Nov. 24, 2008
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)--Cole Aldrich had a career-high 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked six shots, helping No. 22 Kansas beat Washington 73-54 on Monday night in the semifinals of the CBE Classic.
After overwhelming Missouri-Kansas City and Florida Gulf Coast in a pair of home games, Kansas (3-0) faced its first real test against Washington (2-2).
The Jayhawks were certainly up for it.
Kansas held Washington to 29 percent shooting, blocked 10 shots and had a decent night from the floor (50 percent) to move onto Tuesday's championship game against Syracuse.
The Jayhawks did it with contributions from the entire lineup.
Sherron Collins had his typical effort, pulling up for jumpers and driving the lane for 18 points and five assists. Freshman Marcus Morris added 13 points.
The key, though, was Aldrich.
The sophomore center struggled with foul trouble in Kansas' first two games, getting two within the first 3 1/2 minutes in each. This time, he was able to avoid contact and, boy, what a difference it made.
Active on the offensive end, Aldrich backed down for jumphooks, passed out when the Huskies doubled. He finished 6-for-12, finishing the night with a two-handed dunk before leaving to a loud ovation with just under 2 minutes left.
As good as he was on offense, Aldrich simply dominated at the other end, using his long arms to block four shots by halftime, alter several others. He ended the first half by blocking Thomas' shot, leading to a breakaway layup by Tyshawn Taylor at the halftime buzzer, then blocked Quincy Poindexter on consecutive shots midway through the second half.
Aldrich wasn't the only one giving the Huskies problems.
Markieff Morris blocked three shots and Taylor had a highlight-reel swat late in the first half, tracking down Thomas on a breakaway and sending his layup attempt into KU's band.
Kansas' problem was keeping the Huskies off the offensive glass.
With Brockman and Darnell Grant crashing inside on every missed shot, Washington grabbed three or four offensive rebounds on a couple of possessions in the first half. The Huskies had a dominating 17-1 advantage by halftime-- Brockman and Grant had five each--resulting in 14 more shots than the Jayhawks.
Isaiah Thomas led the Huskies and all scorers with 20 points, but Washington just had a hard time making the extra attempts overall. They shot 9-for-38 in the first half, including 1-of-10 from 3-point range.
The result was a 32-22 lead for Kansas, which the Jayhawks built to 19 points in the first 6 minutes of the second half.