Sunday, January 4, 2009

KU licks Volunteers

Collins sparks KU win

Kansas guard Sherron Collins hangs his tongue out at the photographers after delivering a fast-break bucket against Tennessee during the first half Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins hangs his tongue out at the photographers after delivering a fast-break bucket against Tennessee during the first half Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Postgame: KU vs. Tennessee

Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self, center Cole Aldrich and guard Sherron Collins reflect on Saturday's win against Tennessee.

Highlights from Saturday's matchup against Tennessee

Various high points from Saturday's Kansas vs. Tennessee game. The Jayhawks defeated the Volunteers 92-85.

Audio clips

2009 KU-Tennessee

Unable to sleep, Sherron Collins cell-phoned a loved one at 1:15 a.m. Saturday for some soothing words of wisdom: 22-year-old big brother Steve Collins, in Chicago.

“I told him I couldn’t stop thinking about the game,” Sherron Collins, Kansas University’s emotional point guard, said. “He said, ‘You will be all right. You’ll do good. You live for these games.’

“After that I was able to go to sleep,” added Sherron Collins, who, after a 30-minute conversation, dozed off just before 2 a.m.

Collins — who leapt out of the sack at 7:30 a.m. for an 8:30 shootaround — had no problem functioning in Saturday’s KU-Tennessee showdown on 51⁄2 hours of rest.

The 5-foot-11 fireplug scored a career-high 26 points off 7-of-14 shooting with nine assists and five rebounds in the unranked Jayhawks’ 92-85 victory over the No. 14-rated Volunteers at Allen Fieldhouse.

“I came out more energized than I’ve probably ever been in a game,” Collins said.

He hit 10 of 14 free throws, including two big ones with 3:52 left that boosted a 77-70 lead to nine points. Collins’ steadying influence was significant considering the Jayhawks’ 17-point lead (72-55 at 7:22) had dipped to seven with 4:33 left.

“I just wanted this game so bad. Coach called it a ‘man’s game.’ He said, ‘If you are not a man, you shouldn’t be out there. We won’t put you out there,’’’ said Collins, who played all but four minutes.

He and sophomore center Cole Aldrich (22 points, 10 boards, six blocks, 37 minutes) were instrumental in guiding the young Jayhawks (10-3) to their biggest victory this season.

Was it his best game as a Jayhawk?

“I think it was,” Collins said. “Coach said the way I controlled the game and the way I got in there and got my teammates shots ... he said I didn’t try to do too much. I let the game come to me.”

Collins hit a three-pointer in an 11-0 run that provided an early 25-9 lead.

He scored seven points and had an assist in a 10-4 surge that stretched a 25-16 lead to 35-20 with 6:01 left before halftime.

Collins scored 14 points and Aldrich 11 on combined 11-of-18 shooting as KU led, 40-31, after 20 minutes.

“The first half … that’s about as good a guard can play offensively,” coach Bill Self said of Collins, who made six of 10 shots with five assists against no turnovers in the first 20 minutes. “He was fabulous offensively.”

Collins said he’s most pleased the Jayhawks responded after their sizeable lead had dwindled to seven. Remember, KU led Arizona by nine points early in the second half of a 17-point loss in Tucson, Ariz.

“I called the guys together in the huddle and told them, ‘You know, we lost a game like this the last time by losing our poise. We’re fine. We’re still up by seven,’’’ Collins said.

“We still ran our sets and got the lead back up and closed the game out. This shows we can play with the big teams out there.”

And athletic teams.

Tennessee (9-3) forced 17 KU turnovers — not that many considering the Volunteers pressed much of the game.

“Oh my gosh. You’ve got to give it to them. They pressured our butt off,” Collins said. “It was so hard to get the ball in bounds.”

Brady Morningstar, who had 12 points and six assists, suffered just three turnovers in 33 minutes. Not bad considering he was the man assigned to inbound the ball time and again against the Vols’ press.

“Brady was sick a couple days ago, probably not full of energy today. He’s one of those guys that will sacrifice for the team,” Collins said of his roommate, who made three threes in five tries and also had four boards. “He did a great job not getting rattled getting the ball in bounds.”

Tyshawn Taylor, who scored 12 points off 6-of-11 shooting with three assists in 23 foul-plagued minutes, was equally impressed.

“I said to Brady, ‘How did you feel talking the ball out all the time?’ He said, ‘Man, it’s tough every time,’’’ Taylor said. “He did a good job beating the pressure.”

Self assessed: “We got six points on out of bounds throwing long. Brady passed all those. We attacked their pressure very well after the ball was in bounds. (But) we certainly had too many errors trying to get the ball in bounds in a late-game situation.”

Regardless, KU’s coach was thrilled with the victory.

“I thought it’s the best we’ve played, no question,” Self said. “Every team needs signature wins, résumé builders. This was a good one for us.

“I never told the team it was a must win. I told the team if in fact things did not go well — and I expected them to go well — your margin for error gets much less as the season goes along. Any time you can knock off a team with a bunch of young kids out there … it reminded me of the Kentucky game three years ago.”

That’s the game in which a young KU team drilled UK, 73-46, in an early-January affair that helped propel the Jayhawks into league play, where they went 13-3.

KU will meet Siena at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Allen Fieldhouse, then travel to Michigan State for a noon contest next Saturday before the start of Big 12 action against Kansas State on Jan. 13.

“It’s satisfying, maybe a little relief,” said Collins, who insisted he’d sleep well Saturday night.


b_asinbeer 13 years, 11 months ago

Really?"KU licks Volunteers" with Sherron Collins' tongue sticking out as the main picture?I loved the article, well written, but the headline and the picture together is in poor taste.

hawkshock 13 years, 11 months ago

That was a game--you knew that Tenn would make a run but our Hawks held up under pressure this time.Speaking of pressure, I loved it when the ESPN announcers were highlighting Brady's use of the gap in the table to get more room to inbounds. They were tough on him and he was able to outsmart them! That's how you win games.

John Mueller 13 years, 11 months ago

Great win. Great effort all around.That Morningstar is really something special.See if I can say this right. He's good enough to be there so he's good enough. But, he's more effort than athlete, more hustle than cool. Tougher than he is pretty. quicker than he is fast.He's a dreamer. Certainly didn't get there on pure ability. But, he got there.And, he's making a contribution. I like it alot.Pretty nice shot as well and defends like a pit bull.Very cool.

DrPepper 13 years, 11 months ago

A rather disgusting headline in my opinion. The rest was good stuff.

Dyrk Dugan 13 years, 11 months ago

it's a very good win, vs. a very good team....UT is very big and athletic...they'll win a lot of games this year.Let's just translate this out as to how we're supposed to play all year....Cole and Sherron need to be on the floor and leading us in scoring and all around....Morningstar will burn his elbows on the floor and hit open 3s....the Twins need to rebound and play D...and Tyshawn can be that third guy that can break down defenses and create open looks.if we get Mario going, now that he's got his feet wet..then we can be pretty darn good. Just keep 'er goin.

jaybate 13 years, 11 months ago

springtxhawk,Yours was beautiful writing.Gary Bedore,When the LJW needs manly coverage of a game, u dat man. Excellent writing.To everyone,Tyrel Reed really played a terrific game and no one is giving him any strokes for it, not even his coach. He carried a serious defensive load and bore it very well in several key stretches. He wasn't shooting super, but that makes his play all the more impressive. Most persons, including me, have said Tyrel is only playing, because of his gun. Well, Tyrel is turning into a well rounded player right before our eyes, and just as his Dad said he would. I have been very grateful for Tyrel's Dad stopping giving so many quotes. But I just want to say, "Mr. Reed, you obviously know basketball and your judgement was NOT clouded by him being your son. He's getting better all the time. He's got the right stuff. I just love seeing small town kids make it, whatever their color, creed, or nationality, because they are in this day and highly suburbanized and urbanized age, the ones people doubt the most. Come from New York or Chicago and everyone is surprised if you don't make it. Come from Burlington, Kansas and everyone is amazed if you do. But most importantly, congratulations Tyrel. You are the guy showing the ferocity and doing the hard work required for getting better. And, yes, you still have a sweet stroke. Keep pulling the trigger. They will fall again.

KGphoto 13 years, 11 months ago

The game Kansas needed, to believe in themselves. Now they have a marker by which to measure their potential. And if they still don't believe, just ask Bruce.“Their two best players had terrific games,” Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. “We really didn’t have an answer for Collins. Collins did whatever he wanted out there. Defensively, it didn’t matter what we did, whether it was pressure, zone or man.”“Look, Kansas is an NCAA Tournament team,” Pearl said. “It’s hard to win on the road against NCAA Tournament teams.”

KGphoto 13 years, 11 months ago

And how about Little showing some promise. 5 rebounds, 2 assists in 10 minutes.Somebody commented in a previous post about how Little wouldn't be helping us on the boards, but all rebounds are not 3 feet from the rim and amongst the trees. Many bounce out long and we've needed a guy like B.Rush to pick those up. It looks like Little may have the instinct and ability to pick up where Rush left off.And those long defensive rebounds often turn into fast breaks which plays right into our wheelhouse with Collins and Taylor.So congratulations Mario. Welcome to the jungle. I'm now completely convinced that trading your redshirt for crimson and blue was the right move by coach.

Chris Shaw 13 years, 11 months ago

Everything has been said about Morningstar so no point discussing that any longer. I knew it from Day one though. It's been a long-time since I've seen fans so hard on a KU player, but I think slowly but surely; KU fans are coming around on "Ole Reliable" Morningstar.I also thought Reed played great and he's doing the necesarry things out there. I love kids who hustle and I like the quote above, "More Hustle than Cool"! That quote describes Morningstar and Reed to the "T".As for our next two games before conference play begins. I know most are looking forward to that Mich State game, but Siena is in the perfect spot, timing, and position for a "Big" upset on KU's home floor. Siena has been playing everyone (All the Big boys) very close this season. They have everybody back from last year's round of 32 team and they are "Legit". They are the Nevada's, Richmond's, and Oral Robert's of the world ready to hand us a defeat on our home floor. Siena is expected to win the MAAC this year, but Niagara is also very good and in my opinion it's a two team race for that title unless something strange happens in that conference. Siena bulked up this season's schedule because of their team and they are hungry to pull a win. They've been close up to this point, but let's hope they fall short again. Mich State will be a "Huge" game, but Siena has the team and is capable, but they just don't have the "Name" and I hope our young Jayhawks don't overlook this team. If they do, we could have a repeat of previous seasons.

Jayhawk444 13 years, 11 months ago

I hope this game will keep all of the Sherron bashers quiet for the rest of the season. He is the real deal. I'm sure he will get more charging calls against him this season. That's OK. Because if he doesn't pick up a charge now and then, it means he also isn't doing what he needs to do to give us those impossibly beautiful layups. Keep it up, Sherron.And thank you jaybate for pointing out Tyrel Reed. He has been putting up bigger numbers lately but nobody seems to notice. I like him. He can hit the 3. He hustles. And he knows his limits, which means you don't see him making mistakes like driving the lane and throwing up small-percentage shots.

KGphoto 13 years, 11 months ago

Unfortunately for Reed, he's probably going to see his minutes diminish as Mario Little gets worked into the lineup. Mario already displaced Releford, Thomas and a Morris in minutes against Tennessee. Reed is next. Too bad because I agree about Tyrel. But he'll still have his chances. It looks like we're going to be 8 deep in significant minutes, and that leaves him in the mix.

rockchalkjayhawk4ku11 13 years, 11 months ago

KU licks Volunteers? Can that title get any gayer?

Martin Rosenblum 13 years, 11 months ago

Only if the headline was, "....Volunteers get blown by KU."

Martin Rosenblum 13 years, 11 months ago

Oh yeah,Gary B., isn't it "fast-break" instead of "fast-brake" as your caption indicates? Maybe spell check should learn some sports terminology.

frompekka2sasha 13 years, 11 months ago

Well... it could have said KU "tongues" Volunteers like they are a piece of salt-cured meat.

actorman 13 years, 11 months ago

"KU licks Volunteers? Can that title get any gayer?"rockchalk's comment? Can it get any more homophobic?Congrats, guys, I knew you could find something to bitch about. Keep up the good work; I'm sure if you try hard, you can find something in every possible situation.What a great win for this team. And great comments from a lot of people who somehow managed to survive the headline. I particularly like KUShaw's comments about Siena. That will be a great test to see if the young guys are ready to focus on games against the "lesser" teams. Hopefully they learned something from playing UMass.

Dirk Medema 13 years, 11 months ago

Jaybate - As always, your insight and posts are appreciated, but I hope your comment about Tyrel not shooting well was referring to games earlier this season because 40% from 3's yesterday was a nice stat. I look for him to be the 4th guard giving Sherron, Brady, or Tyshawn a breather and keeping things under control. Sort of a replica of Brady - just a smart, consistent BB player.What a gamer Brady was, also. 33 minutes a couple days after being sick.Gotta love the fact that Cole got 37 minutes. 22/10 will be the norm/min if he can stay on the court.And I'll definitely take Mario's 5 boards in 10 minutes, even if he is an 0-fer otherwise. The points will come.

rockchalkjayhawk4ku11 13 years, 11 months ago

Actorman, everyone seems not to like the headline, but you. Maybe that says something about you.

Jacobpaul81 13 years, 11 months ago

Great Game on the offensive end. Bill voiced it though, and I would agree, how could they let them score that many points on them? Gotta stop that! We weren't very good defensively in this one. I'm not a fan of Collins. I don't like his style of play. He had a great game here though, so he gets props from me. My concern is, I hope Collins doesn't fall off the wagon. He showed some abuilty in this game, but he's gotta continue to be an agressive, passing point guard, and not revert to his usual, driving, porkpie bowling ball agressivness. I know Bill is telling him this, but I really want him to stop his "dipsy-doo" move from left to right hand on the drive. He's been blocked more times this season than Dick Vitale has yelled "Yeah Baby!" It worked great coming off the bench when teams weren't watching his tape as much, but now that he's on the court 35 minutes a game, that move gets blocked over and over. Reminds me of langford and his only driving left style. At first, it was unexpected, but by his mid-jr year and all through his senior season, teams knew he only could only drive left. Collins has become very predictable when he penetrates.Brady continues to be solid, and even sick, showed why Bill has so much confidence in him. I think he will continue to develop into a very solid 2-3 guard. I think he learned a great deal from Russell and Brandon over the last two seasons. Cole, what can I say. I just hope he stays one more year. This kids going to be a baller, and if Thomas and Morris twins continue to develop, he'll have a great supporting cast to draw double teams off him. I'm personally not as excited about this group as I was 3 years ago about the 7 boys we lost. They had so much personality. It will be hard to match the fun I had watching them, on and off the court. But I like how this team is developing.

Tony Bandle 13 years, 11 months ago

What is great about the progress of Reed and Morningstar is that they are going to force anyone that is going to take minutes from them to be that much better to which they will respond to an even higher level thus forcing Little, Taylor, Releford,this year and Johnson and Wall [maybe] next year, respond even higher.I can see now that Collins will be gone next year and the competition for his PT next year is already fearcely underway. My opinion is that Releford is the wild card here. His persona and moves remind me of a very young Bud Stallworth [showing my age, but one of the most natural athletes KU sent onto the court]. I still believe he will put it together and become a true force in the future.If Cole stays another year and Withey is half as good as he looks, and throw in all this guard/ forward talent plus the Twins, KU might have the most competitive practices in America next year!!!

Dan Pawlowski 13 years, 11 months ago

"poor taste".."disgusting headline" Geez I didn't know you guys were the arbiters of good taste. Lighten up! Get a frickin sense of humor.I can already see the "frickin is in poor taste complaint " coming next....

jaybate 13 years, 11 months ago

dagger108,Thanks for the nudge. I misread his line score...he shot well TOO!

jaybate 13 years, 11 months ago

jacobpaul81,I noticed Self said that about the defense. I thought about it for awhile. Here's what I think.To Self, defense is reality. It is not a sliding scale. It is a fixed scale. Anything allowed over 70 is unacceptable and a violation of his religious cannon. Defense, to Self, is how you stay honest with yourself, when you look in the mirror and when you look at the tapes and the stats.Anytime an opponent scores over 70 points, it is for Self the equivalent of getting neutered. I don't think it would matter if KU were playing the Dream Team. If the Dream Team put 85 on them, he would feel as if he and his team had lost their manhoods. He would not make allowances for MJ, Barkley et al.But my reality of defense is that when you play a team with more speed and athleticism than you have, you do have to use a sliding scale. You have to say the point total we allowed was high, but were we all over them and getting stops when we had to...when we weren't compromised by their speed and athleticism?No matter how good of defense you play, you cannot stop a team like UTenn from putting pressure defense on you that is just stifling and overwhelming at times. No matter how good of defense you play, occassionally a UTenn is going to overwhelm you with speed and the pace of the game will pick up and they will score in flurries and it will be all you can do to hold them off. You can't keep a basically exceptionally fast team like UTenn from putting points on the board. You can only break up their runs, not stop them.

jaybate 13 years, 11 months ago

UTenn, IMHO, is a terrific team and vastly underrated at 14 in the AP poll. They've only lost to good teams. And they've got terrific players. They only reason they've lost is they're young. By season's end, UTenn is going to be one six teams capable of winning it all...if Pitt has a bad night in the tourney (more about this in a moment). I mean the pressure UTenn put on KU was phenomenal. I've frankly never seen a team consistently make it so a team almost couldn't get the ball into play. UTenn had a subpar shooting half (partly because of us and partly because they just weren't at their best) and our guys played their best on our home wood, or UTenn probably would have hung another L on us. UTenn's guards were so fast even Tyshawn looked like he'd met his match for speed. Collins didn't beat the UTenn guards with speed, so much as muscle. He was just as fast as they were, but he was waaaaaaay stronger. Over the course of the game, Sarge just bumped them and ground them, and wore them down. Tyshawn, on the other hand, who was trying his usual out-quicking game, met his match and quickly succumbed to foul trouble.Pearl has a potentially great club brewing. Let me repeat that: a potentially great club!But if we get Little back to full health, I think we could be one of the six, too...competing to catch Pitt on an off night. I think its far enough into the season to come out and venture this prediction. Pitt is easily the best team in the country, just as KU was last year. Pitt has everything. Pitt has depth. Power. Springs. Defense. Rebounding. Scoring. They are grown men. Everyone else are either young, or as is the case with UNC, girlie men.Pitt could destroy UNC right now. Pitt could reduce Hansbrough to tears the way KU reduced him to tears. When you look at Pitt's bigs, they have the kind of physically imposing presense that KU's bigs had last year. Although they are more like a whole bunch of DBlocks than the mix of types that KU had last year.Pitt, then six. KU and UTenn could easily be one of the six by years end. OU could be there, though they may lack depth. UConn I haven't seen, but from what I've read, I think Pitt is THE team. Wake Thicket is overrated. Puke? Overrated. Georgetown? Well, they are overrated by definition. Texas? We will beat Texas the last game of the season, if Little is healthy. I'm more worried about TA&M than the Horns.Pitt is the dragon that all the would be knights must dispatch to reach the brass ring and save the princess.

Jacobpaul81 13 years, 11 months ago

Jaybate,I'm with Self. You can't put yourself on a sliding scale. Your defensive intensity is what wins ALL ball games. Offense is only going to get you so far. Look at Roy Williams coached teams as an example. Roy Williams' basketball philosophy is rebound and run. His teams are great at out-scoring opponents cause they move up the court so quickly. Transistion ball is addictive, and players get really used to playing in this manner.The breakdown comes when this offense-aggresive philosophy fails. When a defensive team is just as quick, just as solid, and just as prepared. Look at the Kansas-UNC game last season. Our defense was what won that ball game. Our defense was able to shut down the UNC transition and force UNC to play half court ball. Because so much of the season was devoted to transistion, the players had a hard time adjusting to the intense pressure. They started forcing passes, rushing shots, etc. On the defensive end, they were forced to play full clocks over and over. When your used to using 10 seconds of clock for a score verses 30 seconds, it really throws off a teams rhythm. So my argument here is that you can't use a sliding scale, because if you do, and you allow your team to just go out and out-score opponents, rather than putting high pressure on the ball on the opponents end, what you sacrafice is the abuilty to win games where you are put in a slow down, defensive situation. A great defense is always superior to a great offense. Yes, I agree with you, but I also agree with Bill. We were never going to slow Tenn's high paced offense like Bill would demand. However, at the same time, letting them score that many points is unacceptable. There were many-many opportunities which we allowed Tenn to transition back, cause we were busy celebrating, making freshman mistakes, getting out of our defensive rhythm. 60-65 points would have been acceptable. Oakvillejhawk - I don't see how Collins goes in the draft this year. If he does put his name in the draft, he will go undrafted. Interest is going to be low in Collins. He's a 5'10" point guard with weight issues. He's a late second rounder at best. I could be wrong, but I don't think Collins has an NBA future. Aldrich on the other hand is already a top 15 pick after this season. Another year at Kansas and he's top 10.

Jacobpaul81 13 years, 11 months ago

  1. Most the team doesn't know how to play D without fouling. It's called experiance. No one has any. =)2. Sure, Tenn nailed some long quick 3s. But they weren't contested on them either. Last years team would have been in their face at half court to at least pressure them. Bill will get these guys there eventually. Once again, that's experiance. That's also knowing that "you get your butt back on defense". 3. Sure does speed up a game. I remember Danny and the Miracles. 50-50 at half time. It's not about scoring quickly. It's about denying the other team from scoring. If we get a basket in 10 seconds. So be it. But we've gotta get back and force our opponent to waste the shot clock... something we didn't do in this case. You put up quick points so they never get to defend, but on the other end, you force them to waste time and energy trying to get the ball in the hoop. We just weren't getting back cause many times we were being freshman (or freshman-like), and celebrating too much.From last night... the ultimate reason why defense wins when the ball ain't falling: works great when the shots are falling. But it detracts from defense. When shots don't fall (and I would think after 15 years of watching it, Kansas fans would realize it), you're sunk.

actorman 13 years, 11 months ago

"Once again, that's experiance." Actually, it's experience. But your points are well taken."Actorman, everyone seems not to like the headline, but you. Maybe that says something about you."You're probably right. It says that I think for myself and that I'm not a sheep who blindly goes along with what everyone else thinks. It also says that your definition of "everyone" is different than mine, since there were plenty of people who DIDN'T feel the need to comment on the headline. And of course there's also boulderhawk, who seems to agree with me.One thing's for sure: your need to use "gay" in a sentence as a derogatory term certainly says something about you.

rockchalkjayhawk4ku11 13 years, 11 months ago

Actorman- All I am simply saying is that I was not a fan of the headline, as were most people. I am sorry if I offended you with using the word "gay". I didn't think it'd be that big of a deal!

BigGuyDon 13 years, 11 months ago

A lot of (self)righteous indignation about giving up 86 pts to Tennessee. Should we be worried, or is it just a "game pace" issue. Here's my thoughts:1. The game Tennessee plays will increase the number of possessions in the game. This is going to lead to a higher score, even if you play your normal game. With that agreed, the best way to measure would be game level possession effectiveness, which I don't have access to. But, we can get a pretty good idea from looking at KU's turnover percentage (i.e. impact of press and UT's defense) and UT's effective FG% (i.e. impact or our defense).2. KU's turnover % was 20.4 for the game. That's exactly the same as our TO% for the season. If you think it's high, fine. It's been high all season. UT's defense had little impact on our offense beyond what any other team has had. Frankly, our offensive execution was exceptional given where this team is coming from.3. UT's effective FG% was 46%. That's 3% higher than our season rate. What caused it: well, we gave up slightly better rates in both 2pt and 3pt percentage (a suprise, I was expecting it to be mostly the threes at the end of the game). Looking deeper at the numbers, we gave up 19 offensive rebounds (41% of the rebounds on our end of the floor) which is much higher than the 31% we usually allow. 3pt we gave up a couple lucky ones at the end.So, net result: against a top 20 team, probably the best team in the SEC with several experienced and athletic players (especially in the paint) the only significant decline we saw was getting out rebounded on our defensive boards. And frankly, Self's teams have ALWAYS had a weakness on their own glass; it's just a function of selling out completely on "first shot defense". The kids will get better at recovering, but it shouldn't be unexpected against an opponent with bigs of UT's caliber. If anything, it's something Self needs to get better at. And our offense is waaaaay ahead of where we should have expected given all the young players; it usually takes much longer to integrate newbies into this offense. The kids are right where they should be.

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