Kansas overcomes early gaffe to rout Belmont 81-51

AP Sports Writer

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Cole Aldrich had a double-double and blocked six shots, and No. 1 Kansas overcame a monumental lack of focus in the first half to wear down Belmont 81-51 on Tuesday night.

Kansas (12-0) was rusty early coming off a long break, even playing with just four players for a stretch of about 15 seconds in the first half. The Jayhawks pulled it together and played a superb second half at both ends, pulling away for their 50th straight home victory.

Aldrich had 11 points and 14 rebounds, and Marcus Morris added 14 points.

Belmont (7-5) was doomed by poor shooting and a shaky start to both halves in its first trip to Allen Fieldhouse.

The Bruins scrapped back after falling behind 11-0 to open the game, but didn’t have an answer when Kansas did the same thing to start the second.

Ian Clark and Drew Hanlen had 11 points each for Belmont, which shot 31 percent in its final nonconference game.

Kansas had a week off since beating California and Michigan in a span of four days.

Apparently, the Jayhawks weren’t ready to come back.

Oh, it started off fine. Kansas opened with an 11-0 run, blocked four of Belmont’s first 11 shots – three by Aldrich – to start what looked like another nonconference romp.

Then came the breakdowns.

Taking advantage of the Jayhawks’ shoddy defense and rebounding, Belmont followed with a 15-3 run, taking a 1-point lead when Kansas had a soft turnover and left Jordan Campbell wide open for a 3-pointer in transition.

Already furious, Kansas coach Bill Self called his second timeout in 3 minutes and tried get his point across a little stronger.

Nope. The Jayhawks still had one more laughable gaffe in them.

Coming out of a media timeout, Kansas started to run a play when senior Sherron Collins began motioning wildly to the bench. Tyshawn Taylor, who was on the court before the timeout, was still seated, thinking he was out of the game. Taylor then leaped up and sprinted down the floor, flowing in like a hockey player about halfway through the shot clock as Self shook his head in disgust.

Yeah, the focus wasn’t quite there.

Taylor didn’t play the rest of the half and Kansas pulled it together just enough to lead 36-26.

The Jayhawks were much better in the second half, opening with an 18-4 run and shooting 19 of 29 to put them in a better frame of mind for their first game against a ranked opponent, Saturday at No. 18 Temple.

Updated December 29, 2009