Sunday, February 15, 2009

Comeback kids

KU rallies from 16 down

KU's Marcus Morris drives on K-State's Darren Kent in the second half on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan.

KU's Marcus Morris drives on K-State's Darren Kent in the second half on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan.


KU snags win in Manhattan

After trailing for much of the first half, the Jayhawks pulled ahead of the Wildcats and held on to achieve an 11-point victory in Manhattan.

Audio clips

2009 KU-KSU Feb. 14

— Cole Aldrich admits Kansas University’s basketball team pulled off “a heck of a comeback” on Saturday afternoon at Bramlage Coliseum.

But one for the ages?

The sophomore center, whose 21 points helped 16th-ranked KU overcome a 16-point deficit in a thrilling 85-74 victory over Kansas State, wasn’t so sure about that.

“April 7th — I don’t know if you guys remember that game — that was a pretty big comeback,” Aldrich said, recalling the day KU erased a nine-point deficit in the final 2:12 in a national-title victory over Memphis.

“That was a pretty big game,” he added with a big smile. “This was great, though. It showed a lot of character for our team. It showed we’re maturing.”

The young Jayhawks, who squandered a 14-point lead in Monday’s 62-60 loss at Missouri, on Saturday trailed KSU, 30-14, with 8:36 left in the first half.

A 24-8 run propelled the Jayhawks into a 38-38 tie with 1:34 left before halftime.

KU did trail, 43-42, at the break, but thanks in large part to Aldrich’s 13 second-half points, stormed past the Wildcats for the rousing victory.

“We were laboring (early). Our guys hung tough. It’s probably as good a road win that we’ve had since I’ve been at Kansas, considering the circumstances, how young we are and the environment,” Bill Self said of the biggest come-from-behind win in his six seasons at KU.

It actually tied for KU’s second biggest comeback in a victory since specialty records were kept starting in 1988-89.

KU overcame a 19-point deficit to down UCLA, 85-70, on Jan. 2, 1995. KU dug out of a 16-point hole to top Texas Tech, 86-77, on Jan. 29, 1997 in Lubbock.

Self called three timeouts in the first six minutes and turned to nonrotation players Quintrell Thomas and Tyrone Appleton in an attempt to slow the Wildcats (17-8, 6-5), who entered with a six-game winning streak.

“We were grasping,” Self said of the Jayhawks (20-5, 9-1), who were victimized by the strong play of guards Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen.

Clemente scored 26 and Pullen 22 points — and each hit four threes on a day KSU hit eight of 19 to KU’s eight of 12.

“We didn’t have anything going, and they were great. I told the guys, ‘Hey, we can get it down to seven or eight by halftime if we focus.’ It’s amazing we were able to come from 16 down to one at halftime,” Self added.

Brady Morningstar, who hit three threes the first half, and Marcus Morris, who contributed nine points in nine minutes, helped key the first-half rally.

“I don’t know if we were shocked. We didn’t get a hand in their face. They were hot and on a run. It happens sometimes,” Morningstar said. “I was glad we were able to fight through it.”

He played a key role in the second half as well.

Morningstar fouled Clemente with 13:12 left and KU up, 53-51.

An angry Clemente struck Morningstar with an elbow and was called for an intentional technical foul. Sherron Collins hit two free throws and Tyrel Reed swished a three on the ensuing in-bounds play. Colling followed with a three following a Pullen miss, and KU suddenly led, 61-51, at 11:59.

“He hit me in the back. It was no big deal, out of frustration probably,” Morningstar said.

It was a big deal in the course of the game, Self said.

“Usually, on a technical the ball goes back to K-State, but because of the type of technical it was, it goes to the other team. It turned out to be a pretty big play for us,” Self indicated.

Still, KSU cut the deficit to 67-65 with 5 1/2 minutes left.

That’s when the Jayhawks decided to go to Aldrich.

Accepting high lobs from Collins, he scored seven straight points and kept KU in charge, 74-70, with 3:03 to play. Marcus Morris (15 points, seven rebounds) put back an Aldrich miss, giving KU a 78-72 lead at 1:59.

KSU didn’t threaten again.

“It’s great to see those guys throw the ball in. At Missouri, they struggled to throw it in a little bit,” said Aldrich, who in wearing his new Richard Hamilton-like facemask hit eight of 13 shots and five of five free throws. “I was able to post hard. They threw it up and said, ‘Hey, the big fella is gonna go get it. Go make a play.’ It’s great to see they have confidence in me and great for me to have confidence in them to throw it in.”

KSU coach Frank Martin bemoaned the high entry passes to Aldrich.

“I’ve never seen post entries look like fair catches in football, and that’s what those looked like,” he said. “We allowed them to throw 45-foot post entries,” he added, referring to Collins’ beautiful, deep lob to Aldrich and resulting slam that gave KU a 53-49 lead.

Collins explained the strategy to go to sophomore Aldrich late.

“They were pressing out on our guards. Cole did a good job sealing. We just threw it up to him. He’s 6-11. He was able to go get it and make a play,” said Collins, who contributed 19 points with six assists against five turnovers.

Feeding Aldrich was big on the offensive end.

Self’s triangle-and-two defense huge in helping to slow down (a bit) KSU standouts Clemente and Pullen, who scored 48 of KSU’s 74 points.

“It bailed us out, gave us longer possessions, played into our favor since we were short of depth late in the game (because of foul trouble),” Self said.

An intangible helped as well: refusal to quit when falling behind by 16 early.

“We showed some courage,” Self said. “We usually play in good environments. We’ve not played in any better than the two this week (at MU and KSU). It showed something from my team I thought.”


HawksWinAgain 13 years, 7 months ago

"It actually tied for KU’s second biggest comeback in a victory since specialty records were kept starting in 1988-89.

KU overcame a 19-point deficit to down UCLA, 85-70, on Jan. 2, 1995. KU dug out of a 16-point hole to top Texas Tech, 86-77, on Jan. 29, 1997 in Lubbock."

The 05-06 Hawks also came back from 16 down to beat Oklahoma in AFH on Feb. 5, 2006. Great second half comeback win keyed by BRush with 18 and the game winner by none other than Mario Chalmers.

Link to the ESPN game re-cap:

TheHawksAreOut 13 years, 7 months ago

A) pretty sure we came back from 20+ down, maybe like 22, at UConn in the late 90's.

B) We called 3 timeouts in the first TEN minutes. Don't always take Bill's word for it, he likes to exaggerate too.

Paul Meyer 13 years, 7 months ago

The box score for the game is interesting. All stats are almost identical between the teams, except one. KU won the game on the line: 27 to K-State's 16. The old phrase free throws win ball games holds true.

Michael Bratisax 13 years, 7 months ago

Marcus Morris showed what we can expect to see on a regular basis next year. I thought he was the game's MVP.

wi_jayhawk 13 years, 7 months ago

Redballer is right. Twice in 2006-2007 we were down big to Texas and came back. Someone will have to check to see exactly what the margins were, but I'm certain that we were down 22 in OKC.

Kyle Helmer 13 years, 7 months ago

Correct....we were down 32-10 to Texas in the 07 Big 12 Tournament Championship. We were also down 23-7 to UConn in the above referenced game. The Texas game is the biggest comeback in school history.

cafranci 13 years, 7 months ago

And that UCLA comeback was in Dec. 1995, not Jan. 1995.

FairgroveJayhawk 13 years, 7 months ago

I was at the Kansas/ucla game when they were down by 19 and watched the amazing come back. The crownd was on fire, it was a game to remember and one that makes you proud as anything to be a jayhawk. ucla came into the game hyped up and big on themselves, they sure didn't leave that way.

Great game Marcus! Hell of a job.

nocaljayhawk 13 years, 7 months ago

Ku-UCLA was Dec 8, 1995, IIRC---my birthday.

NewtonJHawk 13 years, 7 months ago

Indeed Great game Hawks.

Refs helped in this win big time. We only had 115 moving screens that I saw. Much better than the 178 against Missery.

Thanks again for those that made it to my place yesterday.

For those that missed we had a great time in Newton. We painted the town red!!

KGphoto 13 years, 7 months ago

Lot's of ref garbage that could've easily swayed momentum to the kats.

That's what you have to fight through, and the young hawks did it. Marcus became a man. Sherronatron (where's jaybate?) moderated, and ColeTrain chugged along. This is a team to beware of.

KU is galvanizing once again, for March.

Keckadek 13 years, 7 months ago

Sherron... 6 assists to 5 turnovers. That's more assists than turnovers, Which is nice.

nwjhawk 13 years, 7 months ago

redballer - Thanks for the reminder on the TX game. That was an amazing comeback for the Big 12 Tourney Championship. Guess who hit a 3 with time winding down to send it to OT? None other than Super Mario!!! I guess he was just practicing for the NC game a year later.

hawkshot 13 years, 7 months ago

Now that was some fun..Get the kitties all excited, and then bring them to reality and put them back on their tractors.

njthomas 13 years, 7 months ago

I was pretty sure that OU comeback was a big one. The nice correlation between that one and this one is that that one proved the mettle of of Chalmers, Rush, and co.

Matt Bowers 13 years, 7 months ago

Lebowski, free throws do win games and it is an old saying. Free throws were the difference in the 2003 and 2008 National Championship's.

KeithMiles05, that was an awesome video! How did you find that?

Jhawk782, I agree that M.C. Morris had his greatest game thus far. However, I believe that Brady deserves the MVP because of his clutch three pointers and when they came in the game. If this is the play that we are going to see from M.C. Morris, it is going be thrilling to watch. Even the commentators were commenting on his basketball IQ and court awareness.

It is always good to get a road win like this because it prepares you March. If our team gets hot and plays with confidence, we could easily see an Elite Eight run.

Rock Chalk

Kevin Pavey 13 years, 7 months ago

Great game; I love the nevergiveup attitude during this game.

If we can keep cole train and collins; do we have room for Withey and Robinson? Is it likely the NCAA will take another scholly for Coach's rule violation w/ John Wall? Or is this now a non-issue.

Can you imagine our front line next year if we keep Aldrich, the twins, Little, & QT and add Withey and Robinson? A bunch of fouls to go around and we don't lose much scoring when we go to the bench. Kinda like last year when we bring in Collins & Aldrich - we literally had 7 starters on that team (just rewatched the c-ship game and we won, again).

We've been fortunate in that we haven't lost anyone to injury in awhile now (Simien?). Its good to have quality depth so that an injury doesn't cost key games or the season.

jhawkgreg 13 years, 7 months ago

The amateur commentary continues to be better than the "professional" writing here at the LJW. You have to appreciate the intangible benefits of a passionate fan base!

KU 13 years, 7 months ago

gilded07.....No, I can't really imagine a front court like that. Great for practice, but if Cole comes back, there will be 3 of the 7 kids not playing significant minutes. Self plays 4 bigs. Little will go to the 3 almost exclusively next year unless Self wants to play small. QT very well could transfer, and who could blame the kid? If Robinson has the notorious "motor" that Self speaks of, he'll probably play immediately.

LAJayhawk 13 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps the big comeback discussion is just referring to non-home games, but the Texas game at Allen Fieldhouse that same year as the big come back in the Big 12 championship (about a week earlier) was a huge comeback as well. I want to say it was 20+ points. Durant had 25 in the first half, and they couldn't miss from 3. Then we stormed back in the second half.

It was the last KU game I've been to in Allen. I still have confetti in my coat pocket.....

100 13 years, 7 months ago

We were down about 21 in that game at Allen to Durant and his cattle.

That was a heck of a comeback. Expected somehow though -- you could sense it was going to happen. Seemed like Durant had 30 by the break.

As for that UCLA game, I swear we were down by 20 and won by 15. None of us expected the 2nd half. We played so flat in that first half we looked DOA. Then the spirit of Phog woke up. I still remember Billy hitting that three from the corner after the dish from Jacque. And Jacque's spin move capped the whole enchilada...

Hands down best comeback ever by a KU squad...

Mark Walters 13 years, 7 months ago

Second biggest as far as points, maybe. Everyone is bringing up some big comeback wins. My fav would have to be March 24, 1991 "40 minutes of hell" game against Arkansas. The Hogs were No. 1 seed, we were No. 3 seed. We turned the ball over 10 times first half. Hogs jumped on us 17-6. We came back, but then another 15-0 run by Arkansas made it 47-35 at the half.

Second half we passed the ball as well as any KU team has....."ZO" Jamison, Adonis Jordan, Mark Randall, Terry Brown, Sean Tunstall, and of course Steve Woodberry....only turned the ball over 4 times second half and we pulled out a 93-81 victory to go to the final four for the third time in six years.....

That was one of the 'biggest" comebacks.

Rock Chalk and.................... Muck the Fildcats

keith horinek 13 years, 7 months ago

Did anybody watch the post game interviews? Clemente showed what a thug he is by trying to explain why he elbowed Morningstar in the back. Why would Coach Martin allow this thug to even speak in public? What a loser.

100 13 years, 7 months ago


Nice memory of that comeback Razorback game. Around that same time, didn't we jump all over the Razorbacks something like 26-2 to start a game? I remember the forty minutes defense looking so weak. We just dribbled and passed through it -- no lob passes like this year's team does. No standing around picking up the dribble like a deer in headlights. It was attack, attack, attack!

We simply turned their strength into making them look like a bunch of middle schoolers -- the same thing we should have done against MU the other night...

Commenting has been disabled for this item.