No. 1 Kansas to Host Cornell Wednesday in Men's Basketball

Jan. 4, 2010

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Two of the hottest teams in the nation square off as No. 1 Kansas (13-0) faces Cornell (12-2). The Jayhawks’ 13-game winning streak is tied for the second longest in NCAA Division I. Cornell’s current 10-game win streak ranks tied for fifth nationally. Kansas is looking to extend the nation’s longest home court winning streak to 51 games against Cornell.

About Kansas

Kansas is coming off an 84-52 win at No. 18/19 Temple on Saturday. The 32-point margin of victory was the largest in the Bill Self era for true road games and the largest true road win by KU since Jan. 7, 1995, a KU 97-58 win at SMU. Kansas averages 87.5 points and gives up 58.1 for a NCAA Division I leading +29.4 scoring margin. The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in each of their last six games and have held all but one opponent this season to under 40 percent shooting. KU ranks in the top three of all but three Big 12 statistics and leads the nation in scoring margin and field percentage defense at .338. Freshman guard Xavier Henry leads the team with a 16.3 point scoring average. He has shot 50 percent or better in nine of 13 games this season, is making 51.8 percent of his shots from the field and is second in the Big 12 with his 46.0 three-point field goal percentage. Xavier leads KU with 29 threes and 21 steals. Senior guard Sherron Collins is averaging 13.8 points on the season and is second on the team with 26 three-pointers. Collins leads the team with 55 assists and is second in steals with 19. Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor scores 7.4 points per game and he is just behind Collins in assists with 54. He has 31 assists with just five turnovers in his last six games. Junior center Cole Aldrich has three straight double-doubles and leads the team in rebounds with 10.1 per game. He has 45 boards in his last four games. Aldrich has six double-doubles this season and averages 3.8 blocked shots per outing. Sophomore forward Marcus Morris has averaged 16 points in his last four games and is averaging 11.7 ppg and 5.4 rpg on the season. He has shot 50 percent or better in each of his last six games and 11 of 13 games in 2009-10. Marcus’ twin, sophomore forward Markieff Morris, is coming off the bench to score 7.2 points per game. He leads the team in field goal percentage at 63.2 percent and pulls down 5.5 rebounds per game. Junior guard Brady Morningstar returned to the lineup against Michigan (Dec. 19) and has 17 assists and two turnovers in 18.8 minutes per game. Morningstar has made one three-pointer in three of his four games played this season and is scoring 3.8 points per contest. Junior guard Tyrel Reed scores 4.6 points per outing and he has 15 three-pointers and 21 field goals made this season. Freshman guard Elijah Johnson (4.2 ppg) has started two games this season. Thomas Robinson (4.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg) is another KU regular.

Kansas is the five-time defending Big 12 champion, finished 27-8 last season and won the 2009 league title outright with a 14-2 conference record. The Jayhawks advanced to their third-straight NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 before falling to NCAA runner-up Michigan State in Indianapolis last year.

About Cornell

Located in Ithaca, N.Y., with an enrollment of 13,700, Cornell is coming off a 75-49 win at Bryant, where the Big Red made its first eight three-pointers in cruising to its 10th-straight win. The Big Red (12-2) averages 76.6 points per game and give up 69.2 for a +7.4 scoring margin. Cornell makes 9.4 three-point field goals per game, attempts 21.8 threes per contest and shoots 43.3 percent from beyond the arc. Cornell – whose 18-man roster consists of 12 upperclassmen – also shares the wealth as it averages 17.1 assists per game and is shooting an impressive 74.4 percent from the free throw line. A trio of All-Ivy League performers lead the Big Red with senior forward Ryan Wittman leading the way with an 18.9 scoring average. Wittman also leads the team with 46 three-pointers and is second on the squad with 17 steals. All-conference performer Jeff Foote, a 7-0 senior center, leads Cornell with 8.7 rebounds per game to complement his 13.6 scoring average. He has a team-high 25 blocked shots. Senior guard Louis Dale is also an all-league performer who scores 9.7 points per game and leads the team with 57 assists and 19 steals in only 11 games played. He missed three games due to an ankle injury. Sophomore guard Chris Wroblewski is a starter who scores 9.8 points per contest, is second on the team with 52 assists and second with 25 three-pointers made. Senior guard Geoff Reeves (6.9 ppg), senior forward Jon Jaques (6.1 ppg), senior forward/center Mark Coury (4.0 ppg), junior forward Adam Wire (2.9 ppg) and senior forward/center Alex Tyler (2.8 ppg) round out the Cornell regulars.

The Series

Kansas has won both meetings with Cornell in men’s basketball. The Jayhawks first defeated the Big Red 75-58 on Dec. 28, 1955 in Kansas City, Mo. KU also defeated Cornell 100-46 on Jan. 2, 1996, in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas is 13-0 all-time versus the Ivy League. KU last faced an Ivy League team when it defeated Yale 86-53 on Dec. 29, 2007, during its NCAA National Championship season. When the Jayhawks visited the White House, then-President George W. Bush made a comment that the Jayhawks defeated his alma mater earlier that season.

KU-Cornell Notables

–Kansas junior guard Tyrel Reed and Cornell senior guard Geoff Reeves both hail from Burlington, Kan., and were coached by Reed’s father, Stacey. KU junior Brady Morningstar and Reeves played AAU basketball for KC Pump N’ Run. Reeves, a triplet with two sisters – Erica and Alyssa, was in the same grade as KU manager Lacie Reed, older sister of Tyrel. Lacie, Erica and Alyssa were on the same basketball team while at Burlington High School.

Team Notables

–Kansas remains one of four undefeated teams in NCAA Division I (Dec. 30). Others include Kentucky, Purdue and Texas.

–KU leads the Big 12 in scoring (87.5 ppg), scoring margin (+29.4), field goal percentage (.522), scoring defense (58.1), field goal percentage defense (.338), three-point field goal percentage defense (.265), assists (19.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6). The Jayhawks rank in the top three in all but three Big 12 statistical categories.

–Through 13 games, Bill Self has used at least nine players in the first half of every game. He used a season-high 11 players in the first half against Central Arkansas (Nov. 19).

–Nine of Kansas’ 13 victories this season have been by 25 or more points with eight of those by 30 points or more.

–KU averages 7.2 blocked shots per game to its opponents’ 2.9.

–Kansas has shot 50 percent or better in 10 of 13 games this season, including its last six contests.

–KU’s bench has outscored its opponents’ bench in 11 of 13 games this season. KU’s bench averages 28.2 points per game compared to 13.4 by its opponents.

–Through 13 games, nine different Jayhawks, including ties, have led the team in steals, seven in points and six in assists.

–Kansas forces 15.8 turnovers per game and averages 20 points off turnovers per game.

Player Notables

–Senior Sherron Collins had 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting at Temple with four assists, three steals and no turnovers. Collins has scored in double figures in 10 games this season. He is second on the team in scoring and his 13.8 ppg ranks 17th in the Big 12. Collins also ranks among the league leaders in assists (sixth at 4.2), three-point field goal percentage (seventh at .419), three-point field goals made (tied for seventh at 2.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (seventh at 2.2).

–Junior Cole Aldrich, an Academic All-America candidate, was named Big 12 co-Player of the Week on Jan. 4 after posting two straight double-doubles in wins against Belmont and at Temple. Aldrich had 11 points, 14 rebounds and a season-high six blocked shots against Belmont (Dec. 29) and 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots at No. 18 Temple (Jan. 2). Aldrich has 22 blocked shots in his last five games. He is second in the Big 12 and ranks in the top 10 nationally with 3.8 blocked shots per game. Aldrich has had at least three blocks in all but one game this season. Aldrich is fourth in the Big 12 in rebounding at 10.1 rpg. He has 28 career double-doubles.

–Freshman Xavier Henry has been named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week twice this season and he leads the conference freshmen class in scoring with 16.3 ppg. He has led KU in scoring in six games this season, including 15 at Temple (Jan. 2) and 31 points against La Salle (Dec. 12). Xavier has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in all but three games this season and is making .518 from the floor and .460 percent from three-point range. The last KU freshman to lead the team in scoring was Brandon Rush in 2005-06 at 13.5 ppg. Henry is second in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at .460 percent. He also ranks ninth in the Big 12 in scoring at 16.3 ppg, fifth in field goal percentage at .518, 11th in free throw percentage at .787 and sixth in three pointers made at 2.2.

–Sophomore Marcus Morris has averaged 16 points in his last four games, including a career-high 23 points against Michigan (Dec. 19). He added 10 rebounds for a double-double against the Wolverines. He has started the last 11 games and is third on the team with a 5.4 rebound average. Marcus is shooting .581 percent from the field. Marcus has pulled down six or more boards six times this season. He has two double-doubles this season: the Michigan game and 19 points and 11 rebounds against Oakland (Nov. 25).

–Sophomore Markieff Morris had five points on 2-of-3 shooting at Temple (Jan. 2). He pulled down seven rebounds against California (Dec. 22) to mark the seventh time this season he has pulled down six or more boards. Markieff had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds against La Salle (Dec. 12). He also had a career-high four blocked shots against the Explorers. He is shooting .632 percent from the field on the season and had made 15 consecutive shots at one point. Markieff is second on the team with 5.5 rebounds per game, which ranks 19th in the Big 12.

–Sophomore Tyshawn Taylor has 31 assists and just five turnovers over his last six games. In the win against California (Dec. 22), Taylor had 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting with seven assists, one turnover and two steals. He has five or more assists in five of his last six games. Taylor ranks tied for seventh in the Big 12 in assists at 4.2 and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.3.

–Junior Brady Morningstar has 17 assists and two turnovers in his four games played this season. He has made one three pointer in each of his last three games. Morningstar dished out a career-high seven assists against California (Dec. 22). In four games, Morningstar is 6-for-11 (.545) from the field. A defensive stopper who started all but one game last season, Morningstar missed the first nine games of the season due to breaking team rules. Morningstar is a redshirt junior who is the oldest player in the Big 12 at 23.

–Junior Tyrel Reed, an Academic All-America candidate, has made 15 three-pointers and 21 field goals on the season. He has made at least one three in 10 games this season and multiple threes in three contests. Reed tied his season high with three rebounds against Michigan (Dec. 19). Reed is averaging 4.6 points per game.

–Freshman Thomas Robinson averages 11.1 minutes per game with a 4.6 ppg and 4.3 rpg. He is tied for second on the team with 12 blocked shots. Robinson has had two games of double-figure scoring and had his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Alcorn State (Dec. 2). He has pulled down four or more rebounds in seven games.

–Freshman Elijah Johnson averages 10.4 minutes per game with a 4.2 scoring average and 2.3 assist average. He has scored seven or more points in five games. Johnson, who has two starts this season, had a career-high 11 points in his starting debut against Radford (Dec. 9). He is third on the team with 28 assists.

–Freshman C.J. Henry is 5-for-6 (.833 percent) from the field in his last two games. He was 3-for-4 against Belmont (Dec. 29) and 2-for-2, both three point attempts, at Temple (Jan. 2). C.J averages 5.7 points in only 8.4 minutes of action. He is 14-of-21 (.667 percent) from the field, including 11-for-18 (.611) from three-point range for the season.

Up Next

Kansas closes out non-conference play at Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 10, at 3:30 p.m. (Central). The KU at Tennessee contest will be televised on CBS. KU, the five-time defending Big 12 regular-season champion, opens conference play at Nebraska on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. Kansas returns home to host Texas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 12:45 p.m. That game will be televised on the Big 12 Network.