ANOTHER BANNER DAY FOR MARCUS
KU sophomore forward Marcus Morris continues to shine in Big 12 play.
He scored 20 points and grabbed a career-high tying 11 rebounds (six
offensive boards) in a season-high 34 minutes against NU for his fourth
double-double this season. With Markieff Morris and Cole Aldrich seeing
limited playing time in the first half with foul trouble, Marcus picked
up the slack inside, posting 12 points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes
the first stanza.
"He played great the first half," KU coach Bill Self said.
Morris leads KU in scoring during Big 12 play (eight games) at 17.8
points per game, while ranking second with 8.5 rebounds per game. He
leads the Big 12 during conference games in offensive rebounding (5.0
per game), while shooting a blistering 58.9 percent from the field and
50 percent from beyond the arc.
The 6-8 Philadelphia native has truly come into his own and making a
case for All-Big 12 honors in March. Self raved about Morris during his
press conference last Monday.
"I think that Marcus has always envisioned himself being a perimeter
player, and I obviously haven't given him may opportunities to show
that," Self said, "but he has embraced the fact that he can do things
against big guys that they can't guard because he's done a great job of
utilizing his ballhandling and quickness, and defensively, he's become
a very good defender. He's a great offensive rebounder right now.
"A lot of it is just confidence, a lot of it is just things falling
together for him. ... He's really played himself into becoming a really
good performer. He's one of the better players around."
Self believes Morris will only get better during his KU career.
"He can play himself into being a first rounder (NBA draft pick)," Self
said. "He can play himself into being a pro. He's still got some things
he's got to tighten up. He's not going to be a four man in the NBA, so
we go to get where he's better on the perimeter and doing some things
in that regard, but that will come as he continues to mature as a
player. ... If you just study our team individually, I think you can
see that Marcus is one of the more gifted players out there just
because he can do a little bit of everything."
Seven-foot redshirt freshman center Jeff Withey played nine first-half
minutes (no action the second half) with Aldrich and Markieff Morris on
the bench with foul trouble. He was impressive with four points, and a
career-high six rebounds and two blocks.
In his three previous games, Withey recorded a DNP versus Colorado,
played less than one minute at K-State, and played one minute against
"I thought Jeff played really well," Self said. "I thought he kind of
bailed us out the first half. His man made two straight threes against
him, but he's going to always have a hard time getting to those guys.
He's going to be a good player.
"Jeff will play more if the other team plays two bigs as opposed to a
guard and a big. Against Texas (coming up in Austin on ESPN Big
Monday), they play two bigs a lot."
Nebraska definitely got KU's attention when the Huskers wiped out a
37-33 halftime deficit to take a 43-39 lead with 15:48 remaining in the
game. That marked the first time KU had blown its lead at halftime.
However, after Self called a 30-second timeout, Kansas went on a 28-5
run the next 10:35.
"Getting down anytime in the fieldhouse is a wake-up call," Marcus
Morris said, "anytime in the Big 12 because any team can be beat in the
Big 12 and we can't look past any team. (When they) got up four, we
kind of (said), ‘OK guys, we need to buckle down, we need to play
defense and we're going to get the lead back up.' It was, ‘Don't let
your guy catch the ball, don't let your guy shoot the ball,' and that's
what we did."
KU senior guard Sherron Collins said the Jayhawks responded to Self
during the 30-second timeout before going on the blistering run.
"We just have to look at coach on the sidelines to wake us up," Collins
said. "We just do not want to get chewed out. (Coach Self) gets us
going, he is a great motivator. ... I know that he knows how to get us
going. He challenged us, and we came out and responded."
THIS & THAT
*Collins made 4-of-6 shots from downtown, passing Brandon Rush and
moving into fourth place with 208 on KU's career three-point field
goals made list. Collins also dished out six assists, passing Ryan Robertson and moving into ninth place with 489 on KU's career assist
*Nebraska shot 10-of-17 from three-point range for 58.8 percent, the
best percentage from beyond the arc by a Kansas opponent since Iowa State shot 60 percent (3-of-5) on Feb. 18, 2002.
KU - Nebraska Notebook
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