Jayhawks to Host Colorado in Men's Basketball Saturday at 3 p.m. on ESPNU

Jan. 30, 2009

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Kansas (16-4, 5-0) remains one of two Big 12 teams undefeated in conference play with Oklahoma at 6-0 as the Jayhawks continue Big 12 play hosting Colorado (9-10, 1-4). The game will tip at 3 p.m. and be seen on ESPNU. Kansas looks to add to the nation’s longest home court winning streak at 35 games and has won five straight and eight of its last nine games. The Jayhawks are 5-0 in Big 12 play for the second straight season after their 68-62 win at Nebraska Wednesday. Colorado is currently 9-10 on the season and 1-4 in Big 12 play. The Buffaloes are coming off a 55-49 win against Iowa State on Tuesday in Boulder, Colo. This is round two for KU-CU with the Jayhawks winning 73-56 at Colorado on Jan. 17.

About Kansas

Kansas is one of 13 teams in NCAA Division I that remains undefeated in conference play. KU takes is longest winning streak of the season, five games, into the Colorado contest. The Jayhawks are averaging 78.7 points per game and giving up 64.9 for a +13.8 scoring margin. KU leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 48.9 percent and has shot 50 percent or better in each of its Big 12 games for a league-best 55.1 field goal percentage in conference play. Conversely, KU has held five of its last six and 13 of 20 opponents this season to under 40 percent shooting.

Junior guard Sherron Collins leads KU in scoring at 18.7 points per game, which is third most in the Big 12. He has led the team in scoring in 16 of 20 games this season, including scoring 17 at Nebraska. He has a team-high 44 three-point field goals and 102 assists. Sophomore center Cole Aldrich is next in scoring at 15 points per game and he leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 63.5 percent and blocked shots with a 2.6 per game average. He has a team-best 11 double-doubles on the season, second most in the Big 12. He leads the team with 9.8 rebounds per game, which is second in the conference. Aldrich is shooting 69 percent from the field in Big 12 games. Aldrich has 51 of KU’s 90 blocked shots in 2008-09. Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor is scoring 10 points per game and has a team-best 26 steals. He has been named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week three times this season. Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar is a starter who is averaging 7.2 points per game with 56 assists and 21 steals. Freshman forward Marcus Morris has started the last three games for the Jayhawks and is scoring 7.4 points and pulling down 5.0 rebounds. Junior guard Mario Little is coming off a season-high 30 minutes played at Nebraska where he scored four points with seven rebounds. He is averaging 4.9 points on the season, including 7.2 in Big 12 play. Little’s field goal percentage in Big 12 play is 72.7 percent. He missed the first 12 games of the season due to injuries. Freshman forward Markieff Morris (4.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and sophomore guard Tyrel Reed (7.5 ppg) are KU’s top reserves. Reed is second on the team in three-point field goals made with 31 and second in three point field goal percentage at 39.7 percent.

About Colorado

Colorado snapped a four-game losing streak with a 55-49 win against Iowa State Tuesday in Boulder, Colo. The Buffs are 9-10 on the season and 1-4 in Big 12 play. CU is 0-4 in true road games this season and 1-6 away from the Coors Events Conference Center. Colorado is scoring 66.1 points and giving up 66.3 per contest. CU averages 12.2 assists per contest and 5.8 three-point field goals. Sophomore guard Cory Higgins leads the team in scoring at 17.6 points per game, rebounding with a 6.9 average and steals with 40. He is 120-for-139 (86.3 percent) from the free throw line, including a 12-for-12 effort against Kansas on Jan. 17. Junior guard Dwight Thorne II has a team-high 27 three-pointers to complement his 12.7 scoring average. Freshman forward Austin Dufault is scoring 8.9 points, while freshman guard Nate Tomlinson is at 8.2 ppg. Tomlinson and Higgins are tied with a team-high 54 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. He and Dufault are averaging 3.9 rebounds each, which is second to Higgins on the CU squad. Jackson-Wilson has a team-best 14 blocked shots. Sophomore forward Casey Crawford (5.3 ppg), sophomore guard Levi Knutson (3.3 ppg) and freshman forward Trey Eckloff (2.4 ppg) round out the CU regulars.

The Series

This series dates back to 1931 and Kansas leads 116-39, including a 58-7 record in Lawrence (49-5 in Allen Fieldhouse). Kansas has won 12 straight and 39 of the last 40 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. Kansas has won the last 25 meetings with Colorado in Allen Fieldhouse starting in 1984. CU’s last win in the Fieldhouse was 75-74 on Feb. 10, 1983. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 25-1 against Colorado – 24-1 in regular-season play and 1-0 in the league championship. Earlier this season, five Kansas players scored in double figures led by Sherron Collins’ 18 points as the Jayhawks defeated the Buffaloes 73-56 in Boulder. Cole Aldrich scored 15 and pulled down 10 rebounds for a double-double. Other KU scoring leaders included Tyshawn Taylor with 14 points, Tyrel Reed with 11 points and Marcus Morris with 10 points.

Team Notables

–Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 48.9 percent and rebounding defense at 32.2 rpg. KU also ranks among the Big 12’s top four teams in scoring margin (third at +13.8), free throw percentage (third at 71.4), field goal percentage defense (second at 38.1), three-point field goal percentage (third at 38.3), rebound margin (second at +6.3), assists (second at 16.6), blocked shots (fourth at 4.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (fourth at 1.2).

–KU has outshot 16 of 20 opponents this season and has shot 50 percent or better in 11 games, including all five Big 12 contests. Kansas is 15-1 when outshooting its opponent this season and 1-3 when outshot.

–Kansas has outrebounded 14 of 20 opponents this season.

–Through 40 halves, Kansas has held its opponent to under 30 points 15 times, including six of 10 Big 12 halves.

–Kansas has shot 80 percent or better from the free throw line in six games this season.

–Through 20 games, four different Jayhawks have scored 20 or more points this season. Sherron Collins has six 20-point games, while Cole Aldrich has four. Tyshawn Taylor picked up his second in the conference opener with 20 points against Kansas State (Jan. 13), while Brady Morningstar has one 20-point effort.

–Kansas has held 130 of its last 133 opponents to under 50 percent shooting, including all 20 foes this season. Twelve 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 59 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, 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 101-14 (87.8 percent) in its last 115 games dating back to Jan. 21, 2006.

Player Notables

–Junior guard Sherron Collins leads Kansas with an 18.7 scoring average. He is one of three Big 12 players averaging 20-plus points per game in conference play at 20.2 in five Big 12 outings. Collins has 45 assists in his last eight games. He has led (or tied for the lead) Kansas in scoring in 16 games this season. He is 23-for-23 from the free throw line in Big 12 play and has made 27 straight – which ties for second best in school history. Collins ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring at 18.7 ppg. He also ranks among the league leaders in assists (fifth at 5.1), free throw percentage (fourth at .840), field goal percentage (10th at .442), three-point field goals made (10th at 2.2), three-point field goal percentage (13th at .396) and assist-to-turnover ratio (12th at 1.49).

–Sophomore Cole Aldrich leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 63.5 percent and blocked shots at 2.6 per game. He has multiple blocked shots in eight of his last nine games and 16 of 20 contests this season. His 85 career blocked shots are 19th on the school list. Aldrich is 29-of-42 (69 percent) from the field in Big 12 play. He is five rebounds shy of averaging a double-double and his 11 double-doubles this season are second most in the Big 12. Aldrich has 39 of KU’s 63 dunks this season. Besides leading the league in field goal percentage and blocked shots, Aldrich is second in the Big 12 in rebounding at 9.8 rpg, seventh in free throw percentage at 78.7 percent and 12th in scoring at 15 ppg.

–Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor has been named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week three times this season, including once in league play. He is scoring 11.6 points in Big 12 play and 10 ppg on the season. His 10 scoring average is third most among Big 12 freshmen. Taylor is 14th in the league in assists at 3.1 apg (first among Big 12 freshmen) and 14th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.4. His 1.3 steals average are second among the Big 12 freshmen class.

–Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed is 4-for-5 from the field in his last two games with all five attempts from three-point range. He made two clutch three pointers at Nebraska during KU’s come-from-behind win. Reed is 7-for-11 (63.6 percent) from beyond the arc in his last four games. Nominated for Academic All-American, Reed has 12 games with multiple threes this season.

–Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar scored 11 points with five rebounds at Nebraska. It marked his fourth double digit scoring game of the season and his first since he had 12 points against Tennessee on Jan. 3. He is 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) from the field in his last two games, including 3-for-6 from three-point range. Morningstar has no turnovers in five of his last seven games. He has pulled down 22 rebounds (5.5 rpg) in his last four games. He has at least one steal in six of his last seven outings. Morningstar has made multiple three pointers in eight games this season. A lockdown defender, Morningstar leads KU with 32 floor burns through 20 games. He is ahead of Sherron Collins (31) and Tyrel Reed (28) and Cole Aldrich (28).

–Junior guard Mario Little played a season-high 30 minutes at Nebraska and scored four points with a career-high seven rebounds. He is shooting 61.5 percent from the field, including 72.7 percent (16-of-22) in Big 12 action. He is averaging 4.9 points on the season and 7.2 in Big 12 play. Little, the Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year, missed the first 12 games of the season due to injuries and has been working his way into the lineup.

–Freshman forward Marcus Morris has started the last three games for KU and nine games this season. He pulled down six rebounds at Iowa State (Jan. 24) and had five points in seven minutes at Nebraska Wednesday. He has shot 50 percent or better in six of his last seven games and is 14-for-26 (53.8 percent) in that span. He has shot 50 percent or better in 13 games this season. He is second on the team with 5.0 rebounds per game which leads the Big 12 freshmen in rebound average.

–Freshman forward Markieff Morris had five points and five rebounds at Nebraska Wednesday. He has started seven games this season and is third on the team with 4.5 rebounds per game. His 4.5 rebounds on the season are fourth among Big 12 freshmen.

–Freshman Travis Releford scored five points (2-for-2 shooting) with three rebounds in only six minutes at Nebraska Wednesday. His five points against the Huskers were the most since he had five points against Siena on Jan. 6.

Up Next

Kansas hits the road for its second ESPN Big Monday appearance at Baylor on Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. The Jayhawks return home to host Oklahoma State on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 2:30 p.m. on ABC, then hit the road for games at Missouri, Monday, Feb. 9 on ESPN, and at Kansas State, Saturday, Feb. 14, at 2:30 p.m. on ABC.