team and they aren't hyper-athletic doesn't mean they aren't good. An RPI of 33 is fairly impressive, and we held on and played tough when it counted.

Winning by 20 or 30 is great, but doesn't do much to prime the team for close contests we'll see over the next weeks and months.

ku_guy505 9 years, 11 months ago

Someone said put Johnson in for Morningstar to give us some "energy." Keep in mind, it was Morningstar's stellar defensive that shut down Cornell's hottest player from beyond the arch. I don't think Johnson would have provided the offensive spark we needed and having Withey in there over Cole or in addition to Cole would make us hurt defensively and too slow, respectively. Since Cornell was up most of the game, we weren't going to wear them out with our depth since they had a spark that wasn't going to be extinguished knowing they had the number one team in the nation on the ropes.

I believe Self played as good a rotation as you could have in a game like this. Maybe later in the season the bench will prove themselves worthy to play a game like this, but in the end, the players Self had out there in the end were the ones I trusted the most to get KU over the top.

However, I will say I'm a little worried about the Morris' performances. Both looked frustrated and timid and a LOT like they did last season. I hope this isn't an indication of what's to come when we're in similar nail-biters during the Tournament. We'll certainly need them to step up like Sherron did when our team needs it the most. In that respect, this is the perfect game to have before Big XII play starts. It's a good teaching tool and a wake-up call to anyone on the team who thinks we'll just roll over anyone in our path.

jayhawkintx73 9 years, 11 months ago

Some call this team a disgrace for last night's game? Good thing we didn't say that when Chalmers, Rush, and company were all Freshmen. Ya know, they weren't all that good in their frosh years either. I didn't think Xavier took bad shots. I think he learned he isn't invincible. Taylor was defended well, didn't get but one shot all night. KU's defense locked down the 2nd half, and FREE THROWS> Best night from the line all season. If they can win a game that way or going away, that is a good thing.

Scott Smetana 9 years, 11 months ago

Jhawkfan162 + Soobawls.... sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

Great defense hawks. I think the Twins probably saw the bench not so much for poor play as we needed quick guards to shut down their 3's.

Ivy league or not, Cornell is legit.

justanotherfan 9 years, 11 months ago

Other than Collins, nobody from KU shot the ball well. Cole was a frustrating 4-8. This is the type of game where you would hope he would step up and dominate offensively. Defensively he was great, but on the offensive end, inconsistent around the rim. The two second half jump hooks saved him from having a horrible offensive night.

X couldn't convert his drives. Unexplicable for someone so athletic. 0-8 from two? Huh?

Tyshawn was off, but realized he didn't have it, and only took one shot. He moved the ball well and assisted on a big Collins three on a kickout. That was a shot he could have taken, but realized he didn't have it, and more importantly, that Collins did.

The twins hung an 0-7. Worst of all, they did it by not dunking the ball inside. Cornell has a 7 footer. Laying the ball up against that kind of size is asking for it to get blocked or altered. I hope they rewatch this game and see that they got out toughed inside, and never let that happen again.

But KU won, because everybody realized they needed to settle down and ride the best player on the floor - Sherron Collins. Down one, less than a minute to go, I knew the defender was toast before Sherron even made his move. The and one that resulted pretty well ended the threat.

Some days you play well and completely dismantle your team. Other days, you have to lean on the only guy that is playing well, and hope having the best individual on your side is enough. Last night, Sherron was plenty.

beawolf 9 years, 11 months ago

Folks, Cornell is a top 25 team. They received votes in both major polls. They may have the best shooting guards in the country and a 7 footer who can alter shots. Combine those facts with a cold night shooting by KU and we have a close game. This game was perfect for this time of the year. KU finally established a definite go-to-guy that other teams cannot cheat on because of so many other weapons. I don't think Texas, and definitely not Kentucky, would have had the bench strength to overcome the poor performance by the starters. The depth on this team is what will get KU into the Final Four.

1977kufan 9 years, 11 months ago

Tom, your analysis in this article is tremendous. This game was both a pleasure to watch (despite the obvious generation of anxiety) and a learning tool (including a wake up call) for this team. Compliments and a job well-done need to go to Cornell. They are an excellent basketball team (we may see them again in the tournament). Yes, they are really underrated. I am sure that Coach Self will be emphasizing the need to continue to be aggressive on offense (jam the ball and do not finger-roll would be a good example) and hard nose defense. This game gave him enough "material" to work with for the next several weeks. Coach Self is indeed correct - Sherron is the BEST guard in nation in college basketball!!!

Tony Bandle 9 years, 11 months ago

Last night was the perfect storm...pardon the pun.

Christmas break so the players daily routine was modified Big win last week. Big game coming up. Ivy League school [implication of weakness does not fit Cornell] Talented, tough, poised opponent with big goon and three pointers. Total of seven sophomores and freshmen mentally unprepared. Who ever said even the best head coaches never have bad games. Post Holiday blahs.

None of these are acceptable excuses, however, all of these are human characteristics.

For those of you who said this was a horrible game..execution wise it was, but we won. For those of you who said this was a great game...from a lessons learned stand point it was.

Was KU the Number One team in America last Saturday - YES Was KU the Number One team in America last night - NO

All that really counts is where Kansas is about 11:00 pm, Monday, April 5, 2010 in Indiannapolis, Indiana!!!

Ron Prichard 9 years, 11 months ago

I can't believe the comments I am reading. First of all, we won. Our players were in no way a disgrace. I didn't see a single one loaf or look disinterested. I do believe they were surprised by the toughness and talent of the Cornell players. But that is exactly why this was such a good game for the Hawks, especially the younger ones. They saw that anyone can beat them if they don't continue to play hard (and tough) every possession. Losing the game wouldn't have taught that lesson any more than having to come back in the final minute to win did.

I bet soobawls and jhwkfan watched the Final Four game two years ago against UNC and said, "yeah, but we let them come back. We're just not tough enough to beat a team like Memphis." Nothing short of absolute perfection makes them happy. Newsflash! These are college kids. I for one was impressed with Cornell. I thought our players all played hard, most had an off night shooting, but they never quit. We will get tougher because of games like last night.

hawknhutch, great college teams DO have nights like this. They are the ones that can have a night like that and win. The ones that are not great are the teams that have a night like that and lose.

And as for your suggestion of putting in Johnson for Moriningstar? Do you really think Johnson could have locked down Wittman like Morningstar did? Without Morningstar's defensive effort, it could have been an entirely different outcome.

Joe Baker 9 years, 11 months ago

Would someone please tell me what other team in the nation has a Sherron Collins? A go to man when necessary, reliable, unstoppable and produces when the game is on the line?

who? please someone tell me!

Who else could do what Sherron did in the same circumstances?

Not one guard in the nation could play up to this caliber. They might come close, but not with the game literally on the line. This is tested leadership and guaranteed production from a true warrior that has a heart bigger than most players in the nation.

Outstanding Mr Collins and thank you for your continued leadership.

RCJHKU

tical523 9 years, 11 months ago

68 minutes without a field goal for those guys. . . . did anybody else watch the 'Behind the Scenes' footage from the Temple game on ESPN.com? I remember Bill Self telling the team "You tell me who the hell to take out!". . . "If you aren't satisfied with this win then you are selfish!" I am just flustered on the playing time of Elijah Johnson, he seems like such a selfless player and hard worker, and those great traits go along with 5 STAR talent and athleticism. He has been effective whenever he is out there, he has atleast been good enough to earn some playing time when basically our entire team is cold or not in rhythm. It is getting so frustrating watching EJ simply being the best and most enthusiastic cheerleader on the bench every game. Bill, put him in the game!!!!!!

Derek Bowman 9 years, 11 months ago

TO ANYONE FIRED UP BY "SOOBAWLS": If you check in on these message boards enough you'll quickly realize that Soobawls takes anything and everything being said about the topic and goes in the complete opposite direction just to stir you all up. He/she has never said ONE THING of actual substance on here yet. Once you see his/her name on here enough you'll learn to skip right over what he/she wrote so you don't waste your time. I honestly saw "Soobawls" and skipped right over it but then saw the responses to him/her after that. There are a ton of people on here with productive things to add but Soobawls certainly isn't one of them. Take care and Rock Chalk!

beawolf 9 years, 11 months ago

EJ will get his playing time, just not this year. I've been told by someone fairly close to the team that he has had problems with some of the plays and occasional lapses in defense (i.e. Collins as a freshman). Both he and Robinson will end up having great careers at KU.

I didn't read all the posts, but I'm sure everyone noticed when the Morris and Henry boys were on the floor at the same time. Not the most productive group, but it was worth the try.

jchief40 9 years, 11 months ago

raprichard said it best.

Hats off to a great Cornell team. That team could beat Texas.

jhwkfan162515 is a disgrace of a KU fan! Bwahahahaha.

KUFan90 9 years, 11 months ago

My only concern about the game is does it give the rest of the team the feeling of "hey, it's ok if we don't do well, Sherron will just step in and save us like he did against Cornell".

They can't walk away feeling like they don't have to give 110% every second on the floor because they have Sherron as a safety net.

I would hate for them to get in a tough tourney game, have their shots not fall, and then everyone just sits back and watch the Sherron show like last night and expect him to win it for us.

That's the risk I see with the result.

Martini_Boy 9 years, 11 months ago

If ignorance is bliss, then this is the most peaceful place to post on the planet. I don't remember the NCAA EVER mailing the Championship trophy to a team before the season started because they were so good no one would play them. A team that had no weakness....

I'm so glad we had a game like that with these guys struggling to survive. They'll learn so much more than playing a team they beat like a drum.

They are going to lose a game folks I promise.

Panikers need to go watch Kentucky or Texas or one other team that's so good they never make a mistake.... Oh wiat they make mistakes too.....

jayhawkintexas 9 years, 11 months ago

Sherron is certainly deserving of all the accolades posted here but let's also give kudos to the crowd. They showed up in a snowstorm, they screamed, they cheered, they went wild when we went ahead. Way to go, crowd!!! Do that at every game at AFH, even if we are blowing someone away!!

Dan Harris 9 years, 11 months ago

Leave it to PMS Sooballs to throw cold water on a great win.

3GJayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

This team is light years behind the '07-'08 team. Yes Cornell is a decent team that should make the tourney. Kansas should wax the court in the fieldhouse with a team of that caliber. We have a long way to go if we expect to make a deep run in march.

Jayhawker413 9 years, 11 months ago

LJW!!!!!!!!

Can we get a sherron all time scoring tracker of some sort... something that actively tracks his movements up the all time rankings?? I'd reall like to at least see where he stands on the list in comparison to others

Paula Unseth 9 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

swense 9 years, 11 months ago

All you negative commentators probably never played this or any game, You are similar to many of our politicians and news people, you make yours as well as others lives miserable. Make constructive comments or stay off the Blog!!!! Go Jayhawks. We can hope for 23-0 going to Texas but that is only wishful thinking but Constructive thinking.

Martini_Boy 9 years, 11 months ago

Yes, I have been corrected and now see things much better. I predict we will lose all of the rest of our games. This team is pathetic. They let the worst team in the country take them to the final minute and had to rely on bad calls by the ref's to win. Thanks to all the knowledgable posters out there that made such convincing arguements for me to see through my crimson and blue eye shades. They are right, and to prove how much I believe them I'm going to only post on the tigerboard with them to follow a real team...

actorman 9 years, 11 months ago

"If ignorance is bliss, then this is the most peaceful place to post on the planet."

LOL!!!

I completely agree with Keegan and the "positive" posters on this site. As for the negative posters ... well, I would make some kind of snide comment similar to the "ignorance is bliss" comment, but it's not even worth the time it would take to write it.

All I can say is that through most of this game I kept thinking, "This is another Oral Roberts ... a Long Beach State ... an Iowa ..." With a few minutes left, I was sure we were going to lose. And then Sherron the magician did his thing. I'm still in complete awe of that through-the-legs, behind-the-back dribble and basket with his left hand. It's true that most of KU's players had an off night. It's also true that KU still won against a very good team, in an extremely predictable "trap" game between facing name opponents. I'm getting more and more excited about this team, and I'm not so sure they're going to lose this year.

Martini_Boy 9 years, 11 months ago

Thank you actorman. I was thinking about how teams like UT-CC, Fort Hays State, Charleston have been enough to prove that point and I'm glad you see it as well.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!! Keep the season going and let the chips fall where they may!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

actorman 9 years, 11 months ago

Thanks Martini. As they always say, the mark of a truly great team is when they can win even on an off night. I'll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day of the week.

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