Jayhawks Rock Tigers
March 1, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)--Kansas landed an 18-1 knockout punch in the first 10 minutes, and then made sure Missouri didn't get back in the fight this time.
Sherron Collins scored 25 points and dished out several key assists in the take-command run and the No. 15 Jayhawks took command of the Big 12 race by trouncing the 11th-ranked Tigers 90-65 Sunday.
Now, with a Wednesday night game at Texas Tech and a regular-season finale at home Saturday against No. 25 Texas, the Jayhawks (24-5, 13-1 Big 12) stand on the cusp of a fifth straight title in what was supposed to be an inexperienced team's transition season.
"I'm falling in love with this team," coach Bill Self said. "They try hard and they're getting more and more aggressive all the time."
Cole Aldrich had 19 points and 14 rebounds in a surprisingly lopsided win over the team that came back from a 14-point deficit to beat them 62-60 last month at Missouri. It was also the nation-leading 40th straight victory at home for the Jayhawks, who lost every starter from last year's NCAA championship team.
"I think today was just one of those days that went well for us," said Collins, who also had six assists and five rebounds. "I think we had a tick in our ear after what happened in Columbia."
Leo Lyons had 20 points and DeMarre Carroll had 16 for Missouri (24-5, 11-3), which had won seven in a row and exceeded last year's victory total by eight games.
"There is a certain confidence you play with at home," Lyons said. "We just didn't match their intensity. It was the whole game. When we played well in the second half, it was too late. They beat us on the boards and they beat us on everything."
Tyshawn Taylor had 15 points for Kansas as the Jayhawks beat their archrivals in Lawrence for the 10th straight year.
Missouri was leading 4-3 before any thoughts of another close game evaporated. Markieff Morris had two buckets to start an 18-1 run as Missouri, one of the nation's highest-scoring teams, went more than 4 minutes without scoring. The Jayhawks took a 21-5 lead and were up 45-19 halftime.
"We missed a lot of easy shots early in the game," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "We shot 20 percent in the first half and made eight field goals. That is not typical of our team, but hats off to Kansas."
The 6-foot-11 Aldrich, who had his 17th double-double, put an exclamation point on the big win when he took a lob from Taylor, leaped into the air and brought 16,300 fans to their feet with a thunderous one-handed jam that made it 86-60.
"That was fun," Aldrich said. "Tyshawn got into the paint and got the ball to me just right. I don't know how high I got, but that was fun."
Missouri's pressure defense which led to 27 Kansas turnovers in their first meeting was not nearly as effective in the rematch. Kansas had only 16 turnovers and shot a robust 56 percent from the floor while Missouri hit only 36 percent and was just 3-of-17. Kansas went 8-for-14 from 3-point range.
"I thought the score was going to be like this the whole time," Taylor said. "I knew we were going to come out with a different mind-set than we did last time. We were making shots and attacking their pressure."
Only three Tigers scored in the first half, and Lyons had 11 of their 19 points.
Lyons and Carroll sparked a brief Missouri spurt beginning the second half, with Lyons cutting the lead to 19 points with a pair of free throws. But Collins and Tyrel Reed drilled back-to-back 3-pointers and the Jayhawks quickly stretched their lead to 60-35.
"Coach said, `We're in the same predicament we were in in Columbia,"' Aldrich said. "We knew they were going to make some runs. We tried to limit their runs. I think we did a really good job today."