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Recap: Hofstra , Kansas
Date: November 13, 2009 8:00 PM EDT
  

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -Sherron Collins looked over his shoulder at the gaggle of cameras and recorders around freshman Xavier Henry, turned back to the empty space in front of him, then shrugged his shoulders.

``This is great,' Collins said. ``I can go now.'

The undeniable leader of the best team in the country, Collins doesn't seem to mind to sharing some of the spotlight with his talented new teammate.

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The highly heralded Henry hit five 3-pointers and set a school freshman record with 27 points, lifting the top-ranked Jayhawks to a 101-65 victory over Hofstra on Friday night.

Thanks to its high-flying freshman, one of the most anticipated seasons in Kansas' storied history got off to a flying start.

``He played great,' Kansas coach Bill Self said

Kansas is a favorite to win its second national title in three years and played like it against the small-conference Pride, overcoming some occasional sloppy moments to win its 37th consecutive home opener and eighth straight season opener.

Collins had 23 points and Cole Aldrich added 11 points and eight rebounds, lifting the Jayhawks to their 42nd straight win at Allen Fieldhouse.

But it was Henry who stole the show.

The smooth left-hander hit a 3-pointer on Kansas' first possession, added a how-did-he-get-that-high rebound slam for a three-point play and had eight points in the first 3 minutes.

Henry had 10 points in the first half and opened the second with another run of eight points in 3 minutes, including a 3-pointer and a two-handed dunk on the break. This time, he kept going, hitting a 3-pointer from the wing and pulling up for another to put Kansas up 61-34.

In a long list of freshman phenoms at Kansas - from Danny Manning and Paul Pierce to Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers - Henry topped them all, electrifying a rafter-shaking sellout crowd at Allen Fieldhouse with his barrage of ferocious dunks and feathery 3-pointers.

The marquee name in Self's stellar recruiting class, Henry was 5 of 8 from 3-point range and 8 for 12 overall to break the Kansas freshman debut record of 21 points, set by Norm Cook in 1973.

``My teammates were finding me tonight and I can always shoot,' Henry said. ``I just let it go a little bit and hit a couple.'

Hofstra put up a bit of a fight in its first game against a No. 1 team, piecing together a small rally to keep Kansas from running away midway through the first half. The Pride just couldn't keep up Kansas' depth and talent, hurt by early foul trouble and poor perimeter shooting.

Charles Jenkins had 23 points to lead Hofstra, which was 5 of 21 from 3-point range in a game coach Tom Pecora scheduled to give his team more exposure.

``We will build off this game,' Pecora said. ``This is exactly what we knew could happen and it was a learning experience.'

Kansas wasn't perfect, though.

There were a couple of early defensive breakdowns: a wide-open 3-pointer and a coast-to-coast layup by Chaz Williams. The Jayhawks cleaned it up quickly, though, holding Hofstra without a field goal for more than 5 minutes to go up 25-10.

Then came the what-were-you-thinking turnovers, which allowed Hofstra to keep it respectable, at least for a little while.

Freshman Elijah Johnson, after scoring two quick buckets, got himself in the air with nowhere to go. Tyshawn Taylor later made two shaky passes that had Self stomping and slapping his knee in disgust. Even the senior Collins got into the act, throwing an ill-advised pass in traffic that was easily picked off, Kansas' third turnover in four possessions.

Jenkins followed with a putback to cut Kansas' lead to 31-22 and Self couldn't take anymore. The Jayhawks responded to Self's not-so-subtle persuasion during two timeouts with 10 straight points to start a closing 17-5 run that put them up 48-27.

Hofstra never stood a chance after that.

``They are as good as advertised,' Pecora said. ``They play with very good balance and intensity. They played like the No. 1 team in the country tonight.'

AP NEWS
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