No. 8/9 Kansas Returns Home to Face Nebraska in Men's Hoops
Feb. 16, 2007
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No. 9/8 Kansas (22-4, 9-2) returns home tied for first in the Big 12 standings after road victories at Missouri and Colorado. The Jayhawks won at Colorado 75-46 Wednesday to mark their fourth straight victory at the Coors Events Conference Center. KU has won three straight and six of its last seven games as it plays host to Nebraska (15-9, 4-6) Saturday at 3 p.m. on ESPN Plus. Since falling to Kansas on ESPN Big Monday, Jan. 29, the Huskers have won three of their last four games, including a 74-63 victory against Kansas State Tuesday in Lincoln, Neb.
No. 9/8 Kansas has won at least 22 games in each of the last 18 seasons after its 75-46 win at Colorado Wednesday. Kansas averages 78.4 points per game and is giving up 60.7. The Jayhawks are outrebounding foes 40.3 to 32.8 per game and hold a 48.9 to 37.8 field goal percentage edge. Additionally, Kansas boasts a +3.2 turnover margin this season. KU is a young team as its top five scorers are sophomores and freshmen. Sophomore guard Brandon Rush, a Midseason Wooden Award All-American selection, leads Kansas in scoring at 14.3 points per game and with 51 three-point field goals made. He is scoring 15.5 points and pulling down 6.3 rebounds in Big 12 play. Sophomore guard Julian Wright is next in scoring with a 12.0 average, leads the team with 8.1 rebounds per outing and is second in blocked shots with 39. Sophomore guard Mario Chalmers averages 11.2 points per game and is second in the Big 12 in steals with 2.65 per contest. Freshman forward Darrell Arthur has a team-leading 40 blocked shots to compliment his 10.6 points per game. Freshman guard Sherron Collins is scoring 12.4 points in Big 12 play and 9.5 on the season. He is making a team-high 43.0 percent from three-point range. Junior guard Russell Robinson, a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, leads KU with 121 assists along with his 6.9 scoring average. He is second on the team with 50 steals. Junior Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson round out the regulars for KU. Kaun, the starting center, is scoring 6.2 points per game and shooting 53.4 percent from the field, while Jackson, a forward, is averaging 5.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per outing off the bench.
Nebraska (15-9, 4-6) has been on a roll since falling to Kansas 76-56 on Jan. 29. The Huskers are coming off a 74-63 victory against Kansas State Tuesday and are 3-1 in their last four outings. NU is 2-5 in true road games this season, yet both wins have come in their last two road outings – at Missouri and Texas Tech. The Huskers average 68.2 points and are giving up 62.0 per contest. They shoot 48.1 percent from the field compared to their opponents’ 42.1. NU averages 7.9 three-point field goals per game and shoots 71.4 percent from the free throw line. Junior center Aleks Maric leads the team in nearly every stat — scoring with 17.7 points, rebounding at 7.7 boards, field goal percentage at 60.8 and blocked shots with 28. He is coming off a 41-point effort against Kansas State. Freshman guard Ryan Anderson is scoring at 10.7 points per game and is making 45.2 percent of his shots from three-point range. Senior guard Marcus Perry is another sharp shooter averaging 9.3 points and making 43.1 percent from beyond the arc. Senior guard Charles Richardson, Jr., leads the team in assists with 139 and steals with 47 in addition to his 7.8 point scoring average. Freshman guard Sek Henry has started 17 of 24 games this season and averages 6.9 points per game.
This series dates back to 1900 and Kansas leads, 160-71, including an 83-23 record in Lawrence (46-7 in Allen Fieldhouse). Kansas has won seven straight and 16 of the last 17 meetings with NU dating back to 1999. The last Nebraska win in the series was 74-55 on Feb. 15, 2004 in Lincoln. The previous NU win was 64-59 on Feb. 10, 1999, in Lawrence. Kansas holds a 21-3 record against Nebraska since the inception of the Big 12 and has swept the season series eight times, including each of the last two seasons. Last year, KU went 3-0 against NU, including a 79-65 victory in the semifinals of KU’s Big 12 Championship run at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. On Jan. 29, Kansas jumped out to a 43-8 lead on Nebraska en route to a 76-56 win in Lincoln on ESPN Big Monday. Brandon Rush led all scorers with 20 points and rebounders with eight boards. Julian Wright added 17 points and Darrell Arthur 12 in the victory.
Kansas takes a day off before traveling to Kansas State for ESPN Big Monday on Feb. 19 with an 8 p.m. tip from Bramlage Coliseum. The Jayhawks have not lost in Manhattan since 1983, a span of 23 years. Kansas returns home to face Iowa State on Feb. 24. The game starts at 5 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.