Cole Aldrich set the tone for the game in the first half with eight points, five rebounds, four blocks, two assists and one steal as KU led 32-22 at halftime in the semifinals of the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic.
He finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and a career-high six blocks
to propel KU (3-0) to a 73-54 victory over the Huskies (2-2) at the
Sprint Center in Kansas City on Monday night.
Brockman, meanwhile, was a beast on the boards (game-high 18 rebounds),
but came up scoreless in the second half after seven first-half points.
KU’s 2-3 zone limited Brockman’s touches, who
attempted just two shots the second half and went 2 of 9 for the game.
Aldrich’s length at 6-11 also bothered the 6-7 star forward.
The Jayhawks kept on coming after halftime behind strong play from
sophomore Sherron Collins (game-high 18 points), freshmen Marcus Morris
(13 points) and Tyshawn Taylor (10 points), and sophomore Brady Morningstar (three points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals).
KU broke open a 37-28 game in the second half with a 12-0 run. And this
game was basically over.
KU cruised to the victory and will next play Syracuse in the CBE
Classic finals Tuesday at 9:15 p.m. (CST) on ESPN2. The Orangemen beat
Florida in the early semifinal game, 89-83.
Aldrich (6-12 FG) had his best game of his career after his coming-out
party against North Carolina in the Final Four last April.
“I thought he was great,” said KU coach Bill Self.
“He missed two or three bunnies that he would normally make.
The thing that I thought was really impressive about him was he played
defense without fouling. The zone protected him, but he challenged
KU played primarily zone after Collins picked up his second foul midway
through the first half. While the Jayhawks’ uncustomary zone
defense was a hot topic in postgame interviews, Aldrich was the center
“He showed a little bit of everything,” Self said.
“He showed range, he showed one on one defense, he blocked
shots from the weak side. He rebounded in traffic. ... He passed out of
traps. He did a lot of things for a young guy tonight.”
Aldrich indeed came up big playing against Brockman, who entered the
game averaging 20.3 points per game. The sophomore center compared
Brockman to North Carolina star Tyler Hansbrough for his relentless
effort on the boards.
“Brockman showed he’s a beast on the
glass,” Aldrich said. “We were fortunate to play
really good defense on him and hold him to only seven points, which is
not going to happen very often throughout this year.”
Aldrich was pleased with his performance and how KU’s
“I’m definitely starting to feel a lot more
comfortable,” he said. “I missed some easy shots,
but it happens. (I’m) excited to get out there and play.
We’re starting to play well. We’re not quite good
yet, but we’re improving.”
Washington was led by guard Isaiah Thomas with 17 points.
KU’s zone defense limited the Huskies to just 29.2 percent
shooting, while the Jayhawks shot an impressive 50 percent, although
just 2 of 9 from three-point range.
While Aldrich and Collins stole the show (Self said he
“thought our two returning guys totally controlled the
game”) — the KU coach called Morningstar the
“I thought he was terrific,” Self said.
“He played the back line of the zone. He did the best job of
our coverage there. He blocked guys out. ... He did a great job of
feeding the post to give us easy baskets.”
Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar praised the Jayhawks’
strong play. Romar said KU’s defense gave the Huskies
“Kansas played a great game,” Romar said.
“We give them a lot of credit. They executed on both ends of
the court at a very high level.”
“They exposed us as a team of not making the extra
pass,” he added. “They played great defense against
And nobody was better than Aldrich. Brockman was obviously impressed,
and gave KU’s big fella some encouraging advice after the
“(He said), ‘Just keep working hard, just keep
winning,” Aldrich said. “He’s a great
guy. He gives it his all.”
But on this night, Aldrich and KU ruled supreme.
Aldrich Helps Beat Down Huskies, 73-54
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