Collins and KU Hold Back Bears, 84-69

Sherron Collins (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Senior point guard Sherron Collins scored 17 points, moving him into 20th on the KU all-time scoring list, and No. 1 Kansas pulled away in the second half for an 84-69 victory versus Cal at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks are now 11-0, the third time under Coach Bill Self that the team has started with 11-consecutive victories, and extended their nation-best, home winning streak to 50 games in front of a sellout crowd of 16,300. The Golden Bears dropped to 6-4. Kansas is now 15-3 all-time against Cal and has won the last nine meetings.

Four players joined Sherron Collins in double figure points for the Jayhawks. Sophomore forward Marcus Morris finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, freshman guard Xavier Henry scored 12 points and senior center Cole Aldrich chipped in 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, despite being saddled with foul trouble, for top-ranked Kansas. Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor finished with 13 points.

For the second-straight game, Henry had a slow first half before rebounding in the last 20 minutes. Henry finished in double figures for the 11th time in 11 games, shooting five of 10 from the field after scoring only four points in the opening 20 minutes. He also contributed eight rebounds and three assists.

The Jayhawks recorded 17 assists on their 19 field goals in the second half and finished the game with 27 dimes, two short of a season high. Collins finished with five assists, moving him into 10th on the KU all-time assists leaderboard and past former Kansas guard and current Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon.

Despite the sellout crowd and raucous atmosphere, Cal jumped out to an early 7-2 lead that it didn't relinquish until an Aldrich hook shot that put Kansas up 15-14 with a little more than 11 minutes remaining in the first half.

Although neither the Bears nor the Jayhawks shot the ball particularly well to start, both sides began asserting themselves offensively by the middle of the first half. Marcus Morris scored eight-consecutive points during one stretch for Kansas, while Collins chipped in with nine first-half points, passing Brandon Rush on the KU all-time scoring list in the process.

Aldrich finished the first half with eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks, preventing the Bears from working the ball inside and forcing 7-foot-3 center Max Zhang to the bench with two fouls in the opening two minutes. Cal relied mostly on outside jump shots to keep the game close, draining four three-pointers and knocking down a variety of mid-range jumpers.

But despite trailing early, the Jayhawks went to the locker room with a 40-39 advantage.

The teams traded baskets to start the second half before Kansas eventually pulled away behind the play of Henry, Marcus Morris and Collins. The lead hovered between four and eight points for most of the first 10 minutes before the home team embarked on an 18-11 run to put the game out of reach.

Self's team shot 55 percent from the field and held Cal to 39 percent shooting, the 10th time KU has held its opponent to less than 40 percent field-goal shooting.

Kansas outscored Cal 42-18 in the paint and also racked up 20 fastbreak points to the visitor's two. With his 10 rebounds, Aldrich also moved into 20th on the KU all-time rebounding list as well.

Patrick Christopher led Cal with 21 points and Jamal Boykins chipped in with 15 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.

The Jayhawks will be back in action on Tuesday, December 29 when they take on the Belmont Bruins at 8 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.

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