Jayhawks to Face Ball State and Florida in Las Vegas

Nov. 22, 2006

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No. 10/12 Kansas (3-1) has headed west to play back-to-back games in the final two rounds of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational. The Jayhawks will play Ball State on Friday at 7 p.m. (Central) and No. 1 Florida the following day at 10 p.m. (Central). All games will be played at Orleans Arena which seats 8,500. The Ball State contest will be shown on Jayhawk TV, while the Florida game will air on ESPN2. KU is 2-0 in the event having defeated Towson 87-61 Sunday and Tennessee State 89-54 Tuesday.

About Kansas

No. 10/12 Kansas enters the final two games of the Las Vegas Invitational with a 3-1 record. The Jayhawks feature five players who are averaging 9.8 points or better with freshman forward Darrell Arthur leading the way with 17.5 points per outing. Arthur is second on the team with nine blocked shots to go along with 5.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore Brandon Rush is scoring 15.5 points per game, while sophomore Julian Wright is chipping in a 12-point average. Wright leads the team in rebounding at 8.5 per contest and in blocked shots with 11. Junior Darnell Jackson, sophomore Mario Chalmers and freshman Sherron Collins are each scoring 9.8 points per contest. In his last home game against Tennessee State, Collins scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including 4-for-6 from three-point range. Kansas is scoring 84.5 points per game and allowing 62.5 while outrebounding foes 41 to 32.2, on average.

About Ball State

Ball State is 2-1 on the season and looking to rebound from a 70-55 loss to UT-Chattanooga on Wednesday. The Cardinals feature five players who average nine points or better, led by sophomore guard Jalon Perryman at 13 points per game. Sophomore forward Anthony Newell is next in scoring at 11.7 points per contest and he leads BSU in rebounding with eight per outing. Senior forward D’Andre Peyton is scoring 10.7 points per game followed by junior guard Steve Horton at 9.7 and junior center Micah Rollin at nine points. Horton leads the team with 14 assists on the season and he is tied with Newell for the steals lead with four. Ball State will play Western Kentucky on Saturday.

About Florida

No. 1 Florida brings a 5-0 record into Las Vegas after it’s 94-33 victory against Prairie View A&M Wednesday. Before playing KU, the defending NCAA champions will take on Western Kentucky Friday. Florida uses a suffocating defense that has allowed only 46.4 points per game so far this season. Junior forward/center Al Horford leads the team in scoring with 14 points per game. Fellow big man Joakim Noah is next at 13.8 points per outing and he leads the Gators in rebounding at 8.8 per contest. Junior guard Taurean Green is scoring 10 points per game followed closed by junior forward Corey Brewer with a 9.8 average. Horford leads the team with 12 blocked shots, while Green has 18 assists and Noah 16 dimes. Freshman forward Jonathan Mitchell leads the Gators with 10 steals in his first five games.

The Kansas-Ball State Series (tied at 1-1)

Kansas and Ball State are meeting for the third time with the series tied at 1-1. This will also be the third meeting between the two schools on a neutral court. Kansas won the first meeting with Ball State, 94-72, on March 18, 1993, in the first round of the NCAA Midwest Regional in Chicago. KU would go on to advance to the Final Four, losing to North Carolina in the national semifinal. The two teams opened the 2001-02 season at the Maui Invitational and Ball State defeated then-No. 4 Kansas 93-91.

The Kansas-Florida Series (KU leads 2-1)

Like the Ball State series, the Kansas-Florida series dates back to only the 1990s. KU holds a 2-1 edge against Florida. The Jayhawks won the first meeting 69-63 in Lawrence on Dec. 7, 1994. The following season the Jayhawks defeated the Gators again 69-54 in Gainesville on Jan. 11, 1996. Florida handed Kansas its second straight loss of the season in 2002-03 with an 83-73 in the consolation game of the Preseason NIT in Madison Square Garden. KU would to on to finish 30-8 in 2003 and runner-up in the NCAA Tournament.