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Sherron and Marcus Combine for 50, Kansas Holds Off Baylor, 81-75

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Vegas had no idea.  Coming into tonight, the Vegas line was set at 16.5 points.  For a game that never got anywhere close to that spread, I never got too worried.  A bit worried, yes.  But, not to the point of saying, "we're going to lose."  It was said on Monday and in every thread leading up to this game - Baylor is good, and it will not be an easy game.  Not many people (myself included) had seen much of the Bears to this point this year, but after watching the Jayhawks struggle to put them away, even after extending to a ten point lead with about six minutes to go, they have to be considered the fourth best team in the Big 12.  Sure, Kansas didn't play to their potential, but a lot of that can be attributed to the talent of Baylor.

Player of the Game:  Sherron Collins - 28 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 9-16 field goals, 5-9 three point field goals, 5-6 free throws.  More of an efficiency and a "get your money's worth" award than anything.  The 28 points were obviously tops on the team, but the fashion in which he got them made him the key, once again.  Five-for-nine from three - it's just not supposed to be that easy.  It's going to be a sad, sad day when Mr. Collins is no longer wearing a Kansas-emblazened uniform.

Bears vs Jayhawks boxscore

Bears vs Jayhawks recap

What Went Right

A legitimate second option has emerged on offense.  We all know that Sherron Collins is a bad dude, and can put the team on his back and will them to win.  We've seen it.  Too many times, probably.  Regardless, he needs a running mate.  Well, a 6'9" bruiser with the ability to go outside and run that has averaged 20.3 points per game over the last three games might fit the bill.  Marcus Morris has (at least for the time being) supplanted Cole Aldrich as the number two option on the offensive end.  He has reverted back to his ways of early non-con play after a brief hiatus back to his freshman year. (six points in two games vs. Tennessee and Cornell)  He has even learned to shoot free throws, apparently, going six-for-seven against Baylor, including two important ones in the final two minutes.

Baylor frontline tripod held to 19 points.  Early and often foul trouble was the reason for much of this.  Cole and the Morris twins did a good job of being aggressive offensively and drawing early fouls.  7-footer Josh Lomers had three fouls in the first half and only managed to stay on the court for fourteen minutes all night.  He never took a shot.  Ekpe Udoh is a darn good player.  He showed flashes of just how good he will likely be next year, but with Lomers out much of the game, he drew Cole defensively and, well, we all know what that usually means.

Xavier Henry channels Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers.  If your shot isn't falling on the offensive end and you're not in rhythym with your teammates offensively, play hard defense.  That will keep you on the floor.  Xavier did just that.  He had seven steals and played much of the night against the taller Quincy Acy, holding him to ten points.  Granted, a few of those so-called "steals" came early on plays where Baylor guards got out of position and made bad judgment passes while in the air, right into the hands of the waiting Henry.  Still, you don't get those credited to yourself without being in the right place defensively.  Many kudos to him for continuing to play hard when his shot is still not dropping.  In due time, young grasshopper.


What Could Have Gone Better

Markieff Morris scores 4 points - that concludes your bench scoring report.  Part of that comes from Brady Morningstar being inserted into the starting lineup, taking his recent productivity from the bench scoring category to the starters' tally.  Still, he only scored five in Wednesday's game.  Head coach Bill Self simply needs more minutes in a game to play all of his pieces.  The games (not to mention confidence) of guys that are not receiving regular minutes are suffering.  This is, however, no fault of coach Self whatsoever. (Blame that Naismith guy who made up the game.)  It falls upon them to work harder in practice and do things right to earn more minutes.  That said, talented players will always be talented and are likely to shine when given the opportunity.

Light switch needs to stay on.  I don't know why they do it.  I don't really know how they do it, either.  I don't think they do.  But, they go through stretches where offensively the players on court look like they've never run an offensive set in their life.  Repetitive passes around the permieter and standing around have become far too much the norm.  Some of that could be attributed to Baylor's 1-3-1 zone being something rarely seen.  The only problem is that it wasn't just Wednesday.  It's been every game since the Cornell near-catastrophe.  Things seem to go smoother when Sherron takes his man off the dribble and dishes to Cole for an easy dunk or to the perimeter for a three.  Hmmm....

Xavier's shot continues to fall - off the face of the Earth.  Is it confidence?  Is it mechanics?  Is it a mental block?  Whatever it is, it would be great to get over it in a hurry.  I said in the Open Game Thread that it looks like he has a severe "hitch" in his shooting motion.  Maybe I'm right.  Maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about and that's why I'm not playing Division 1 basketball, and am instead writing about it.  All I know is that he needs to regain his sweet shooting stroke from early non-con play.  It was nice back in the day when Sherron wasn't relied upon so much to score, score, score - which now seems a decade ago.  A lot of how far Kansas goes in the tournament rides on him.  As we saw last year, a good one-two combo can only take you so far.  You need that third scoring option.  He would be the best at it.  After all, scoring was the reputation that preceded him. 


Just For The Record

I may have been way off base after the Texas Tech game with my assessment of Tyshawn Taylor:

Tyshawn Taylor is going to be just fine.  I have thought about it ever since this comment on Thursday afternoon.  It cannot be said any better than that.  It only makes Tyshawn's comments from earlier this week make more sense.  Come this time next year when Taylor is looking like an all-conference point guard, people will be saying, "he finally gets it."  But, I will be telling them, "he got it all along; he just needed his chance to shine."  And, shine he will.

He ended up playing fifteen minutes in all, but the vast majority (as in twelve or thirteen) of them came all in the second half.  Either he isn't practicing hard or his poor play of late has landed him in the doghouse.  If it's the former, you can count on not seeing him much in the near future.  Hopefully, it's the second and (once again) he "learns" from a short benching and gets it going.  For someone who became the de facto third option last year late in the season, he has fallen quite a long way.


Random Musings from the Boxscore

  • Cole took seven shots from the field - keeping in tact his ascending shot total, which will assuredly culminate in him having a 40 point game by the end of the year.
  • Marcus Morris fouled out.  I didn't even know.
  • Zero blocks.  That is quite strange.  Cole hadn't even had a game all year without a block - himself.  For the entire team to go block-less is surprising as much as they were superior inside.
  • Tyshawn had five assists in fifteen minutes.  Zero turnovers.  Now I feel stupid for questioning him just above.  Who gets him?
  • 52.1 percent is above 50 percent.  The streak ends.  But, not the one that counts - 53 straight home court wins.