No. 1 Kansas routs Oakland to extend home streak

BY foxsports • November 26, 2009

Most teams would be in trouble if their two preseason All-Americans combined for only 13 points.

All No. 1 Kansas did was dial up a stable of gifted freshmen and sophomores and romp to an 89-59 victory Wednesday night over Oakland, Mich.

Marcus Morris and freshman sensation Xavier Henry each scored 19 points and Tyrel Reed added 11 for the Jayhawks (4-0), who stretched the nation's longest home court winning streak to 44 games.

Morris, a 6-foot-8 sophomore showing significant improvement, also had 11 rebounds. His twin brother, Markieff, contributed eight points.

"I thought Marcus was the best player in the game," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "He played great. He showed range, he showed post moves. He really didn't get a lot of easy baskets and still got 19. I thought he played very well."

The 6-foot-6 Henry, the centerpiece of a blue chip freshman class, missed only three of 11 shots and teamed with senior guard Sherron Collins on three crowd-pleasing, alley-oop dunks.

So far, Henry is leading the Jayhawks in scoring.

"I just let Coach teach me," he said. "I just listen to Coach and try to follow everything. He knows how I like to play so he just tries to work with me to fit in with the team."

Cole Aldrich, the Jayhawks' 6-foot-11 preseason All-American center, continued to struggle and made only one field goal in the first half even though he was able to get in close and fire from short range on almost every one of his seven shots. He wound up with four points on 2-of-10 shooting but had nine rebounds.

"We had some individuals obviously not play great but Kansas, as a team, played very well," Self said.

Collins, the preseason All-American point guard, had nine points and seven assists.

The Golden Grizzlies (2-3), the preseason favorites in the Summit League, got 20 points from Keith Benson and 19 from Derrick Nelson. Oakland dropped to 1-18 against ranked teams since moving to Division I in 1998.

"No teams that we play have that many big players that they can rotate and keep fresh bodies running in," Benson said. "I was just trying to hit my teammates when they double-teamed me."

Marcus Morris shot 6 for 10 from the field, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range, and committed only one turnover.

The Golden Grizzlies trailed all night but stayed within shouting distance of the heavily favored Jayhawks until about midway through the second half when Kansas' depth and talent took their toll.

Nelson was 4 for 5 from 3-point range as the Golden Grizzlies hit from long range for the 635th consecutive game, the seventh-longest streak in the nation.

"Your margin for error when you play here is very small," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "You have to make shots. Derrick Nelson made some shots for us, and Benson did some nice things for us."

Henry brought the capacity crowd to its feet with the first alley-oop. He stole an Oakland pass, drove down the court and dished to Collins, who threw it back to Henry for a dunk that made it 32-19.

A moment later, Collins hit a 3-pointer and the crowd, already festive on the night before Thanksgiving, roared again.

The two pulled off the same play twice more, the last coming with about 7 1/2 minutes to go, providing a 71-43 bulge.

Jonathan Jones, Oakland's 5-11 senior guard, had seven assists and needs one more to become the Summit League's career leader.

"I feel like I'm getting more comfortable every day," Henry said. "And I'm starting to learn stuff quicker and quicker. Coach is really helping me a lot."