'Hawks Hold Together in Ames
From the opening tip, Roy Williams' Jayhawks seemed determined to answer questions. Questions ranging from, "Will Graves be able to step up?" to "Who is first off the bench in the post?" There were lots of questions, and tonight the Jayhawks provided lots of answers.
Collison Rebounds Against Vroman (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Iowa State's highly touted freshmen and JUCO transfers got a rude awakening early in this one, as the Jayhawks rolled early to a 22-2 lead less than eight minutes in. Nick Collison had 10 of the first 22, and Aaron Miles had 8. Collison finished with a career high of 31 points, and also added 8 rebounds. Miles finished the game with 13 points and 5 assists, including a beautiful bounce pass in transition to a streaking Collison for the layup and a free throw, giving Collison his career high 31 with six minutes left in the game.
Will Jeff Graves be able to step up? "Yes." Graves filled the paint, and his role, nicely in this one - snagging 10 rebounds and tossing in 7 points, shooting 3-9 from the field. In Graves' 32 minutes, he got four steals, a block and was a definite presence in the paint, making it difficult for both the big guys and the penetrating guards to score in the lane. Another solid performance from Keith Langford tonight, as he added 15 points, 4 boards and shot 50% from the floor.
First off the bench down low? Bryant Nash came in and spelled the big guys for 8 minutes, drew two fouls (making all of his free throws), and went 1-2 from the field scoring 6 points.
Other questions answered in this one:
- What killed ISU? 19 turnovers, with a number of those leading to easy KU buckets; poor shooting from the field (37%), and dismal shooting from behind the 3-point line (1-14, 8.3%);
- Even though Kirk Hinrich had a tough night shooting (2-11 from the field, 5 points, 4 turnovers) the shorthanded Jayhawks can still step up and get a big road victory in conference play.
- Larry Eustachy did not get a technical; he does not like caffeine during a game; he should pull his turtleneck up when he's chewing out his team so we can't read his lips.
- Simien has a better tailor than does Collison or Hinrich, although at this time of the year there should be nobody in a suit. Hurry back, young man.