No. 5 Kansas Concludes Men's Basketball Regular Season at Texas A&M Saturday

March 6, 2008

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Kansas looks to add to its NCAA record conference regular-season championships when it travels to Texas A&M in the regular-season finale Saturday at 3 p.m. from Reed Arena on CBS. The Jayhawks have won 50 league titles, including the last three and seven of the 11 Big 12 championships. KU enters the weekend with a 27-3 overall and 12-3 Big 12 record and is tied with Texas for first place in the conference standings. Texas A&M is coming off a 71-57 win at Baylor Wednesday and is 22-8 (8-7 Big 12) on the season.

About Kansas

No. 5/6 Kansas is coming off the widest victory margin in Big 12 history with a 109-51 win against Texas Tech last Monday on KU’s Senior Night. For the game, 15 of the 16 Jayhawks who played scored, including six players in double figures. The Jayhawks average 82.5 points and lead the nation in scoring margin at +21.1. Sophomore forward Darrell Arthur leads KU in scoring with 13.3 points per game. He is second on the team with 6.0 rebounds per contest and leads KU with 43 blocked shots. A trio of Jayhawks average between 12 and 12.4 points per contest, led by junior guard Brandon Rush at 12.4. Rush leads the team with 56 three-point field goals and is shooting 41.5 percent from beyond the arc. Senior forward Darnell Jackson is scoring 12.2 ppg and he leads KU in rebounding at 6.9 per contest, which is seventh in the Big 12. Junior guard Mario Chalmers is scoring 12 points per game and is second on the team with 49 three pointers. Chalmers leads the Big 12 in steals at 2.34 per game and is second in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.50. Sophomore guard Sherron Collins is scoring 9.2 points off the bench, while seniors Russell Robinson and Sasha Kaun are scoring 7.7 and 7.5, respectively. Robinson, Arthur, Rush, Jackson and Chalmers are the KU starters. Senior guard Rodrick Stewart (3.1 ppg) and freshman center Cole Aldrich (3.0 ppg) round out the Kansas regulars.

About Texas A&M

Texas A&M is 22-8 on the season and has won two of its last three games after its 71-57 avenging win against Baylor Wednesday. The Jan. 23 A&M-BU game was historic in that it went five overtimes before Baylor edged out the Aggies 116-110. A&M has been ranked in all but two polls this season and climbed as high as No. 9 by Associated Press on Nov. 26. Texas A&M averages 72.8 points per game and has a solid defense giving up 61.8 points per outing. Junior guard/forward Josh Carter leads the team in scoring with 12.6 points per game. He has made a team-high 63 three-pointers and averages 4.2 rebounds per game. Senior forward/center Joseph Jones averages 10.7 points per contest and he is second on the team with a 5.2 rebound average. Sophomore guard Donald Sloan is scoring 9.4 points per game and is second on the team with 93 assists. Freshman DeAndre Jordan paces the team with 6.4 rebounds per game to go along with his 9.0 scoring average. He also has a team-high 37 blocked shots. Sophomore forward Bryan Davis comes off the bench to score 8.6 points per contest and he leads the team with 31 steals and is second with 33 blocked shots. Senior guard Dominique Kirk leads the Aggies with 102 assists and has a 7.9 scoring average. Sophomore guard Derrick Roland (6.1 ppg) rounds out the Texas A&M regulars.

The Series

Kansas and Texas A&M are meeting for the 12th time in a series that dates back to 1967. KU leads the overall series 11-1 but Texas A&M won a colossal battle last season, 69-66, in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are 4-0 in Reed Arena and 5-0 in College Station. The first game of the series was played in the Sunflower Doubleheader in Manhattan, Kan., with KU winning 78-52. Ever since, it has been during the Big 12 era.

Team Notables

–The combined record of the Kansas men’s basketball and football teams is 39-4 (90.7 winning percentage) in 2007-08. The duo went a combined 27-0 at home.

–Kansas is 75-10 (88.2 percent) in its last 85 games. The Jayhawks are 27-3 on the season and have won 41 of their last 45 and 44 of their last 49 contests. KU has 60 wins over the last two seasons.

–Kansas’ three losses have been by a combined 13 points – 9 at Kansas State, 3 at Texas and 1 at Oklahoma State.

–Kansas finished 20-0 at home this season marking its 14th all-time undefeated home season and first since 2001-02 (13-0) – 15th time if you count 2-0 in 1955. The 19 wins in Allen Fieldhouse (1-0 in Sprint Center in KC) are the most home wins ever in a KU home season. KU’s 24-game home court winning streak ranks fourth nationally.

–Kansas has won 10 of its last 13 Big 12 road games and is 12-4 in its last 16 league road contests.

–KU has shot better than 50 percent in 19 of 30 contests this season. Last year, KU shot better than 50 percent in 18 of 38 contests.

–KU has outshot 29 of 30 opponents this season – USC (Dec. 2) shot better than KU.

–Kansas leads the nation in scoring margin at +21.1. Besides scoring margin, Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring (82.5), field goal percentage (50.6), three-point field goal percentage (.393), field goal percentage defense (.381), rebound defense (31.2), assists (18.8), blocked shots (6.27), steals (9.07) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.44).

–The Jayhawks have held 29 of 30 opponents to less than 50 percent shooting and 101 of its last 104 opponents.

–Through 30 games, Kansas has had seven different leading scorers, seven different players lead the team in rebounding, five different in assists, eight different in steals and seven different in blocked shots (these includes ties). KU has had five different leading scorers in the last five games – Robinson, Rush, Arthur, Jackson and Chalmers – and six different rebounders in the last five games – Aldrich, Kaun, Robinson, Arthur, Jackson and Rush (Robinson and Arthur each had 10 at Iowa State on Feb. 27).

–Six Jayhawks have scored 20-plus points this season – Rush, Collins, Jackson, Chalmers, Arthur and Robinson.

–Kansas’ bench outscored Texas Tech’s bench 59-7 on Monday. On the season, the Jayhawk bench has outscored its opponents 785-498 for a 26.2 to 16.6 (+9.6) advantage per game.

–Kansas redshirt senior Jeremy Case graduated last spring. KU’s other four seniors – Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson, Russell Robinson and Rodrick Stewart – are on pace to graduate this spring.

Player Notables

–Sophomore Darrell Arthur (#00) had nine rebounds against Texas Tech and is averaging eight boards in his last three games. Arthur posted his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds at Iowa State (Feb. 27). He has pulled down at least six rebounds in six of his last eight games and seven or more 11 times this year. He has four 20-point efforts on the season. Arthur is 23-for-30 (76.7 percent) from the free throw line in his last nine games. Arthur has 12 games with multiple blocked shots this season, including five in conference action. Arthur leads KU in scoring at 13.3 ppg, which ranks 13th in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is 13th in rebounding at 6.0, sixth in field goal percentage at 52.7 and tied for fifth in blocked shots a 1.43.

–Junior Mario Chalmers (#15) scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting (3-of-4 from three-point range) with three assists and two steals against Texas Tech on Monday. He has scored in double figures in seven of his last eight games. He is 15-for-17 from the free throw line in his last six games. He has multiple steals in each of his last three games and five of his last seven contests. He has four steals in six games this season. Chalmers leads the Big 12 in steals with 2.34 per game and is vying to lead the league in steals for the third-straight season. He is second in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.50 and second in assists at 4.66.

–Junior Brandon Rush (#25) played only 10 minutes against Texas Tech, mainly due to Senior Night, with seven points, four rebounds and two blocked shots. Last week he was named the Phillips 66 co-Big 12 Player of the Week after averaging 18 points, including a season-high 21 against Kansas State. Rush has pulled down six or more rebounds in seven of his last 11 games. In Big 12 play he is scoring a team-high 13.7 ppg compared to 12.4 ppg overall and his three-point shooting has also improved in conference play, as he is making 44.7 percent from the beyond the arc through 15 league games and 41.5 percent on the season. On the boards he is averaging 6.0 in Big 12 play and 5.1 on the year. Rush is third in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 41.5 percent. He is 20th in rebounding in the Big 12 at 5.1 and seventh in three-pointers made at 2.0.

–Senior Darnell Jackson (#32) just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds on Senior Night against Texas Tech. He is averaging 8.3 rebounds in his last four games. He is shooting 66.7 percent (8-for-12) in his last two games. He has scored in double figures in six of his last seven games. He has reached double digits 20 times this season. Jackson has pulled down eight or more rebounds in nine Big 12 contests and 17 times this season. He has two double-doubles (16 points, 10 rebounds at Oklahoma State and 21 points, 11 rebounds vs. Iowa State). Jackson is 29-for-35 (82.9 percent) from the free throw line since the second half of the Kansas State game on Jan. 30. Jackson leads the team in rebounding at 6.9 rpg, which is seventh in the Big 12. He also ranks 11th in the league in free throw percentage at 70.5 percent. For his efforts at Boston College (Jan. 5, 25 points, nine rebounds), he was named the co-Big 12 Player of the Week.

–Senior Russell Robinson (#3) had a perfect Senior Night going 5-for-5 (3-for-3 from three-point range) and 2-for-2 from the line scoring 15 points, his second most points in Big 12 play. He has six steals in his last two games, including four thefts against Kansas State (March 1). He pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds at Iowa State (Feb. 27). Including ties, he has led KU in assists in each of the last four games. He is 34-for-40 (85 percent) from the line in his last 10 games. He has dished out five or more assists 10 times this season, including five in two of his last three games. He has multiple steals in 19 contests this season. Robinson is third in the Big 12 in assists at 4.20, fourth in steals at 2.03 and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.05.

–Sophomore Sherron Collins (#4) is averaging 15.5 points in his last two games after scoring 13 points against Texas Tech and 18 points against Kansas State. In his last two games he is 12-for-20 (60 percent) from the field. He tied his career high with four steals against Kansas State (March 1). He had seven points in 18 minutes at Iowa State (Feb. 27), after logging only 11 minutes with no points on one shot at Oklahoma State, nursing a bruised knee. He has scored in double figures 10 times this season, with six of those against Big 12 foes. He has made at least one three-pointer in 17 of 24 games played and has multiple treys in eight games. Collins missed six games (games 3-8) due to injury.

–Senior Sasha Kaun (#24) scored 10 points against Texas Tech on Senior Night, the most he posted since 12 against Missouri on Feb. 4, seven games earlier. He also had three blocked shots against TTU and has seven blocks in his last three games. He has pulled down seven or more rebounds six times this season. He has at least one blocked shot in 11 of his last 12 games and multiple blocks in 12 contests this season. Kaun is seventh in the Big 12 in blocked shots with 1.40 per game. He is second on the team in field goal percentage at 63.2 percent. After starting the year 10-for-26 (38.5 percent) from the free throw line, Kaun is 41-for-64 (64 percent) in his last 24 games.

–Freshman Cole Aldrich (#45) had the quietest double-double of the year with 11 points and 11 rebounds against Texas Tech, mainly due to Senior Night. Both the points and rebounds were career highs as were his 17 minutes against TTU. Also in the game, Aldrich was 5-for-8 (62.5 percent) from the field with one blocked shot. He has pulled down four or more rebounds in 12 games and has multiple blocked shots in nine contests.

Up Next

Kansas will participate in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., March 13-16. KU will be either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed and will play its quarterfinal game on Friday, March 14. Kansas has won the last two Big 12 Championships. NCAA Championship selection is Sunday, March 16.