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

recovered.

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

Fieldhouse quiet.

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

more.”

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

replay.

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.