Kenny Gregory and Luke Axtell were out because of injuries and No. 10 Kansas was coming off one of its worst losses, so Nick Collison responded with the best game of his college career.
“I was hoping I could step up. The team needed me to do that and I felt comfortable,” Collison said Tuesday night when he scored a career-high 23 points as the Jayhawks rallied in the second half and defeated DePaul, 75-69, at Chicago.
“We had lost Kenny and then Luke got hurt and everybody was a little down,” Collison said. “It was tough at first and then we just knew we had to regroup.”
Gregory, the Jayhawks’ leading scorer, sat out a second consecutive game because of a stress fracture in his right foot, and then Axtell sprained his ankle in practice.
The Jayhawks, blown out by 31 points at Wake Forest last week--tying for the fourth-worst loss in school history--rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit Tuesday night because DePaul (4-4) collapsed in the second half after leading scorer Bobby Simmons got in foul trouble.
“We were just really good in the second half,” Kansas Coach Roy Williams said. “We got them to turn it over. Bobby Simmons almost shot us out of it. Obviously, the key point was getting him in foul trouble.”
Drew Gooden added 15 points for the Jayhawks (8-1). Kirk Hinrich had 14 and Eric Chenowith 13 points and seven rebounds before fouling out with 2:13 left.
Simmons scored 17, but only three in the second half. Imari Sawyer added 14 for DePaul, which shot only 31% in the second half when it had 11 turnovers.
Simmons had 14 first-half points, including three three-point baskets, as the Blue Demons built a 42-33 halftime lead.
But after Simmons got his fourth foul with 14:30 left, Kansas went on a game-turning 10-0 run.
No. 11 Connecticut 82, Massachusetts 67--Albert Mouring scored 20 points to lead the Huskies at Hartford, Conn.
Freshman Caron Butler added 14 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds for Connecticut (8-1).
Micah Brand had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead Massachusetts (1-6), which is off to its worst start in nearly 20 years.
The Huskies, who led by as many as 25, held Massachusetts scoring leader Monty Mack to three points, 16 below his average.
No. 24 Georgetown 78, Coastal Carolina 60--Michael Sweetney had 20 points and 10 rebounds at Washington as the Hoyas completed their best start since the 1989-90 season.
Georgetown (8-0) broke it open after halftime with a 17-6 run to take a 50-37 lead. Coastal Carolina made only two field goals in the first nine minutes of the second half.
Oliver Hinckson and Clint Reed each had 16 points to lead the Chanticleers (1-6).
Oregon 110, Illinois Chicago 87--Bryan Bracey and Frederick Jones each scored 20 points as the Ducks, coming off a 10-day break, won at Eugene, Ore.
Five players scored in double digits as Oregon (6-0) scored its most points in four seasons under Coach Ernie Kent, who was rewarded with his 150th career coaching victory.
Joe Scott scored 29 points to lead the Flames (4-4).
Washington State 67, Montana 54--Freshman Marcus Moore scored a season-high 25 points as the Cougars rallied from a 36-35 halftime deficit at Pullman, Wash.
The victory was the second in a row for Washington State (4-2). Senior Eddie Miller and sophomore David Adams added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Moore’s effort also included six steals. The Cougars’ leading scorer, sophomore Jerry McNair, was held scoreless by the Grizzlies (3-5).
Cincinnati 75, No. 19 Xavier 59--Freshman guard Valerie King scored a season-high 26 points, 12 on three-point shots, to lead the Bearcats to victory at Cincinnati.
The win was the fifth in a row for Cincinnati (5-1) against Xavier (5-1).
The Bearcats built a 52-39 lead with 12:36 remaining, but Xavier stormed back to cut it to 56-54 with 6:43 left. Cincinnati’s Portia Flournoy made a free throw and King followed with back-to-back three-point baskets to give the Bearcats a 63-54 lead.
No. 10 Louisiana Tech 100, Centenary 34--Ayana Walker scored 20 points in less than one half at Ruston, La., as Tech (8-3) rebounded from a loss two days earlier to No. 2 Tennessee.
Centenary (0-9) has lost all 37 games it has played since resuming women’s basketball last season after more than a decade without a varsity squad.
No. 20 Louisiana State 75, Mercer 47--Marie Ferdinand scored 22 points at Baton Rouge, La., to lead the Tigers to the 500th win in team history.
Kisha James added 10 points and five rebounds for LSU (5-3). April Dyer led Mercer (1-8) with 11 points.