No. 1 Kansas storms past Colorado
Bill Self could kick himself.
In the excitement of the locker room after No. 1 Kansas cruised past Colorado 94-74 on Saturday, Self neglected to mention the great milestone reached by the player who he says impacts a game more than anyone else he ever coached.
With 123 victories in his illustrious career, senior guard Sherron Collins, along with senior Brady Morningstar, tied the record for most wins by a player in the storied history of Kansas basketball. With four games left in the regular season and the entire postseason also looming for the nation's top-ranked team, no one doubts they will shatter the record set by Raef LaFrentz, C.B. McGrath and Billy Thomas from 1995-98.
"I talk about it all the time but I forget to mention it in the locker room after the game," Self said. "It's a remarkable deal. I think it's really cool."
Cole Aldrich had 17 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots and Xavier Henry gave notice that his freshman slump is done, scoring 24 points in a victory that touched and neared many milestones.
Tyshawn Taylor, back in the starting lineup after a nine-game absence, had 17 points and six assists for the Jayhawks (26-1, 12-0), who entered the day with a three-game lead in pursuit of their sixth straight Big 12 championship.
The Buffaloes (12-14, 3-9), who pushed Kansas into overtime on their court earlier in the season, were led by Alec Burks with 17 points and Marcus Relphorde with 16.
But they were never competitive Saturday, falling behind by nine points 5 minutes into the game and getting outrebounded 40-25.
"It seemed like a very different team," Burks said. "They played real different at home. They haven't even lost here in a couple years so they're a very different team at home."
The Jayhawks count Morningstar with 123 wins, although he redshirted one year.
Collins was not upset that his coach failed to talk about it.
"I think he is pretty proud of me," he said. "I am very appreciative of all the guys that helped me get this. Coach probably won't say anything about it until tomorrow in practice. He was a little upset after the game about how we finished."
Collins had 13 points as the Jayhawks stretched the nation's longest home court winning streak to 57 games, five from the school record.
Another looming goal is the 2,000th win for the Jayhawks. With four games remaining in the regular season, they are at 1,996.
One thing Self did address to his players was the Big 12 championship that is at hand. With the Big 12 owning the top RPI among the major conferences, merely winning the regular-season title would be an achievement, and the Jayhawks still have a chance to go through unbeaten.
"It's a big deal if you're the best team in a league that's supposedly as good as any league in the country, the RPI-rated No. 1 league," Self said. "But we haven't won it yet by no means."
It was Kansas' highest point total since beating Radford 99-64 on Dec. 9.
"They hit us hard and we were reeling after that," Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "They are an exceptionally good basketball team."
Henry, the most highly touted prospect Self ever signed, got his college career off to a sizzling start, scoring in double figures in 14 of his first 15 games and was even being compared to Kentucky freshman sensation John Wall.
But just as suddenly, he dropped into what coaches described as a "typical freshman funk" and struggled for five games.
He seemed to snap out of it with 15 points at Texas on Feb. 8, and then on Saturday enjoyed by far his finest outing of the conference season. His second 3-pointer gave the Jayhawks a nine-point lead just 5 minutes into the game and he wound up hitting 9 of 16 from the field while adding six rebounds.
"For the past five games, he's been the most consistent player we've had," Self said.