Scores

Final

Memphis 55

(1-1, 0-0 away)

(1) Kansas 57

(2-0, 1-0 home)

10:00 PM ET, November 17, 2009

Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri

1 2 T
MEM 20 3555
#1KU 26 3157

Top Performers

Memphis: E. Williams 21 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

Kansas: C. Aldrich 18 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Stl, 5 Blk

Aldrich has double-double; Kansas avoids upset when Memphis' 3 is long

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- In the rematch, Kansas missed the free throws and Memphis had the final shot.

The Jayhawks won again, but not without a tougher-than-expected fight from the undermanned and supposedly overmatched Tigers.

O'Neil: Expect Unexpected

Kansas was the preseason No. 1. Memphis was supposed to be rebuilding. What happened Tuesday night? The unexpected. Get used to it, Dana O'Neil writes. Story

Cole Aldrich had 18 points, 11 rebounds and blocked five shots, helping No. 1 Kansas overcome a sloppy night to hold off Memphis 57-55 in a rematch of the 2008 national championship game Tuesday.

No miracles from Mario, no confetti flying from the rafters, but still another exciting finish.

"I can tell you this for sure: I'm 32 but I'm getting out at 35," Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. "I don't know how these coaches coach until they're 70. It's unbelievable."

Kansas (2-0) managed to lead most of the night despite 21 mostly sloppy turnovers, but couldn't shake the scrappy Tigers.

Memphis (1-1) closed within three on Doneal Mack's 3-pointer with a minute left, then cut the lead to 56-55 on Elliot Williams' long 3 with 17 seconds left. Sherron Collins hit one of two free throws at the other end to give Memphis a final chance, but Williams' contested 3-pointer clanged off the back iron.

Fast Facts

• Kansas won the rematch of the 2008 national championship game to start the season 2-0 for the third straight season.

• Cole Aldrich led the way for Kansas with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Sherron Collins finished with 12 points despite battling leg cramps.

• This is Kansas' first win since 2007 when scoring fewer than 60 points.

• With the loss, Memphis is now 0-9 all-time vs. the top-ranked team in the country.

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Williams thought the shot was in. The Jayhawks held their breath until it caromed away.

"We've known for the past few days that they're really going to give us a challenge and it proved to be right," Aldrich said.

Memphis wasn't supposed to have much of a chance against the depth and talent of Kansas, and had a miserable night from 3-point range, hitting six of 25. The Tigers hung around with scrappy defense, keeping the score low and the Jayhawks within reach far longer than anyone expected against the nation's top-ranked team.

Williams had 21 points to lead Memphis, 0-9 all-time against No. 1 teams.

A loss, but a step in the right direction.

"The message we sent is that nobody is going to run over us," Williams said.

The last time these teams played, it turned into one of the greatest games in Final Four history.

That was 18 months ago. These aren't the same teams. Not even close.

Collins is the only major contributor left. Aldrich, despite outplaying North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough in the semifinals, logged four minutes in the final. The rest of the Jayhawks were either buried on the bench or watched it on TV.

Memphis' Pierre Henderson-Niles, Willie Kemp and Mack played a combined seven minutes in the title game. None of the other Tigers were even on the roster.

Different teams, certainly a different feel.

The Tigers came out jittery, shooting airballs and wild 3-pointers that caromed high off the glass, getting their pockets picked from behind.

Kansas played out of control out of the gate, forcing up shots, turning it over on poor post entry passes and weak dribbles into the lane.

At the 15:55 mark, Kansas led 4-2.

"I thought we really got sped up," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "Some of the plays we made in transition, we really got sped up."

Fed up with the foolishness, Self yelled out to Collins: "1 game, get the ball to the big fella." The Jayhawks did and Aldrich hit a layup, then a rebound slam before sitting out the final 1:34 after picking up his second foul.

Kansas went right back to the big fella in the second half.

Tyshawn Taylor found Aldrich on an alley-oop to open the half and Collins set up another dunk on an over-the-top pass to the post. That seemed to jump start the Jayhawks, who finally pushed their lead to double digits, 38-28 on Henry's fastbreak layup.

Aldrich added a dunk on a dish from Collins to put Kansas up 52-45 with just under 3 minutes left. He finished 7-for-10 from the field after taking just five shots against Hofstra on Friday.

"I saw him in high school a bunch and I knew he was going to be good," Pastner said. They do a real good job with their bigs. He's a future pro."

The Jayhawks needed every bit of what Aldrich gave them.

Collins, Kansas' leading scorer, had 12 points and couldn't play down the stretch while struggling with leg cramps. Former Memphis recruit Xavier Henry seemed too amped up at times -- Tigers' fans booed him plenty early -- scoring 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting and turning it over four times.

Taylor had seven turnovers, most on forced passes in traffic, and the Jayhawks could only get off five 3-point shots -- making one -- against Memphis' pressure defense.

"Hopefully, it'll be a good teaching tool for us," Self said.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MEM
KU
Points 55 57
FG Made-Attempted 19-55 (.345) 20-43 (.465)
3P Made-Attempted 6-25 (.240) 1-5 (.200)
FT Made-Attempted 11-16 (.688) 16-21 (.762)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 14 (0/0)
Largest Lead 1 10

2009-10 Season

DATEGAMELINKS
» Nov 17, 2009 @KU 57, MEM 55Recap