No. 2 Kansas to Make Final League Visit to Nebraska Saturday at 3 p.m. in Men's Hoops

Feb. 3, 2011

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Kansas’ Final Conference Trip to Lincoln

No. 2 Kansas (21-1, 6-1) continues its two-game road swing with its final trip to Nebraska with the two schools being members of the same conference. KU and NU will play at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5, on the Big 12 Network. KU is 10-0 in games away from Allen Fieldhouse this season, including a 6-0 record in true road contests after its 88-66 win at Texas Tech Tuesday. Nebraska is 15-6 overall and 3-4 in Big 12 play after its 69-53 loss at Kansas State Wednesday. The Huskers are 14-0 at home in the Bob Devaney Sports Center this season.

About Kansas

Kansas is 21-1 on the season and has won at least 21 games for the 22nd consecutive season dating back to 1989-90. The Jayhawks average 82.7 points and give up 62.9 for a +19.9 scoring margin. KU also leads the battle of the boards with a +7.1 rebound margin. Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage at 51.9 percent. KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+19.9) and assists (18.3). Junior forward Marcus Morris has averaged 19.0 points in Big 12 play and leads Kansas in all games with a 16.7 scoring average. Marcus leads the Big 12 with his 60.0 percent field goal percentage. A two-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season and a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate, Marcus’ 6.8 rebounds per game are second best on KU’s team. Marcus’ twin, Markieff, a junior forward, leads the Big 12 in rebounding with 8.8 boards per game and in double-doubles with eight. Markieff is averaging 12.9 points per game. He leads KU with 23 blocked shots. Freshman guard Josh Selby has averaged 14.3 points in his last three games and scores 12.0 for the season. He is also averaging 2.1 three-pointers, 3.2 assists and 2.8 rebounds per contest this season. Senior guard Tyrel Reed is averaging 9.8 points per game for the season. He leads KU with 43 three-point field goals made in 2010-11. Junior Tyshawn Taylor averages 8.5 points per game and ranks third in the Big 12 with 4.8 assists per contest. A Bob Cousy Award finalist, Taylor has 29 steals this season. Thomas Robinson, a sophomore forward, is third on the team with a 6.4 rebound average to complement his 8.9 scoring average. He had 17 points and nine rebounds against Kansas State in an uplifting performance and 17 points and nine rebounds at Texas Tech (Feb. 1) as well. Senior guard Brady Morningstar leads Kansas with 33 steals, three ahead of Reed and four ahead of Taylor. Morningstar is second on the team with 58 assists and is scoring 5.3 points per game. Other KU contributors include senior guard Mario Little (5.9 ppg), sophomore guard Elijah Johnson (3.7 ppg), sophomore center Jeff Withey (2.4 ppg, 15 blocked shots) and sophomore guard Travis Releford (5.1 ppg with four starts).

About Nebraska

Located in Lincoln, Neb., with an enrollment of 24,610, Nebraska is 15-6 overall and 3-4 in Big 12 play after its 69-53 loss at Kansas State Wednesday. The Huskers are 2-4 in their last six games with three of the four losses coming by eight points or less. Nebraska is undefeated at home this season with a 14-0 record in the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The 14-game home winning streak ranks 14th nationally. Nebraska averages 68.0 points per game and holds a +10.9 scoring margin. NU also dominates the boards with a +4.0 rebound margin and forces 14.0 turnovers per game. Senior guard Lance Jeter leads the team in scoring at 10.9 points per game, just ahead of senior center Jorge Brian Diaz’ 10.5 ppg. Diaz is shooting 55.4 percent from the field, averages 4.5 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 22 blocked shots. Jeter leads NU with 91 assists and 41 steals. Junior guard Toney McCray is next in scoring at 7.0 points per game. He has 15 three-pointers this season. Junior guard Caleb Walker leads the team with 4.8 rebounds per contest and averages 6.3 points per game. Sophomore forward Brandon Ubel is scoring 5.6 points per game. He is shooting 50.6 percent from the field and averages 3.4 rebounds per game. Junior center Andre Almeida leads the Huskers with 27 blocked shots and is scoring 6.2 points per game. Diaz, Jeter, Walker and McCray are starters along with junior guard Brandon Richardson (6.2 ppg). Joining Almeida and Ubel off the bench are senior guard Drake Beranek (4.9 ppg), sophomore guard Eshaunte Jones (4.4 ppg) and sophomore guard Ray Gallegos (3.5 ppg). Eshaunte and Jeter each have a team-high 18 three-pointers made this season.

The Nebraska Series

Kansas leads the overall series with Nebraska 169-71 and has won the last 16 meetings dating back to the 2004 season. The Jayhawks have also won 25 of the last 26 meetings against the Huskers dating back to the 1999 season. The last NU win was 74-55 in Lincoln on Feb. 15, 2004. KU is 62-44 against NU in Lincoln, including an 18-16 record in the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Kansas has won six straight in the complex but the last two meetings have been decided by eight (84-72 last season) and six points (68-62 in 2009). Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97, Kansas is 30-3 against Nebraska (26-3 in regular season and 4-0 in the Big 12 Championship). Earlier this season, Kansas had to come from behind to defeat Nebraska 63-60 on Jan. 15 in Allen Fieldhouse. NU led 30-25 at halftime, Kansas’ only halftime deficit of the season, and also led 38-28 early in the second stanza. Marcus Morris had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Tyrel Reed also scored 16 points in the victory. Lance Jeter paced NU with 13 points, while Caleb Walker pulled down 10 rebounds.

Team Notables

–Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage at 51.9 percent. KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+19.9) and assists (18.3).

–Kansas has held 10 opponents to 60 or less points this season.

–Kansas has outrebounded 18 of 22 opponents this season, including 12 of its last 14.

–KU has outshot all but two teams this season (USC on Dec. 18 and Texas on Jan. 22). The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in 15 games this season.

–Kansas’ bench averages 29.0 points compared to its opponents’ 17.2 ppg. KU’s bench has outscored its opponents’ bench in 18 of 22 games this season, including 42-20 at Texas Tech last Tuesday.

–Kansas is 20-1 when leading at the half this season and 21-0 when leading with five minutes remaining.

–KU has used six different starting lineups this season with Taylor, Reed, Mk. Morris, Mc. Morris and Selby starting the last nine contests.

–Under Bill Self, Kansas has nine streaks of 10 or more victories, including the 18-0 start of 2010-11.

–KU is 1-1 against ranked foes this season with its win against No. 13/14 Memphis (Dec. 7) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden and a loss against No. 10/11 Texas (Jan. 22).

–Kansas’ 57-point win against Ohio (98-41) in the Las Vegas Invitational was the third-largest margin of victory in the Bill Self era and the largest in a game away from Allen Fieldhouse under Self.

Individual Notables

–Junior Marcus Morris is scoring 19.0 points in Big 12 games, which is tied for third in the conference. Overall, Marcus’ 16.7 scoring average is sixth in the league. He has three double-doubles in his last eight games and just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds against Kansas State (Jan. 29). Marcus has six games with 20-plus points this season. Marcus leads the Big 12 in shooting percentage at 60.0 percent. He is 17-for-25 (68.0 percent) in his last three games and 62.5 percent in conference action. He has shot 70 percent or better in seven games this season and has led Kansas in scoring 10 times this season. His 6.8 rebounds per game are tied for 11th in the Big 12. He has led KU in every stat at least once this season. Marcus has been named Big 12 Player of the Week twice (Nov. 29 and Jan. 17) and was named a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate Jan. 6.

–Junior Markieff Morris, twin of Marcus, notched his Big 12-leading eighth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds at Texas Tech last Tuesday. He scored 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting against Kansas State last Saturday (Jan. 29), one shy of his career-high 21 points at California (Dec. 22) earlier this season. In his last two games, Markieff is averaging 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and is 13-for-18 (72.2 percent) from the field. Markieff leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.8 rpg. Named Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 27, Markieff is 18th in the Big 12 in scoring at 12.9 ppg. Markieff has pulled down eight-plus boards in 15 games. He has been the leading rebounder for KU in 13 of 22 games.

–Sophomore Thomas Robinson has scored 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds in each of his last two games against Kansas State (Jan. 29) and at Texas Tech (Feb. 1). In those two games, Robinson is 13-for-20 (65 percent) from the field. A 50 percent free throw shooter, Robinson was 5-for-5 from the line at Texas Tech. Robinson missed the Colorado contest on Jan. 25 tending to the funeral of his mother, Lisa, in Washington, D.C. Robinson has two double-doubles in 2010-11. In his last 12 games, Robinson is 42-for-65 (64.6 percent) from the field. He averages 8.9 points per game in 2010-11 and his 6.4 rebounds are 15th in the Big 12.

–Senior Tyrel Reed is averaging 9.9 points in Big 12 play and 9.5 for the season. Reed leads Kansas with 43 three-pointers this season and has made multiple threes in 13 games. The guard is the only Jayhawk to have started every game this season. Reed has an 84.1 free throw percentage (37-of-44). Reed had career-highs in points with 18 and rebounds with seven at California (Dec. 22). Ranked 11th in the Big 12 in three-point percentage (37.4) and 12th in three-pointers made per game (2.0), Reed is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award who graduated from KU in December and has been accepted into KU Medicine’s physical therapy school. He is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection and has been nominated for Academic All-America for the third-straight year in 2010-11.

–Freshman Josh Selby is averaging 14.3 points in his last three games and 12.0 for the season. With 17 points at Colorado, 12 versus Kansas State and 14 at Texas Tech, Selby’s current string of three-straight double figure scoring games are the longest of the season for the guard. He has scored in double figures in nine of 13 games played this season. He is 17-for-32 (53.1 percent) from the floor in his last three games, including 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) from three-point range. Selby has multiple three-pointers in nine games, including four of his last five contests. Selby averages 12.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals per contest on the season. He has scored 16 or more points in five games and is 21-for-26 (80.8 percent) from the free throw line. Selby is a two-time Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Jan. 31 and Dec. 20).

–Junior Tyshawn Taylor scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting against Kansas State last Saturday (Jan. 29). His zero points at Texas Tech marked the fourth time in his career he did not reach the scoring column and the first since his freshman season. Taylor is averaging 8.5 points per game this season and has scored in double figures eight times. Named a Bob Cousy Award finalist (one of 20) on Jan. 12, Taylor is third in the Big 12 in assists per game at 4.8. He has led KU in assists in 14 of 22 games this season, including seven of the last 12 contests. Taylor is sixth in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8.

–Senior Brady Morningstar has averaged 10 points in his last three contests after his 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting at Texas Tech last Tuesday. Morningstar set a season high with 14 points at Colorado (Jan. 25) on 5-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-7 from three-point range. In his last three games, Morningstar is 15-for-23 (65.2 percent) from the field. Against No. 10/11 Texas on Jan. 22, Morningstar was 4-of-5 from the field with three assists and one steal. He is scoring 5.3 points per game and leads KU with 33 steals. Morningstar, who graduated May 2010, has recorded a steal in 15 of 22 games played this season. He is 10th in the Big 12 in steals per game at 1.5. In Big 12 play, he leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio at 4.8 (24 assists, five turnovers).

–Senior Mario Little scored nine points at Texas Tech last Tuesday on 4-of-5 shooting, including 1-for-1 from three-point range. In his last two games, Little is 7-for-8 (87.5 percent) from the field with 15 points scored. He has two games in double figure points this season, including 10 points at Baylor (Jan. 15). Little averages 15.4 minutes, 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and is shooting 54.2 percent from the field on the season.

–Sophomore Travis Releford logged nine minutes at Texas Tech, the most for the guard since 18 minutes against UMKC on Jan. 5. Releford has played the last two games after missing the previous five contests due to an ankle sprain on his right foot suffered at Michigan (Jan. 9). Releford is shooting 53.3 percent from the field. He is averaging 5.1 points this season and has scored in double figures four times. A Las Vegas Invitational all-tournament selection, Releford’s windmill dunk against UMKC (Jan. 5) was No. 1 on ESPN’s Top 10 List on Jan. 6.

–Sophomore Elijah Johnson led Kansas with six assists against Kansas State (Jan. 29). In his last three games, Johnson has 11 assists and one turnover. He has appeared in 20 games this season with one start. He scored a career-high 13 points against UMKC (Jan. 5). Johnson had his first start of the season against UT Arlington (Dec. 29) and scored 11 points. He has a 2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio for the season. Johnson averages 3.7 points and 2.2 assists in 2010-11.

–Sophomore Jeff Withey played five minutes at Texas Tech last Tuesday. He scored three points and pulled down four rebounds in eight minutes at Colorado (Jan. 25). Withey averages 6.9 minutes, 2.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots per game.

Up Next

Kansas returns home to host Missouri Feb. 7 on ESPN’s Big Monday at 8 p.m. The Jayhawks will then host Iowa State Saturday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Network before traveling to Kansas State for its third ESPN Big Monday appearance on Feb. 14 at 8 p.m.