Jayhawks to Host Tigers in Border Showdown Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

Feb. 27, 2009

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For the second straight game, the top spot in the Big 12 standings is on the line as No. 15 Kansas (23-5, 12-1) hosts Border Showdown foe No. 8/11 Missouri (24-4, 11-2) Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS. KU finds itself in familiar territory as it heads into the final week of the regular season. Kansas is the four-time defending Big 12 regular-season champion and has won eight of the 12 league titles since the inception of the conference in 1996-97. Kansas takes a four-game winning streak into the Missouri contest after its 87-78 win at No. 3 Oklahoma Monday. Missouri won its seventh-straight game with a 94-74 victory against Kansas State on Wednesday. At halftime of Sunday’s game, Kansas will retire the jersey of Kirk Hinrich who guided the Jayhawks to two Final Fours during his career from 2000-03. Hinrich’s junior season, 2002, Kansas went undefeated (16-0) in Big 12 play.

About Kansas

For the 12th time in the 13-year history of the Big 12 Championship, Kansas has been guaranteed a bye in the event, i.e. finished as a top-four seed. The Jayhawks can finish no lower than the No. 3 seed in the event. KU has won the event each of the last three seasons and six times since the inception of the league in 1996-97.

In Kansas’ 13 conference games, eight have been decided by double figures, all KU victories. The Jayhawks have won four straight and 12 of their last 13 games with the lone loss at Missouri, 62-60, on Feb. 9. The Jayhawks are averaging 77.4 points per game and giving up 64.8 for a +12.6 scoring margin. KU leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 38.3 percent, rebound defense at 31.2 and rebound margin at +7.7. KU at 50.0 percent and Oklahoma at 50.1 percent are the only two league teams to shoot better than 50 percent in league play. Conversely, the Jayhawks also lead the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense in league games at 38.2 percent.

Junior guard Sherron Collins leads KU in scoring at 18.3 points per game, which is fourth in the Big 12. Collins has averaged 23.3 points in his last two games, including a career-high-tying 26 in the win at Oklahoma. Named a Bob Cousy Award finalist and Wooden Award and Naismith Award mid-season candidate, Collins has led the team in scoring in 20 of 28 games this season. A two-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Collins has a team-high 62 three-point field goals and 138 assists. Sophomore center Cole Aldrich is coming off a career-high 20 rebounds at Oklahoma and has three-straight double-doubles. His 16 double-doubles on the season are second most in the Big 12. Aldrich is next in scoring at 15.0 points per game. He 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 61.4 percent and his 60.8 percent in Big 12 games ranks first. He and Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin are the only two Big 12 players to average a double-double with Aldrich at 15.0 ppg and 10.7 rpg and Griffin at 22.0 ppg and 13.8 rpg. Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor had a career-high 26 points at Oklahoma Monday to mark his third 20-point effort of the season. Taylor is scoring 9.7 points per game, has 83 assists and 32 steals. Taylor has been named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week three times in 2008-09. Freshman forward Marcus Morris is scoring 7.5 points per contest and he leads the Big 12 freshmen class with 4.9 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar rounds out the KU starters. He leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 46.8 percent and is 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) from beyond the arc in his last four games. Morningstar and Collins are tied for the team lead with 34 steals. Morningstar averages 7.5 points per game. Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed averages 6.7 points and is making 38.2 percent from three-point range. Freshman forward Markieff Morris, twin of Marcus, and junior guard/forward Mario Little are each scoring 4.9 points for the Jayhawks. Markieff Morris is third on the team with 4.4 rebounds per game, third among Big 12 freshmen. Little was named Phillips 66 co-Big 12 Rookie of the Week Feb. 9. He missed the first 12 games of the season due to injuries. Freshman guard Travis Releford (2.9 ppg) and freshman forward Quintrell Thomas (1.5 ppg) also see time on the floor for the Jayhawks.

About Missouri

Like Kansas, No. 8/11 Missouri is one of the hottest teams in the nation bringing a seven-game winning streak to Allen Fieldhouse after its 94-74 win against Kansas State Wednesday. The Tigers are 24-4 overall and 11-2 in Big 12 play, tied with Oklahoma (25-3, 11-2) and one game behind league-leading Kansas. Missouri is 17-0 at home this season and 5-2 in true road games, including victories in its last three games away from Mizzou Arena. MU leads the Big 12 in scoring margin at +17.2, three-point field goal percentage defense at 30.9 percent, assists at 19, steals at 10.9, turnover margin at +6.8 and assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.5. Missouri averages 82.6 points per game, second in the league, to its opponents’ 65.4 points per game. MU is deep as it has 10 players averaging 10 or more minutes per game and no one averages more than 27 minutes per outing. Senior forward DeMarre Carroll leads the team in scoring at 17.1 points, which is seventh in the Big 12. He also leads the team with 7.1 rebounds per contest and is second on the squad with 44 steals and field goal percentage at 57.1 percent. Senior forward Leo Lyons is second in scoring at 14.3 ppg and rebounds at 6.0 rpg. He has 21 blocked shots, one ahead of Carroll’s 20 blocks, which is second on the team behind junior forward Keith Ramsey’s 27. Ramsey is scoring 4.1 points per game. Senior guard Matt Lawrence leads MU with 60 three pointers to complement his 8.9 scoring average. Junior guard J.T. Tiller has a 7.8 scoring average and he leads the team with 53 steals and 100 assists. His 100 assists are just ahead of junior guard Zaire Taylor’s 98. Taylor is scoring 5.3 points per contest. Freshman guard Marcus Denmon is scoring 7.2 points per game and he has made 30 three pointers. Freshman guard Kim English is just behind Denmon in scoring at 6.8 ppg and he has made 33 threes. Freshman guard Miguel Paul (3.5 ppg), sophomore forward Justin Safford (2.9 ppg) and freshman forward Lawrence Bowers (4.0 ppg) are also seeing time on the floor for MU.

The Series

Kansas leads the all-time series with Missouri, 166-94, including a 85-33 record in games played in Lawrence and 38-14 in Allen Fieldhouse matchups. The Jayhawks have won the last nine meetings with the Tigers in Allen Fieldhouse dating back to 2000. Overall, Kansas has won five of the last six and nine of the last 12 meetings with Missouri. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU holds a 19-9 series advantage against Missouri – 17-8 in regular-season play and 2-1 in the conference championship. Sunday’s game will mark the 39th 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.

Earlier this season then-No. 17 Missouri overcame a 14-point deficit to edge No. 16 Kansas 62-60 at Mizzou Arena on Feb. 9. MU’s Zaire Taylor’s jumper with 1.3 seconds remaining was the game winner for the Tigers. KU’s Tyshawn Taylor was the lone Jayhawk to score in double figures with 11 points, while Cole Aldrich pulled down 15 rebounds for the game. Missouri was led by DeMarre Carroll who had 22 points and seven rebounds.

Border Showdown

Sunday marks the 12th 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 10.5-7.0 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.

Team Notables

–Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense (38.3), rebounding defense at 31.2 rpg and rebound margin at +7.7. KU also ranks among the Big 12’s top four teams in field goal percentage (second at 48.4), scoring margin (third at +12.6), free throw percentage (third at 72.5), three point field goal percentage defense (third at 33.2), rebounding (tied for third at 38.9), assists (second at 16.3) and blocked shots (tied for second at 4.5).

–Kansas climbed back into the national polls on Feb. 2 and is ranked No. 15 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls released Feb. 23. The No. 15 ranking is the highest this season for KU in either poll. Kansas went seven weeks out of the polls before making last week’s lists.

–Kansas currently ranks No. 7 in the Feb. 24 ESPN.com RPI rating, which is second in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma (4). Missouri is No. 15.

–KU has outshot 18 of 28 opponents this season and has shot 50 percent or better in two of its last four games and 13 games this season, including seven of 12 Big 12 contests. Kansas is 21-2 when outshooting its opponent this season and 2-3 when outshot.

–Kansas has outrebounded nine of its last 10 opponents and 22 of 28 opponents this season. KU outrebounded its last three foes by 37 and has a +9.2 rebound margin in Big 12 play, +7.7 in all games.

–Through 28 games, four different Jayhawks have scored 20 or more points. Sherron Collins has nine 20-point games, including the last three, while Cole Aldrich has six, including two of his last three games. Tyshawn Taylor has three 20-point games, including a career-high 26 at Oklahoma Monday. Brady Morningstar has one 20-point effort.

–Kansas has held 138 of its last 141 opponents to under 50 percent shooting, including all 28 foes this season. Eighteen of those opponents have shot below 40 percent, including two of the last three. 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 67 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 108-15 (87.8 percent) in its last 123 games dating back to Jan. 21, 2006.

Player Notables

–Junior guard Sherron Collins tied his career high with 26 points in the win at No. 3 Oklahoma Monday. A Bob Cousy Award finalist, Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy mid-season candidate, Collins has averaged 23.2 points in his last three games. He has three straight 20-point efforts and nine this season. Collins leads Kansas with an 18.3 point scoring average, which is fourth in the Big 12. He has led (or tied for the lead) Kansas in scoring in 20 games this season. At Baylor (Feb. 2), 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 4.9), free throw percentage (sixth at .813), field goal percentage (ninth at .435), three-point field goals made (tied for ninth at 2.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (12th at 1.5).

–Sophomore center Cole Aldrich pulled down a career-high 20 rebounds at Oklahoma to go along with 15 points for his third-straight and 16th double-double of the season. Aldrich is one of two conference players, along with OU’s Blake Griffin, to average a double-double with 15 ppg and 10.7 rpg. He has 83 rebounds in his last six games for a 13.8 average in that span. He has six 20-point efforts in 2008-09. On Feb. 21, Aldrich became the 16th player in school history to record 100 career blocked shots, currently at 105. Aldrich has 49 of KU’s 83 dunks this season. Aldrich leads the Big 12 in blocked shots with 2.5 per game. He is second in the Big 12 in rebounding at 10.7 rpg, second in field goal percentage at 61.4 percent, 12th in free throw percentage at 77.4 percent and 13th in scoring at 15.0 ppg.

–Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor scored a career-high 26 points in the win at Oklahoma Monday. In the game he was 8-for-13 from the field, including 3-of-5 from three point range. Taylor has led Kansas in scoring three times this season. Taylor has been named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week three times in 2008-09, including once in league play. His 9.7 points on the season are second most among Big 12 freshmen. Taylor is tied 15th in the league in assists at 3.0 apg (tied with OU’s Willie Warren for first among Big 12 freshmen) and his 1.1 steals average is tied second among the Big 12 freshmen class with teammate Marcus Morris.

–Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar leads the Big 12 in three point field goal percentage at 46.8 percent, including 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) from way out in his last four games. He played only 21 minutes at Oklahoma with two points, three assists and four fouls. He had played 30-plus minutes in his 12 previous outings. Morningstar has started every game for Kansas. He is scoring 7.1 points on the season. He has at least one steal in 12 of his last 15 outings. Morningstar has made multiple three pointers three of his last four games and seven of his last nine contests. A lockdown defender, Morningstar is second on the team with 41 floor burns. He is behind Sherron Collins’ 49 floor burns and just ahead of Tyrel Reed’s 40.

–Freshman forward Marcus Morris scored five points and pulled down three rebounds at Oklahoma Monday. He has started 10 of the last 11 games for KU and 16 games this season. He has shot 50 percent or better in six of his last nine contests. He is second on the team with 4.9 rebounds per game, which leads the Big 12 freshmen.

–Freshman forward Markieff Morris had seven points on 3-of-6 shooting at Oklahoma Monday. He is scoring 4.9 points on the season, yet has scored seven or more points eight times, including three times in Big 12 play. In his last four games, Markieff is 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) from the field. He has six blocked shots in his last three games and eight games with multiple blocked shots. He has started seven games this season and is third on the team with 4.4 rebounds per game. His 4.4 rebounds on the season are third among Big 12 freshmen.

–Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed started his second game of the season at Kansas State (Feb. 14) and responded with seven points. He is averaging 21.3 minutes per contest and has been KU’s first player off the bench 11 times this season. Nominated for Academic All-American, Reed has 14 games with multiple threes during 2008-09. He has shot 50 percent or better in 13 games. Reed is making 38.2 percent from three point range.

–Junior guard Mario Little started his third game of the season at Kansas State (Feb. 14). At KSU he played nine minutes and did not score, but had two rebounds and three assists. He is averaging 12.9 minutes per game. Little, the Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year, missed the first 12 games of the season due to injuries.

Hinrch’s Jersey to Be Retired Sunday

Former Kansas men’s basketball great Kirk Hinrich will have his jersey retired in a halftime ceremony on March 1 when KU takes on Missouri. A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Hinrich had a stellar career at Kansas from 2000-03. He guided KU to back-to-back Final Fours in 2002 and 2003. The 2002 KU team is still the only team to go undefeated (16-0) in the 12-year history of the Big 12 Conference. The following year, KU won its second straight league regular-season title with Hinrich at the point. Hinrich, who wore jersey number 10, ranks ninth on the Kansas career scoring list with 1,753 points. His 668 assists are fourth on the school list and his 206 steals are sixth. Hinrich owns two of the top three single-season three-point field goal percentage marks in KU history – 50.5 percent in 2001 and 47.8 percent in 2002. In 2003, Hinrich was selected to the Wooden All-American team and was a third-team Associated Press All-American. Also his senior season, he was on the Final Four all-tournament team and was the NCAA West Regional Most Outstanding Player. Hinrich was named All-Big 12 First Team both his junior and senior seasons. Hinrich was the seventh overall selection in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls and has been a starter with the Bulls for the past five seasons. Additionally, he was a member of Team USA in the 2006 World Championships.

Up Next

Kansas enters the final week of regular-season play when it travels to Texas Tech on Wednesday, March 4 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2. KU returns home for its season finale on Saturday, March 7 against Texas at 3 p.m. on CBS.