No. 2 Kansas Closes Out Regular-Season at Missouri in Border Showdown

March 5, 2010

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No. 2 Kansas (28-2) closes out the 2009-10 regular season at Border Showdown foe Missouri (22-8, 10-5) Saturday, March 6, on CBS.

About Kansas

For the second-straight year, Kansas will enter a season with the nation’s longest active home court winning streak, currently at 59 games heading into 2010-11. The streak ranks as the second longest in Kansas men’s basketball history. Kansas is 28-2 on the season, 14-1 in conference play, and has won its sixth-straight, 10th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 53rd overall league title. KU averages 82.4 points per game and gives up 63.8 ppg for a Big 12-leading +18.6 scoring margin. In Big 12 play, Kansas is scoring 79.7 points per game and holds a +11.9 scoring margin. Senior guard Sherron Collins leads the team in scoring at 15.4 points per game and has scored in double figures 24 times this season following his 17-point performance against Kansas State Wednesday. A Bob Cousy Award finalist, Collins is third in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 85.1 percent and he leads KU in assists with 130 and three-pointers with 60, one ahead of freshman Xavier Henry. Henry, who was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the third time this season on Feb. 22, has averaged 20.8 points in his last 14 games and is scoring 14.2 points per game on the season. He averages 4.2 rebounds per game and leads KU with 47 steals. Junior center Cole Aldrich, who was named Academic All-American of the Year on Feb. 22, has seven double-doubles in his last 12 games and 13 DDs for the season. He is scoring 11.4 ppg and his 9.8 rebounds per game are third in the conference this season. Aldrich’s 109 blocked shots are a KU single-season record. His 3.6 blocked shots per contest rank second in the Big 12 and sixth nationally. Sophomore forward Marcus Morris has stepped up his game in Big 12 play with a 14.3 ppg against conference foes and 12.4 ppg in all games. In league games he is pulling down 7.1 rebounds per game and 6.1 rpg in all games. Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor moved back into the starting lineup against Colorado (Feb. 20) and has started 19 games this season. He is second on the team with 97 assists and he has averaged 11.8 points per game in his last four contests. Taylor is scoring 7.5 ppg for the season. Junior guard Brady Morningstar is scoring 4.4 points per game and averaging 3.1 assists per contest. Sophomore forward Markieff Morris, twin of Marcus, had 10 points and nine rebounds against Kansas State Wednesday. He is averaging 6.6 points and 5.3 rebounds on the season. Junior guard Tyrel Reed averages 4.4 points per outing and has 32 three-pointers. He was 2-for-3 from beyond the arc versus KSU Wednesday.

About Missouri

Missouri has won four of its last five games with the lone loss at then-No. 6 Kansas State (Feb. 27). The Tigers are 22-8 on the season and 10-5 in Big 12 play after their 69-67 overtime win at Iowa State Tuesday. MU is is 16-1 at home this season. The Tigers average 78.9 points per game and give up 65.1 points per game for a +13.7 scoring margin, which ranks second in the Big 12 behind Kansas’ +18.6. Missouri uses a pressure defense that forces 19.9 turnovers per contest and its +6.5 turnover margin leads the league. The Tigers also lead the Big 12 in steals with 11.1 per game, while Kansas is next at 8.7. Sophomore guard Kim English leads MU in scoring at 14.1 points per game. He is second on the team with 43 steals and 59 three-pointers. Sophomore guard Marcus Denmon is scoring 11.3 points per game and has a team-high 67 three-pointers. Sophomore forward Laurence Bowers is shooting 56.2 percent from the field. He averages 10.1 ppg and his 5.2 rebounds are second on the team. Bowers has a team-high 39 blocked shots. Senior forward Keith Ramsey is second in rebounds with a 5.8 rpg average. Ramsey is scoring 5.9 points per outing. Senior guard J.T. Tiller is a starter who averages 8.7 points and has a team-high 86 assists this season. Freshman guard Michael Dixon scores 7.3 points, while senior guard Zaire Taylor scores 8.4 ppg and his 1.8 steals per game are second in the Big 12. Junior forward Justin Safford (8.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg) has missed the last two games due to a knee injury.

The Series

Kansas leads the all-time series with Missouri, 168-94, including an 63-53 record in games played in Columbia. Missouri has won three of the five meetings in Mizzou Arena. Overall, Kansas has won seven of the last eight and 11 of the last 14 meetings with Missouri. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU holds a 21-9 series advantage against Missouri – 19-8 in regular-season play and 2-1 in the conference postseason championship. Today’s game will mark the 40th 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. On Jan. 25, Marcus Morris scored 17 points and Cole Aldrich had 12 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots in Kansas’ 84-65 win over MU in Allen Fieldhouse. Justin Safford led MU with 19 points, while Zaire Taylor had 11. KU outrebounded MU 56-28 and also doubled the Tigers in points in the paint, 36-18.

Border Showdown

Today’s game marks the 15th Kansas-Missouri meeting in all sports of the 2009-10 academic year in the annual Border Showdown sponsored by M&I Bank. The winner of the KU-MU head-to-head competition is awarded points. Currently, Missouri holds an 11.0-10.0 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 seven times with MU winning five times – 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 – and KU twice in 2004 and 2006.

Team Notables

–With their win against Kansas State Wednesday, the Jayhawks won the 2010 Big 12 title outright. Of its 10 Big 12 titles, Kansas has won seven outright (1997-98-2002-03-07-09-10).

–Kansas’ 28 wins in 30 games is the second-best 30-game record in school history. KU was 29-1 in 1996-97.

–KU leads the Big 12 in scoring (82.4), scoring margin (+18.6), field goal percentage (48.8), three-point field goal percentage (40.2), scoring defense (63.8), field goal percentage defense (37.7), assists (17.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4). The Jayhawks rank in the top three in all but four Big 12 statistical categories.

–Ten of Kansas’ 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 three of its last four contests and in 15 of 30 games overall this season.

–Kansas has also held 19 of 29 opponents this season to under 40 percent from the field, including seven of 12 Big 12 foes.

–KU’s bench has outscored its opponents’ bench in 21 of 30 games this season.

Player Notables

–Senior Sherron Collins scored 17 points on Senior Night. He is scoring 18.7 points in his last three games and leads KU with a 15.4 ppg average for the season. He has six games of 20 or more points. 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’ 15.4-point scoring average is 11th in the Big 12. Collins also ranks among the league leaders in field goal percentage (12th at 41.9), assists (fifth at 4.3), three-point field goal percentage (12th at 36.8), three-point field goals made (10th at 2.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (eighth at 1.9).

–Junior Cole Aldrich, the 2010 Academic All-American of the Year, has three double-doubles in his last six games. He has 35 double-doubles for his career (13 this season). Aldrich averages nearly a double-double (11.4 ppg and 9.8 rpg) this season. Aldrich has pulled down at least nine rebounds in 15 of his last 21 games and double-digit boards in his four of his last six outings. 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 3.6 blocked shots per game. Aldrich is third in the Big 12 in rebounding at 9.8 rpg.

–Freshman Xavier Henry has averaged 20.8 points in his last four games after his 19 points against Kansas State Wednesday. He averages 14.2 ppg for the season. Henry has been named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week three times this season (Dec. 7, Dec. 14 and Feb. 22) and has led KU in scoring in 11 games in 2009-10. Henry leads Kansas with 47 steals and had a KU freshman-record-tying seven steals against Baylor (Jan. 20). Henry is second on the team with 59 three-point field goals made. He has made multiple three-pointers in 18 contests. He is sixth in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 41.0 percent. He ranks 15th in the Big 12 in scoring at 14.2 ppg, seventh in steals at 1.6 and tied for 11th in three-pointers made at 2.0.

–Sophomore Marcus Morris averages 14.3 points per game in Big 12 play, 16th in the league. He has five double-doubles this season, with three in Big 12 play. Morris has four 20-point efforts, with three of those in league action. Also in league play, Morris leads the Big 12 with his 55.5 percent shooting from the field, while his 7.1 rebounds are 12th. For the season, he is averaging 12.4 ppg and 6.1 rpg (13th in the Big 12). Morris has started 27 of 30 games in 2009-10.

–Sophomore Tyshawn Taylor has averaged 11.8 points in his last three games. In that span, Taylor is 16-for-26 (61.5 percent) from the field, including 4-for-5 against Kansas State Wednesday with 11 points. He is averaging 7.5 points on the season and 7.7 in conference action. He has scored in double figures in nine games this season, including three of his last four outings. Taylor has shot 50 percent or better in 15 games, including nine times in Big 12 play. He has 10 games with five-plus assists and ranks 12th in the Big 12 in assists at 3.2 per game and 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8.

–Junior Brady Morningstar leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.8 in league games (47 assists, 17 turnovers). He is scoring 4.4 ppg in all games. In addition to his assist-to-turnover ranking, in league play, Morningstar ranks among the conference leaders in assists (tied for 12th 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.

–Sophomore Markieff Morris had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting and nine rebounds against Kansas State Wednesday. The 10 points were his second best in Big 12 play behind his 11 against Colorado (Feb. 20). Morris averages 6.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He has pulled down six-plus rebounds in six of his last seven games and 16 times this season. His 5.3 rpg are third on the KU team. Morris had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds against La Salle (Dec. 12). He is second on the team with 26 blocked shots and is shooting 56.7 percent from the field on the season.

–Junior Tyrel Reed was 2-for-3 from three-point range with six points against Kansas State Wednesday. He tied his season high with three steals at Oklahoma State (Feb. 27). Reed has made 32 three-pointers this season and 68.1 percent of his field goals made have been from beyond the arc. He is 15-for-29 (51.7 percent) from three-point range in Big 12 play and 43.8 percent from beyond the arc for the season. Reed has made at least one three in 21 games this season and multiple threes in six contests. Reed is averaging 4.4 points per game for the season.

–Freshman Thomas Robinson had four points against Oklahoma (Feb. 22) which matched his conference high. Robinson averages 7.6 minutes per game with 2.8 ppg and 2.8 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.

Up Next

Kansas will play in the quarterfinal round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., on March 11 at 11:30 a.m. The event runs March 10-13. NCAA Tournament selection Sunday is March 14.