Balanced KU Attack Leads Jayhawks Over OSU
KU's Mario Little (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
KU's Mario Little (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Phog.net Senior Writer
Posted Feb 7, 2009


Mario Little has 13, leads four Jayhawks in double figures as Kansas defeats Oklahoma State, 78-67, in Allen Fieldhouse.

A quick start by Kansas combined with an Oklahoma State Cowboy team that couldn't shoot straight for 30 minutes to give the Jayhawks a workmanlike 78-67 win in Allen Field House Saturday afternoon.

“I thought we played really good at times,” KU coach Bill Self said. “(Oklahoma State) missed shots, but I don't think they got a lot of good looks the first 25 minutes of the game. We got out to a lead and they never cut it to single digits I don't think, so there were some good things that happened.”

Mario Little led the balanced Jayhawks in scoring for the first time in his career with 13 points. Cole Aldrich scored 12 points and pulled down 18 rebounds. Sherron Collins collected a dozen as did Tyshawn Taylor. Marcus Morris and Brady Morningstar added nine each.

Little was most valuable when the Cowboys went to a zone defense, trying to force KU to score from the perimeter. Little managed to get the ball in the middle of the zone on several opportunities. Self gave Little credit after the game for making plays against OSU's tough defense.

“He's got a natural feel to slither around in there,” Self said. “He's gettin' better, more comfortable. Against a zone, he's as good as we have in that post area.”

The inability to finish strong, however, reared its head again. KU led by 20 with under nine minutes left in the game and held off a barrage of turnovers and Cowboy three-point shots in the final minutes to get the win. Self was frustrated by the final minutes.

“We finished the game miserably, so the last taste I have in my mouth is how we finished,” he said. “We've gotta do better than that at Missouri, handling pressure.

Overall, however, he was pleased with the effort (“We play hard. We don't always play smart, but we usually play hard.”) and the result (“It was an efficient win until the last seven minutes or so.”). The victory makes KU 19-4 overall and a perfect 8-0 at the midway point of the conference schedule.

Last year, the #3-ranked Jayhawks lost to Oklahoma State, 61-60, in Stillwater. OSU guard Byron Eaton poured in 26 points and controlled the game, especially in the second half. Self credited Cole Aldrich with making a huge difference in Saturday's game.

“Cole's ball screen defense was a lot better today,” Self said. “He did a good job gettin' out there, helping Sherron (Collins) contain Eaton on ball screens. If you watch last year's game, that's exactly how they beat us. I wish I could go back and guard it like that last year. Last year, he totally dominated the game. He had a good game today with 10 assists, he wasn't able to do much during the teeth of the game.”

Kansas now find themselves getting into what Self calls “the meat” of the season this week. They have another short turnaround for a Big Monday contest against the Slavers in Columbia and a hot Kansas State team in Manhattan next Saturday. He acknowledges this is a huge week for his young team, but he's also very pleased with where they're at, especially their record. Being 19-4 is a surprise, he said, but it's not the biggest surprise.

“The biggest thing to me is that we've won four games from home. Even some of our wins that I didn't think gave the appearance of being great wins at the time have turned out to be better wins.”

Cowboy Obi Muonelo led all scorers with 19 points. Teammate Marshall Moses knocked down 18 points to go with nine rebounds. James Anderson had 10 points and nine boards for the Aggies.


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