If you told KU head coach Bill Self his team would have 23 turnovers and one of his preseason All-American candidates would go 2-9 with six points do you think he would've predicted 84 points a 19-point win against rival Missouri? The answer is pretty simple – heck no.
Kansas took a game that was tight for the first eight minutes and broke
it open with aggressive play and dominance on the boards. The mindset
instilled by Self was clear in this one – attack and score against
Missouri's pressure defense and Kansas did just that early and often.
"I thought we played good the first half (with) great energy. We had
some unforced turnovers but they were aggressive turnovers and then
second half I didn't think we played very well at all," Self continued.
"We just kind of traded baskets in the second half but I'm not going to
sit here and apologize for beating Missouri by 19."
No apology necessary for KU fans that's for sure.
For Mike Anderson's squad the damage was already done, and although
Self was not overly pleased with the finish in this one, KU did enough
to keep the Tigers at an arm's length with the 84-65 win. When the team
goes back to look at the tape Self will point to the lack of touches
for Aldrich especially during the second half with the team struggling
a bit. He may also mention that when this team is up by 20 you want to
try and win by 30 or 40 and keep developing that "killer mindset." But
when the Hawks go back and watch the first half of this one there will
be plenty of positives to focus on especially the dominant play by the
big men on the glass.
"That's a big number," said Self referring to the 56-28 overall
rebounding advantage for KU. "The halftime number was the big number
because I think it was like 22 at halftime if I'm not mistaken. Our big
guys were unbelievable on the glass in the first half. They were
"They" collectively were effective on the glass and on the offensive
end. KU's big men certainly came ready to play in the first edition of
the 2010 Border War. Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, and Cole Aldrich
combined for 38 points and 36 of the team's 56 rebounds in this game.
Marcus continued his hot play scoring 11 of his team-high 17 in the
first half. Aldrich was everywhere. Cole went 4-5 from the floor,
grabbed 16 rebounds, and let nothing get by him on defense with seven
"Some of the guys were saying you gotta get a few more blocks," Aldrich
told reporters after being asked if he was aware he was close to a
triple-double. "Whether I was close or not I still try to block shots.
I thought I had one more but I guess I fouled him. That's alright. I
had a blast tonight."
"He's played great. I'll have Chris go back and check the stats, but it
feels like he got cheated on some blocks or some rebounds tonight. I
thought he had more than that. I thought he was dominant and he was
moving better," Self said.
The Kansas offense also got a huge lift on the perimeter from junior
marksman Tyrel Reed. Reed was 5-6 from the floor including 4-4 from
three-point range. Reed was always ready to shoot on any penetration
and pitch out and he proved when he gets his feet set he is one of the
best in this conference at knocking down the long range shot. It is his
14 points that will get people's attention but he has proven to his
head coach that he is more mature, better under pressure, and a more
complete player this season.
"We had a lot of guys step up and nobody stepped up any bigger than
Tyrel (Reed). Tyrel was really great for us tonight," said Self.
Kansas' defense certainly has looked better in recent games and it was
again solid Monday night but Missouri shooting 19-68 for this game and
just a shade under 28 percent from the floor had little to do with KU
and a lot to do with the Tigers.
"That is our inability to execute and be efficient offensively,"
Missouri head coach Mike Anderson emphatically stated. "I thought we
settled for jump shots a lot of the time, but gives Kansas credit for
taking the fight to us. They really dominated the glass and that was
really surprising to me."
Kansas has proved this season that if you do settle for marginal jump
shots you've got no chance against this much talent.
So the first round of KU's rivalry week goes to the crimson and blue
and though Mizzou will have to wait for its next chance, their rivals
from the Little Apple will be waiting on Saturday.
"Hopefully, going to Manhattan on Saturday, we'll handle pressure a
little better because they are certainly going to get after us," said
Self voicing his concern over the turnovers.
"They're two totally different teams," said Aldrich when asked to talk
about Missouri and Kansas State. "It is a rivalry game but one's a home
game and one's an away game but it's going to be fun. It's College
Gameday it's at Bramlage. They're tough. They're really tough. They're
going to be a really tough team to beat. We're going to have to play
our best to contend with them."
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