BERKELEY, Calif. – Career performances from senior Tyrel Reed and junior Markieff Morris helped the third-ranked Kansas basketball team to a 78-63 victory in its first true road game of the season at California Wednesday evening.
Reed recorded career highs with 18 points and seven rebounds while Morris chipped in a personal-best and team-high 21 points as KU improved to 11-0 on the season. Cal fell to 6-5 overall with the loss.
Joining the duo in double-figure scoring was freshman Josh Selby, who finished with 18 points.
Morris also led KU on the boards pulling down 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year. Sophomore Thomas Robinson recorded 10 boards as well, matching a season best.
Kansas opened the second half with nine-straight points to extend its halftime lead to 47-30. However, the Jayhawks saw its lead whittle away as Cal responded with a 13-0 run.
Robinson completed a traditional three-point play with 13:42 left in the game to stop a nearly four and half minute scoreless drought during which junior Marcus Morris was ejected from the game.
The teams remained close until Robinson threw down a one-handed dunk at the 8:13 mark as part of a 10-2 run by Kansas. It was the final momentum swing as the Jayhawks continued to extend their 65-51 lead.
Kansas used a season-high 83.3 shooting percentage from the free throw line (15-for-18) to seal the victory, after shooting below 70-percent over the last eight games from the charity stripe.
During the first half, KU benefited from 11 Cal turnovers as the Jayhawks converted the Bears’ miscues into 14 points to lead 38-30 heading into the break. Selby and Markieff Morris led the team with 13 points each in the first 20 minutes of play.
Just over five minutes into the game, Reed hit his second-straight three-pointer to tie the game at 8-8. Less than a minute later, Selby hit a trey to give the Jayhawks a lead they would hold for the remainder of the game.
With just over four minutes to go in the half, Selby hit his third three-pointer of the game and then followed with a jumper in the lane. In KU’s next possession, he dished a fastbreak ball to Markieff Morris, who laid it in, making the score 36-25 for the Jayhawks’ largest lead of the half.
Cal scored five-straight points down the stretch before Markieff Morris nailed a pair of free throws with 2.6 seconds to go to give KU its 38-30 lead at the half.