I have been fortunate to see lots of great performances during my career as a broadcaster. Monday night in Lawrence, Kansas, I saw All-American Nick Collison put forth one of the most special efforts I've ever seen in Kansas' thrilling 90-87 win over Big 12 rival Texas.
|Nick Collison (33 points, 18 boards) carried Kansas.|
The Jayhawks needed a big-time performance from their experienced players, and Collison came through with 24 points and 23 rebounds against the tenacious, hungry Longhorns. It was one of the best games of the season, as coach Roy Williams' team escaped with a much-needed W.
There have been very few occasions where I got up as a broadcaster and gave a player a standing ovation. David Robinson of Navy was one ... and Collison on Monday night when he fouled out with a minute-plus left.
Kansas was on the verge of its third straight loss, something that hasn't happened since 1994. Collison helped will the Jayhawks to the winner's circle. The same can be said for the Rock-Chalk-Jayhawk Kansas fans! Allen Field House is one of the greatest environments in college basketball. There was so much electricity and intensity.
Collison is playing much better than he did earlier in the season, when I saw him at Madison Square Garden in the Preseason NIT. Kansas lost to North Carolina and Florida there.
One point to remember about Kansas: The Jayhawks lost Drew Gooden (one of the nation's premier players) and Jeff Boschee (one of the top 3-point threats in the Big 12) from last year's squad.
Give Texas credit for playing a great game. The Longhorns have lost just three times this season, all to teams currently in the Top 10 -- at Arizona, at Kansas and vs. Notre Dame at a neutral site. Texas plays exceptionally well on the road. The well-coached Longhorns know how to win and show great inside/outside ability.
The Jayhawks and Longhorns put on quite a show Monday night. Texas point guard T.J. Ford was outstanding, showing his great court vision, quickness and an improved jump shot. But in the end, Collison stole the spotlight with a brilliant performance.
I believe we will hear much more from these two teams as we head toward March Madness.