<strong>FINAL:</strong> Fired-up KU takes down A&M, 79-66

Kansas guard Sherron Collins, second from right, celebrates with teammates Cole Aldrich, right, Elijah Johnson and C.J. Henry in the closing minutes of the Jayhawks' 79-66 win over Texas A&M on Friday in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins, second from right, celebrates with teammates Cole Aldrich, right, Elijah Johnson and C.J. Henry in the closing minutes of the Jayhawks' 79-66 win over Texas A&M on Friday in Kansas City, Mo.

Originally published March 12, 2010 at 5:16 p.m., updated March 12, 2010 at 10:13 p.m.

KU vs. Texas A&M

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2010 KU-A&M

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Podcast episode


Tom Keegan and Jesse Newell's pregame break down of KU-A&M, live from Power and Light

KUsports.com's Jesse Newell and Tom Keegan break down KU-Texas A&M and they do it live from Power and Light District before the game. This is audio of a live video stream on KUsports.com earlier this afternoon.

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KU defeats TAMU, 79-66

Aldrich with a big offensive rebound off a missed Collins three. KU will milk some more time off the clock.

Give credit to Self for adjusting his defense on the fly. His team’s 2-3 zone has given A&M some major problems in the second half.

The Rock Chalk Chant showers down with just over a minute left.

Collins checks out, and he has a few choice words for the A&M bench as he heads off the court. He then gives a final salute before slapping hands with Self.

Markieff gets a late steal, and he throws ahead to Taylor for a layup with a foul. The final score won’t indicate how close this game was.

KU closes out a 79-66 victory.

KU 74/TAMU 59 — 3:33 left in game

Collins makes another shot for KU. During a stoppage, he turns toward us and winks at KU radio broadcaster Bob Davis.

Aldrich catches a deflected pass for a steal, and Collins spins in the lane before getting fouled by Holmes. Collins hits both free throws, then checks out to a loud ovation.

Aldrich brings some attention inside, then kicks out to Xavier Henry for another three that swishes through. That’s a 16-0 run for KU, and Turgeon calls another timeout. Xavier is a perfect 3-for-3 shooting from three in the second half, and he’s up to 15 points.

Sloan hits a pair of free throws to break A&M’s long scoreless drought. The Aggies went nearly five minutes without a point.

KU 63/TAMU 57 — 6:41 left in game

Collins fires up a three from the left side, and it hits the front rim, pops straight up a few feet, then swishes through. KU has tied it at 51.

A&M responds, though. Khris Middleton uses an up-fake to free himself for a 16-footer that goes though, and Sloan follows with two free throws.

Collins is sparking the Jayhawks offensively without taking any shots. Again, his penetration opens up the perimeter, and two quick passes net Xavier Henry an open three that rattles in.

The next possession, Collins lobs to Markieff Morris, who catches the ball in the lane and lays it in for two. KU has regained the lead at 56-55, and Turgeon calls timeout.

Sloan once again makes a huge shot for A&M, putting in a baseline fadeaway over Morningstar with two on the shot clock.

Collins is playing some of his best basketball of the year right now, though. He feeds Markieff for another layup, then gets a steal and puts in a layup.

Later, Collins drives to draw attention, and two passes later, Xavier Henry shoots in a three. KU is up six, and Turgeon calls timeout.

Collins gets the fans fired up, and he gets tangled up with some A&M players on his way back to the bench. Officials separate the two.

On the media timeout, the two teams have to be separated again by Higgins, who calls a double technical. Turgeon is extremely angry (at Collins I think) and KU assistant coach Danny Manning comes on to the court to grab Markieff Morris and Collins to take them to the bench. Things are really heated up here.

TAMU 51/KU 48 — 11:56 left in game

Collins drives, then kicks out to Morningstar for a three from the corner that goes through. KU’s fans start to grow louder.

Aldrich nearly comes down with an offensive rebound, but after diving for it, he tips it out of bounds. Originally, the officials give it to Kansas, but after conferring, they correctly give it to A&M. KU athletic director Lew Perkins goes nuts in the row in front of me, grabbing his lower jaw with a shocked look on his face. He must not have seen it as well as I did.

Another drive by Collins, and he throws a no-look feed to Tyrel Reed for another three. Swish. A&M calls timeout, as KU is down just one after an 8-0 run.

With the building about to get really loud, Holmes sinks a tough, 18-foot fadeaway with one second left on the shot clock. Big shot for the Aggies to break up the momentum.

TAMU 47/KU 40 — 15:45 left in game

Aldrich gets a lob inside, and he slams it home with one hand. After going through the hoop, the ball comes back to Aldrich, and he slaps it back out of bounds. Could this be the start of a mean streak for Cole?

KU turns it over, but Marcus makes it worse by fouling B.J. Holmes in transition. With three fouls, Marcus goes back to the bench.

Loubeau puts in a layup, and A&M has a 6-0 run. Self calls timeout with his team down seven.

After Collins is fouled on a drive, things get chippy between him and A&M’s Bryan Davis. Higgins steps in, telling them both to “shut up.” They eventually do.

In transition, Morningstar puts in a layup, but he’s called for a charge. It didn’t look like A&M’s Holmes was set. The KU fans go nuts, and as soon as the Aggies get the ball to the other end, the same official calls a quick travel on A&M. “Nice makeup call!” Self screams across the court, saying what every other KU fan in the building was thinking.

KU scoring — Collins 12 (4-for-7 shooting), Markieff Morris 6, Taylor 5, Aldrich 4, X. Henry 4, Morningstar 2, Marcus Morris 2.

KU was 13-for-23 from the floor (56.5 percent), 4-for-8 from three (50 percent) and 5-for-7 from the free-throw line (71.4 percent).

A&M was 14-for-28 from the floor (50 percent), 3-for-7 from three (42.9 percent) and 7-for-8 from the free-throw line (87.5 percent).

KU out-rebounded A&M, 14-12, in the first half. KU had 12 turnovers, while A&M had six.

TAMU guard Donald Sloan had 13 first-half points on 5-for-10 shooting.

Halftime thoughts

Looking at the box score, I was surprised the Jayhawks shot so well (56.5 percent) in the first half. Obviously the 12 turnovers have hurt the Jayhawks quite a bit, because when KU is getting shots, it's scoring.

Here's an interesting statistic: KU had just one first-half offensive rebound, and that was a team rebound. No Jayhawk actually grabbed one of his teammates' misses.

Not a good half for Xavier Henry. I liked him in this matchup against A&M, too. He had four points and two turnovers in 13 minutes. I would look for him to be a key for KU in the second half.

Free throw recap: Texas A&M has eight, while KU has seven. Neither team has been spectacular in this area yet.

TAMU 38/KU 35 — Halftime

Taylor pulls down a defensive rebound, but after sprinting to the other end, he fires a pass to the outside off of Brady Morningstar’s hands. Though Taylor made a bad pass and will get the turnover, Morningstar didn’t do a good job of spacing himself out on the fast-break opportunity.

Taylor leaps for a steal, then fires a one-handed baseball pass upcourt for Collins. The senior guard corrals it, then makes an athletic move to put in a layup around a leaping Walkup. TAMU coach Mark Turgeon calls timeout.

Collins gets called for a foul away from the ball, and he isn’t happy. He talks to the official for an extended length of time, trying to plead his case. It looks like Collins thinks he was pushed first. Self yells across the court to tell Collins to calm down.

Morningstar makes a nifty baseline move, putting in a reverse layup amongst the trees inside.

Taylor misses a shot at the buzzer, and KU trails by three at the break.

TAMU 34/KU 29 — 3:16 left in 1st half

Aldrich fires a nice pass over the top to Markieff Morris, but he can’t get the layup to go down. We don’t talk about this a lot, but the Jayhawks are gifted with some big men that are exceptional passers.

Collins with a drive and spin move before putting in a 10-foot floater in the lane. That kind of move is going to be tough for any defender to stop.

A&M is taking advantage of KU’s high number of team fouls. The Aggies put in four straight free throws on one-and-ones, and they’re now 5-for-6 from the line.

After making such a nice move in the lane a few seconds ago, Collins tries to do too much, going to a fadeaway jumper off the dribble that bricks away.

Robinson misses a layup in the lane. Markieff turns it over on the next possession. KU is up to 10 turnovers with 3:16 still to go in the first half.

KU 26/TAMU 25 — 7:23 left in 1st half

Tyshawn Taylor curls around traffic, then drives to the basket for a two with a foul. The three-point play gives KU its first lead at 18-16.

Marcus Morris picks up his second foul, and he checks out. That’s a big blow for KU with 11 minutes still left in the half.

Loubeau is a first-team, all-conference-type of player against KU this year. His baseline jumper beats the shot clock, and he’s up to seven points on 3-for-4 shooting.

The Aggies score seven straight points, and KU has looked lost the last two days without Collins on the floor. Self checks his senior guard back in quickly to try to limit the damage.

KU makes a run to regain the lead, with Markieff Morris draining an open three from the top of the circle.

Just when the crowd gets fired up, Higgins calls a ticky-tack foul on KU’s Thomas Robinson. Self smiles while talking to Higgins after the call. I wish I knew what he said to him.

TAMU 16/KU 15 — 11:36 left in 1st half

A&M’s Nathan Walkup is left all alone for a three-point attempt, and he swishes it, holding his follow-through up an extra second for good measure.

Sherron Collins answers with a three, but TAMU’s Donald Sloan takes it straight down the court and puts in a floater in the lane. Self calls timeout. That’s the second time in the last two games KU has been beaten down the court after an inbounds pass by the other team.

Aldrich comes down with a defensive rebound, but he tosses the outlet pass out of bounds. You don’t see this often, but Collins shows visible frustration with KU’s junior center. He says something to Aldrich, then glares at him for a couple seconds, wanting him to focus better this game.

Collins follows with a three, slapping his chest with his right palm afterwards. The Jayhawks’ leader has started this game well — something he hasn’t done in a few games.

TAMU 11/KU 7 — 14:54 left in 1st half

Kansas immediately breaks out the full-court press after a turnover by Cole Aldrich. After trapping, Marcus Morris rips away a steal, but he loses the handle after a few dribbles for KU’s second turnover.

Xavier Henry is left alone in the corner, and he rattles in a three for KU’s first points.

Cole Aldrich is forced to help late defensively, and he fouls Texas A&M’s David Loubeau from behind. Just 2:25 in, Aldrich needs to be careful with fouls.

Aldrich has a pass slip out of his hands, and that’s KU’s fourth turnover in the first three minutes. The Jayhawks have come out sluggish in their second straight game this tournament.

Loubeau puts in a layup, and he continues to give KU fits inside. He had 17 in the first matchup, and he has three already.

Marcus Morris travels, and KU can’t get shots up at the moment.

KU’s pressure creates a steal, and Markieff Morris beats everyone down the floor for a two-handed jam. That’s one way to get things going offensively.

Loubeau with another two, this time over Marcus Morris. KU coach Bill Self is livid, screaming at his players on the court to pick up the defense.

5:56 p.m.

John Higgins is one of the officials today. He and Self usually don't get along too well.

5:30 p.m.

Our GameDay Cram Session from live at the KC Power and Light District is available in podcast form by clicking on the link at the left.

5:15 p.m.

Welcome back the Newell Post Live, coming to you from Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., where the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks are getting set to take on the 23rd-ranked Texas A&M Aggies.

It's been a great couple days hanging out with KU fans at the KC Live Block in the Power and Light District. Remember, we have a KUsports.com booth between Johnny's and Tengo Sed Cantina in the Live Block. Go there to sign up for prizes and also pick up some KUsports.com goodies.

We're also getting ready to post a video of Tom Keegan and me hosting a Jayhawk trivia contest from the stage of the Live Block. Special thanks to former Jayhawk Brad Witherspoon for helping us out on stage.

One quick key to look for in today's game against Texas A&M.

Most of the Aggies' games this season have either been won or lost at the free-throw line.

A&M gets 25 percent of its scoring from free throws — the 21st-highest split in the country. The Aggies average 27 free throws per game, while their opponents average 20.

In its eight losses, TAMU has averaged giving up 29 free throws to its opponents.

Though it wasn't talked about much, a major reason KU won the first matchup was because it won the free-throw battle. KU was 18-for-26 from the line, while A&M was just 5-for-11. Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon even made mention of the statistic in his postgame press conference, as he was a bit frustrated with the whistle he received at home.

I'd keep a close eye on the free throws again this game. If A&M gets above its season average of free throws (27) and KU shoots under A&M's opponents' average (20), I would think the Aggies would have a great chance of pulling off the upset.

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