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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Keegan

Markieff Morris helps KU put loss behind

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KU vs. Colorado

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Kansas defeated Colorado, 89-63, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 89-63 victory over Colorado on Feb. 19, 2011.

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On a day in which other college basketball giants fell, Kansas University picked itself up, and nobody did a better job of that than the giant of the starting lineup, 6-foot-9 junior Markieff Morris.

He followed his quietest day, Monday in Manhattan, with the loudest one of his career Saturday in leading Kansas to an 89-63 domination of Colorado in Allen Fieldhouse.

Markieff followed his three-point, zero-rebound non-performance in KU’s loss to Kansas State by setting a career scoring high and matching his best rebound output. His 26 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and two steals left the Buffaloes helpless in trying to compete in the paint.

The lively personalities on the roster are part of what makes this team such an easy one to like. Yet, strong, interesting personalities can tend to be led by their emotions instead of their heads. Their focus can drift. The emotional high of claiming the No. 1 spot in the national rankings worked against Kansas in Manhattan, which in turn motivated coach Bill Self to put his team through tough practices all week.

In drubbing Colorado, Kansas didn’t look emotional. The Jayhawks played with robotic efficiency. In talking about the victory afterward, the three players brought to the table didn’t show any signs of euphoria. They looked humbled by the loss earlier in the week, and there was no talk of keeping the No. 1 spot in the national rankings, not an impossibility should Ohio State lose to Purdue today.

The players appeared subdued, even careful to heed the message their coach conveyed all week, the one about letting their performance talk for them.

Another one of coach Bill Self’s consistent mottos, “You practice how you play,” must have taken root during the week as well, especially with Morris.

“He’s been our best player in practice this week, and certainly he played like that today,” Self said.

Nobody knows Morris anywhere close to as well as his twin, Marcus.

“I could tell that he was going to play well, based on the way that he was practicing,” Marcus Morris said. “He was totally dominating in practice, and he was dunking everything around the rim. Like coach said, practice refers to the game, and that’s exactly how he played. He dominated in practice, and he dominated in the game.”

Markieff needed only 10 shots to score 26 points. He made his only three-pointer and hit nine of 12 from the free-throw line. His eight offensive rebounds were a career high. Andre Roberson’s seven total rebounds led the Buffaloes.

“I felt like I was not in the Kansas State game, and I want to make sure to get better every day,” Markieff said. “... I think that as a team we had something to prove this game. It was embarrassing losing to Kansas State, and we do not want to do that again. We just got to get better, and I guess it starts with me.”

That four-word expression, of course, is the best attitude for any player to take: “It starts with me.”

KU’s best chance at dominating this game came on the inside, where CU can’t match KU’s size. First-year Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle captured the darned-if-you-do, darned-if-you-don’t approach to trying to contain Marcus and Markieff Morris, especially when the guards are shooting well.

“Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar got going, and you have to pick your poison with these guys, especially when you’re undersized like we are,” Boyle said. “Your choice is to double the post, which we tried doing a little bit in the second half, and that didn’t work. They are such good passers and an awfully efficient offensive team.”

The twins pass so well out of double-teams that teams are reluctant to double them. That quality, meshed with how well Kansas spaces the floor and passes, and the versatility of the twins make them so hard to guard.

On this day, it didn’t much matter who received those passes. In the first game all season in which all five starters scored in double figures, the five starters combined to make 11 of 16 three-point shots.

Kansas certainly can’t count on shooting that way all the time. The way Markieff Morris attacked Colorado had nothing to do with shots falling and everything to do with a hungry player committed to putting a bad game behind him.

Comments

khekhen 3 years, 1 month ago

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

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William Blake 3 years, 1 month ago

What a relief... we've got back the Kieff!

It is hard enough for players to guard Cus and then there is Kieff... when he decides to toughen down there are only a couple college players in the country capable of keeping him off the ceiling.

Every time Kieff dunks he bumps his future NBA income by $25k... so Kieff... every dunk is a $25k payoff!

RC, MKM!

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slowplay 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm sorry, but I still don't see SDSU as a top 10 team. They struggled to beat Air Force, a .500 team in one of the worst basketball conferences in the US. They have never won an NCAA tournament game (0-6). The only semi-legit team from the conference, BYU, hasn't made it past the 2nd round since 1980 with 10 1st round exits. Both of these teams are a good argument for a field of 32 instead of 68.

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oldalum 3 years, 1 month ago

Lonardi (sp) still has both Kansas and Texas as #1 seeds after yesterday's games.

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hawksince51 3 years, 1 month ago

IMO the best game by the starters as a whole all year. Great to have Brady shooting again and to see Kieff bounce back from the KSU game.
The challenge now is to play strong through the Big 12 tourney and protect the number 1 seed. It now seems unlikely that there will be 2 number 1 seeds from the Big 12.

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scraptown 3 years, 1 month ago

1: Ohio state 2: Duke 3: San Diego state 4: KU 5: Pitt

Ku and pitt could swap 4-5, but I think they'll be 4. If OSU doesn't lose today, if they do, they'll be 4, and ku will move up or back a spot, depending on if they're 4 or 5.

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RockCaCO3 3 years, 2 months ago

Great game Kief!

I would imagine OSU is going to be #1 again, but should be interesting to see where they put UT and KU. Knowing how the "experts" feel about KU, we'll likely be 3.

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Vittorio1224 3 years, 2 months ago

Yup, I think it's safe to say the Buffs got handKieffed today!!

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Clarence Haynes 3 years, 2 months ago

Recurring Morris Twins performance especially gratifying!

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KansasComet 3 years, 2 months ago

I came away from the game even more impressed with Selby. This kid made a lot of great passes in the game, very unselfish. I think he is struggling a little bit in getting into rhythm for his shot, but one he gets that worked out he is going to be great.

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 2 months ago

Happy for Markieff today. It was interesting to the players talk after the game----Brady is not going to let this team get satisfied. To me, I see Brady making sure everybody stays hungry. Very nice!

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