Jayhawks Take Six-Game Win Streak to Oklahoma for ESPN Big Monday
Feb. 25, 2007
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No. 6 Kansas (25-4, 12-2) enters the final week of Big 12 play in familiar territory, atop the conference standings. The Jayhawks have won or shared the Big 12 regular season title six of the 10 years the league has existed, including the 2005 and 2006 titles under head coach Bill Self. KU takes a six-game winning streak into its fourth ESPN Big Monday match up at Oklahoma (15-12, 6-8). The Sooners are looking to snap a four-game losing streak in its senior night.
With its win against Iowa State Saturday, Kansas has won 12 conference games for the seventh straight season and is the only Big 12 school to have won at least 10 league games in each of the 11 seasons the conference has existed. Including 2006-07, KU has won at least 23 games in each of the last 18 seasons and its 25 victories this year ties last season’s mark, the most under head coach Bill Self while at KU. Kansas averages 79 points per game and is giving up 59.7. The Jayhawks are outrebounding foes 40.6 to 32.3 per game and hold a 49.5 to 37.2 field goal percentage edge. 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 and Naismith Award finalist, leads Kansas in scoring at 13.8 points per game and with 55 three-point field goals made. Sophomores Mario Chalmers and Julian Wright are next in scoring with 11.6 averages. Chalmers leads the Big 12 with 2.59 steals per game, while Wright leads KU with eight rebounds a game, which is fifth in the conference. His 43 blocked shots are second most on the team. Freshman forward Darrell Arthur has a team-leading 44 blocked shots to compliment his 10.9 points per game. Freshman guard Sherron Collins is scoring 12.9 points in Big 12 play – second best on the team – and 10 points on the season. He is making a team-high 44.1 percent from three-point range. Junior guard Russell Robinson, a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, leads KU with 131 assists in addition to his 6.6 scoring average. He is second on the team with 54 steals. Robinson missed the Iowa State game due to a foot injury. 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 55 percent from the field, while Jackson, a forward, is averaging 5.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per outing off the bench.
KU’s Six-Game Winning Streak
Kansas takes a six-game winning streak into Norman, which includes three home and three road victories. During the streak, KU has scored at least 89 points four times and has held three foes to under 60. Individually, Kansas’ top five scorers during the streak are averaging between 12.7 and 11.7 points per game. Brandon Rush, Julian Wright and Sherron Collins are scoring 12.7 ppg and Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur 11.7 ppg. Rebound-wise, three players are averaging 6.8 rpg or better in the streak. Wright is at 8.5 rpg, while Darnell Jackson is at 7.2 and Arthur at 6.8.
Oklahoma is looking to snap a four-game losing streak after its 68-58 loss to Texas Saturday. The Sooners have lost by an average of seven points in that span with no game being decided by more than 10 points. OU is 12-3 at home this season and is averaging 67.8 points per game while giving up 58.6. Oklahoma outrebounds foes 36.6 to 31.1 and makes 6.2 three-pointers per game. Junior center Longar Longar leads the team in scoring at 11.2 points per game, rebounding at 7.4 rpg, field goal percentage at 56.8 and with 34 blocked shots. Senior forward Nate Carter is next in scoring at 11 points per outing and he is making 84.7 percent from the free throw line. Senior guard Michael Neal is scoring 10.2 points per game and leads OU with 45 three point field goals made. Freshman guard Tony Crocker is scoring 8.3 points per game, while sophomore guard Austin Johnson leads the team with 86 assists to compliment his 7.7 ppg. Johnson is also 23-for-25 (92 percent) from the free throw line. Junior guard David Godbold is at 7.5 points per game, while sophomore forward Taylor Griffin is scoring 6.3 points per contest. He is second on the team with 25 blocked shots and in rebounding with 5.3 boards per game.
Kansas leads the overall series with Oklahoma 130-64. KU has won two of the last three games, yet OU has won three of the last five match ups. In Norman, KU holds a slim 44-40 series edge, yet Oklahoma is 15-12 against Kansas in games played in Lloyd Noble Center, including the last two meetings – 71-63 in 2005 and 77-70 in 2003. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 9-4 against Oklahoma – 8-2 in regular-season meetings and 1-2 the in Big 12 Championship. Expect a close contest as nine of the last 10 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less. Last year Kansas erased a 16-point second half deficit to edge Oklahoma 59-58 in Allen Fieldhouse. The game had 11 lead changes and four ties. Mario Chalmers’ runner in the lane with 20 seconds remaining gave the Jayhawks the victory. This series dates back to 1920.
Kansas returns home for the season finale against nationally-ranked Texas on Saturday, March 3. The game will tip at 11 a.m. and will be televised on CBS. KU will open Big 12 Championship play on Friday, March 9, at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. Seed, opponent and game time are yet to be determined.