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December 22, 2009
Kansas wakes up in second half
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Sherron Collins keyed a late surge to finish with 17 points and No. 1 Kansas overcame a rare quiet game from its bench to beat California 84-69 on Tuesday night.
Kansas (11-0) came into the game as one of the deepest teams in the country, with its reserves averaging 29.3 points per game. Even with coach Bill Self rotating players like a tag-team wrestling match, the Jayhawks' subs couldn't get much going, combining for 18 points.
Marcus Morris had 14 points, Tyshawn Taylor had 13 and seven assists, and Xavier Henry added 12 points for Kansas, which shot 55 percent to extend the nation's longest home winning streak to 49 games.
Patrick Christopher had 21 points for Cal (6-4), which was well-rested after nearly two weeks off and gave Kansas its toughest home game of the season, keeping it close until late behind its perimeter shooters.
Jamal Boykin had 15 points and 15 rebounds, and Jerome Randle added 16 points for Cal, 2-24 all-time against No. 1 teams.
Unable to shake Cal through the first 25 minutes, Kansas used a quick 9-2 run and a long, pullup 3-pointer by Collins to go ahead 65-56 with 9 1/2 minutes left.
The Bears inched their way back again, but the Jayhawks swatted them away for good this time; a forced shot by Christopher led to a fastbreak layup by Morris and a turnover set up another long 3 in transition by Collins, putting Kansas up 75-63 with 4:43 left.
After a series of blowouts, Kansas had its first real home test of the season on Saturday, pulling out an uneven 11-point win over Michigan.
Keeping up with Cal's athletic shooters was even tougher.
Coming off solid wins over Iowa State and Pacific, the Bears had a 12-day break that allowed them to heal after an early season filled with injuries and illnesses. Ready instead of rusty, Cal gave the nation's No. 1 team all it could handle, the quick-shooting trio of Theo Robertson, Christopher and Randle knocking down jumpers every time the Jayhawks tried to pull away.
Kansas forced 7-foot-3 Cal center Max Zhang to the bench with two fouls in the first 55 seconds and got plenty of good looks in the early going. The Jayhawks just couldn't make anything, opening the game 3 for 12 from the field before finally zeroing in.
Cal used its quickness to get shots off against the bigger Jayhawks, with Robertson, Christopher and Randle hitting one fadeaway after another in combining for 31 of the Bears' 39 first-half points.
Kansas led by one at halftime and the teams couldn't have been much closer statistically: Cal made one more shot and one more 3-pointer, while Kansas had two more rebounds, one fewer turnover and one more steal.