Jayhawks Hit Road to No. 8 Michigan State Saturday in Men's Basketball

Jan. 8, 2009

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Kansas concludes it nonconference portion of the 2008-09 season at No. 8/12 Michigan State on Saturday, January 10, at noon (Central) on CBS. The Jayhawks are 11-3 on the season, 0-1 in true road games and 1-2 away from Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas has won three straight and four of its last five games. Michigan State is 12-2 on the season, including 3-0 in Big Ten Conference play. The Spartans have won eight straight and are 5-0 at home this season. Kansas has the nation’s second-longest home court winning streak at 33 games, while Michigan State is tied for fourth with Utah State with 26 straight wins at the Breslin Center. Notre Dame is at 44.

About Kansas

Kansas is 11-3 on the season after its 91-84 win against Siena Tuesday. The victory was KU’s 33rd-straight win in Allen Fieldhouse, the second-longest home court winning streak in NCAA Division I. The Jayhawks are averaging 80.6 points per game and giving up 65.3 for a +15.3 scoring margin. KU has been solid at the line with six games of 80 percent or better as the Jayhawks lead the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 73.5 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 17.6 points per game and is coming off 18 points in the win against Siena. Collins has led the team in scoring in 10 of 14 games this season and has a team-high 30 three-point field goals and 70 assists, including nine versus Tennessee last Saturday. Sophomore center Cole Aldrich is next in scoring at 15.4 points per game and has scored 66 points in his last three games – 20 vs. Albany, 22 vs. Tennessee and a career-high 24 vs. Siena. He leads the team with 9.9 rebounds per game. Aldrich has led Kansas in rebounding in 11 of the 14 games this season. He also has eight double-doubles, the second most in the Big 12. Aldrich has 39 of KU’s 72 blocked shots for a Big 12-leading 2.8 per game. Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor is scoring 10 points per game and leads Kansas with 22 steals. His 1.6 steals per game and 3.6 assists per game lead the Big 12 freshmen class. Freshman forward Marcus Morris comes off the bench and is scoring 8.4 ppg. He is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds, tops among Big 12 freshmen. Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar has made multiple three pointers in four of his last five games and is scoring 7.7 points per outing. Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed, 7.4 ppg, has scored 34 points in his last three games, including a career-high 14 against Siena. Freshman forward Markieff Morris has started the last five contests and is third on the team with a 4.9 rebound average. He is scoring 5.4 ppg. Freshman guard Travis Releford (3.6 ppg) and freshman forward Quintrell Thomas (2.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg) are each averaging more than seven minutes per contest. Junior guard Mario Little is also logging seven-plus minutes per game in his two outings. Little missed the first 12 contests due to injuries.

About Michigan State

No. 8/12 Michigan State is coming off a 67-58 win against Ohio State on Tuesday. The Spartans are 12-2 on the season, 3-0 in Big Ten play and have won eight straight. MSU has been ranked as high as fifth nationally. MSU is averaging 77.8 points per game and giving up 66.4 for a +11.4 scoring margin. The Spartans control the boards with a +9.6 rebound margin and also average 18.2 assists per game. Junior forward Raymar Morgan leads the team in scoring at 15.2 ppg and rebounding with seven boards per game. Morgan is shooting 60.2 percent from the field. Sophomore guard Kalin Lucas has a team-high 84 assists and 17 steals on the season to complement his 13.3 scoring average. Sophomore guard Chris Allen has made a team-best 28 three pointers this season and is scoring 10.3 points per game. Senior center Goran Suton is second on the team with 6.8 rebounds per contest to go along with his 9.4 points per game. Sophomore guard Durrell Summers comes off the bench to score 8.4 points per outing, while starter Travis Walton is second on the team with 44 assists. Walton, a senior guard, is scoring 8.4 ppg. Freshman forward Delvon Roe (5.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and senior forward Marquise Gray (4.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg) are each averaging more than 13 minutes per game for the Spartans.

The Series

Kansas leads the overall series with Michigan State 4-3 in a series that dates back to 1960. IN the last meeting then-No. 6 Kansas defeated then-No. 3 Michigan State 81-74 on Nov. 25, 2003, in Allen Fieldhouse in Bill Self’s first season at KU. No team has won more than two straight in the series. Some of the more memorable games include KU’s 96-86 overtime win against Michigan State in the 1986 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Sweet 16 game in Kansas City. KU then defeated North Carolina State to advance to the Final Four in Dallas. In the next meeting, Michigan State defeated Kansas 66-54 in the Great Eight in Chicago, Ill. Michigan State has won both meetings in East Lansing – 81-62 in 1962 and 85-61 in 1979. This will be the first meeting between Kansas and Michigan State at the Breslin Center. Kansas is no stranger to the Big Ten Conference as the Jayhawks have faced all 11 members of the league and is a combined 32-34. The last time KU faced at Big Ten foe was the Michigan State game in 2003.

Team Notables

–Kansas leads the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 72.7. The Jayhawks also rank among the league’s top four teams in field goal percentage defense (fourth at 38.4), rebounding (thrid at 40.4), rebound defense (fourth at 32.8), rebound margin (second at +7.6), assists (second at 18.3), blocked shots (second at 5.1) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.3).

–KU has outshot 10 of 14 opponents this season and has shot 50 percent or better in six games, including two of the last three. Last year, KU outshot 39 of 40 opponents.

–Kansas has outrebounded 11 of 14 opponents this season.

–Kansas made 26-of-32 free throws against Siena (Jan. 6) for 81.3 percent. It marked the sixth time this season the Jayhawks have made 80 percent or better from the charity stripe.

–Through 14 games, four different Jayhawks have scored 20 or more points this season. Cole Aldrich has four games of 20-plus points, while Sherron Collins has three. Other 20-point scorers include Brady Morningstar and Tyshawn Taylor.

–Kansas has held 124 of its last 127 opponents to under 50 percent shooting, including all 14 foes this season. Eight of those opponents have shot below 40 percent, including two of the last three games. 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, nine 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 96-13 (88.1 percent) in its last 109 games dating back to Jan. 21, 2006.

Player Notables

–Junior guard Sherron Collins had 18 points in the win against Siena which followed his career-high 26 points against Tennessee on Jan. 3. He has scored 18 or more points in nine games this season and has led KU in scoring in 10 of 14 games. Collins has made 12 three pointers in his last five games. Collins ranks sixth in the Big 12 in scoring at 17.6 ppg. He also ranks among the league leaders in assists (sixth at 5.0), free throw percentage (sixth at .813), field goal percentage (13th at .430), three point field goals made (11th at 2.1) and assist-to-turnover ratio (14th at 1.6).

–Sophomore Cole Aldrich has scored 20-plus points in each of his last three games with 20 vs. Albany, 22 vs. Tennessee and a career-high 24 vs. Siena. He has made 70.3 percent of his field goals (40-for-57) in the last six games. Aldrich has a team-leading eight double-doubles on the season, second most in the Big 12 and eighth-most nationally. He leads the Big 12 in blocked shots with 2.8 per contest. Aldrich is second in the conference in field goal percentage at 63.1, second in rebounding at 9.9 rpg, sixth in free throw percentage at 81.3 and 11th in scoring at 15.4 ppg.

–Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar has made 11 three pointers in his last five games. His 12 points against Tennessee (Jan. 3) marked his third double-figure scoring game of the season. He has made at least one three-pointer in each of his last 11 games and is fourth in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 46 percent.

–Freshman guard TYSHAWN TAYLOR’s 12 points against Tennessee (Jan. 3) were the most since he scored 23 against New Mexico State six games earlier. He had eight points against Siena. In his last seven games, Taylor has 31 assists and 12 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 for the second time this season. He is 12th in the league in assists at 3.6 apg, tied for 11th in steals at 1.6 spg and 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8. His steals and assist-to-turnover ratio are tops among Big 12 freshmen.

–Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed is coming off a career-high 14 points against Siena and has averaged 11.3 points in his last three games (7.4 on the season). Reed has made multiple threes in each of his last three games and 18 three-pointers in his last eight games. He is 18-for-35 (51.4 percent) from beyond the arc in that span.

–Freshman forward Markieff Morris has started each of the last five games. He pulled down eight rebounds against Siena – his second highest this season and most since 15 in the season opener versus UMKC. His 4.9 rebounds on the season are second behind twin Marcus Morris (5.8 rpg) among Big 12 freshmen.

–Freshman forward Marcus Morris has five steals in his last three games. He has shot 50 percent or better in nine games this season, including 4-for-8 against Siena in scoring eight points. 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 17th overall in the conference.

–Freshman Travis Releford had five points in eight minutes against Siena. He has played eight-plus minutes in each of his last four games.

Up Next

Kansas, four-time defending Big 12 regular-season champion, will host Kansas State in its conference opener on Jan. 13. That game will tip at 7 p.m. and be shown on the Big 12 Network. KU will travel to Colorado on Saturday, Jan. 17, for a 2:30 p.m. (Central) game on ABC. Two days later KU will play its first of four ESPN Big Monday games when it hosts Texas A&M on Jan. 19 at 8 p.m.