Jayhawks to Host Vols in Men's Basketball Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPN
Jan. 1, 2009
Kansas opens the 2009 calendar season against No. 14/18 Tennessee. The Jayhawks are 9-3 on the season after their 79-43 win against Albany on Dec. 30 to close out 2008. Tennessee is 9-2 on the season after its 89-62 win against Louisiana-Lafayette Monday. Though not playing at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee has the nation’s third-longest home court winning streak at 35 games, while Kansas is fourth at 31 entering Saturday’s contest.
Kansas is 9-3 on the season and won its first game of a three-game homestand with a 79-43 victory against Albany (Dec. 30). The Jayhawks are averaging 79.4 points per game and giving up 62.7 for a +16.8 scoring margin. KU leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 37.7 percent and free throw percentage at 73.1 percent. Two of KU’s three losses have been by one point to UMass (61-60) and in overtime to Syracuse (89-81), i.e. two possessions.
Junior guard Sherron Collins leads KU in scoring at 16.9 points per game. Collins has led the team in scoring in nine of 12 games this season and has a team-high 26 three-point field goals and 57 assists. Sophomore center Cole Aldrich is next in scoring at 14.2 points per game and leads the team with 9.6 rebounds per game. Aldrich has led Kansas in rebounding in nine of the last 10 games. He also has six double-doubles in that span, second most in the Big 12. Aldrich has 29 of KU’s 57 blocked shots for a Big 12-leading 2.4 per game. Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor is scoring 10 points per game and leads Kansas with 20 steals. His 1.7 steals per game are 10th in the Big 12 and tops among league freshmen. Freshman forward Marcus Morris (8.5 ppg) is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds, tops among Big 12 freshmen. Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar has made multiple three pointers in each of his last three games and is scoring 7.4 points per outing. Freshman forward Markieff Morris has started the last three games and is third on the team with a 4.9 rebound average. He is scoring 5.6 ppg. Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed (6.8 ppg) is coming off a career-high 12 points against Albany with four assists. Freshman forward Quintrell Thomas (2.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg) and freshman guard Travis Releford (3.7 ppg) also see time in KU’s rotation. Thomas was 6-for-6 from the free throw line against Albany and Releford had seven points and four rebounds against the Great Danes.
Tennessee is celebrating its 100th year of men’s basketball and brings a three-game winning streak to Allen Fieldhouse. The Vols, defending Southeastern Conference champs, have won four of their last five and are 1-1 in true road games and 4-2 away from home this season. UT, 9-2, is outscoring opponents by +12.3 points per game, averaging 84.5 to their foes’ 72.2. Tennessee also controls the boards, outrebounding opponents 42.7 to 32.8 for a +9.9 margin. Junior forward Tyler Smith leads the team in scoring at 16.9 points per game and is third in rebounding with 5.6 rpg. Junior forward Wayne Chism is next in scoring at 11.8 points per game and he leads the team with 8.5 rebounds per contest. Junior guard J.P. Prince is scoring 10.9 points per game, while junior guard Bobby Maze is at 9.5 ppg, freshman guard/forward Cameron Tatum at 9.2 ppg and freshman guard Scotty Hopson at 8.8 ppg. Maze leads the team with 49 assists and 16 steals on the season, while Tatum has a team-high 17 three pointers. Sophomore center Brian Williams (6.6 ppg) is second on the team with 7.5 rebounds per contest. He, Chism and freshman guard/forward Renaldo Wooldridge (6.6 ppg) have seven blocked shots each to lead UT. Tennessee is deep as Smith (29.7 minutes per game) and Maze (27.1) are the only two Vols to average more than 22 minutes per game and seven other UT players average 16-plus minutes per game.
Kansas and Tennessee have yet to meet in men’s basketball but the Jayhawks are no stranger to the Southeastern Conference. KU has faced nine of the 12 SEC teams and has a 28-29 record against the conference. KU is 3-0 vs. Georgia, 2-0 vs. South Carolina, 1-0 vs. Mississippi, 3-1 vs. Florida, 3-1 vs. LSU, 8-5 vs. Arkansas, 2-2 vs. Vanderbilt, 0-1 vs. Auburn and 6-19 vs. Kentucky. The Jayhawks have yet to play Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi State. Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 4-1 against the SEC. The last KU-SEC contest saw Kansas defeat Kentucky 88-76 in the in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
–Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense (37.4 percent) and free throw percentage (73.1 percent). The Jayhawks are second in the league in rebound margin (+7.3) and assists (17.7 apg).
–KU has outshot nine of 12 opponents this season and has shot 50 percent or better in five games, including a season-best 56.3 percent against Albany. Last year, KU outshot 39 of 40 opponents.
–Kansas has outrebounded nine of 12 opponents this season.
–Kansas made 16-of-19 free throws against Albany for 84.2 percent. It marked the fifth time this season the Jayhawks have made 80 percent or better from the charity stripe.
–Through 12 games, four different Jayhawks have scored 20 or more points this season. Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich each have two 20-point efforts (Collins with 25 vs. Florida Gulf Coast and 21 vs. Syracuse and Aldrich with 23 vs. Coppin State and 20 vs. Albany). Other 20-point scorers include Brady Morningstar (21 vs. Coppin State) and Tyshawn Taylor (23 vs. New Mexico State).
–Kansas has held 122 of its last 125 opponents to under 50 percent shooting, including all 12 foes this season. Seven of those opponents have shot below 40 percent. The last team to shoot 50 percent or better against KU was Louisiana-Monroe in the 2007-08 season opener (51 percent).
–Kansas posted its 100th game of scoring 100 points in the 100-79 win against defending WAC champion New Mexico State Dec. 3.
–Individually, eight different Jayhawks have led or tied for the team lead in steals this season, six in assists and three in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.
–KU is 79-11 (87.8 percent) in its last 90 games.
–Junior guard Sherron Collins has scored 19 or more points in five games this season. He has led KU in scoring in nine of 12 games this season, including 16 at Arizona (Dec. 23). His seven points against Albany ended a 13-game string of double digit scoring. Collins has made eight three pointers in his last three games with three against Temple and four at Arizona. Collins is 16-for-19 (84.2 percent) from the free throw line in his last eight games. Collins is sixth in the Big 12 in scoring at 16.9 ppg. He also ranks among the league leaders in assists (sixth at 4.8), field goal percentage (15th at 42.8), three-point field goals made (ninth at 2.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (14th at 1.7).
–Sophomore Cole Aldrich posted his second 20-point game of the season with 20 points against Albany on 8-of-10 shooting. He also had 23 points against Coppin State on Nov. 28. Aldrich has shot 50 percent or better from the field in 10 of 12 games this season and is 30-for-46 (65.2 percent) in his last six games. Aldrich has a team-leading six double-doubles on the season, second most in the Big 12. Aldrich leads the Big 12 in blocked shots at 2.4 per game, is second in the conference in rebounding at 9.6, second in field goal percentage at 62.1 and third in free throw percentage at 83 percent. His 14.2 ppg is 17th in the league.
–Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar has made seven three pointers in his last three games and is 7-for-14 (50 percent) from beyond the arc in that span. Morningstar had 11 points against Temple (Dec. 20) to mark his second double-figure scoring game of the season (21 vs. Coppin State on Nov. 28). He has made at least one three-pointer in each of his last nine games and is fourth in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 46.3 percent.
–Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor, twice named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week this season, had a season-low tying three points against Albany. In his last three games, Taylor has 12 assists, three turnovers and six steals. He had a solid stat line against Temple (Dec. 20) with 11 points, eight assists, one turnover and four steals earning Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors. He has multiple steals in three of his last five games. He has 26 assists in his last four games, including a double-double with 11 assists and 10 points against Jackson State (Dec. 6). He is 10th in the league in assists at 3.8 apg, 10th in steals at 1.7 spg and 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8.
–Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed tied his career high with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting (3-for-5 from three-point range) against Albany. He also had 12 against New Mexico State (Dec. 3) and UMKC in the season opener. Reed has made 14 three-pointers in his last six games and is 14-for-26 (53.8 percent) from beyond the arc in that span.
–Freshman forward Markieff Morris has started each of the last three games and is 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) in those three games. His 4.9 rebounds on the season are second behind twin Marcus Morris (5.8 rpg) among Big 12 freshmen.
–Freshman forward Marcus Morris had 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting at Arizona (Dec. 23). Against Albany he had seven points on 3-of-4 shooting with five rebounds. He has shot 50 percent or better in eight games this season. He is 11-for-19 (57.8 percent) from the field in his last three games. Marcus has started six games for KU this season and is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds per game. Marcus leads the Big 12 freshmen in rebound average, which is 15th overall in the conference.
–Freshman TRAVIS RELEFORD’s seven points against Albany were the most since he scored eight against Coppin State on Nov. 28. Releford was 3-for-4 from the field against Albany and is making 57.6 percent from the field on the season. His four rebounds against Albany were a season high.
–Sophomore guard Conner Teahan played a career-high 17 minutes against UMass (Dec. 13), tying a season high with five points and setting a career high with five rebounds.
Kansas will close out its non-conference schedule hosting Siena on Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. on Jayhawk TV before traveling to Michigan State on Jan. 10 for a noon game on CBS. KU, four-time defending Big 12 regular-season champion, plays host to Kansas State in its league opener on Jan. 13.