Jayhawks to Host Bears in Men's Basketball Saturday

Feb. 7, 2008

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Kansas concludes a two-game home stand hosting Baylor as Kansas Athletics honors its 33 new Hall of Fame inductees Saturday. KU holds a half-game lead on BU in the Big 12 standings with the Jayhawks at the top at 7-1 and Baylor tied for third with Texas at 5-2 in conference play. The Jayhawks are 22-1 on the season and a KU victory against Baylor would mark 23 wins for Kansas for an incredible 19 straight seasons, dating back to 1988-89. Baylor snapped a two-game losing streak with an 80-74 win against Texas Tech Wednesday. The Bears are 17-4 on the season. Their win Wednesday spoiled the debut of new Texas Tech coach Pat Knight, who took over for his legendary father, Bob, who retired Monday.

About Kansas

Kansas leads the nation in scoring margin at +22.8 points per outing (82.8 to 60.2). The Jayhawks are 36-2 in their last 38 games, including a 22-1 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). Junior Brandon Rush averages a team-best 15.6 points in Big 12 play and is second overall with a 12.6 ppg average. He leads KU with 43 three-pointers and his 43 percent from beyond the arc leads the league. Forward Darnell Jackson’s 7.1 rebounds per game is a team best and ranks eighth in the Big 12. He is scoring 12.5 points per outing. Junior guard Mario Chalmers leads the Big 12 in steals at 2.45 per game and in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.97. He is scoring 12.2 points per game and has a team-best 107 assists. Senior guard Russell Robinson (6.9 ppg) rounds out the starters. He is second on the team in assists with 102 and steals with 50. Senior center Sasha Kaun (7.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg) leads the team in field goal percentage at 67 percent. Off the bench, sophomore guard Sherron Collins scores 9.4 points per game, while senior guard Rodrick Stewart (3.6 ppg) and freshman center Cole Aldrich (3.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg) round out the KU regulars.

About Baylor

In only five seasons, Baylor head coach Scott Drew has built the Bears into a solid program. In 2005-06 Baylor was only allowed to play conference contests and went 4-13. Two seasons later the Bears climbed into the national rankings and their 17 wins in 2007-08 are the most since BU went 19-12 in 2000. At 17-4, Baylor averages 80.7 points per game and is outscoring opponents by 10.6 points per contest. The Bears average 8.6 three-pointers per game and have a balanced attack as five players average double figures in scoring and nine play at least 13 minutes per contest. Junior guard Curtis Jerrells leads the team in scoring with a 14.4 average. He also paces BU with 75 assists and is second on the team with 28 steals. Junior forward Kevin Rogers leads Baylor with 7.8 rebounds per game to go along with his 12.6 scoring average. Three Bears average between 10.7 and 11.9 points, led by junior guard Henry Dugat (11.9 ppg), who is followed closely by freshman guard LaceDarius Dunn (11.4 ppg) and senior Aaron Bruce comes in at 10.7 ppg. Dunn leads the team with 45 three-pointers, while Dugat has a team-high 31 steals. Bruce has 47 assists and 24 steals. Sophomore Tweety Carter scores 8.3 points per game and is second on the team with 57 assists, while sophomore center Josh Lomers (4.5 ppg) joins Jerrells, Rogers, Dugat and Bruce in the starting lineup. Another top reserve is junior center Diene Mamadou. who has a team-high 27 blocked shots to complement his 3.6 scoring average.

The Series

Kansas has won 12 of the 13 meetings with Baylor and has won six straight in the series. Baylor’s lone win versus Kansas came in 2001 when it defeated the then-No. 5 Jayhawks 85-77 in Waco. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 10-1 against Baylor. The two teams have yet to meet in the conference postseason championship.

Team Notables

–The combined record of the Kansas men’s basketball and football teams is 34-2 (94.4 winning percentage) in 2007-08, including 23-0 at home.

–Kansas is 70-8 (89.7 percent) in its last 78 games. The Jayhawks are 22-1 on the season and have won 36 of their last 38 and 39 of their last 42 contests.

–Kansas is 16-0 at home this season, including the Ohio contest at the Sprint Center, and has won 20 straight home games. The 20-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 has made 84 percent or better from the free throw line in each of the last three games. The Jayhawks have made 81 percent or better in five of eight Big 12 contests.

–In the last two weeks, Kansas has moved from 11th in the Big 12 free throw shooting to seventh for all games. KU is making 68.1 percent of its free throws in all games and 75.5 in league games, which is third in the conference.

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

–KU has shot better than 50 percent in 17 of 23 contests this season, including three of its last five contests. Last year, KU shot better than 50 percent in 18 of 38 contests.

–KU has outshot 22 of 23 opponents this season – USC (Dec. 2) shot better than KU.

–Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring offense (82.8), scoring margin (+22.6), field goal percentage (51.3), assists (19.17), blocked shots (6.48), steals (9.70) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.46).

–The Jayhawks have held 22 of 23 opponents to under 50 percent shooting and 94 of its last 97 opponents.

–Junior guard Brandon Rush leads Kansas in scoring in Big 12 contests at 15.6 ppg, yet Rush has led the Jayhawks in scoring only twice in conference play – 19 points at Nebraska in the league opener (Jan. 12) and 19 points against Missouri (Feb. 4).

–Through 23 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 four different leading scorers in its last four games – Rush, Jackson, Chalmers, Arthur.

–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 619-399 for a 26.9 to 17.3 (+9.6) advantage per game. In its last game, KU’s bench outscored Missouri’s bench 30-13.

–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

–Junior Brandon Rush (#25) is averaging 16.5 points in his last four games, including 19 points against Missouri (Feb. 4). In his last five games, he has drained 16 three-pointers and is 16-for-32 (50 percent) from beyond the arc in that span. He is second in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 43 percent. On the boards he is averaging 7.0 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 being second in the conference in three-point field goal percentage, Rush is tied for 18th in scoring at 12.6 ppg, 20th in rebounding at 5.1 and seventh in three-pointers made at 2.05.

–Senior Darnell Jackson (#32) has pulled down eight or more rebounds in six Big 12 contests and 14 times this season, including nine boards against Missouri (Feb. 4). His two blocked shots against the Tigers tied his season high. Jackson leads the team in rebounding at 7.1 rpg, which ties for seventh in the Big 12. For his efforts at Boston College (Jan. 5, 25 points, nine rebounds), he was named the co-Big 12 Player of the Week.

–Junior Mario Chalmers (#15) had six assists in each of his last two games with only two turnovers. In his last three outings he has averaged 14 points, including 15 against Missouri (Feb. 4) and 19 at Kansas State (Jan. 30). He has 46 assists and 10 turnovers in his last nine games. Chalmers has three or more steals in 14 games this season. Chalmers leads the Big 12 in steals with 2.45 per game and assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.97. He is third in assists at 4.86 in the conference.

–Sophomore Darrell Arthur (#00) scored 13 points and pulled down six rebounds against Missouri in only 14 minutes of action. The 13 points marked the sixth time in the last seven games he has scored in double figures and he has snared six or more rebounds in 15 outings. He has 11 games with multiple blocked shots this season, including four in conference action. Arthur leads KU in scoring at 13.3 ppg, which ranks tied for 14th in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is 13th in rebounding at 5.8, sixth in field goal percentage at 52.9 and fourth in blocked shots a 1.61.

–Senior Russell Robinson’s (#3) four assists against Missouri marked his second-straight and 13th 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. His 218 career steals are fifth all-time at KU. Robinson is fourth in the Big 12 in assists at 4.43, third in steals at 2.17 and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.08.

–Sophomore Sherron Collins (#4) is scoring 10.8 points in his last four games compared to 6.3 in his previous four outings. He followed up a perfect 4-for-4 night at Colorado (Feb. 2) with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists against Missouri (Feb. 4). He has scored in double figures in three of his last four games and seven times this season. He has made at least one three-pointer in 13 of 17 games played in and has multiple treys in seven games, including 2-for-4 against Missouri. Collins has a 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio, which would rank 13th in the Big 12 (note: he has played in 73.9 percent of KU’s games). Collins missed six games (games 3-8) due to injury.

–Senior Sasha Kaun (#24) has scored 12 points in each of his last two games and averages 7.7 ppg on the season. In his last three outings he is a combined 10-for-14 (71.4 percent) from the field and 6-for-7 from the free throw line. He has at least one blocked shot in each of his last five games and multiple blocks in 10 contests this season, including two swats against Missouri (Feb. 4). Kaun is fifth in the Big 12 in blocked shots with 1.39 per game. He leads KU in field goal percentage at 66.7 percent. After starting the year 10-for-26 (38.5 percent) from the free throw line, Kaun is 34-for-50 (68 percent) in his last 17 games.

–Freshman Cole Aldrich (#45) had a season-high nine rebounds to go along with six points in 12 minutes against Missouri (Feb. 4). He has pulled down four or more rebounds in 10 games. In his last seven outings, he has eight blocked shots. He is 15th in the Big 12 in blocked shots with a 1.04 average.

–Senior Rodrick Stewart (#5) plays a key role off the bench as he averages 14.3 minutes per game. Able to play guard and forward, Stewart has three or more rebounds in five of his last six games.

Up Next

Kansas makes a quick trip to Austin to take on Texas for the Feb. 11 ESPN Big Monday at 8 p.m. from the Erwin Center. The Jayhawks return home to face Colorado on Feb. 16 at 12:45 p.m. That contest will celebrate the 110 years of Kansas basketball, including the 20-year anniversary of the 1988 NCAA Championship.