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Jeff Eisenberg

Kansas survives, robs Texas A&M of signature win

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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For a few fleeting moments on Monday night, Texas A&M was streaking toward its biggest win in years, its raucous crowd was on its feet, and mighty Kansas looked, dare I say it, vulnerable.

Like all flashes of mortality from the Jayhawks this season, it didn't last long.

A 59-54 comeback win in College Station certainly wasn't as impressive as Kansas' dominant showing at Texas last Monday, but the Jayhawks nonetheless escaped with another marquee road victory. They rallied from a 52-48 deficit by outscoring Texas A&M 11-2 in the final 6:37, snapping the Aggies' 16-game home winning streak despite a rare poor shooting night from star guard Sherron Collins.

You've probably heard analysts suggest there aren't any teams as formidable as last year's national champion North Carolina squad this season, but isn't Kansas proving it may be of the same caliber? The Jayhawks are undefeated in one of the nation's deepest conferences and 25-1 overall, one game better than the Tar Heels were at the same point last season.

The most promising part of Kansas' success is that a different hero seems to step up each night. It was Collins who scored 33 points and made every key play down the stretch in a narrow win over Cornell last month. It was Marcus Morris whose 18 points and 8 rebounds against Texas made up for 5-for-23 shooting from Collins and Cole Aldrich.

And then against Texas A&M, it was Kansas' defense which made the difference, limiting the Aggies to 1 of 11 shooting and three turnovers during the Jayhawks' decisive game-ending run. Texas A&M star Donald Sloan had 10 quick points in the first half, but struggled afterward, finishing with just 15 on 6 of 18 shooting from the floor.

Once Kansas reached the midway point of Big 12 play at 8-0, Collins set a goal for the Jayhawks of completing conference play with an undefeated record. Even with a home game against Kansas State and road tests at Missouri and Oklahoma State remaining, would you bet against them?

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