CINCINNATI, Ohio - Kansas sophomore guard Sade Morris knocked down three-of-four foul shots and senior forward Taylor McIntosh drilled both of her attempts from the free throw line in the final minute of play to propel the Jayhawks to a 62-60 win at Xavier on Friday evening at The Cintas Center. The win improved KU to 11-2 on the season, tying its win total from last season before entering Big 12 Conference action. Xavier dropped to 9-5 and had a four-game winning streak snapped with the loss.
Kansas led 29-26 at the half and still led by three points after a triple by freshman forward Nicollette Smith put the Jayhawks up 37-34 with just under 16 minutes to play in the game. Xavier then went on a 15-3 run to lead by nine points at 49-40 at the 10:50 mark of the second period.
A three-point basket by sophomore guard-forward Danielle McCray and a bucket by Morris trimmed the XU lead to four, but the Muskateers countered with two baskets to push the lead back to eight points with 6:36 left in the game. Junior guard Ivana Catic then scored eight-straight points and a lay-up by McCray knotted the game at 55-55 with just over three minutes on the clock.
Neither team scored over the next two minutes. Morris then gave Kansas the lead with a jumper in the lane with 1:23 to go. Sophomore forward Amber Harris tied the game again with a basket in the lane for Xavier 10 seconds later. Morris then hit one-of-two from the foul line to forge a 58-57 advantage. After a defensive stop, Morris again went to the line and knocked down both attempts for 60-57 KU lead. McIntosh put the lead at 62-57 with her to charity shots and the final score was set at 62-60 after Xavier's Tudy Reed hit a three-pointer as time expired.
Kansas started the game on a 9-0 run behind five points by McCray and a jumper by Catic. Xavier got right back in the game as freshman center Ta'Shia Phillips scored a lay-up and a free throw and sophomore guard Maureen Hester drilled a three. April Phillips came off the bench for four quick points and a second three by Hester had Xavier up 13-12, with just less than 12 minutes to play in the opening frame.
Smith answered right back for the Jayhawks, knocking down a three of her own, but XU came back with a triple of its own by junior guard Jerri Taylor. The game went back and forth the remainder of the half until Kansas had a 6-2 spurt to close the half with a 29-26 advantage at the break. Sophomore guard Kelly Kohn scored four points during the run with McCray scoring the other bucket off an assist from Kohn.
McCray led all scorers with 24 points, making 10-of-20 shots from the field, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. Catic finished with 10 points, six assists and four rebounds, while freshman center Krysten Boogaard had nine points and a team-high eight rebounds. Morris finished with seven points and four rebounds and Kohn had six assists to go along with four points.
Hester led XU with 17 points and three players finished with eight points. Ta'Shia Phillips pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Muskateers.
Kansas will return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 9, when they play host to nationally-ranked Oklahoma State to open Big 12 Conference play. Game time is slated for 7 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse.