Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 84-79 victory over Iowa State on Jan. 13, 2011.
Ames, Iowa After watching Kansas University forwards Marcus and Markieff Morris in Wednesday’s 84-79 KU victory, Iowa State forward Jamie Vanderbeken was ready to make a bold statement.
“They’re probably,” Vanderbeken said, “the best frontcourt in the nation.”
KU’s junior forwards from Philadelphia combined for 50 points and 24 rebounds. That meant the two were responsible for 59.5 percent of the Jayhawks’ points and 51.1 percent of the Jayhawks’ rebounding.
“The stats talk for themselves,” Vanderbeken said. “They’re really good.”
ISU coach Fred Hoiberg, who scouted the Morris twins as part of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves’ organization the last two years, said the brothers have made big strides since their freshmen season.
“They’ve really done a good job with their post moves. I’m sure (KU assistant coach) Danny Manning probably has a little bit to do with that,” Hoiberg said. “Those guys, they’re future NBA players. I think they’ll be very good players in that league with their size and strength and shooting ability. If you have all that, it makes (it) a pretty tough guard.”
The Morris brothers also combined for seven offensive rebounds, which matched that of Iowa State’s entire team.
KU outrebounded ISU, 47-34.
“It was the most physical game of the year by far,” Vanderbeken said. “But that’s the Big 12 for you. Every night, it’s going to be a battle down low. Bodies are sore, but you’ve got to expect that.”
The Cyclones also struggled to keep the Morrises off the free-throw line.
The brothers combined for 25 free-throw attempts, while ISU had a season-low 10.
“Their emphasis is to go inside — to throw the ball to those two guys,” Hoiberg said. “They run the high-low game with the two of them. They really punch in. They seal you hard down there. We didn’t want to give them any easy baskets.”
Iowa State also had four players commit at least four fouls.
“I thought we battled them,” Hoiberg said. “They just outmuscled us, I thought, with those two guys.”
Hoiberg was frustrated with his team’s 10 first-half turnovers, which were a reason the Cyclones trailed, 40-34, at the break.
“They (Jayhawks) capitalize off turnovers better than any team in the country, and we knew that coming in, and we continued to take that extra dribble,” Hoiberg said. “I thought our guys fought. The effort was outstanding. It was as good of an effort as we’ve put out on the floor all year, but you can’t make those types of mistakes against a team like Kansas.”