Jayhawks to Host Tigers on ESPN's Big Monday in Men's Hoops

Feb. 3, 2008

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Kansas returns home to face Border Showdown foe Missouri in its second of four appearances on ESPN’s Big Monday. The Jayhawks are 21-1 (6-1 in Big 12) following their 72-59 win at Colorado Saturday. KU is looking to win its 20th straight home game, including 19 consecutive in Allen Fieldhouse. Missouri is riding high after its 77-74 win against Kansas State Saturday. The Tigers have won two of their last three games entering the KU contest.

About Kansas

Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas improved to 25-5 in games following a loss as the Jayhawks won at Colorado Saturday following its lone loss of the season at No. 22/24 Kansas State Jan. 30. Kansas leads the Big 12 and ranks in the top five nationally in scoring margin at +22.8 points per outing (82.5 to 59.7). The Jayhawks are 35-2 in their last 37 games, including a 21-1 mark in 2007-08. Sophomore forward Darrell Arthur leads the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game – 16th in the Big 12 – and 37 blocked shots. He is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds per contest (15th in the league). Forward Darnell Jackson is having a solid senior season as he leads the Big 12, and ranks in the top five nationally, in field goal percentage at 65.9 percent to complement his 12.8 points per game. He leads KU in rebounding with 7.0 boards per contest which are eighth in the conference. Junior guard Brandon Rush has stepped up his game in Big 12 play with a team-best 15.1 scoring average. He averages 12.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game overall and leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 43 percent with his team-high 40 treys. Junior guard Mario Chalmers leads the Big 12 in steals at 2.57 per game and in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.89. He is scoring 12 points per game and has a team-best 101 assists. Senior guard Russell Robinson (6.9 ppg) rounds out the starters. He is second on the team in assists with 98 and steals with 49. Senior center Sasha Kaun (7.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg) leads the team in field goal percentage at 67 percent. Off the bench, sophomore guard Sherron Collins scores 9.2 points per game, while senior guard Rodrick Stewart (3.8 ppg) and freshman center Cole Aldrich (2.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg) round out the KU regulars.

About Missouri

Missouri has come up with big victories despite its 13-9 (3-4 Big 12) record. The Tigers have defeated conference foes Texas and Kansas State when both were nationally ranked, including a 77-74 win against the Wildcats Saturday. With the exception of MU’s the 97-84 win against Texas on Jan. 12, every other Missouri league game has been decided by eight points or less with the last three outings being decided by four points or less. MU is 1-5 on the road this season. With senior guard Stefhon Hannah (14.7 ppg) out due to injury, junior forward DeMarre Carroll leads the team in scoring at 13.7 points per game – 13th in the Big 12, rebounding at 7.6 rpg – sixth in the league and steals with 31. Junior forward Leo Lyons is next in scoring at 11.8 points per game and he is tied with Carroll for the team lead with 15 blocked shots. He is second on the team with 4.3 rebounds per outing. Sophomore guard Keon Lawrence is scoring 9.8 points per game and has 53 assists. Junior guard Matt Lawrence is at 9.3 ppg and leads MU with 50 three pointers. Freshman guard J.T. Tiller is coming off a 20-point performance against Kansas State and he is scoring 6.6 points per contest. Senior Vaidatos Volkus has started the last two games and is scoring 2.5 ppg. Other non-regulars who have seen increased playing time as of late include senior forward Marshall Brown (4.8 ppg) and freshman forward Justin Safford (1.6 ppg, yet played 21 minutes against KSU). Seniors Darryl Butterfield (4.6 ppg) and Jason Horton (3.7 ppg, team-high 58 assists) have missed the last two contests.

The Series

Kansas leads the all-time series with Missouri, 165-93, including a 76-70 win in Columbia on Jan. 19. KU has won four straight, eight of the last 10 and 13 of the past 16 match-ups with MU. Last season’s sweep of MU was the fourth KU regular-season sweep of MU since 2000. The teams split the two previous series. Kansas is 84-33 against Missouri in games played in Lawrence, including a 37-14 advantage in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas has won the last eight meetings with Missouri in Lawrence, with the last MU win in 1999 (71-63), under then-head coach Norm Stewart. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU holds an 18-8 series advantage against Missouri – 16-7 in regular-season play and 2-1 in the conference championship. Monday’s game will mark the 37th KU-MU game with one or both of the teams ranked. The Jayhawks lost the first-ever meeting with Missouri, 34-31, on March 11, 1907, in Lawrence. Earlier this season, Mario Chalmers scored 18 points and made two key defensive plays in the final minutes to lead KU to a 76-70 win at Missouri. Jayhawk senior Darnell Jackson and junior Brandon Rush each scored 13 points, while sophomore Darrell Arthur added 10 in the victory. Arthur and Jackson each pulled down nine rebounds to lead KU.

Team Notables

–The combined record of the Kansas men’s basketball and football teams is 33-2 (94.3 winning percentage).

–Kansas is 69-8 (90.8 percent) in its last 77 games. The Jayhawks are 21-1 on the season and have won 35 of their last 37 and 38 of their last 41 contests.

–Kansas is 15-0 at home this season, including the Ohio contest at the Sprint Center, and has won 19 straight home games. The 19-game streak ranks sixth nationally.

–Kansas has won nine of its last 10 Big 12 road games and is 11-2 in its last 12 league road contests.

–Kansas’ bigs score 44 percent of KU’s points, while its guards score 56 percent. KU’s scoring list goes – big, big, guard, guard, guard, big, guard, guard.

–KU has shot better than 50 percent in 17 of 22 contests this season, including 11 of its last 14 contests. Last year, KU shot better than 50 percent in 18 of 38 contests.

–KU has outshot 21 of 22 opponents this season – USC (Dec. 2) shot better than KU.

–Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring offense (82.5), scoring margin (+22.8), field goal percentage (51.5), three-point field goal percentage (39.3), field goal percentage defense (37.6), assists (19.23), blocked shots (6.45), steals (10.00) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.46).

–Kansas ranks ninth in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 67.3 for all games. In league games, the Jayhawks are third in the league with a 74.2 free throw percentage.

–The Jayhawks have held 21 of 22 opponents to under 50 percent shooting and 93 of its last 96 opponents.

–Junior guard Brandon Rush leads Kansas in scoring in Big 12 contests at 15.1 ppg, yet Rush has led the Jayhawks in scoring only once in conference play – 19 points at Nebraska in the league opener (Jan. 12).

–Through 22 games, Kansas has had seven different leading scorers, six different players lead the team in rebounding, five different in assists, eight different in steals and seven different in blocked shots (these includes ties). KU has had three different leading scorers in its last three games.

–Four Jayhawks have scored 20-plus points this season – Sherron Collins (22 vs. ULM), Darnell Jackson (21 vs. ULM, 20 vs. Yale, 25 at Boston College, 21 vs. Iowa State), Mario Chalmers (23 vs. UMKC, 20 at USC) and Darrell Arthur (20 vs. Arizona, 21 at Boston College).

–On the season, the Jayhawk bench has outscored its opponents 589-386 for a 26.8 to 17.5 (+9.3) advantage per game.

–Kansas redshirt senior Jeremy Case graduated last spring. KU’s other four seniors – Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson, Russell Robinson and Rodrick Stewart – are on pace to graduate this spring. A computer science major, Kaun has been nominated for Academic All-American each of the last three seasons and will be a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection in 2008.

Player Notables

–Senior Darnell Jackson (#32) was a career-best 10-for-10 from the free throw line in scoring 18 points at Colorado. Jackson has scored 17 or more points in three of seven Big 12 outings. Jackson leads the Big 12 and ranks in the top five nationally in field goal percentage at 65.9 percent. For his efforts at Boston College (Jan. 5, 25 points, nine rebounds), he was named the co-Big 12 Player of the Week. Besides leading the league in field goal percentage, Jackson ranks 18th in scoring at 12.8 and he is eighth in rebounds at 7.0 rpg.

–Junior Brandon Rush (#25) leads KU in scoring in Big 12 games with 15.1 points per outing as he is scoring 12.3 ppg on the season. Rush is scoring 15.7 points per game in his last three, including 15 at Kansas State Wednesday and 15 at Colorado Saturday. He has made 13 three-pointers in his last four games and leads the Big 12 in three-point percentage at 43 percent. On the boards he is averaging 7.1 in Big 12 play and 5.1 on the year. He has pulled down six or more rebounds in all but one league contest. Besides leading the conference in three-point field goal percentage, Rush is 20th in rebounding at 5.1 and seventh in three-pointers made at 2.0.

–Junior Mario Chalmers (#15) had six assists, two blocked shots and three steals at Colorado to go along with eight points and four rebounds. His 19 points at Kansas State (Jan. 30) were his most in Big 12 play. He has 40 assists and nine turnovers in his last eight games. Chalmers has three or more steals in 14 games this season. Chalmers leads the Big 12 in steals with 2.57 per game and assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.89. He is third in assists at 4.81 and tied for 13th in three-point field goals made at 1.71 in the league.

–Sophomore Darrell Arthur (#00) has five blocked shots in his last two games – 3 at Kansas State, 2 at Colorado. He has 11 games with multiple blocked shots this season, including four in conference action. Arthur’s nine points at CU snapped a five-game double-digit scoring run. He has pulled down seven or more rebounds in two of his last three games and nine times this season. Arthur leads KU in scoring at 13.3 ppg, which ranks 16th in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is 15th in rebounding at 5.8, sixth in field goal percentage at 53.2 amd fourth in blocked shots a 1.68.

–Senior Russell Robinson’s (#3) four assists at Colorado marked the 12th time this season he has dished out four dimes or more. He has at least one steal in all but three games this season and multiple steals in 16 contests, including two at Kansas State. His 217 career steals are fifth all-time at KU. Robinson is fourth in the Big 12 in assists at 4.45, fourth in steals at 2.23 and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.04.

–Sophomore Sherron Collins (#4) is scoring 10.3 points in his last three games compared to 6.3 in his previous four outings. At Colorado he was a perfect 4-for-4, including 1-for-1 from three-point range, in scoring nine points. He has scored in double figures in two of his last three games and six times this season. He has made at least one three-pointer in 12 of 16 games played in and has multiple treys in six games. Collins has a 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio, which would rank 14th in the Big 12 (note: he has played in 72.7 percent of KU’s games). Collins missed six games (games 3-8) due to injury.

–Senior Sasha Kaun’s (#24) 12 points at Colorado were his most in Big 12 play. He has at least one blocked shot in each of his last four games and multiple blocks in nine contests. He leads KU in field goal percentage at 67 percent and is 5-for-6 from the field in his last two games. After starting the year 10-for-26 (38.5 percent) from the free throw line, Kaun is 32-for-48 (66.7 percent) in his last 16 games, including 4-for-5 at Colorado. Kaun is fifth in the Big 12 in blocked shots with 1.36 per game.

–Freshman Cole Aldrich (#45) has at least one blocked shot in three of his last four games. In his last six outings, he has eight blocked shots. He has pulled down four or more rebounds in nine games. He is tied for 13th in the Big 12 in blocked shots with a 1.09 average.

Up Next

Kansas plays host to Baylor Saturday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. on Jayhawk TV. The Jayhawks have won six-straight against the Bears. That weekend, Kansas Athletics will honor the KU Hall of Fame members, recent and past, with a new display in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics. Two days later, KU will then make a trip to Austin to take on Texas for the Feb. 11 ESPN Big Monday at 8 p.m. (Central) before returning home to face Colorado on Feb. 16 at 12:45 p.m. The Colorado contest will celebrate 110 years of Kansas men’s basketball, including the 20-year reunion of the 1988 NCAA Championship.