You can’t hit ‘em all

KU nearly perfect from line

KU guard Sherron Collins goes for a loose ball against Kent State's Al Fisher in the second half on Monday, December 1, 2008 at Allen Fieldhouse.

KU guard Sherron Collins goes for a loose ball against Kent State's Al Fisher in the second half on Monday, December 1, 2008 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

KU defeats Kent State, 87-60

Only seven Division 1 basketball programs have posted 20 wins in the last 10 consecutive seasons. Tonight, two of those squads met in Allen Fieldhouse.

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Postgame: Kent State

The guys (Matt Tait, Jesse Newell) tie up loose ends following KU's 87-60 victory over Kent State. The two give their offensive and defensive grades, name their most valuable and least valuable players and talk about what they liked and didn't like from the Jayhawks in their 27-point win.

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2008 KU-Kent State basketball

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Marcus Morris felt as if he should apologize to his Kansas University basketball teammates after the Jayhawks’ 87-60 nonconference rout of Kent State on Monday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

“We made 32 of 36 free throws. I had the four misses,” Morris said with a sheepish smile after KU recorded the third-most makes in a game in the six-year Bill Self era.

“I felt kind of bad missing those four, since everybody else made theirs. I told some of the guys I’ll get in the gym and shoot some more.”

If it’s any consolation, the hard-working 6-foot-8, 225-pounder, who hit the glass for 10 rebounds, attempted at least six more charities than anybody else.

He cashed eight of 12 en route to a 14-point, 10-rebound effort in 29 minutes. He came out of the physical game with a badge of honor, a scratch under his left eye — which he insisted had nothing to do with the four misses from the stripe.

“It was a physical game,” Morris said of a game in which his brother, Markieff, was ejected in the second half for a flagrant foul in a pile up for a loose ball. The ejection was not deemed part of a fight, meaning Markieff Morris will not face a one-game suspension and will be eligible to play Wednesday’s 7 p.m. home game against New Mexico State.

“Coach said we need to still get tougher and grind it out, be stronger down low,” Marcus Morris added. “They were undersized, and we only outrebounded them by nine (40-31). We were the bigger team. They were stronger. We have to work on that.”

The physical game featured 46 fouls, 28 by Kent State. KU made the Golden Flashes pay, swishing the 32 free throws, which is six off the school record of 38 made five different times. In the Self era, KU hit 36 last year against Baylor and 33 versus Texas A&M in 2006.

In contrast, KU hit just 11 of 20 free throws in Tuesday’s overtime loss to Syracuse.

“It’s a good sign knocking down free throws,” said point guard Sherron Collins, who made all six free throws and scored a game-high 19 points in 27 minutes. “It shows shooting 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 10 minutes after practice every day works. We come in our off days and shoot free throws. It’s showing now.”

KU coach Self gave thumbs-up to the free throwing and his squad’s overall play on a night baskets were tough to come by. KU hit 42.4 percent of its shots to Kent State’s 37.7 percent.

“It was a great game for us because it was a no-rhythm game,” Self said after his squad improved to 5-1. Kent State dropped to 3-3. “We need to win a grind-it-out game, a game with no rhythm because when you get to tournament play and conference play, especially on the road, you want it to be a muddy game.”

Collins agrees it was nice to win a game with no flow.

“It’s what we’ve got to get used to,” he said. “We’ve still got to get tougher, point-blank. There’s no other way to phrase it. We have to get tougher. We’ve got to be the aggressor. There will be more games like that one.”

KU did make a statement defensively. Freshman Tyshawn Taylor held high-scoring guard Al Fisher to five points off 2-of-11 shooting.

“I thought Tyshawn did a great job on him,” Self said.

“Tyshawn ... to be honest, I think we have another Mario Chalmers there,” Collins gushed, lauding the rookie’s defense. “I appreciate the job he did tonight.”

Self appreciates the hard-hat mentality of his team.

“Unless you have far superior talent, you want it to be a game where time of possession is important,” he said. “I was pleased. I thought we played pretty well.”