Xavier Henry led five Jayhawks in double figures with 24 points,
including four three-pointers, and six rebounds. Cole Aldrich was Cole
Aldrich, kicking in 17 and 10. Tyshawn Taylor had 17 points and six
assists in his first start in weeks. Sherron Collins had 13 points and
seven dimes. Finally, Markieff Morris came off the bench for 11 points
and seven rebounds.
KU out-rebounded the Buffs 40-25 and held them to 44.6 percent shooting
for the contest.
KU never trailed in the game, building a 21-point first-half lead and
generally slapping around the same Colorado team that took them to
overtime (without their best player) just 17 days ago. The Buffs
managed to keep the game within arm's reach in the first half, thanks
to some defensive lapses by Kansas and a streak of good three-point
shooting. A buzzer-beating lay-up by Xavier Henry staked KU to a 48-34
Despite playing well, the Jayhawks were disappointed that they failed
to put Colorado away early on.
“We still let 'em back in the game,” Collins lamented. “At times, we
still broke down – little mistakes we gotta correct.”
“They had 14 points with six minutes left in the first half or
whatever, and then we just don't guard 'em after that. Then they score
20 points the last six minutes against us, so that's not very good,”
“We gave up 74 (points) in our building,” he continued. “We didn't
knock anybody out like we should've. That should've been a knockout
blow, and we didn't deliver it.”
Interestingly, KU pulled away in the second half in atypical fashion.
It wasn't one big 21-4 run that put Colorado away. The Jayhawks went on
mini-runs of the 7-0 and 8-2 variety that created some space between
them and Ralphie and accounted for the final 20-point margin. Colorado
wasn't out of the game until the final 10 minutes, but one never really
got the feeling that the Buffaloes were ever really in the game very
long after the first media time-out, either.
Self was pleased with his offense. For the first time this year, just
about everyone who was expected to contribute did.
“I think that's about as good as we've been as far as having multiple
guys on,” Self admitted. “I thought Tyshawn was great. I thought X was
great. Cole was great and everybody else still played well.”
Henry picked up his first 20-point game in the Big 12 on a variety of
shots, from long-range threes to drives in the lane. Taylor poked at
Henry a little at the press table with, “Coulda had 30 if he'd made
some more threes.”
“My teammates were findin' me and the shots were fallin',” Henry said,
matter-of-factly. “When you got a wide open shot, take it. If
somebody's crowdin' ya, go ahead and take it to the rim.”
But his performance wasn't so matter-of-fact to his teammates. Henry
was asked if he was relieved to get that first 20-point conference
game, and Collins grabbed the microphone and volunteered, “I'm gonna
answer for him: yes!”
Self said that Henry appeared to be out of his “freshman funk.”
“The last four games, he's been as good a player as we have on our
team,” the coach said.
In his dual role as Henry's press agent and point guard, Collins played
a key role on the offensive end of the floor for the first time in a
“Yeah, it's a relief, but I knew it was gonna come back around. I
wasn't down in my head. The shots just weren't fallin' the last two
games. It happens.”
He said that he felt fresher, post-game, than he'd felt in some time,
thanks to his team's performance – Taylor's, in particular – and
knowing he can turn the point guard reins over to teammates who will
respond. It's also worth noting that Collins played just 29 minutes,
which is three-and-a-half below his season average.
In a crowd of terrific performances, though, it was Taylor's afternoon.
His 17 points came on 6-of-7 shooting after Self announced midweek that
he would return to the starting line-up, replacing Brady Morningstar.
Maybe Taylor's biggest contribution, however, was the bounce he brought
to the Jayhawks' step. That spark was a welcome sign from a Kansas team
that had played tired the last two games. He said he was just following
“I felt real good today,” Taylor said. “I was just bein' aggressive
like Coach wants me to be. I wasn't really thinkin' about scoring; I
was just thinkin' about findin' my teammates and playin' defense, and
my shots were fallin'. I was making a lot of easy lay-ups, I made the
one wide-open three I had, so I was just being aggressive.”
Self said his decision to start Taylor was to give the team a little
more... well, I'll let him say it.
“I wanted to give us a quicker start with a little but more 'oomph' –
the term I learned in Oklahoma – to get us some speed, some energy. I
don't know it's gonna get us off to a faster start, but I thought we
should really get after people better. Nothin' against Brady, but
Tyshawn's the fastest guy we have on our team, so he should be able to
do things that other guys can't.”
All of this came together to allow KU fans to see something else they
hadn't seen in weeks: the KU bench emptying. Everyone in uniform
played. Thomas Robinson and Elijah Johnson each helped out with a late
KU wraps up their NCAA prep class of three straight Saturday-Monday
series when they welcome the underachieving Oklahoma Sooners to the
friendly confines Monday night. Like every other game in the
conference, however, Self said this one isn't a gimme.
“They haven't had the year some people thought they'd have, but they're
very capable,” Self cautioned.