Since this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity, we'll lead off one more post with this topic.
"Pretty awesome. Sounds like an opera singer." - J. Brady McCollough on Saturday's rendition of the national anthem, sung by our very own Bensa.
Accoring to the KU beat writer from the Kansas City Star, our boy knocked 'em dead. Well done, sir. Video to come, folks.
The Usual Routine. After what has become the routine slow start to lesser conference opposition, (lead only by two as late as six minutes into the second half) the Jayhawks went on another lethal run and put the game out of reach. Also, as has become the part of the routine, it was done so with Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich sitting on the bench. Maybe the rest of the team doesn't feel as if they have to defer to Sherron and Cole with them out, or maybe the other team relaxes a bit, lets up and pays for it. Although, I wouldn't suggest that, because there's still quite a bit of talent on the floor, even without those two in. But, whatever it is, the lineup of Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar, Xavier Henry and the Morris twins has become a deadly group. Also, it has to make you feel better about next year, too. And, if the "WE WANT SELBY" fan-boys get their wish, we'll have another higly talented young man dawning the crimson and blue to make another run next year, with a still loaded squad.
Player of the Game - Cole Aldrich - 11 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks. While he wasn't the highest scorer, he racked up his eleven points on a highly efficient five-of-six shooting night. When you don't get the ball much because your guards are too busy jacking threes, you have to make the most of them. Well done, big fella.
What Went Right
Xavier, Xavier, Xavier, where you been, man? Just when things got good on Monday night in defeating Texas pretty handily on the road, they got better Saturday night when the formerly super frosh Xavier Henry returned to early season form by scoring sixteen points on five-of-nine shooting. He had a quick run in the middle of the first half where he scored on an inbounds play and got fouled, then followed it up with back to back threes. The team then went on to miss about the next ten attempts from three, but we'll get to that later. All through his struggles, I maintained the opinion that he had somewhat, if not major, of a hitch in his shot. On the back to back threes, there was no hitch; just smooth, free-floating orange bombs raining down from the Allen Fieldhouse rafters. He played well Monday against Texas and I said then that getting him back to early season form would be a huge asset to this team. So, I'll say it again - if Xavier is back, this team will go far.
Spreading the points wealth. Xavier was the high scorer, (16) Sherron, Cole and Marcus Morris all had eleven, Tyshawn Taylor and Tyrel both had seven. And, the minutes were shared a bit, as well. We were given confirmation, once again, that Elijah Johnson is still, in fact, alive. That's always good to see. He's fun to watch. He jumps high. Almost like he has Flubber on the bottom of his shoes.
What Could Have Gone Better
Sherron was not right in this game, and it was fairly obvious. Well, at least it was to me. And, the team struggled for it. Without him driving the lane and penetrating at will, the team settled for too many threes - whether they be considered "good" or "bad" threes, you can't simply rely on the three point shot to get by. Tyrel, who is probably the best pure shooter on the team, had an open look in the second half, caught the ball on the left wing, made a shot fake and went to the basket and banked in a runner. It's as simple as "the further the shot is from the basket, the higher the chance it doesn't go in." That's obvious. This team can shot the three fairly well, yes. But, to seem to try and rely on that is not smart. 7-27 from three. Twelve free throws taken, compared to 20 for Iowa State. Disagree if you will.
Free throw shooting was great, (10-12, 83.3%) but that's not enough trips to the line. I'm only nitpicking at this point.
Random Musings from the Boxscore
- As Xavier continues to trend upwards, Brady is beginning to go the opposite direction. That's two less than stellar games from Morningstar in a row. Mr. Henry also played more minutes than Brady, 22-17. Remember that when Xavier was really struggling, his playing time fell to the fifteen minutes per game range.
- Only nine turnovers. Very nice to see after much higher numbers the last eight games or so.
- Expect Cole to have a large positive integer in Warden's +/-. Only one missed shot, no missed free throws only one turnover and three fouls. The fouls negate his three blocks. That number should be about 20.