Jayhawks deliver UCLA their fourth consecutive loss
By BETH HARRIS,
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) Markief Morris scored a career-high 19 points and No. 1 Kansas pulled away in the second half to beat UCLA 73-61 on Sunday, sending the Bruins to their fourth consecutive loss.
Xavier Henry added 16 points and Sherron Collins had 14 for the Jayhawks (7-0), who led the entire game but allowed UCLA to get within four early in the second half.
Michael Roll scored 16 points and Nikola Dragovic added 14 for the Bruins (2-5), who haven’t lost four in a row since 2003-04, coach Ben Howland’s first season in Westwood.
The defeat capped a rocky week for the struggling Bruins, who lost forward Drew Gordon when he quit the team. The sophomore averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds.
The last time the schools met was in the 2007 NCAA tournament’s West Region, when UCLA won by 13 points and went on to the second of three consecutive Final Four appearances.
But that run of success has taken its toll this season on the Bruins, who lost several key players early to the NBA draft leaving them with a slew of inexperienced underclassmen. Tyler Honeycutt made his college debut after missing UCLA’s first six games with a stress reaction in his right tibia. He finished with three points.
Kansas led by 13 points in the first half, when the Bruins committed 11 turnovers and shot 33 percent, missing several open shots.
Collins’ jumper gave Kansas its largest lead of the half, 29-16. From there, the Bruins ended the half on a 12-6 run to close to 35-28. Dragovic and Roll had five points each in the spurt.
UCLA outscored Kansas 6-3 to start the second half and get to 38-34. Reeves Nelson, starting in place of Gordon, dunked to get the Bruins within seven with 14:40 remaining. He was poked in the right eye and had to leave the game for a few minutes before returning wearing protective goggles.
The Bruins closed within seven once more on a 3-pointer by Dragovic at 12:03 before Kansas soon restored its double-digit lead. Henry’s fourth 3-pointer of the game extended the Jayhawks’ lead to 69-54 in the final minutes.
Kansas’ Marcus Morris finished with four points after being held scoreless in the first half.
The game was part of the Big 12-Pac-10 Hardwood Series.
Updated December 6, 2009