Kansas Heads to the Mountains to Face Colorado in Men's Hoops Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on ABC
Jan. 15, 2009
Spring semester classes started Thursday (Jan. 15) at the University of Kansas and the men’s basketball team continues Big 12 play at Colorado, Saturday, Jan. 17 at 2:30 p.m. (Central) on ABC. The Jayhawks won their 18th straight Big 12 opener with an 87-71 win against Kansas State on Tuesday. KU is 12-4 overall and 1-0 in conference play. Colorado is 8-7 on the season and 0-1 in Big 12 play after losing at Missouri 107-62 on Wednesday.
Kansas is 12-4 on the season after its 87-71 win against Kansas State on Jan. 13 in its Big 12 opener. The win versus K-State was the 18th straight league-opening victory for Kansas. The Jayhawks are averaging 79.8 points per game and giving up 66.2 for a +13.6 scoring margin. KU has been solid at the free throw line with six games of 80 percent or better. Kansas has held four of its last five and 10 of 16 opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field. On the flip side, Kansas has shot 50 percent or better seven times this season with six of those in Allen Fieldhouse.
Junior guard Sherron Collins leads KU in scoring at 18.5 points per game and has scored 24 or more points in three of his last four games. Collins has led the team in scoring in 12 of 16 games this season. He has a team-high 34 three-point field goals and 82 assists, as well as 25 assists in his last four games. Collins enters the Colorado game with 965 career points, just 35 shy of becoming the 51st Jayhawk to score 1,000 points for his career. Sophomore center Cole Aldrich is next in scoring at 15.3 points per game and is averaging 19 points in his last five games, including three 20-point efforts. He leads the team with 9.8 rebounds per game and is three rebounds shy of averaging a double-double. Aldrich has led Kansas in rebounding in 13 of the 16 games this season. He also has nine double-doubles, the second most in the Big 12. Aldrich has 44 of KU’s 80 blocked shots for a Big 12-leading 2.8 per game. Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor is scoring 10.1 points per game and leads Kansas with 24 steals. He is coming off a 20-point effort against Kansas State. Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar is a starter who is averaging 7.4 points per game with 45 assists and 17 steals. Junior guard Mario Little rounds out the KU starters. Little missed the first 12 games of the season and is scoring 2.8 points per game. Freshman forward Markieff Morris (5.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg), freshman Marcus Morris (7.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and sophomore guard Tyrel Reed (7.5 ppg) are KU’s top reserves.
Colorado has lost three of its last four games and is 8-7 on the season and 0-1 in Big 12 play. The Buffaloes are 7-2 at home this season and 1-5 away from the Coors Events Conference Center. Colorado is scoring 67.5 points and giving up 66.5 per contest. The Buffs average 14.8 free throws made per contest and 5.8 three-point field goals. Sophomore guard Cory Higgins leads the team in scoring at 17.5 points per game, rebounding with a 6.3 average and steals with 28. Junior guard Dwight Thorne II has a team-high 19 three pointers to complement his 11.9 scoring average. Freshman forward Austin Dufault is scoring 9.3 points, while freshman guard Nate Tomlinson is at 8.8 ppg with a team-high 50 assists. All of the aforementioned are averaging more than 30 minutes per game for CU. Senior forward Jermyl Jackson-Wilson is the fifth starter who is scoring 5.4 points per game and is second on the team with 4.3 rebounds. He has a team-best 13 blocked shots. Sophomore forward Casey Crawford (6.4 ppg), sophomore guard Levi Knutson (3.4 ppg) and freshman forward Trey Eckloff (2.6 ppg) round out the CU regulars.
This series dates back to 1931 and Kansas leads 115-39, including a 37-26 record in Boulder (22-7 at the Coors Events Conference Center. Kansas has won 11 straight and 38 of the last 39 meetings with CU dating back to 1991. The last Colorado win in the series was a 60-59 thriller on Jan. 22, 2003, in Boulder. The previous CU win was a 79-71 victory on Feb. 20, 1991, also in Boulder. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 24-1 against Colorado – 23-1 in regular-season play and 1-0 in the league championship.
–Kansas ranks among the Big 12’s top four teams in free throw percentage (third at 72.3), field goal percentage (fourth at 47.7), field goal percentage defense (third at 38.5), rebounding (fourth at 39.4), rebound margin (second at +5.8), assists (second at 17.5), blocked shots (second at 5.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.3).
–KU has outshot 12 of 16 opponents this season and has shot 50 percent or better in seven games. Kansas is 11-1 when outshooting its opponent this season and 1-3 when outshot.
–Kansas has outrebounded 11 of 16 opponents this season.
–Kansas has shot 80 percent or better from the free throw line in six games this season.
–Through 16 games, four different Jayhawks have scored 20 or more points this season. Sherron Collins has five 20-point games, while Cole Aldrich has four. Tyshawn Taylor picked up his second in the conference opener with 20 points against Kansas State, while Brady Morningstar has one 20-point effort.
–Kansas has held 126 of its last 129 opponents to under 50 percent shooting, including all 16 foes this season. Ten 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) as Kansas has held 55 straight foes to under 50 percent shooting.
–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 97-14 (87.4 percent) in its last 111 games dating back to Jan. 21, 2006.
–Junior guard Sherron Collins is averaging 23.3 points in his last four games and is coming off a 24-point effort against Kansas State. Collins has scored 40 points in the last two second halves with 19 of his 25 points at Michigan State and 21 of his 24 points against Kansas State after intermission. He has 25 assists in his last four games. He has led Kansas in scoring in 12 games this season. Collins ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring at 18.5 ppg. He also ranks among the league leaders in assists (sixth at 5.1), free throw percentage (seventh at .810), field goal percentage (12th at .440), three point field goals made (11th at 2.1) and assist-to-turnover ratio (14th at 1.5).
–Sophomore Cole Aldrich has three 20-point scoring games in his last five outings and is averaging 19 points in that span. He is three rebounds shy of averaging a double-double. His nine double-doubles on the season rank second most in the Big 12. He has made 70 percent or better from the field in seven games this season, including a 5-for-6 (83.3 percent) effort against Kansas State in scoring 15 points. He has multiple blocked shots in each of his last five games with 18 in that span. Aldrich leads the Big 12 in blocked shots with 2.8 per contest. He is second in the conference in field goal percentage at 62.8, second in rebounding at 9.8 rpg, fifth in free throw percentage at 81.8 and 11th in scoring at 15.3 ppg.
–Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar has made multiple three pointers in seven games this season, including a 2-for-4 effort against Kansas State in scoring six points. He has made at least one three-pointer in each of his last 13 games and is third in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 46.4 percent.
–Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor is coming off his second 20-point effort of the season with 20 points against Kansas State. He scored 23 points against New Mexico State on Dec. 3. He is third on the team with a 10.1 scoring average. Taylor has twice been named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week in 2008-09. He is 13th in the league in assists at 3.3 apg, tied for 11th in steals at 1.5 spg and 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.7.
–Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed has scored in double figures in two of his last three and four of his last five games. Reed has averaged 10 points in his last three games (7.5 on the season). Reed has made multiple threes in four of his last five games. His 0-for-2 night against Kansas State was the first time since Dec. 20 he had not made a three. He is 20-for-42 (47.6 percent) from beyond the arc in his last 10 games.
–Freshman forward Markieff Morris has started seven games this season and is third on the team with 4.8 rebounds per game. He had five points and five rebounds against Kansas State. His 4.8 rebounds on the season are third among Big 12 freshmen.
–Freshman forward Marcus Morris has shot 50 percent or better in 10 games this season. Marcus has started six games for KU this season and is second on the team with 5.4 rebounds per game. Marcus leads the Big 12 freshmen in rebound average, which is 18th overall in the conference.
–Junior guard Mario Little received his first start of the season against Kansas State and responded with a season-high eight points and three rebounds in 13 minutes of play. Little, the Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year, missed the first 12 games of the season due to injuries.
–Freshman Travis Releford played a season-high 21 minutes at Michigan State. He has played eight-plus minutes in each of his last five games.
The 2008-09 Kansas basketball team is young. How young? Nine of its top 11 scorers are freshmen or sophomores and the two classes are scoring 74.5 percent of Kansas’ points with the sophomores at 39.4 percent and freshmen at 35.1 percent. Below is a breakdown of KU’s scoring for 2008-09. Note: Kansas’ seniors Brennan Bechard and Matt Kleinmann are walk-ons and have combined for six points.
Kansas Scoring for 2008-09
Freshmen – 35.1 percent (449 points)
Sophomores – 39.4 percent (503 points)
Juniors – 25 percent (319 points)
Seniors – 0.5 percent (6 points)
Kansas will play its first of four ESPN Big Monday appearances when it hosts Texas A&M on Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. (Central). KU will later play on ESPN’s Big Monday at Baylor (Feb. 2), at Missouri (Feb. 9) and at Oklahoma (Feb. 23). KU will then hit the road for two games at Iowa State (Jan. 24) and at Nebraska (Jan. 28). The Iowa State game will be at 1 p.m. on ESPN and the Nebraska game will be at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.