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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kansas dogs Danes

Arizona loss sparks team meeting, leads to blowout victory

KU's Sherron Collins looks to pass against Albany in Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008

KU's Sherron Collins looks to pass against Albany in Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008

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KU rebounds from loss with big win over Albany

The Jayhawks slammed Albany, 79-43.

Jayhawks rebound from loss

A week ago, the Kansas men's basketball team suffered an 84-67 loss to Arizona. But on Tuesday, they won their first game since that setback.

Audio clips

2008 KU-Albany basketball

Reader poll

Now that KU routed Albany, how do you feel about Saturday's game against No. 14 Tennessee at Allen Fieldhouse?

  • Win by 15 or more 3% 32 votes
  • Win by fewer than 15 62% 509 votes
  • Lose by fewer than 15 29% 238 votes
  • Lose by more than 15 3% 32 votes

811 total votes.

Reader poll

Who was KU's MVP of the first half against Albany?

  • Tyrel Reed 32% 21 votes
  • Travis Releford 15% 10 votes
  • Cole Aldrich 49% 32 votes
  • Other 3% 2 votes

65 total votes.

It wasn’t nearly as dramatic as February’s team meeting at Henry T’s Bar and Grill. You remember — the one held after Kansas University’s disappointing one-point men’s basketball loss at Oklahoma State.

Hot wings and turkey club sandwiches were nowhere to be found as KU’s players lounged in the locker room before Saturday’s practice in Allen Fieldhouse, the Jayhawks’ first workout following a three-day Christmas vacation.

“We gathered in the locker room and said, ‘You know what? We didn’t play well against Arizona at all. Let’s not have this happen again,’’’ KU sophomore center Cole Aldrich said of a short, yet effective, players-only chit-chat.

“With four or five tough games coming up, we decided we needed to be focused and have good practices. We did that. Now we have to keep it up,” Aldrich added.

He bounced back from a 10-point, four-rebound effort in KU’s 17-point loss at Arizona with a stellar 20-point, six-rebound, three-block performance in Tuesday’s 79-43 bounceback victory over Albany in Allen Fieldhouse.

The competition was not Arizona.

Still, it was a nice effort from the 6-foot-11, 245-pounder, who hit eight of 10 shots and four of four free throws.

The Bloomington, Minn., native scored his team’s first 10 points of the second half in helping the Jayhawks (9-3) bury the Great Danes (8-5).

How much did Aldrich think about the Arizona loss over the Christmas furlough?

“A lot,” Aldrich said. “The first possession of the Arizona game, I let him (Jordan Hill) beat me baseline and dunk it. That kind of set the tone for my play. The guys on our team tried to pick me up. It wasn’t there for some reason. I need to do what it takes every day at practice to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Tyrel Reed — who hit three of five threes and had 12 points on a night KU made nine of 19 treys to Albany’s zero for 15 — was happy to see his roommate and the team bounce back in fine fashion.

“I thought Cole played really well. The guards did a better job of getting him the ball,” Reed said, also citing Saturday’s locker-room gab-fest as a key to KU’s improved play.

“It was just players, no coaches, sitting around talking. We realize we had bad possessions at Arizona, ones we can’t have. We can’t let that happen again,” Reed said. “We’ve had more energy at practice since we came back from break.”

KU received solid production from some unsung players.

Travis Releford scored seven points with four rebounds in 14 minutes, and Quintrell Thomas scored six points with five boards in 15 minutes.

“Tyrel, Travis and Quintrell were probably as good of performers (as) we had in the game, and they came off the bench,” KU coach Bill Self said. “The starters didn’t play nearly as many minutes tonight other than Sherron (Collins, seven points, four assists, five turnovers, 30 minutes), and he only took five shots.”

Self was dismayed the Jayhawks tied Albany, 34-34, in rebounds.

“They got 11 offensive rebounds the first half (18 to KU’s eight for the game),” Self said. “I think six were out-of-bounds deflections, but we still have to do a better job than that. We made many bone-headed plays, but we made shots (56.3 percent to Albany’s 30) and were fairly efficient.”

KU had some highlight-film plays in erasing memories of the Arizona loss.

Aldrich’s three blocks were vicious.

Releford had a nice dunk off a feed from Collins and closed the first half with a layup off another dish from KU’s combo guard.

Also, Marcus Morris put down a nasty one-hand slam with 6:19 left.

“It was all right,” Morris said of his dunk. “Coach (Danny) Manning said, ‘You’ve been lacking in practice. I guess you really can jump.’”

There were lots of smiles Tuesday, in contrast to the frowns after the loss to ’Zona. Next up is Saturday’s 1 p.m. home game against rugged Tennessee.

“We haven’t been talking about it until now,” Aldrich said. “It should be a lot of fun. We know they have a great team.”

“We’ve got to improve. They’ll be the fastest team we’ve played so far,” Self said. “It should be a fun game. I’d think the building will be juiced.”

NOTES

• Perry Ellis, a 6-foot-8 freshman forward from Wichita Heights High School, attended Tuesday’s game and sat behind the KU bench with his Heights teammates.

• KU will take a 31-game fieldhouse win streak into Saturday’s Tennessee game.

• Reed’s 12 points tied a career high. Marcus Morris hit the first three of his college career in three tries.

• Albany’s 43 points were fewest by a KU foe since KU beat Detroit, 63-43, in December of 2006. The last KU foe to not hit a three was Missouri last February.

Comments

yates33333 13 years, 11 months ago

If these youngster ever get comfortable and calm against major competition, look out major competition. They've got talent. Rock Chalk.......

AsadZ 13 years, 11 months ago

Sherron did not have a good game IMO. He was too careless and made some bad shot attempts. I am not sure if any injury is bothering him but he needs to step up and play like the real gamer he is.

jchief40 13 years, 11 months ago

Yes Sherron was trying to show up #11 and made some boneheaded decisions.

Greg Lux 13 years, 11 months ago

What’s the saying “What GOD giveth GOD taketh away!" .. I guess that’s Conner’s freshman to sophomore year shooting ... Last year he could hardly miss a 3 and this year he can't buy one. I know he's a great shooter and why they are not going down is probably just nerves, but damn I wish he would make a few, I love his effort on the floor and would like to see him get a little more time to build his confidence. He is probably the best player we have when it comes to blocking-out on the boards. I know he will never be a starter but he could give us some great minutes, because effort is his middle name.

Kenneth Johnson 13 years, 11 months ago

What a pleasant and welcome surprise! A great way to end the basketball year.I was pretty sure the KU-Albany game wasn’t going to be shown last evening, since I had checked the morning Des Moines Register to see what games were on TV. So I brought up ESPN to at least get the live scores for the game. Then I drifted into the family room and started scanning some of the more remote channels our cable company provides, and lo and behold, I came across 175 and it said KU vs. Albany. I almost just passed it by as I thought 175 was a channel usually not available. But, when I clicked on it and the game opened in progress, I was overjoyed.From then on it was a really, really enjoyable game. The last third of the KU-Arizona game several days ago was painful. This one made up for it, as the Jayhawks were cooking, and several of the newcomers rose to new heights. I was so impressed with Marcus Morris. With the exception of a couple of minor lapses, he played an outstanding job, both offensively and defensively. He really brought his game tonite, and hopefully will continue to generate the kind of confidence that will make him an outstanding player. Almost the same was true for Travis Releford. I’ve always been a fan of his and have been disappointed in his showing so far. As the season progresses, I wouldn’t be surprised if he supplants more of the time now allocated to Reed and Morningstar.A third guy that had a morale-boosting game was Tyrone Appleton. He came in and just took over the game for the time he was on the court. He’s also been a little disappointing (to me, at least), as I expected that as a juco transfer, he would be a little better coming out of the gate. He had a lot of energy, showed confidence, so hopefully can prove to be a reliable force off the bench when an energy boost is needed.Aldrich had a great game, Quintrell had some good moments, and Morningstar hit on a couple. Clearly, Albany was woefully overmatched. Clearly, too, was that KU played well and it was a team effort. They were having fun and showed it, along with their obvious mutual and collective pleasure in playing well. In the end, it was to me one of the most purely enjoyable basketball games I’ve ever watched from start to the end. And, I’m left with a boost in my own confidence that the Jayhawks are becoming a much better team.Ken@ www.hoopszone.net

leonard 13 years, 11 months ago

It was a nice game...against a woefully overmatched opponent. Saturday, against Tennessee, will be the time to judge the progress of the young jayhawks.As to Teahan's brother-in-law, jhawkerman...even fanatical effort does not overcome concrete encased feet. It's preposterous to think that he will provide anything more than mop-up minutes.Cole was Cole...nuff said. Taylor? A non-factor. His play was like his performance in the second half against Arizona...where he lacked effort on defense and hid on offense...he definitely didn't want the ball.Twins? A lot of growing to do...mentally and physically. Mentally they need to learn that it takes maximum effort all the time and stop playing like 6-5 small forwards.Releford? A real enigma. Last night he showed what he is capable of...rebounding, defense and a real knack for putting the ball in the hole.Collins? Solid effort...but appears to lack some of his trademark explosiveness...maybe a nagging injury? Not to worry about him...he'll be there when it counts.Reed and Morningstar? Great effort as usual. They demonstrated their value of spot-up shooting from the arc and solid team play.Thomas? Better step up the effort or he'll be relegated to mop-upLittle? If he's as advertised he could be the catalyst to toughen up the Hawks style of play...can't wait to see him.No real quality wins yet...unless you are counting Temple...and a soft schedule has produced a nice record. All in all it's a pretty good start for a talented bunch of youngsters...but the upcoming games with Tennessee at home, Mich.St. on the road and the conference opener with K-state will provide a better measuring stick for the remainder of the season.

jaybate 13 years, 11 months ago

US BUREAU OF ELEVATION ALERT: MARCUS MORRIS JUMPSInstruments at the U.S. Bureau of Elevation (BOE) last night measured statistically significant separation between Marcus Morris' sneaker and the wood of James Naismith court in Allen Field House, Lawrence, Kansas, USA. The event occurred on a fast break against hapless Albany in which teammate Tyrel Reed gave Mr. Morris a late Christmas present in the form of an 10 foot assist giving Morris the chance for a two step jump'n'jam. Officials at BOE indicate this is the first statistically significant vertical separation by Morris measured this year on BOE's Hopometer located in the basement of Allen Field House. Hopmeters located at nearby Ahearn Field House in Manhattan and Sprint Center in Kansas City also confirmed the event. BOE scientists studying the event speculate that the event was triggered by Mr. Morris having recently eaten some of his momma's home cooking over the Christmas holiday. KU training table officials are reportedly already in contact with Mother Morris to get the menu and recipes she used during Mr. Morris' home visit, so these can be duplicated daily at the KU training table. University of Kansas Nutritionist Fatty Musselman said, "This just confirms anecdotally, what nutritionists have long speculated. Players tend to play better right after Christmas, because of home cooking temporarily having displaced acute over-consumption of pizza, soft-shell tacos and Coors between 10pm and 3am during a freshman's first semester on the KU campus.Rock Chalk!

leonard 13 years, 11 months ago

Nice work, jaybate.Now that's funny...I don't care who you are!

shannyvan1 13 years, 11 months ago

I thought last night was, for the most part, a good game for Sherron. There is no question he has a lot of talent. He, along with Cole, are the keys to our success this year. In several of our losses, he has "ballhogged" and gotten into one-on-one macho contests with the other team's point guard. Last night he almost got into a similar situation with the freshman from Albany, but he didn't. He also took fewer shots, and did a very good job of driving and distributing- as opposed to driving and taking some playground prayer among the defending big men. Perhaps Sherron is maturing and is growing into his new role, a much different role than he had last year.

jaybate 13 years, 11 months ago

I always take the gloves off the last day of the year every season and raise the standard of excellence for the rest of the season. So...Despite the huge victory margin, I thought KU played very poor basketball against a hapless opponent and suspect they are going to get annihilated by Tennessee because of it. It was like KU had NO point guard last night. You know how pitifully they played when Travis Releford playing merely not awful was the high point. Still, you have to look at both the good and the bad.Beak Up:Tyrel's trey shooting means little, because that is the only reason he's playing and they had no D1 grade defenders on the perimeter. What was encouraging was that Tyrel increasingly seems to be able to gauge how to cover up his slow feet on defense and get the most out of his tenacity. He's proving the precept that defense is about want-to. He's starting to get left behind less and less which means he's starting to learn the angles to take on off ball defense. His on-ball defense has been reliable from the beginning. His defensive trend line is definitely up.Releford gets a beak up, but this is in part due to just how far down he's been. Travis gave us 7/4 with no horrendous mistakes in 15 minutes against turkeys. Travis, not Little, is the guy standing between us being a good team and what we are right now, which is a team with a strong inside outside axis, but no midrange axis. He's got to build on this. He's got to quit worrying about why he's not playing and get better. If he were playing up to his abilities, this team would be 10-1. Look in the mirror, Travis. You are a potentially great player, who has finally done something other than stink up the floor. We need you, pal. You can do this. Improve by the inch and not by the yard and you will be there in February.Marcus Morris did not do much statistically, and his trifecta and his slam were icing on a very plain cake and he made at least two horrendous passes. BUT...he actually looked for the first time like he kind of knew what was going on, even though he couldn't do much about it yet. Having a feel for what is going on is a HUGE step for a frosh big man. The difference between him and Cole presently has been that Cole gets what has been happening and Marcus hasn't. From here on out, we should see incremental improvement, instead of floundering, in Marcus' game, even though he will still get smoked occassionally, and that is good news for everyone. Appleton now needs more minutes, because he could play good enough defense long enough to allow Self to pull Sherron and Tyshawn and chew their butts out good.

jaybate 13 years, 11 months ago

Beak Level: Cole played a good offensive game, because he had a mismatch and was being asked to score, but his rebounding basically disappeared, proving once again he has not yet learned to do both. Until Cole learns to do both, KU's offense, or KU's rebounding are going to suffer. Quintrell did some good things, but he did some listless things. He's not getting worse, but he's not getting better.Beak Down:Sherron phoned it in. And he very nearly got hurt, because of it. And he let that little twirp on Albany get his goat and almost humiliate him into losing his temper. This is the only time in Sherron's career, when I didn't respect him totally. He was not one of KU's five greatest guards of all time last night. C'mon Sarge, what is the world coming to if the toughest guy in world phones it in?Kieff has been the steadiest big man. He's never been very good, but he's never been very bad and I love his stroke and think he has huge upside because of that stroke. But he brought zero to the game last night. Tyshawn has already forgotten how hard you have to play. I'm looking forward to him really getting pasted by Tennessee, so he can see how far his game has fallen in two weeks.Brady played a decent game, and he remains about the only guy who can reliably pass the ball into the bigs, but...he shot an uncontested air ball from the three point stripe! Brady Morningstar, I'm calling you out!!! Your father was a great Jayhawk. He had too much pride to ever let that happen. I believe you and Sherron have largely been the difference between this team being .500 against weak competition and 8-3. But you HAVE to take it up another level now. You're an excellent shooter and you need to make three trays a game the rest of the way. Quit being delighted to be on the floor and start playing like you know you belong there. You do!Teahan, I don't know how a guy given mop up minutes can stink up the floor, but you did. You have to have broken up with your girlfriend, or lost your frickin' hairdryer. You need a visit from one of those strict nuns you had growing up and they need to give you a good rapping with a wooden ruler. There is a player inside you. Bill Self wouldn't keep giving you these opportunities if there weren't. I don't care what anyone around here says to the contrary you COULD learn to play this game. But that was absolutely the worst display of mop up basketball I have ever seen! All I can say is great shooters have always been head cases and you must be a very great shooter, because you were the biggest head case I have ever witnessed on a floor last night. Do some hail marys and don't EVER play like that in Allen Field House again.In Conclusion:The whole lot of you should be forced to watch tapes of your performances in this game for 24 straight hours, so you'll be ashamed of yourselves sufficiently to come out like men against Tennessee and do your crimson and blue duty.

leonard 13 years, 11 months ago

Harsh words, jaybate...but pretty much on the mark. This team has a lot of upside when they grow up...and most of the growing will be between their ears.

jayhawker_97 13 years, 11 months ago

nice spank, jaybate. we won, but not the way coach Self wanted. rebounding still needs a lot of improvement. Cole wasn't a monster at board at all. his double-double falls so short on reeb.let's go guys, let's beat the crap out of Tennee. our team should be able to win by at least 12. the Owls did by a margin of 16. Rock! Chalk!

John Brown 13 years, 11 months ago

Maybe Sherron is pregnant. You know how women get all batty and forgetful when their hormones get out of wack. That could explain why he gets stupid with the ball.

Lin Rahardja 13 years, 11 months ago

Releford was good for the team, he was efficient and showed he can play, good trey too, form can be improved though.Our foes know that we get outrebounded, and perhaps that's what their coaches emphasized to have success against KU.

yates33333 13 years, 11 months ago

Jaybate, you're too much! Basketball analyst, first class, comedy writer, A-1. Keep it up.

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