Bang!

He's only 5-11 (if that tall), but Sherron Collins has been playing big in a game of giants all season. His latest commanding performance came in KU's 70-53 victory over Nebraska Saturday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse.

The junior point guard scored a game-high 22 points and came up big when it mattered most. No shot was bigger than his fadeaway three-point bomb from the right wing at the shot clock buzzer with 10:42 remaining, which gave KU a 48-35 lead and some much-needed breathing room and momentum against the pesky Huskers.  

The Allen Fieldhouse crowd exploded and this game was basically over. Nebraska never got closer than 13 points the remainder of the game.

"Actually, it was my fault," Sherron Collins said with a smile about his game-changing three ball. "I didn't pay attention to the shot clock. Coaches kept yelling at me, ‘Go Sherron. Go Sherron.' I picked my dribble up and was able to get it back. I knew it was going in, actually.

"It was a big shot. I think it was one of my better plays all year."

And does Collins practice that shot?

"A little bit," he grinned. "Coach doesn't like me fading, but I don't think he'll have a problem with it now."

Collins hit big shots all game for Kansas. With KU leading just 19-12 with 6:19 remaining in the first half, Collins took over. He attempted his first shot of the game and swished a jumper. Collins quickly swished three more jump shots for eight straight points, extending the Jayhawks' lead to 27-16.

Then in the second half when Nebraska charged back and cut KU's lead to 35-29 with 17:32 left, Collins drove the middle of the lane from the left baseline and scored a layup, got fouled, and made the conventional three-point play. After a free throw by Cole Aldrich and a layup by Markieff Morris, Collins broke loose in the open court for another layup, stretching KU's lead to 43-32.

"I was just going in there to make something happen," Collins said. "I was able to make another layup and pushed the lead back up. I just tried to be aggressive."

On a day when KU didn't have much offensive rhythm (Aldrich was the only other Jayhawk in double figures with 18 points), Collins kept attacking the tenacious Huskers' defense. Collins, whose three-pointer with 7:22 remaining gave KU its biggest lead of the  game, 56-39, went 8 of 12 from the field, 2 of 4 from three-point range, and 4 of 5 at the free-throw line. He also dished out four assists with two steals and no turnovers.

Collins' play drew rave reviews from KU coach Bill Self, Nebraska coach Doc Sadler, and the Huskers' players.

"For a guard to get 22 points on 12 shots is pretty tough to do when you don't shoot a lot of free throws," Self said. "He was great. He did super."

Nebraska just couldn't stop him.

"He was on fire," NU senior guard Steve Harley said. "I don't know how many points he had, but it seemed like he couldn't miss. When they needed a basket, he hit the big basket when it really counted."

"He hit some timely shots," Sadler added. "With 11 minutes to go when we cut the lead back to 10 he hit a huge three for them. We just could never get back over the hump."

Collins was in a pretty jovial mood after the game.

"I was feeling it," he said with a smile. "It was one of those days. It felt good."

"I got a little hot and coach kept calling plays for me,"Collins added. "Usually when things open, it's my big man (Aldrich) screening for me and I'm getting good passes. It was a team effort."

While he was happy with his zero turnovers after a recent two-game stretch where he committed 11 miscues, Collins wished he would have doubled his assists. He now has 10 assists the last two games with no turnovers.

"I could have done better," Collins said. "I think I'm doing a better job of taking care of the ball and trying to limit the turnovers. We have to limit (them) as a team."

After scoring 22 points in consecutive games against Iowa State and Nebraska, Collins shrugged off any talk about his recent "slump." He previously shot just 38.6 percent (17-44 FG) and averaged 14.8 points during a four-game stretch from Jan. 31 to Feb. 9. For the season, Collins is averaging a team-high 18 points per game (No. 4 in Big 12) on 43.5 percent shooting. He's also fifth in the league in free-throw percentage at 82 percent and assists (5.0 apg).

"I feel like I'm on a roll," he said. "I'm just out there having fun and playing ball. I don't believe in slumps. When you're winning, I don't think it's a slump."

The red-hot Collins now leads KU (22-5, 11-1 Big 12) into its marquee matchup against Oklahoma (25-2, 11-1) tonight on ESPN Big Monday. With the winner taking over first place in the Big 12, the college basketball world will get one more chance to see this 5-11 "big man" show his moxie on center stage.

"(Collins) might be the toughest player in the country, pound for pound, inch for inch." ESPN analyst Hubert Davis said.

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