Bison Wrapup

Wrapping up KU's 84-74 victory over North Dakota State in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday while looking forward to the Jayhawks' second-round matchup with Dayton on Sunday. Tipoff is 1:30 p.m. (CST) at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. The Flyers beat West Virginia, 68-60, in opening-round action.

HATS OFF TO KANSAS

Bison head coach Saul Phillips was quite impressed with the Jayhawks (26-7).

"We not only lost to a good team in Kansas, but we lost to a good team that played well," Phillips said. "(They had just) five turnovers. I don't care if you are in an empty gym, taking care of the ball like that for an entire game is going to give you a chance to win it.

"It's a real testament to coach (Bill) Self that he is able to take a group that is obviously a little more inexperienced and younger and do that. He did a tremendous coaching job with this team this year and it really showed up at a pretty big time. I thought we came at them pretty good, and it wasn't enough because they played pretty good."

PRAISING COLLINS & WOODSIDE

KU guard Sherron Collins and North Dakota State guard Ben Woodside lit up in the nets in a classic offensive show. Collins scored a career-high 32 points, while Woodside had a game-high 37. Both players downplayed the "duel" afterwards.

"I don't think it was us competing against each other," Woodside said, "but he is a great player. He knocked down some tough shots in the first half and he kept his team in it in the first half, I believe. He is a great point guard. He can do it all. It was fun competing with Kansas and guys that you see on ESPN all the time. We definitely enjoyed that. You have to give it to Collins."

Collins gave props to Woodside as well.

"It was tough. He had good play, one of the best guards I played all year," Collins said. "Coach explained how good he was and I didn't know he was that good. ... I didn't take it as a duel, I just tried to do something, to make a play scoring or get somebody else involved, just to keep the lead. With him, they were knocking at the door. They could make a run at any time."

Collins and Woodside spoke to each other after the game.

"He told me to keep it going and go as far as we could," Collins said, "and I told him I respected him and he's a good player, one of the toughest players I guarded all year, (to) keep his head high. He is real talented and probably can do some things with it (at the next level)."

BIG GAME FOR BIG COLE

Sophomore center Cole Aldrich came up big in his native Minnesota, scoring 23 points (career-high eight dunks) and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds. Aldrich, who grew up in nearby Bloomington, loved being back at the Metrodome.

"I came here I think my junior year (of high school) to watch a few teams when they had the regional with Florida, Boston College, Villanova and another team," Aldrich said. "I was just a huge basketball fan back then. I had committed already (to KU), and that's kind of one of my dreams is just to come back home and play.

"The state of Minnesota has been great to me and the state of Kansas and all the Kansas fans have been phenomenal. (They) really opened their arms to me and my family, and I'm just glad to be home and playing well."

TIME TO "EXHALE"

Self was pleased with his team's performance and toughness against a veteran Bison team. Above all, Self hopes the Jayhawks relieved their opening-game jitters.

"Other than two guys (Collins and Aldrich), that's the first time anybody has played in a tournament game," Self said. "If anything, I take from it that we should be able to breathe a little bit. ...We should be able to exhale a little bit because I think our guys, especially other than Cole and Sherron, they may not admit to it, but that was a relatively tight group.

"Hopefully they will understand, ‘Hey, we can play at a pretty high level in this situation,' which hopefully will bode well for the next game." 

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