Jayhawks Cross State Line for Border Showdown Clash at Missouri on ESPN Big Monday
Feb. 8, 2009
No. 21/24 Kansas (19-4, 8-0 Big 12) hits the road for its third ESPN Big Monday battle at Border Showdown foe Missouri (20-4, 7-2). Kansas extended its season-long winning streak to eight games with a 78-67 win against Oklahoma State Saturday. Missouri has won three straight and seven of its last eight games after its 82-68 win at Iowa State Saturday. Kansas is looking for its third straight win at Mizzou Arena and its sixth straight overall against the Tigers. Kansas has won 12 straight Big 12 regular-season games and 15 consecutive against conference foes dating back to last year.
Kansas is one of six teams in NCAA Division I that remain undefeated in conference play. KU takes its longest winning streak of the season, eight games, into the Missouri contest. KU is looking for its fifth straight road win of the season on Monday. The Jayhawks are averaging 77.9 points per game and giving up 64.8 for a +13.1 scoring margin. KU leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 48.4 percent, rebound defense at 31.7 and rebound margin at +7.0. KU has shot 50 percent or better in five of its eight Big 12 games for a league-best 51.2 field goal percentage in conference play. Conversely, KU has held its last two, seven of its last nine and 15 of 22 opponents this season to under 40 percent shooting.
Junior guard Sherron Collins leads KU in scoring at 18 points per game, which is third most in the Big 12. Named a Bob Cousy Award finalist and Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate, Collins has led the team in scoring in 17 of 23 games this season. He has a team-high 49 three-point field goals and 116 assists. Sophomore center Cole Aldrich is next in scoring at 14.6 points per game and leads the Big 12 in blocked shots with a 2.5 per game average. He is second in the league in field goal percentage at 61.9 percent. He and Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin are the only two Big 12 players to average a double-double with Aldrich at 14.6 ppg and 10.2 rpg and Griffin at 22.3 ppg and 14 rpg. Aldrich has a team-best 13 double-doubles on the season after his 12 points and career-high 18 rebounds against Oklahoma State. After his 12 points against OSU, freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor is scoring 9.7 points per game and his 28 steals are tied for the team best with Collins. He has been named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week three times this season. Freshman forward Marcus Morris (7.6 ppg) and sophomore guards Tyrel Reed (7.3 ppg) and Brady Morningstar (7.3 ppg) are next in scoring. Marcus Morris has started the last six games and is second on the team with 5.0 rebounds per contest, which leads the Big 12 freshmen class. Morningstar leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 45.6 percent, while Reed is making 40.5 from beyond the arc. Both have made key threes for the Jayhawks. Junior guard/forward Mario Little has averaged 12.5 points in his last two games and is scoring 6.0 on the season. He is shooting 62.8 percent from the field in his 11 games played this year. Little is scoring 7.9 ppg in Big 12 play. He missed the first 12 games of the season due to injuries. Freshman forward Markieff Morris, twin of Marcus, is scoring 5.0 points per outing with a 4.6 rebound average, third among Big 12 freshmen. Freshmen Travis Releford (2.8 ppg) and Quintrell Thomas (1.7 ppg) are also seeing the floor as of late.
Like Kansas, Missouri is one of the hottest teams in the nation posting an 11-2 record in its last 13 games. The Tigers have won three straight and seven of their last eight games. Missouri is 14-0 at home this season and has won 15 straight at Mizzou Arena, which ranks tied for the seventh-longest home court winning streak in NCAA Division I. MU leads the Big 12 in scoring at 84.2 points per game, scoring margin at +17.7, three-point field goal percentage defense at 30.9 percent, assists at 19.5, steals at 10.7, turnover margin at +6.6 and assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.5. Missouri opponents are scoring 66.5 points per game. MU is deep as it has 10 players averaging 10 or more minutes per game and no one more than 27 minutes per outing. Senior forward DeMarre Carroll leads the team in scoring at 17.3 points, which is fifth in the Big 12. He also leads the team with seven rebounds per contest and is second on the squad with 41 steals and field goal percentage at 58.1 percent. Senior forward Leo Lyons is second in scoring at 14.7 ppg and rebounds at 5.7 rpg. He has 17 blocked shots which is behind Carroll’s 20 and junior forward Keith Ramsey’s 20. Ramsey is scoring 4.3 points per game. Senior guard Matt Lawrence leads MU with 53 three pointers to complement his 8.8 scoring average. Junior guard J.T. Tiller has a 7.7 scoring average and he leads the team with 46 steals. Tiller is second on the team with 81 assists, just behind junior guard Zaire Taylor’s 84. Taylor is scoring 5.7 points per contest. Freshman guard Marcus Denmon is scoring 7.3 points per game and he has made 27 three pointers. Freshman guard Kim English is just behind Denmon in scoring at 7.2 ppg and he has made 31 threes. Freshman guard Miguel Paul (3.8 ppg), sophomore forward Justin Safford (3.3 ppg) and freshman forward Lawrence Bowers (3.6 ppg) are also seeing time on the floor for MU.
Kansas leads the all-time series with Missouri, 166-93, including a 63-52 record in games played Columbia (2-2 in Mizzou Arena). KU has won five straight, nine of the last 11 and 14 of the past 17 match-ups with MU. Last season’s sweep of MU was the fifth KU regular-season sweep of MU since 2002. The teams split the two other series. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU holds an 19-8 series advantage against Missouri – 17-7 in regular-season play and 2-1 in the conference championship. Monday’s game will mark the 38th 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.
Monday marks the 11th Kansas-Missouri meeting in all sports of the 2008-09 academic year in the annual Border Showdown sponsored by M&I Bank. The winner(s) of KU-MU head-to-head competition are awarded points. Currently, Missouri holds a 9.0-7.0 advantage against Kansas. 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 six times with MU winning four times – 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008 – and KU twice in 2004 and 2006.
–Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense (38.2), rebounding defense at 31.7 rpg and rebound margin at +7.0. KU also ranks among the Big 12’s top four teams in field goal percentage (third at 48.4), scoring margin (third at +13.1), three point field goal percentage (fourth at 38.0), free throw percentage (third at 72.7), three point field goal percentage defense (second at 32.6), rebounding (fourth at 38.7), assists (second at 16.6), blocked shots (third at 4.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (third at 1.2).
–Kansas climbed back into the national polls last week (Feb. 2) – No. 21 by Associated Press and No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. The 21st ranking by AP is the highest this season. Kansas went seven weeks out of the polls before making this week’s lists.
–KU has outshot 13 of 23 opponents this season and has shot 50 percent or better in 11 games, including five of eight Big 12 contests. Kansas is 17-1 when outshooting its opponent this season and 2-3 when outshot.
–Kansas has outrebounded its last five opponents and 17 of 23 opponents this season. Kansas has a +8.0 rebound margin in Big 12 play.
–KU has shot 80 percent or better from the free throw line in eight games this season, including two of its last three games (80 percent at Baylor Feb. 2, 95 percent vs. Colorado Jan. 31).
–Through 23 games, four different Jayhawks have scored 20 or more points. 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 133 of its last 136 opponents to under 50 percent shooting, including all 22 foes this season. Thirteen of those opponents have shot below 40 percent, including Baylor at 35.3 percent last Monday. 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 62 straight foes to under 50 percent shooting.
–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 104-14 (88.1 percent) in its last 118 games dating back to Jan. 21, 2006.
–Junior guard Sherron Collins was named a Bob Cousy Award finalist (Feb. 5) and the Wooden Award Mid-Season top 30 list (Feb. 6). Collins leads Kansas with an 18 scoring average, which is third in the Big 12, and has scored in double figures in all but one game this season. He has led (or tied for the lead) Kansas in scoring in 17 games this season. At Baylor last Monday, he set the Kansas record for consecutive free throws made with 35 before missing. Collins also ranks among the league leaders in assists (fifth at 5.0), free throw percentage (fifth at .838), field goal percentage (10th at .426), three-point field goals made (12th at 2.1) and assist-to-turnover ratio (12th at 1.5).
–Sophomore center Cole Aldrich leads the Big 12 in blocked shots at 2.5 per game and is one of two conference players, along with OU’s Blake Griffin, to average a double-double with 14.6 ppg and 10.2 rpg. He had 12 points and a career-high 18 rebounds against Oklahoma State Saturday. He has multiple blocked shots in his last three games and 11 of his last 12 contests. His 92 career blocked shots are 17th on the school list. His 13 double-doubles this season are second most in the Big 12 and he has two DDs in his last three games. Aldrich has 41 of KU’s 67 dunks this season. Aldrich is second in the Big 12 in rebounding at 10.2 rpg, second in field goal percentage at 61.9 percent, 10th in free throw percentage at 77.6 percent and tied for 14th in scoring at 14.6 ppg.
–Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor had 12 points against Oklahoma State on 3-of-5 shooting, including 2-for-3 from three point range and 4-for-4 from the line. His 12 points were the most since he had 20 in the conference opener against Kansas State (Jan. 13). Taylor has been named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week three times this season, including once in league play. He is scoring 9.7 points on the season, second most among Big 12 freshmen. Taylor is 15th in the league in assists at 3.0 apg (first among Big 12 freshmen) and 14th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.4. His 1.2 steals average is second among the Big 12 freshmen class.
–Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar leads the Big 12 in three point field goal percentage at 45.6 percent as he has gone 9-for-19 in his last four games from beyond the arc. He is scoring 7.3 points on the season. He played all 40 minutes at Baylor (Feb. 6) and 32 minutes against Oklahoma State Saturday. Morningstar is 16-for-32 (50 percent) from the field in his last five games, including 11-for-22 (50 percent) from three-point range. He has at least one steal in nine of his last 10 outings. Morningstar has made multiple three pointers in each of his last four games and 11 games this season. A lockdown defender, Morningstar is second on the KU team with 34 floor burns, behind Sherron Collins (38) and ahead of Tyrel Reed (31) and Cole Aldrich (30).
–Junior guard Mario Little has averaged 12.5 points in his last two games with 13 points against Oklahoma State Saturday and 12 at Baylor last Monday. His five rebounds against OSU were his second most this season. Little is scoring 6.0 points on the season and 7.9 ppg in Big 12 play. He is shooting 62.8 percent from the field, including 69.2 percent in Big 12 action. Little, the Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year, missed the first 12 games of the season due to injuries. In his first three outings, Little was 0-for-4 from the field. Since then he is 27-for-39 (69.2 percent).
–Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed is 9-for-15 (60 percent) from the field in his last five games, including 7-for-11 (63.6 percent) from three-point range. Nominated for Academic All-American, Reed has 13 games with multiple threes this season and has shot 50 percent or better in 13 games this season. Reed is making 40.5 percent from three point range.
–Freshman forward Marcus Morris is averaging 11 points in his last two games with nine against Oklahoma State Saturday and 13 points at Baylor last Monday. His 13 points at BU were his most since he also had 13 against Jackson State Dec. 6. Marcus has started the last six games for KU and 12 games this season. He has shot 50 percent or better in four straight and nine of his last 10 games. He has shot 50 percent or better in 16 games this season. He is second on the team with 5.0 rebounds per game which leads the Big 12 freshmen in rebound average and is tied for 18th overall.
–Freshman forward Markieff Morris did not score against Oklahoma State Saturday after having nine points on 4-of-8 shooting and nine rebounds at Baylor last Monday. He made his only three-point attempt at BU, draining his third trey of the season. He is scoring 5.0 points on the year. His nine rebounds at Baylor were his second most dating back to his 15 boards in the season opener against UMKC (Nov. 16). He has started seven games this season and is third on the team with 4.6 rebounds per game. His 4.7 rebounds on the season are third among Big 12 freshmen.
–Freshman Travis Releford scored five points (2-for-4 shooting) in seven minutes against Oklahoma State Saturday. He is averaging 7.3 minutes per game for the Jayhawks.
Kansas stays on the rivalry road when is plays at Kansas State on Valentine’s Day (Saturday, Feb. 14) at 2:30 p.m. on ABC. The Jayhawks return home the following Wednesday to host Iowa State on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. on the Big 12 Television Network.