No. 9/8 Jayhawks Head East for Border Showdown at Missouri Saturday
Feb. 8, 2007
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No. 9/8 Kansas (20-4, 7-2) continues its rivalry week at Border Showdown foe Missouri (14-8, 3-6). The Jayhawks defeated Kansas State, 97-70, Wednesday at Allen Fieldhouse and moved into sole possession of second place in the Big 12 standings, one game behind Texas A&M. Missouri (14-8, 3-6) is coming off its second road win of the season with a 77-55 victory at Iowa State on Tuesday. The Tigers are tied for ninth in the league race with Iowa State. KU is looking for its first win in three tries at Mizzou Arena, which opened prior to the 2004-05 season.
No. 9/8 Kansas (20-4, 7-2) is looking for its third straight road win and fifth in true road games. The Jayhawks have won 20 games in each of the last 18 seasons after its 97-70 win against Sunflower State rival Kansas State Wednesday. KU has won four of its last five games and 14 of its last 16. Kansas averages 78 points per game and is giving up 60.8. The Jayhawks are outrebounding foes 40 to 32.6 per game and hold a 48.7 to 38 field goal percentage edge. Additionally, Kansas boasts a +3.2 turnover margin this season. Kansas is a young team as its top five scorers are sophomores and freshmen. Sophomore guard Brandon Rush, a Midseason Wooden Award All-American team selection, leads Kansas in scoring at 14.3 points per game and with 47 three-point field goals made. He is scoring 15.9 points and pulling down 6.6 rebounds in Big 12 play. Sophomore guard Mario Chalmers is next in scoring with an 11.6 average and leads the team with 65 steals. Sophomore forward Julian Wright leads KU in rebounds with eight per outing to go along with his 11.3 scoring average. Wright’s 36 blocked shots are three behind freshman forward Darrell Arthur’s team-leading 39 swats. Arthur is scoring 10.9 points per game. Freshman guard Sherron Collins is scoring 12.8 points in Big 12 play and 9.4 on the season. He is making a team-high 45.3 percent from three-point range. Junior guard Russell Robinson, a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, leads KU with 110 assists to go along with his 6.8 scoring average. He is second on the team with 44 steals. Junior Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson round out the regulars for KU. Kaun, a center, is a starter scoring 6.3 points per game and shooting 54.2 percent from the field, while Jackson, a forward, is averaging 5.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per outing off the bench.
Missouri is currently 14-8 on the season and 3-6 in Big 12 play after its 77-55 win at Iowa State Tuesday. The Tigers’ three league victories have come in their last five games, with road wins at Colorado and Iowa State and a home victory versus Texas Tech. MU is 12-3 at home this season with the three losses coming in conference play. Missouri averages 77.3 points per game and gives up 68.5. They force 19.9 turnovers and average 11 steals per outing. Junior guard Stefhon Hannah leads the team in scoring with a 15.4 average. Hannah also leads the team in steals with 59 and assists with 101. Sophomore forward Matt Lawrence paces MU with 58 three-pointers and is making a team-best 46 percent from beyond the arc to go along with his 11.2 scoring average. Junior forward Marshall Brown is a starter scoring 11 points per game and freshman guard Keon Lawrence comes off the bench to score 8.1 ppg for the Tigers. Junior center Kalen Grimes leads the team in rebounding with six per game and in blocked shots with 26. Sophomore forward Leo Lyons (7.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg), freshman guard J.T. Tiller (4.5 ppg), junior guard Jason Horton (4.5 ppg, 3.5 apg) and junior forward Darryl Butterfield (3.9 ppg) round out the MU regulars. Horton has started 21 of 22 games this season.
Kansas leads the all-time series with Missouri, 163-93, after its 80-77 win against the Tigers on Jan. 15 in Allen Fieldhouse. KU has won six of the last eight meetings and 11 of the past 14 match-ups with MU, yet the Tigers have won the only two meetings at Mizzou Arena – 72-68 in 2005 and 89-86 (ot) last season. Kansas is 61-52 against Missouri in games played in Columbia, Mo. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU holds a 16-8 series advantage – 14-7 in regular-season play and 2-1 in the conference championship. Today will mark the 35th 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.
Today marks the ninth Kansas-Missouri meeting of the 2006-07 academic year in the annual Border Showdown presented by Midwest Ford Dealers. The winners of KU-MU head-to-head competition are awarded points. Currently, Missouri holds an advantage against Kansas, 8.5 to 5.5. Though the state rivalry dates back to the pre-Civil War era, the athletics rivalry started in 1891 with football and 1907 in men’s basketball. The Border Showdown trophy has been presented four times with each school winning twice – Kansas in 2004 and 2006 and Missouri in 2003 and 2005.
On Valentine’s Day, Kansas will visit Colorado for an 8 p.m. (Central) battle at the Coors Events Conference Center. KU has won the last three meetings in Boulder and defeated CU 97-74 on Jan. 27 in Lawrence. The Jayhawks return home to face Nebraska on Saturday, February 17. That game will be part of the Big 12 television package with a 3 p.m. tip from Allen Fieldhouse. KU will then have one day off before traveling to Kansas State for ESPN Big Monday on Feb. 19.