No. 1 Kansas to Host Colorado Saturday in Men's Basketball

Feb. 18, 2010

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No. 1 Kansas returns home to host Colorado Saturday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Network. The Jayhawks have won 11 straight after their 59-54 victory at No. 24/23 Texas A&M on ESPN’s Big Monday (Feb. 15). KU is 25-1 on the season and 11-0 in Big 12 play. Colorado is 12-13 on the season and 3-8 in conference action after its 77-67 win against Oklahoma on Feb. 17.

About Kansas

Kansas won its 11th conference game for a remarkable 16th-straight season with its win at Texas A&M Monday. The Jayhawks have the nation’s longest active home court winning streak at 56 games. Kansas’ 25-1 record is its best record since the 1996-97 team was also 25-1 and eventually went 34-2. KU averages 82.2 points per game and gives up 62.4 ppg for a Big 12-leading +19.8 scoring margin. In Big 12 play, Kansas is scoring 78.4 points per game and holds a +12.4 scoring margin. Senior guard Sherron Collins leads the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game and has scored in double figures 20 times this season. Collins is second in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 85.1 percent and he leads KU in assists with 109 and three-pointers with 50. Sophomore forward Marcus Morris has stepped up his game in Big 12 play and leads KU in scoring with 16.6 points per game and is pulling down 8.1 rebounds in league games. In all games, Morris averages 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds. He has three double-doubles in his last six games. Freshman guard Xavier Henry has averaged 14.3 points in his last three games and averages 13.2 ppg on the season. Henry leads KU in steals with 43 and his 48 three-pointers are two behind Collins. Junior center Cole Aldrich, an Academic All-America candidate, has six double-doubles in his last eight games and 12 DDs for the season. He is one of three Big 12 players to average a double-double with 11.4 ppg and 10.1 rpg this season. At Texas A&M, Aldrich had five blocked shots and set the KU single-season record with 98. His 3.8 blocked shots per contest rank second in the Big 12 and sixth nationally. Junior guard Brady Morningstar is a starter who is scoring 5.1 points per game and averaging 3.4 assists per contest. Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor is second on the team with 83 assists to complement his 6.8 scoring average. Sophomore forward Markieff Morris, twin of Marcus, is coming off the bench to average 6.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Junior guard Tyrel Reed averages 4.5 points per outing and has 29 three-pointers. Freshman guard Elijah Johnson (3.0 ppg) and freshman forward Thomas Robinson (3.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg) are two more KU regulars.

About Colorado

Colorado ended a four-game losing streak with its 77-67 win against Oklahoma Wednesday. Colorado is 1-8 in true road games this season. CU averages 74.1 points per game and gives up 72. The Buffs lead the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 76.3 percent, while Kansas is seventh at 69.4 percent. Junior guard Cory Higgins leads Colorado in scoring at 18.1 points per game, which is fifth in the Big 12. Higgins is one of four CU players who have made 20 three-pointers this season and he leads the team with 49 steals. His 61 assists are second on the squad and he is fourth in the Big 12 with an 84.2 free throw percentage. Freshman guard Alec Burks is next in scoring with 16.8 ppg, seventh in the league, and he leads CU with 4.8 rebounds per contest. Junior forward Marcus Relphorde is a starter who scores 10.5 points per game and has 24 three-pointers, while senior guard Dwight Thome II comes off the bench to score 8.2 ppg and has a team-high 28 threes. Sophomore forward Austin Dufault (6.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg) and sophomore guard Nate Tomlinson (5.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg) are both starters. Tomlinson has 25 three-pointers, leads the team with 103 assists and his 4.1 assists per game average is seventh in the Big 12. Junior forward Casey Crawford (4.0 ppg) and junior guard Levi Knutson (3.2 ppg) are both regulars off the bench for CU.

The Series

This series dates back to 1931 and Kansas leads 118-39, including a 59-7 record in Lawrence (50-5 in Allen Fieldhouse). Kansas has won 14 straight and 41 of the last 42 meetings with CU dating back to 1991. The last Colorado win in the series was a 60-59 thriller on Jan. 22, 2003, in Boulder. The previous CU win was a 79-71 victory on Feb. 20, 1991, also in Boulder. Since 1984, Kansas has won the last 26 meetings in Lawrence. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 27-1 against Colorado – 26-1 in regular-season play and 1-0 in the league championship. On Feb. 3 in Boulder, Sherron Collins made a free throw with 38 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. Marcus Morris scored six of Kansas’ 12 points in overtime as the Jayhawks defeated Colorado 72-66. Cole Aldrich had a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds and Morris ended the night with 15 points. Marcus Relphorde led Colorado with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Team Notables

–KU leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+19.8), scoring defense (62.4), three-point field goal percentage (39.6), field goal percentage defense (36.4), assists (17.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4). The Jayhawks rank in the top three in all but five Big 12 statistical categories.

–Ten of Kansas’ 25 victories this season have been by 25 or more points with eight of those by 30 points or more.

–KU averages 6.5 blocked shots per game to its opponents’ 3.6.

–Kansas has shot 50 percent or better in 12 of 26 games this season.

–Kansas has also held 19 of 26 opponents this season to under 40 percent from the field, including seven of 11 Big 12 foes.

–KU’s bench has outscored its opponents’ bench in 18 of 26 games this season.

–Through 26 games, nine different Jayhawks have led the team in steals, seven in points and six in assists.

–Kansas forces 14.7 turnovers per game and averages 17.4 points off turnovers per game. KU scored 27 points off turnovers at Texas (Feb. 8).

–At Kansas State (Jan. 30) and at Colorado (Feb. 3), the Jayhawks played their first back-to-back overtime games since the 2004-05 season. It was the fifth time in KU history the Jayhawks have played back-to-back OT contests – Dec, ’76; Dec, ’86; Feb, ’97; Feb, ’05; Jan-Feb, ’10. KU has never had three consecutive OT games. It was the first time since Dec. 20 and Dec. 28, 1976, that KU has won back-to-back OT games.

Player Notables

–Senior Sherron Collins leads Kansas in scoring for all games with 15.1 ppg. At Texas (Feb. 8) he scored 15 points and was 8-for-8 from the free throw line. He averages 4.2 assists per game and has had five-plus assists in four of the last five games. Collins scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and overtime at Colorado (Feb. 3) and 12 of his 16 points after halftime at Kansas State (Jan. 30). He had a career-high 33 points in the come-from-behind win against Cornell (Jan. 6). Collins has shot 50 percent or better in 11 games this season. He is third in the Big 12 with his 85.1 free throw percentage. Collins’ 15.1-point scoring average is 14th in the Big 12. Collins also ranks among the league leaders in field goal percentage (12th at 42.4), assists (sixth at 4.2), three-point field goal percentage (12th at 36.5), three-point field goals made (12th at 1.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (eighth at 2.0).

–Junior Cole Aldrich, an Academic All-America candidate, has two straight double-doubles after his 12 points and 10 rebounds at Texas A&M (Feb. 15). He has six double-doubles in his last eight games and 34 for his career (12 this season). Aldrich is one of three Big 12 players averaging a double-double (11.4 ppg and 10.1 rpg). Aldrich has pulled down at least nine rebounds in 13 of his last 17 games. He has 33 blocked shots in his last seven games, including five at Texas A&M (Feb. 15) and six at Texas (Feb. 8). Aldrich has been named Big 12 Player of the Week twice (Feb. 1 and Jan. 4). He is second in the Big 12 and ranks sixth nationally with 3.8 blocked shots per game. Aldrich is third in the Big 12 in rebounding at 10.1 rpg.

–Sophomore Marcus Morris has 61 points in his last four games for a 15.3 ppg average in that span. He has five double-doubles this season, with three in the last six games. Morris has four 20-point efforts, with three of those in Big 12 play. Morris leads Kansas in conference play with a 16.6 scoring average, which is tied for 11th in the Big 12. Also in league play, Morris leads the Big 12 with his 57.7 percent shooting from the field and his 8.1 rebounds are tied for seventh. For the season, he is averaging 13.1 ppg and 6.3 rpg (12th in the Big 12). Morris has started 23 games in 2009-10.

–Junior Brady Morningstar has 21 assists and four turnovers in his last six games, including five assists and no turnovers at Texas A&M (Feb. 15). At Texas (Feb. 8) he was 2-for-2 from three-point range to record his third game with multiple threes made this season. At K-State (Jan. 30), Morningstar was 4-for-5 from the field, 2-for-3 from three-point range and 4-for-4 from the line to score14 points. He is scoring 5.1 ppg in all games. In league play, Morningstar ranks among the conference leaders in assists (10th at 3.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (first at 3.1). A defensive stopper who started all but one game last season, Morningstar missed the first nine games of the season due to breaking team rules. Morningstar is a redshirt junior who is the oldest player in the Big 12 at 24.

–Freshman Xavier Henry has averaged 14.3 points in his last three games compared to 6.2 ppg in the five prior. His 16 points against Iowa State (Feb. 13) were the most he had since his career-high of 31 against La Salle (Dec. 12). His six rebounds at Texas A&M (Feb. 15) were the most since his seven boards against Missouri (Jan. 25). Henry has been named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week twice this season (Dec. 7 and Dec. 14) and has led KU in scoring in seven games in 2009-10. Henry leads Kansas with 43 steals and had a Kansas freshman-record-tying seven steals against Baylor (Jan. 20). His 43 steals are sixth on the KU freshman record list. Henry is second on the team with 48 three-point field goals made. He has made multiple three-pointers in 14 contests. He is ninth in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 39.0 percent. He ranks 20th in the Big 12 in scoring at 13.2 ppg, fourth in steals at 1.7 and 13th in three-pointers made at 1.9.

–Sophomore Tyshawn Taylor scored 12 points at Kansas State (Jan. 30), his highest output in Big 12 play this season. He is averaging 6.8 points on the season and 6.3 in conference action. He has scored in double figures in six games this season. Taylor has shot 50 percent or better in 12 games, including six times in Big 12 play. He has nine games with five-plus assists and ranks 13th in the Big 12 in assists at 3.2 per game and 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.7.

–Junior Tyrel Reed had seven points against Iowa State (Feb. 13), which were his most since 14 points against Missouri (Jan. 25). Against ISU, Reed was 2-for-3 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Reed has made 29 three-pointers this season and 69 percent of his field goals made have been from beyond the arc. He is 12-for-22 (54.5 percent) from three-point range in Big 12 play and 43.9 percent from beyond the arc for the season. Reed has made at least one three in 19 games this season and multiple threes in five contests. Reed is averaging 4.5 points per game for the season.

–Sophomore Markieff Morris has pulled down 21 rebounds in his last three outings. He had nine rebounds and eight points at Texas on 2-of-3 shooting and three blocked shots. His nine boards were his third highest for a game this season. Morris has pulled down six or more rebounds in 13 games this season and is third on the team with a 5.2 rebound average. Morris is scoring 6.3 points per game. Morris had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds against La Salle (Dec. 12). He is second on the team with 22 blocked shots and is shooting 56.2 percent from the field on the season.

–Freshman Thomas Robinson missed the Feb. 13 Iowa State game due to a concussion suffered in practice on Feb. 11. He returned to the lineup and made a brief appearance at Texas A&M. Robinson averages 8.3 minutes per game with 3.0 ppg and 3.0 rpg. He is third on the team with 13 blocked shots. Robinson has had two games of double-figure scoring and had his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Alcorn State (Dec. 2). He has pulled down four or more rebounds in eight games.

–Freshman Jeff Withey had four points with career-highs for rebounds with six and blocked shots with two in nine minutes against Nebraska (Feb. 6). Withey has appeared in nine games this season and averages 2.1 ppg.

Collins and Aldrich Named Finalists for Oscar Robinson Trophy

Kansas senior Sherron Collins and junior Cole Aldrich were among the 16 finalists for the 2010 Oscar Robinson Trophy named by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBEW) on Feb. 16. The Oscar Robertson Trophy is to be presented to the association’s national player of the year. Collins is one of three returning finalists from last season, while Aldrich is appearing on the list for the first time. The Oscar Robertson Trophy, the nation’s oldest men’s basketball award, is voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA, which consists of nearly 900 journalists and will be presented at the Final Four.