No. 1 Kansas 73, UCLA 61

A couple of college basketball’s storied programs met in a game

that two years ago would have ensured a sold-out arena and plenty

of big buzz.

Instead, it was a tale of the nation’s top-ranked team beating

up on a downtrodden program cleaned out by the lure of the NBA

draft.

Markief Morris scored a career-high 19 points and No. 1 Kansas

pulled away in the second half to defeat UCLA 73-61 on Sunday,

sending the Bruins to their fourth consecutive loss.

“They’ve had a lot of defections to the NBA and it’s hard to

keep reloading,” Kansas coach Bill Self said after his first visit

to Pauley Pavilion. “We’re going to look back on this game in

February and be very proud because they’re going to get better and

better.”

Xavier Henry added 16 points and Sherron Collins had 14 for the

Jayhawks (7-0), who led the entire game despite shooting a

season-worst 44 percent from the field but allowed UCLA to get

within four points early in the second half.

“We knew they were going to give us a good game in their

house,” Henry said. “Usually they’re a really good team but this

year is a rebuilding year. They’ll get better.”

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 Bruins are off to their worst start since 2002-03, Steve

Lavin’s last season as coach that also began with a 2-5 record.

“The whole team showed a lot of fight,” Howland said. “If we

keep doing that, we’ll end up winning more of these games.”

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.

“We played really hard. We’re fighting as a unit now,” Roll

said. “We had it down to four and they made a quick push to get it

back up. Their bigs are very talented and they spread us out and

beat us up down low.”

Kansas notched its 1,977th victory, third-best in NCAA Division

I history. The Bruins’ 1,648 wins are ninth-best.

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

and six rebounds.

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.

“He’ll end up in the ER tonight as his eye was swollen shut,”

Howland said. “He’s had a tough week, but he showed a lot of

character to get back in the game.”

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, who averages 11, finished with four

points after being held scoreless in the first half. Cole Aldrich

had 12 rebounds as Kansas controlled the boards, 43-36.

The game was part of the Big 12-Pac-10 Hardwood Series.