KU Grounds Eagles, 85-53

Quick start by Morningstar helps KU bounce back from first loss. More from Phog.net's Jim Williamson, inside.

It took the Coppin State Eagles 18 minutes to do what Kansas guard Brady Morningstar did in eight.

Morningstar hit his first four shots – all from behind the three-point arc – in the first eight minutes of Friday night's game at Allen Field House to ring up a quick 12 points. He finished the half with 14 on 5-of-7 shooting, including 4-of-6 from behind the arc. He also pulled down six rebounds.

Meanwhile, CSU didn't hit the 12-point mark until just 1:56 was left in the first half. They finished the first period with 17 en route to a 41-17 halftime deficit. CSU shot just 6-of-27 (22%) in the first half, including 1-of-7 from behind the arc.

“He played great,” KU coach Bill Self said of his guard's effort. “He shot it terrific, but he also grabbed seven boards, he was active. I thought Brady was the best performer in the game for us.”

Morningstar said it was just another day at the office.

“It's just another game. I was fortunate to hit some shots, and my teammates got me the ball, and I shot the ball well.”

That big first-half lead came in handy, though. The game was never in doubt, but Coppin State gave the Jayhawks plenty to work on in the second half. The Eagles relaxed and shots started falling. CSU chipped away at the and trailed by 17 with 10:02 – plenty of time to make a run – left in the game.

Self said, however, that CSU's offense wasn't the only thing that relaxed. He was frustrated enough with KU's defense that he called a timeout with just over 10 minutes remaining to let his team know how he felt.

“The biggest reason I was upset in the second half was because we didn't ever stop 'em. We didn't guard 'em. The law of averages says that they're going to make some shots they didn't make in the first half, but we didn't guard 'em. The first 15 minutes, we really guard 'em. But (in the second half) we didn't guard, we weren't intent, there was less pressure,” he said.

Center Cole Aldrich echoed his coach, saying that the Jayhawks hit “a little slump” once they got a big lead which ballooned to as many as 31 early in the second period.

“Our defense the second half wasn't quite so good,” Aldrich said. “That's something we're going to emphasize tomorrow in practice before we play Monday night.”

KU came out of the timeout to put away the Eagles, though. On the next possession, guard Sherron Collins drove the lane and scored a traditional three-point play to make it 62-42, but Coppin State's Tywain McKee – who was the Eagles' lone highlight with 17 points – drilled a long-range three-pointer to keep the lead at 17.

On the ensuing four possessions, KU rebuilt their lead while holding Coppin State scoreless. Morningstar made one of two free throws to make it an 18-point game, and on the next possession, Aldrich made a sweeping right-handed hook to get the score to 65-45 game. Guard Travis Releford made a free throw to make it 66-45 and then scored a layup on KU's next possession. That forced a  Coppin State timeout and effectively put a stop to any ideas the Eagles had of springing an upset. KU finished the game on a 23-8 run.

Cole Aldrich continued his good play, leading the Jayhawks with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Morningstar racked up a new career high of 21 points – in fact, he had a new career high just eight minutes into the contest – and collected seven rebounds. Guard Sherron Collins had 11 points – nine in the second half – and eight assists, and backcourt mate Tyshawn Taylor collected 10 points, five boards and six assists before leaving the game in the second half with a sprained ankle.

 Taylor says he came down on a CSU player's foot and will be fine.

“I'll definitely play Monday,” he said.

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