Kansas to Host Fort Hays State in Exhibition Play

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Tonight’s Game
Kansas opens exhibition play against Fort Hays State, Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks are defending Big 12 regular-season champions after compiling a 23-7 record in 2004-05. KU tied Oklahoma for the conference title last season with a 12-4 league mark. It was Kansas’ fifth Big 12 championship in the nine-year history of the league and its 48th overall conference title. Kansas has won 22 straight exhibition games dating back to 1995 and is 40-7 overall in exhibition competition. The Jayhawks have also won 22 consecutive exhibition games in Allen Fieldhouse. Fort Hays State is coming off an 18-10 record. The Tigers are an NCAA Division II school and finished third in the East division of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2005.

About Kansas
Kansas returns eight letterwinners from last season’s 23-7 and 12-4 Big 12 championship team. Included are three seniors – Jeff Hawkins, Christian Moody and Stephen Vinson. Moody is the lone returning starter from last season’s team. He is KU’s leading returning scorer at 5.8 points per game and rebounder at 4.7 rebounds per contest. Hawkins is KU’s leading returner in three-pointers, shooting 48.6 percent from behind the arc last season. With no juniors on the roster, there are 11 sophomores and freshmen to round out the roster. Big men C.J. Giles, Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson highlight the sophomores along with guards Jeremy Case – a 2004-05 redshirt, Russell Robinson and Rodrick Stewart – a transfer from Southern California. All will be looked upon for immediate assistance. The four freshmen – Mario Chalmers, Micah Downs, Brandon Rush and Julian Wright – all came in highly touted. Chalmers, Downs and Wright were high school McDonald’s All-Americans last season and Rush was ranked the No. 13 overall player coming out of Mount Zion (N.C.) Academy.

About Fort Hays State
Fort Hays State opened its exhibition season with a 59-58 win over the Dreambuilders Sunday. Senior forward Jeremy Atwater had 16 rebounds and nine points in the win and junior forward Derrick Turner led the team in scoring with 12 points off 6-of-8 shooting. The Tigers posted an 18-10 record in 2004-05 and finished third in the East division of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference with a 12-7 record. FHSU returns four starters from last season’s team and eight letterwinners overall. Leading the Tigers in scoring last season is junior guard Tyrone Shephard, who averaged 13.9 points per game. Turner is the leading returning rebounder for FHSU with 6.4 rebounds per game in 2004-05. Turner also led the Tigers in blocked shots with 59, averaging just more than two per game. The Tigers were led in assists by junior point guard Derrick Graham, who averaged 2.5 per game. Graham also led the team in three-point field goal percentage at .412 (21-51).

The Series
Kansas and Fort Hays State are meeting for the fifth time overall and the second time in exhibition competition. The series dates back to 1994 with Kansas winning all four of the previous meetings. KU won 93-55 in 1994, 91-67 in 1998, 95-41 in 2001 (exhibition) and 80-40 in 2003. Every meeting between the Jayhawks and Tigers has been in Lawrence. KU has won by an average of 39 points in the four-game series with FHSU.