Originally published January 13, 2010 at 06:55p.m., updated January 13, 2010 at 11:07p.m.
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KU scoring — Collins 22, Marcus Morris 19, Taylor 11, Reed 11, Aldrich 6, X. Henry 6, Markieff Morris 5, Morningstar 4.
KU was 26-for-45 from the floor (57.8 percent), 13-for-21 from three (61.9 percent) and 19-for-26 from the free-throw line (73.1 percent).
NU was 23-for-53 from the floor (43.4 percent), 11-for-21 from three (52.4 percent) and 15-for-21 from the free-throw line (71.4 percent).
KU out-rebounded NU, 31-23. KU had 13 turnovers, while NU had nine.
FINAL: KU defeats NU, 84-72
Great pass from Taylor to Aldrich inside, but two feet away from the rim, Aldrich blows the easy one. It looked like he was caught somewhere between a dunk and a hook shot.
Collins starts to take his man one-on-one, but after picking up his dribble, he zips a pass under the basket to Morningstar for a reverse lay-in. That should about do it.
With a few more free throws, KU finishes off a 12-point victory.
KU 75/NU 64 — 3:58 left in 2nd half
Standhardinger misses a three from the top, but the officials whistle Markieff Morris for a ticky-tack foul on the shot. Standhardinger makes all three tries to trim KU’s lead to four, and the NU fans crank up the noise.
Nice pass by Markieff to a cutting Marcus, who puts in a layup to go with a foul. He also rolls in the free throw.
Nice find inside by Taylor, and Marcus puts in his second straight layup with a foul. He crouches for a few seconds while keeping a stare toward the KU bench.
Marcus misses the free throw, but Morningstar tips it to keep it alive. After a miss by Xavier, Morningstar tips it under the rim again, and Marcus snatches it for a short two. The KU coaches — especially Kurtis Townsend — leap to their feet to applaud the effort from Morningstar.
Collins drives to free up Taylor, who rattles in a three from the corner. After all the struggles, KU has opened up a 13-point lead.
KU 65/NU 57 — 7:50 left in 2nd half
Self tries to steal a minute with Collins on the bench. Standhardinger puts in a jumper, but Reed follows with a deep three. That’s a big basket for KU with Collins, Aldrich and Xavier Henry on the bench.
NU doesn’t bother to guard Markieff Morris up top, and he pulls the trigger, swishing the three. KU leads by seven again, and NU coach Doc Sadler calls timeout. Looks like Collins might get an extra minute on the bench with the team playing so well in the last minute.
Jones leaves a three-pointer short, and Markieff Morris clears the rebound. Taylor races to the other end, drawing a foul inside. With a free throw, KU takes its biggest lead at eight.
Taylor seems to have re-found a role for himself offensively, and that's to attack. Again his aggressiveness nets him a foul on NU. He makes one of two free throws again to push KU’s lead to nine.
Aldrich picks up two quick fouls — Nos. three and four — and that will affect KU the rest of the way.
KU 57/NU 54 — 11:30 left in 2nd half
The large lead doesn’t last long.
Richardson hits a three while falling backward, then on the next possession, swishes another three over the top of Taylor. Timeout KU, which has its lead dwindled to one.
Richardson follows with a baseline jumper over Reed, and that’s an 8-0 run personally for him. NU regains the lead at 54-53.
Collins races to the other end, though, ducking under a defender for a layup to put KU back on top.
Marcus Morris takes a rare charge for KU, and that takes two points off the board for NU. On the other end, Marcus dives to save a turnover for Collins, calling timeout while on the floor to save KU a possession. Collins makes the possession count, wiggling around a defender before putting in a tough shot on the right side of the rim.
KU 53/NU 46 — 14:59 left in 2nd half
Aldrich is starting to get more involved offensively. He uses a nice up-fake to get an NU defender in the air, then draws a foul on the way up. He makes both free throws to extend KU’s lead to five.
KU full-court presses out of the made free throw. A trap in the corner nearly forces a turnover, and after the next inbounds, Marcus Morris pokes away a steal on a lazy pass.
Collins tracks down the ball, then dishes to Marcus Morris for a slam. That seems to have given the Jayhawks some energy, and NU calls timeout.
KU 48/NU 46 — 15:32 left in 2nd half
KU fails to get two defensive rebounds with poor blockouts. On the second one, Self bangs the Runza sign next to him, then immediately screams for Morningstar to enter the game.
Aldrich catapults a 16-footer in. It’s a good sign for KU to see the big man hit that shot — one he hit frequently last year.
Diaz rolls in a layup over Aldrich. Both teams have settled down defensively, though.
Collins comes around a nice double-screen, then hits a three-pointer from the left wing.
Former NU baseball player and current New York Yankee Joba Chamberlain is introduced to the crowd at the break. I have nothing else to say about the Yankees.
KU scoring — Collins 11, Marcus Morris 9, Reed 8, X. Henry 6, Taylor 4, Morningstar 2, Markieff Morris 2, Aldrich 1.
KU was 14-for-24 from the floor (58.3 percent), 9-for-14 from three (64.3 percent) and 6-for-8 from the free-throw line (75 percent).
NU was 15-for-27 from the floor (55.6 percent), 8-for-11 from three (72.7 percent) and 6-for-9 from the free-throw line (66.7 percent).
KU had 13 rebounds to NU’s 10. KU had eight turnovers, while NU had five.
One quick halftime thought
• What is up with KU defensively? The Jayhawks came into the game second nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, but, in the first half, the Jayhawks weren’t able to stop the Huskers in any facet. KU’s streak of holding 89 straight opponents under 50 percent shooting is in serious jeopardy.
NU 44/KU 43 — Halftime
Reed puts in a jumper just inside the arc.
Though it must kill Self to do it, KU switches to a 2-1-2 zone on the next defensive possession. He has to try something.
Collins drives, then dishes out to Reed for a three from the corner that swishes through.
NU can’t miss from the perimeter right now, though, as Jones’ three-point attempt bounces off the rim three times before dropping through to tie the score at 41.
The officials are calling some weird offensive-foul infractions on KU. Elijah Johnson was called for hooking a defender a second ago and Taylor is called for a charge even though he appeared to pass it to Robinson before the contact.
Collins hits two free throws, but NU answers with — what else? — a long three-pointer by Brandon Richardson to take a 44-43 lead into the break.
The Huskers made 8 of 11 three-pointers (72.7 percent) in the first half.
KU 36/NU 35 — 3:37 left in 1st half
Robinson with an all-out play to save a ball defensively, but Standhardinger corrals the heave and puts in the uncontested layup. I know the rule is not to save the ball under your own basket, but I can’t fault Robinson there, as that was simply an instinctual play to try to save the ball.
Xavier Henry puts in another tough three over a defender. It looked like he got bumped, too. He thought so as well, talking to the closest official about getting hit on the arm.
Markieff Morris looks like he did some dunking drills in practice, as after getting a bounce pass from Morningstar, he went strong to the rim to put in a two-handed jam. That's the first dunk I remember from a Morris twin since the Temple game.
Xavier Henry gets whistled for his second cheapie foul, but Self will leave him out there.
Xavier loses track of Anderson, and the senior hits the wide-open three.
KU is settling for bad shots when it doesn’t have to. Xavier Henry pump-fakes, then puts up a guarded three that misses, and on the next possession, Collins throws up a fadeaway that comes up short.
Elijah Johnson will check in for KU after the media timeout.
KU 31/NU 28 — 7:56 left in 1st half
Marcus Morris with another three. KU can’t miss from three at this point. The big man picks up his second foul on defense, though, and he’ll go to the bench with Aldrich. KU will play small with Xavier Henry playing the four.
The three-point shooting contest continues. Xavier Henry hits one for KU. Jones follows with another for NU. Brady Morningstar answers with a long two from the wing. Which team will start to play defense first?
Taylor with an aggressive drive, and he’s rewarded with a foul call on NU. He makes both freebies.
Lance Jeter shuffles his feet, and Self rolls his arms for a traveling call just before the official mimics him, whistling the Huskers for the turnover.
KU 21/NU 20 — 10:40 left in 1st half
Brady Morningstar gets away with one, as he goes up for a shot then thinks twice about it while in mid-air. Luckily, he is resourceful enough to find Marcus Morris under the basket, who lays it in for two.
Diaz with a tough fallaway on the baseline. NU has shot well so far (7-for-11, 64 percent).
Collins knocks in another three, but Jones answers with a three of his own.
Standhardinger misses an unguarded lay-in inside. He’s furious at himself as he runs back defensively.
After getting it inside, Aldrich immediately has a double-team thrown at him. After settling himself, Aldrich looks diagonally for Collins, who puts in another three. KU’s guard is a perfect 3-for-3 from three tonight with nine points.
I’d say KU has officially recovered from its slow start. Reed knocks down an open three, and Marcus Morris isn’t guarded up top, so he swishes a trey from straight on as well. Timeout NU, as KU has takes a 21-17 lead with help from a 20-5 run. The Jayhawks are 5-for-7 (71.4 percent) from three.
KU has shown quite a bit of full-court pressure so far. Interesting to see that in the first half from a Self team.
Reed does a great job of help defense, but it ends up costing KU a point, as NU finds Henry for a three that swishes through.
Bad news for KU: Aldrich picks up his second foul while swatting for a block, and he’ll most likely sit the rest of the half.
NU 12/KU 6 — 15:56 left in 1st half
Aldrich wins the tip, but NU’s Sek Henry steps in front of Sherron Collins to essentially “steal” the tip away. Henry drives in for an unconstested layup, and NU takes the lead on a play I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.
Collins immediately throws inside to Aldrich, and the big man forces it up toward the rim, drawing a foul. Look for KU to be much more interested in throwing the ball inside tonight.
Ryan Anderson puts in a deep three, and KU coach Bill Self needs to find someone who can guard him.
Sloppy start for KU offensively. Tyshawn Taylor snaps a hard pass that Xavier Henry fumbles out of bounds. Aldrich sets an illegal screen, and Thomas Robinson turns it over on the next possession.
KU isn’t play much defense, either. Jorge Brian Diaz frees himself for two straight layups, and Self calls a timeout with his team dazed and down, 9-1.
Xavier Henry tries to make something happen, and he dribbles right into a defender for a turnover. KU has four straight giveaways. Eshaunte Jones puts in a three over Taylor, and NU has all the momentum and a 12-1 lead.
Collins breaks KU’s drought, putting in a long three at the 16:49 mark for KU’s first field goal. Taylor follows in transition with a driving layup, and things have settled a bit for KU.
Herbie Husker is lowered from the rafters before the NU starting lineup. Interesting start here already.
No seats are empty at this one. The KU fans were pretty loud during the starting lineups, so I'd guess there are at least a couple thousand here.
A few leftover notes before we tip off.
• Look out for Christian Standhardinger, a 6-foot-8 forward from Germany. He's gained a reputation as a scorer on the wing, and he's a relative unknown in the Big 12 because he was only deemed eligible last game, when he scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds against Texas A&M.; From the scouting report I read, he's a competitor and a bit unconventional, much like many of the European players his age. He also has been known to flop to get a call and is weaker with his left hand than his right hand. Sounds like a Brady Morningstar defensive assignment to me.
• Watch for turnovers, as Nebraska averages just 11.9 per game, while forcing 16.3 per contest.
• NU has made 40.4 percent of its three-pointers this season.
• The Huskers have only three players that return from last season that played in Big 12 conference games.
The Nebraska students were a bit awkward when I watched them scramble for their seats when the gates opened 90 minutes before the game. Almost all of the fans were running, and some were nearly diving onto rows to reserve the good seats to tonight's game.
I asked a Nebraska beat writer in front of me how often each year the students scrambled for seats like that at a men's basketball game.
"Once," he said with a smile.
Just peeked over a computer screen ahead of me to see the starting lineups, and there is one switch for KU: Thomas Robinson will start instead of Marcus Morris.
Tyshawn Taylor, in case you were wondering, is scheduled to start.
As you'll soon see with our pregame photo, Markieff Morris is wearing tape around his left wrist, but he went through drills so he should be fine to play.
Welcome back to the Newell Post Live, coming to you from the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb., where the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks are getting set to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
I've heard a lot of talk about KU having a weak schedule in the non-conference this season. Some have even suggested that, because of the weak schedule, KU wasn't ready to play a team like then-No. 16 Tennessee on the road.
The problem with this line of talk about KU having a weak schedule is that I just don't believe that to be true.
Sure, some of KU's opponents weren't as good as they were expected to be before the season. Teams like Cal, Michigan and UCLA haven't lived up to expectations, and because of that, the wins don't look as sparkling.
And KU faced a few duds, too. Alcorn State is ranked 347th out of 347 Division-I teams in the KenPom rankings. Not only that, KenPom gives ASU nearly a six-percent chance of going winless this season. Central Arkansas (284th in KenPom) and Tennessee Tech (266th in KenPom) weren't too hot, either.
But having said all that, let's not kid ourselves and give in to the belief that KU played a horrible non-conference schedule.
In reality, KU played four opponents in KenPom's top 35 (Tennessee, 12th; California, 14th; Temple, 25th; Memphis, 35th).
Here's further proof that KU's schedule wasn't as bad as others are making it seem.
The following are the rankings of the non-conference strength of schedules of KenPom's top 20 teams:
As you can see, KU isn't near the bottom. The Jayhawks aren't even really in the middle. KU, according to KenPom's strength of schedule calculations, was sixth out of the top 20 teams in terms of strength of schedule*.
* — I understand this is just one strength of schedule rating, but those of you that read me regularly know that I value KenPom's statistical data more than any other rankings out there.
So even though some of the Jayhawks' weaknesses might have been "exposed" against Tennessee as KU coach Bill Self said, let's not go so far as to say that KU has only played one tough opponent this year.
We'll have more notes as we get closer to gametime. Be sure to vote in our poll on the left and also use the hashtag #kubball to have your Tweets show up in our grid on the left side.
Also, though this is not a guarantee, there have been times this year that the Web site http://justin.tv/sremlahc10, password: phog has helped people out trying to find the game.