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Collins, Kansas extend home winning streak to 39

Feb 22, 2009 - 7:35 AM LAWRENCE, Kansas (Ticker) -- Sherron Collins scored 22 points as No. 18 Kansas continued to roll at home Saturday, cruising to a 70-53 victory over Nebraska in Big 12 Conference action.

Cole Aldrich had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Jayhawks (22-5, 11-1 Big 12), who extended the nation's longest active home winning streak to 39 games.

However, Kansas' biggest league game of the year will be away from Allen Fieldhouse when the Jayhawks travels to face second-ranked Oklahoma on Monday.

Despite that huge matchup, the Jayhawks were not looking ahead against the Cornhuskers (16-9, 6-6), who entered winning four of their last five games.

Nebraska also played Kansas tough in a 68-62 home loss on January 28, leading by as many as 13 points in the first half.

"We were focused," Collins said. "We weren't going to look past (Nebraska) after the way we played in their house. We knew that we were going to get a good effort from them. They are a scrappy team, but now we get to face Oklahoma."

Collins scored eight of his 10 first-half points during a 12-4 run that made it 27-16 with 3:47 remaining. Kansas held a 34-23 lead at the break, with Aldrich also scoring 10 in the opening 20 minutes.

"(Sherron Collins) was great," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "He got on a roll in the first half and they weren't easy shots.

"The thing that is a little concerning to me is, even though I'm happy that he and Cole (Aldrich) are consistently putting up numbers, we're not getting the production offensively that we were getting from other guys stepping up. That's got to improve because if those guys (Cole and Sherron) have an off-night and the other guys don't produce, we could be in trouble."

Two early jumpers by Steve Harley allowed Nebraska to close within 35-29 in the opening minutes of the second half. Collins answered back with a three-point play.

The Cornhuskers got within six again, 38-32, on a three-point play by Abe Dagunduro with 16:49 remaining. But the Jayhawks then blew open the contest with a 12-3 burst. Freshman Markieff Morris had all six of his points during the run, including the capping follow dunk with 9:56 left.

"I was waiting for the opportunity to show that I could do it and that was it," Morris said. "It was a great time."

Collins, who added five during the run, finished 8-of-12 from the field with two 3-pointers. He also had four assists and two steals.

Morris provided more than just offensive off the bench, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking three shots.

"To me, the best performer we had was Markieff (Morris)," Self said. "I thought he was active in rebounding the ball and he's a good athlete. He showed everybody when he went up today and dunked that."

Overall, Kansas finished with a dominant 46-24 advantage on the boards and 23 second-chance points in defeating Nebraska for the 13th straight time, including the postseason.

"Cole Aldrich made a big difference for them," Cornhuskers coach Doc Sadler said. "Bill (Self) had to make a decision to send all five guys to the offensive glass tonight and they hurt us on the offensive boards as bad as anyone has all year. We weren't able to make them pay at the other end."

Dagunduro had 13 points and Harley 11 for the Cornhuskers, who shot 38 percent (21-of-55) from the field.

Any chance that Nebraska had of an upset disappeared early as it struggled to score, managing just five points through the first 10 minutes. It missed 11 of its first 13 shots.

"You are always going to have that problem here," Sadler said about Allen Fieldhouse. "Guys, they have won 38, 39 wins in a row for a reason. Their defense is good and you just have to try and hang in there. I thought we did hang in there. Kansas is Kansas and this is a tough place to play."