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
"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.
KU picked up its 19th win of the season with a victory over a pesky Oklahoma State club by shutting…