No. 1 Kansas holds off Michigan
Dominant the first 16 minutes, Kansas went into a funk, turned what
looked like another rout into a grind. Shoulders slumped, the life
drained out of Allen Fieldhouse and the Jayhawks never really
A win? Sure, it still ended that way. It was just a lot
tougher than it needed to be.
Marcus Morris had a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds,
and Sherron Collins scored 19 to help No. 1 Kansas pull out a
grinding 75-64 win over Michigan on Saturday.
“I would be very disappointed if they left here ecstatic,”
Kansas coach Bill Self said. “You play to win and obviously that’s
important, but to go along with that you play to get better. We
wasted an opportunity in the second half to get better. I’m not
overly thrilled. I’m glad we won. We did some things well, but we
did some things really poorly as well.”
It started off great. Overcoming some poor shooting early,
Kansas (10-0) jumped out to a 21-point lead with a big run midway
through the first half. Then the Jayhawks started throwing passes
up for grabs and Michigan clawed its way back, turning rowdy Allen
Discouraged at the missed opportunity, Kansas managed to play
well only in spurts after that and was never able to pull away.
The Jayhawks overcame 14 sometimes-ugly turnovers and
numerous breakdowns on the defensive glass with good perimeter
defense — Michigan was 5-for-28 from 3-point range — and decent
shooting to extend the nation’s longest home winning streak to 48
games. Xavier Henry had 15 points and Collins was 7 of 10 from the
floor after a 1-for-12 game against La Salle .
“We could have played a lot better,” said Marcus Morris , who
hit all eight of his free throws. “Not taking anything from
Michigan, I just think we could have played better and won by a lot
Michigan (5-5) shot poorly and was again hurt by sporadic
defense, playing well for stretches, breaking down on others in
losing to Kansas for the first time.
Ranked 219th in field goal percentage against, the Wolverines
caused a few problems with their 1-3-1 zone in the first half and
neutralized Kansas center Cole Aldrich , holding him to five points
and no field goals. Michigan had trouble against the rest of the
Jayhawks , allowing them to shoot 52 percent, keeping it close
behind 14 offensive rebounds and the shooting of DeShawn Sims and
Manny Harris .
Sims had 19 points and Harris 16 for the Wolverines , 1-21
all-time against No. 1 teams.
“I thought we showed some heart,” Harris said. “We did a good
job of coming back, but we gave them too big of a lead.”
After a week off for final exams, Kansas faced its first real
home test of the season in Michigan .
Despite some early-season struggles, the Wolverines
represented a much stiffer challenge than the likes of Oakland ,
Alcorn State and Radford , teams the Jayhawks beat by 30 or more in
opening 6-0 at Allen Fieldhouse.
Michigan has a good history against Kansas , too. The
Wolverines entered 5-0 all-time – the most wins without a loss in
Kansas ‘ 111-year history – which Self made sure his players were
well aware of.
With a matchup like this, Allen Fieldhouse was louder than
it’s been all season, even with a pre-noon start.
Shaking off a sluggish start, the Jayhawks had the storied
gym shaking about midway through the first half, giving a grinding
game a flash of life with 15-2 run, capped by Collins’ fastbreak
layup that made it 33-16.
Kansas hit eight straight shots to overcome a 2-for-11
start, getting an elbow-above-the-rim tomahawk dunk by Thomas
Robinson , a couple of 3-pointers from Tyrel Reed , even a
shake-and-bake scoop by Tyshawn Taylor as he was falling away from
the basket that brought the crowd to its feet – even for the
Then came the breakdowns.
Thanks to four no-chance-of-being-completed passes by Kansas
and four straight baskets by Michigan , a 41-20 lead was down to 11
at halftime. Allen Fieldhouse went quiet and the Jayhawks played
sporadically the rest of the way, allowing the Wolverines to stay
within reach despite shooting 36 percent.
“That could have gotten real ugly very quickly,” Michigan
coach John Beilein said. “That could have been one of the typical
Kansas 100-58 wins that they have.”
It turned into an ugly win instead.