Jayhawks to Host Aggies in Men's Basketball Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Jayhawk TV

Dec. 2, 2008

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For the second straight game, Kansas is facing a defending conference champion when it plays host to 2008 co-Western Athletic Conference champ New Mexico State (2-2), Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. on Jayhawk TV. Kansas is 5-1 after is 87-60 win against 2008 Mid-American Conference champion Kent State Monday. Kansas’ current 28-game home court winning streak is the fourth longest in the nation.

About Kansas

No. 25 Kansas is 5-1 after defeating Kent State 87-60 Monday. The New Mexico State game is the third of six straight home contests for KU. Kansas has won its last 28 home games dating back to the last four contests in Allen Fieldhouse of the 2006-07 season. Kansas is scoring 80 points per game and giving up 59.5 for a +20.8 scoring margin. The Jayhawks force 16.3 turnovers per game. KU leads the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 71.4 percent. KU is outrebounding foes by a +8.7 rebound margin and outshooting opponents 47.1 percent to 33.3 percent. KU’s lone loss on the season was 89-81 in overtime to Syracuse in the championship game of the CBE Classic.

Junior guard Sherron Collins leads KU in scoring at 18.3 points per game. Collins, a CBE Classic all-tournament team member, has led the team in scoring in all but one game this season and has a team-high 10 three-point field goals and 23 assists. Sophomore center Cole Aldrich leads Kansas with 10 rebounds per game to complement his 14.8 point scoring average. He has recorded a double-double in each of his last three games (15 points-16 rebounds vs. Syracuse, 23 points-11 rebounds vs. Coppin State and 10 points-13 rebounds vs. Kent State). Aldrich has 17 of KU’s 36 blocked shots through six games for a Big 12-leading 2.8 per game. Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor has scored 39 points in his last three games and is averaging 10.2 ppg on the year. Freshman forward Marcus Morris (8.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg) is a starter who is coming off a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Kent State. Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar rounds out the KU starters. He is scoring eight points per game, including a career-high 21 points against Coppin State Friday. Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed (5.8 ppg) and freshman Markieff Morris (5.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg) are the first KU subs. Freshman guard Travis Releford is averaging 5.2 points in only eight minutes per game.

About New Mexico State

New Mexico State, 2-2, is in the middle of a three-game road trip when it visits Allen Fieldhouse. The Aggies lost at Long Beach State 82-77 on Sunday and play at North Texas in Denton on Saturday after the KU contest. NMSU averages 76.5 points per game and is giving up 68.5. The Aggies force 18.3 turnovers per game and are shooting 48.1 percent field goals through four contests, including 40.3 from three-point range. NMSU averages 7.8 threes per game. Sophomore guard Jahmar Young leads the team with 18 points per game, including a team-best 10 three-pointers. Freshman forward Troy Gillenwater is next in scoring at 15.5 ppg and he leads New Mexico State with 10 blocked shots. Junior guard Jonathan Gibson and freshman guard Hernst Laroche each have a team-best seven steals. Gibson is scoring 15.3 points per game, while Hernst is next at 4.3 and he leads the Aggies with 17 assists. Sophomore forward Wendell McKines’ 7.8 rebounds per game are tops on the NMSU roster. He is a non-starter scoring 11.3 points per game. Freshman center Hamidu Rahman (5.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg) is the fifth starter for the Aggies.

The Series

Kansas holds a 1-0 edge over New Mexico State as the Jayhawks won the only meeting 102-51 on December 7, 1965, in Allen Fieldhouse. Seven Jayhawks scored in double figures in the victory led by junior guard Ron Franz with 19 points. Senior guard Del Lewis had 14 points, while senior forward Fred Chana and junior guard Bob Wilson had 12 each. Senior center Walt Wesley and fellow senior Al Lopes each scored 11 and senior forward Riney Lochmann had 10 for the Jayhawks. KU dominated early leading 62-27 at halftime. New Mexico State is a member of the Western Athletic Conference. Kansas is 18-5 against current WAC membership – 5-2 vs. Utah State, 4-2 vs. Nevada, 3-0 vs. Boise State, 2-0 vs. Idaho, 2-1 vs. Hawaii and 1-0 vs. NMSU and Louisiana Tech.

Team Notables

–After going 32-for-36 from the free throw line against Kent State, Kansas leads the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 71.4 percent. KU is second in the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 34.4 percent, scoring margin at +20.8, rebounding at 42.5 rpg and blocked shots at 6.0.

–KU is 75-9 (89.3 percent) in its last 84 games.

–Kansas’ 28-game home winning streak ranks fourth nationally.

–KU has outshot five of six opponents this season and has shot 50 percent or better in two of its last three games – 50 percent vs. Washington and 52.7 percent vs. Coppin State. Syracuse outshot KU 48.3 percent to 41.9 percent. Last year, KU outshot 39 of 40 opponents.

–Kansas has held 116 of its last 119 opponents to under 50 percent shooting, including all six foes this season.

Player Notables

–Junior guard Sherron Collins has led the team in scoring in five of six games this season, including 19 points against Kent State. Collins is fourth in the Big 12 in scoring at 18.3 ppg. His 3.8 assists per game are 10th in the conference. Collins also ranks among the Big 12 leaders in field goal percentage (11th at 47.6 percent), free throw percentage (sixth at 83.3 percent) and assist-to-turnover ratio (11th at 1.6). He leads KU with 10 three pointers. He has two games of 20 or more points this season – career-high 25 vs. Florida Gulf Coast and 21 vs. Syracuse.

–Sophomore center Cole Aldrich has recorded a double-double in each of his last three games. He has a combined 40 rebounds in his last three games for a 13.3 average. Aldrich leads the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 88.5 and in blocked shots at 2.8 per game. He is second in the conference in rebounds at 10 rpg and fourth in field goal percentage at 57.9 percent.

–Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar scored a career-high 21 points against Coppin State and has scored 30 points in his last two games. He has a team-high 11 steals on the season and his 1.8 per game are 14th in the Big 12.

–Freshman Marcus Morris recorded his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Kent State. He had 11 points and 11 boards against Syracuse two games earlier. Marcus, who has started the last four games for KU, is sixth in the Big 12 in rebounding with 7.5 boards per game. He is tied with his twin Markieff with six blocked shots for second-most on the team. The duo are tied for 14th in the Big 12 with one blocked shot per game.

–Freshman Markieff Morris’ six rebounds per game are 16th in the Big 12. He is shooting 9-of-16 (56.3 percent) from the field in his last six games.

–Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor has started the last five games and has scored in double figures in each of the last four. He has averaged 12.3 ppg in his last four games and 10.2 on the season. Included were a career-high 17 points against Syracuse. He is 5-for-7 (.714 percent) from three-point range in his last three games, including a 2-for-2 effort against Kent State in scoring 12 points.

–Freshman Travis Releford is averaging eight minutes and 5.2 points per game. In his last two games, Releford has 13 points in 16 minutes.

Youth Movement

The 2008-09 Kansas basketball team is young. How young? Ten of its top 11 scorers are freshmen or sophomores. Junior Sherron Collins is KU’s leading scorer at 18.3 ppg. Below is a breakdown of KU’s scoring for 2008-09. Note: KU’s seniors Brennan Bechard and Matt Kleinmann are walk-ons and have combined for two points.

Kansas Scoring for 2008-09

Freshmen – 38 percent

Sophomores – 38 percent

Juniors – 24 percent

Autographed Basketballs Available For Holidays

Basketballs autographed by the 2008-09 Kansas men’s and women’s basketball teams are now available online exclusively through the KUStore.com. Please note that these items will ship separate from other ordered items. The men’s basketballs are $159.95 and the women’s basketballs are $74.95 plus tax, shipping and handling. To purchase, log on to www.kustore.com.

Up Next

Kansas will play its fourth straight game at Allen Fieldhouse against Jackson State on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. on Jayhawk TV. KU will then play Massachusetts in the M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout on Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. on ESPN at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. That game is part of the KU season ticket package. The Jayhawks will then return to the friendly confines of Allen Fieldhouse to host Temple on Dec. 20 at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN2, concluding a six-game home stand.