KU Grins and Bears It In Win Over Baylor

KU's Russell Robinson (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Kansas hit the century mark for the second time this year, albeit in an unlikely fashion, and five Jayhawks scored in double figures in a 100-90 indoor track meet Saturday night in Allen Field House.

The Jayhawks managed to score 100 points without hitting a three-point shot. They made 32-of-63 field goals (50.8%) shooting and knocked down 36-of-46 free throws (78.4%). KU was 0-for-7 from behind the arc in the first half and only attempted two more in the second.

KU head coach Bill Self was stuck to think of another time he’d seen a team score 100 points without a single three.

“That’s unbelievable,” he said. “I can’t imagine that. Also, to take 63 shots and to only shoot nine (threes)? That’s not going to happen very often.”

Darrell Arthur collected a 23-and-10 double-double, and Russell Robinson scored a season high 22 points to lead KU to a win over the hair-on-fire offense of the Baylor Bears, but it was Sherron Collins who ignited a second-half 64-point explosion for the Jayhawks.

Self said, “Shady (Arthur) was terrific, Russell was solid and played great,but Sherron was the spark.”

“In the second half, he changed the pace of the game. He looked faster tonight than he’s looked all year.”

Collins explained that this was one of those nights when the Jayhawks are playing well, but they’re just “dead.”

“Nobody’s speaking up, nobody’s sayin’ nothin’, so basically we just needed a spark and I tried to come in and provide that.”

Collins scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, repeatedly penetrating the Bears defense  for transition lay-ups and short jumpshots. He also keyed a brief mid-second half sequence that put the upstart Bears away.

With 8:42 left and the game still in question at 63-56, Collins picked up an Arthur block of a Josh Lomers shot in the lane. He took the ball coast-to-coast and laid it in to make the score 65-56.

Fourteen seconds later, Collins collected a rebound and pushed the ball up the floor at warp factor 12, dishing an assist to Brandon Rush coming in from the wing for a lay-up. Kansas 67, Baylor 56.

Baylor called a timeout to stop the bleeding, but on the ensuing inbounds pass, Mario Chalmers quickly stole the ball from Lomers and pushed the ball up the floor to – you guessed it – Sherron Collins who laid it in. A seven-point game just a minute prior was now a 13-point game. There was still plenty of game to be played, but the Jayhawks were now firmly in control. Only a late flurry of Baylor threes from ridiculously long range kept the game respectable.

“(Collins) was a big spark. Got down in transition, got the crowd into it and we all fed off that the rest of the game,” Robinson said.

Collins’ health was a topic of post-game conversation, as always. “I’m probably 90, 95 percent now,” he said. “My weight’s stayed down, and I’m just now getting my legs back under me.”

The second half fireworks were a nice complement to a dud of a first half.

KU found themselves trailing, 20-13, at the 10:03 mark thanks to a dreadfully slow start in an opening period that just never found a flow.

Cue Russell Robinson. He led the Jayhawks with nine first-half points and his all-around solid play kept the Jayhawks close.

Arthur said, “Russell was terrific. He got some loose balls and got the team going a couple of times. He did a good job.”

“When we were struggling, Russell played really well,” Self said.

KU found themselves leading by just three, 36-33, at the half.

Robinson didn’t let up in the second half, scoring 13 more points. He finished 4-of-8 from the field and a stellar 14-of-15 from the free throw line.

Darrell Arthur stayed out of foul trouble and logged 33 minutes. The result was a 23-point, 10-rebound outing for the sophomore big. Arthur scored 16 and grabbed six boards in the second half.

“He didn’t get early fouls like he usually does.” Robinson said of Arthur. “He played at a great pace. We need him to continue to play that way.”

“Shady played pretty well. He was sped up to start the game, and then after he made a couple of shots, he got into a little rhythm, offensively.”

Joining this trio in double figures for Kansas were Darnell Jackson, who scored 10 while fighting through foul trouble, and Mario Chalmers, who had 10 to go along with seven assists.

The Jayhawks said the difference between the two halves was simple.

Collins said, “Be more aggressive. We tried to come out with a tougher presence.”

“We got out in transition and took control of the game. We didn’t hit any threes, so we attacked the basket,” Robinson added.

The coach was even impressed with his team’s second period play.

“Second half, offensively, is probably as good as we’ve played all year,” Self said. “We go 26-of-32 from the line, shoot 63 percent form the field and have one turnover. That’s about as good as we can do, offensively.”

“Unfortunately, they did almost as good, offensively.”

This brings us to an unpleasant subject: Baylor’s 90 points, 79 of which came from their guards. Don’t be too quick to jump on the Kansas backcourt for lousy defense, Self said. He admits they need to guard the ball better, but he also said to keep in mind that the Baylor backcourt is, offensively, the best KU will face all season.

“Before we evaluate our guards’ defense, we should probably see how many hard baskets (Baylor) made,” he cautioned. “If they’re taking hard shots, the guards are doing their job. Penetration hurt us, but there at the end, they got on a roll that wasn’t as much bad defense as it was them making really hard shots.”

Baylor guard Curtis Jerrells poured in a game-high 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including 4-of-8 on fall-away, off-balance 26-footers. Remember those shots Missouri’s Clarence Gilbert used to take all the time? Jerrells was making them Saturday night.

LaceDarius Dunn had 23 for the Bears and is a stone-cold lock for my All-Big XII Awesome Name Team. Henry Dugat also added 15 more.

“I’m not sure offensively we’ll play any other guards who will play any better than what Baylor played tonight. I could be wrong, but I hope no one’s going to score 79 from the guard spot against us again.”

KU extends their record to 23-1 overall, 8-1 in the conference. Baylor falls to 17-5, 5-3.

Next up: the Jayhawks hit the road for another ESPN Big Monday appearance, this one against the #12-ranked Texas Longhorns. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. or whenever the riveting 46-44 triple-overtime Big East snoozefest is over on ESPN.

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