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Collins keys Kansas past Griffin-less Oklahoma

Feb 24, 2009 - 6:08 AM NORMAN, Oklahoma (Ticker) -- All Blake Griffin could do was watch as Sherron Collins and Kansas seized control of the Big 12 Conference.

Collins scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half and freshman Tyshawn Taylor also scored a season-high 26 as No. 15 Kansas took over sole possession of the Big 12 with an 87-78 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma on Monday.

Kansas' Cole Aldrich commanded the paint, recording 15 points and a career-high 20 rebounds as Griffin sat out with a concussion he sustained in Saturday's loss at Texas.

"With or without Blake, they are a great team and they showed it tonight," Aldrich said. "Blake definitely would have helped them a lot if they would've had him, but that's how the ball bounces once in a while. You get an unfortunate injury like that and you have to go with it."

Griffin, who is averaging 22.0 points and a Division I-leading 13.8 rebounds per game, vocally encouraged his teammates throughout the second half as Oklahoma cut a 20-point deficit down to three with three minutes to go.

But the Sooners sophomore superstar could do nothing to stop Collins, who made five 3-pointers in the second half - including a dagger from well beyond the top of the arc that gave the Jayhawks a 77-71 advantage with 2:29 to play.

"We knew they had another run in them," Collins said. "I think we did a great job of keeping our poise."

Freshman Willie Warren committed an offensive foul on Oklahoma's next possession and Juan Pattillo missed a dunk as Kansas pushed its lead to 80-71 with 1:15 left and was never threatened the rest of the way.

Warren scored 23 points and Pattillo had 15 to pace Oklahoma (25-3, 11-2), which was 19-of-30 from the foul line.

"Down the stretch it all came down to who was making plays," Warren said. "I was just trying to make plays to put my team in position to win the game. Sherron was trying to make plays to keep them ahead, and he obviously made more plays than me because his team was able to win."

The win moves Kansas one game ahead of Oklahoma in the conference with three contests remaining. It is the only regular-season meeting between the teams this season.

"We feel pretty good," Collins said. "We still have a tough three games left and anything can happen in the Big 12. Anybody can be beaten. We control our own destiny, but it's not a given yet. We still have to go make it happen."

Oklahoma started the contest with a lot of energy and Warren scored 10 points during a 20-2 run that gave the Sooners a 22-8 bulge with 9:44 left in the first half.

But Kansas started to take better care of the ball and responded with a huge run of its own, using a 16-0 burst to go in front, 24-22, with 4:38 to play before the break. Taylor made three 3-pointers for the Jayhawks.

"It was the best game Tyshawn (Taylor) has played in college," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "I'm really happy and pleased."

Kansas remained in control and expanded a seven-point halftime lead up to 58-38 on the heels of a 15-2 run with 10:37 remaining.

However, the Sooners fought back. Omar Leary knocked down a 3-pointer and Cade Davis followed with consecutive shots from the arc as Oklahoma cut the deficit to 62-56 with 6:56 to play.

"I was disappointed for awhile in our effort, in the way we started the second half," Sooners coach Jeff Capel said. "I am really proud of that five that competed down the stretch when were down 20 and got us back to within three. And then Collins made some big-time baskets for them."

Collins' third 3-pointer of the half made it 69-62 with over five minutes left, but Davis answered with another outside shot to cut the Sooners' deficit to four.

Leary cut the margin to 71-68 on a 3-pointer for Oklahoma and after Collins answered for Kansas, Warren knocked down a shot from the arc to make it a 74-71 game with 3:01 left.

"When we are full strength we are as good as anyone in the country," Capel said. "We played 60 minutes without our leading scorer, leading rebounder, leading field-goal percentage guy in the conference, our leader in blocked shots and a guy that is a huge part of our offense. When we get everyone back I think we will be OK."