Brett Gifford, Albany's 6-11 starting center, is from Columbia, MO. Jayhawk fans greeted him appropriately.
Quick note: One has to wonder how Albany's Gifford ever got out of
Columbia. In 18 minutes – yes, the starting center played 18
whole minutes – he had four points and four fouls. He
would've fit right in at another college located in Columbia.
Anyway, the game was over almost as soon as the boos for Gifford
subsided. KU jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead on a dunk by F Markieff Morris, a short jumper by C Cole Aldrich and a three-point shot by G
Sherron Collins. Albany tried to scrape back into it, but at 9-6,
Kansas went on a 13-0 run. Albany's G Tim Ambrose made a nice twisting
lay-up at the 9:20 mark, ending an eight-minute Great Dane scoreless
The Jayhawks held a 40-19 halftime lead. Head coach Bill Self was
pleased with the way his team played but there was still plenty for him
to pick at. He said “silly” fouls and unforced
turnovers gave away too many Kansas possessions.
“I thought we played good the first half, but we should've
hung 50 (points), the way we shot the ball,” Self said.
The Jayhawks shot 65 percent from the field in the first half,
including 6-of-8 from behind the three-point line. G Tyrel Reed came
off the bench and looked like he was tossing golf balls through a hula
hoop, going 3-of-3 from long range. He added a traditional three-point
play in the second half to finish with 12 points, tying a season high.
“Some nights, you're off from the field and you can't find
your rhythm, but tonight, that wasn't the case. Shooting's contagious.
The whole team shot well,” Reed said.
KU finished the game shooting 56.3 percent, including 47.4% from behind
the arc. Meanwhile, Albany threw their hat in the ring for the title of
worst shooting team in the history of organized basketball by shooting
30 percent for the night (18-of-60).
“I thought we played pretty hard and I thought we played
pretty good. I thought our first-shot defense was good. We did some
good things. For the most part, that was a much better effort than we
had in the second half against Arizona,” Self said.
Aldrich quickly asserted himself in the second half, thanks to plenty
of touches from the Kansas back court. He scored 12 second-half points
on his way to a game-high 20. He added six rebounds and three blocks,
leading the Jayhawks in those two categories.
A good game was important for Aldrich after a disappointing performance
in the loss to Arizona, Self said.
“Cole was good, offensively. He didn't handle a couple of
double teams very well, but I thought Cole played well. That was a good
bounce-back game for him.”
Self explained that it's not just Aldrich who should be benefiting from
the concerted effort by the guard to feed the post. All the bigs should
be getting more touches and putting the ball through the hoop more.
“We're trying to make more of a conscious effort to get (the
ball) to (Cole) and to all our big guys. It's not the guards' fault
that they aren't gettin' it; it's also the big guys' fault because
they're not doing their job. We tried to give them some incentive to
post closer to the basket, which will make (the basket) a much easier
target,” the coach said.
Despite the improved effort and good shooting, lack of rebounding and
inside presence were concerns once again for the Jayhawks against the
under-sized, out-manned Le Grand Danois. Albany matched KU
Aldrich said that this number once again points to an area in which the
young Jayhawks must improve.
“We knew they were going to hit the offensive boards hard,
and they got 18 offensive boards. They got 18 to our eight. So, they
stole some extra possessions that way. That's one things we've really
got to work on as big guys and as perimeter players: just hit our guy
and go get the ball.”
The young Jayhawks will get another true test of where they're at this
Saturday afternoon when they play the 14th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers
at Allen Field House. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m., and you can
watch the game on ESPN.
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