No. 1 Kansas Plays at UCLA Sunday in Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series

Dec. 4, 2009

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12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series when No. 1 Kansas (6-0) travels to UCLA (2-4) Sunday. Tip from historic Pauley Pavilion will be at 4:30 p.m. (Central) and the game will be televised on Fox Sports Net. Kansas ranks third in NCAA Division I history in all-time wins with 1,976, while UCLA is ninth with 1,648 victories. UCLA has won 11 NCAA titles, while Kansas has won five national championships. The Bruins have appeared in the Final Four 17 times and Kansas on 13 occasions. Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Brown coached at UCLA from 1979-80, 1980-81, and guided Kansas to two Final Fours – 1986 and 1988 – including the 1988 NCAA National Championship.

Kansas is coming off a 98-31 win against Alcorn State on Wednesday. UCLA has lost three straight after its 79-68 loss to Long Beach State on the final day of the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., Nov. 29.

About Kansas

Kansas extended the nation’s longest home court winning streak to 46 games with its 98-31 win against Alcorn State on Dec. 2. The win was KU’s fifth margin of victory of 30 points or more in six games this season. Included in the victory was a 36-point run that was one point shy of the NCAA record of 37 set by Utah State in 2006. The top-ranked Jayhawks average 91.8 points per game and are giving up 54.8 points for a +37 scoring margin. KU is shooting 52.2 percent from the field, while its opponents are shooting 32.6 percent. Freshman guard Xavier Henry leads the team with a 17 point scoring average. He is making 48.4 percent of his shots from three-point range. Senior guard Sherron Collins is at 14.3 points per game and he leads the team with 17 three pointers, two ahead of Xavier Henry. Collins and sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor (7.0 ppg) are tied for the team high with 22 assists. Collins and Taylor are second on the team with 11 steals, one behind Xavier Henry. Sophomore forward Marcus Morris is a starter who is scoring 11 points and pulling down five rebounds per game. Junior center Cole Aldrich averages team bests in rebounds at 9.8 rpg and blocked shots with 3.7 per outing. He is scoring 11.2 points per game and has double-doubles in each of his last two games. Sophomore forward Markieff Morris is shooting 72.7 percent from the field through six games and had a string of 15-straight made baskets. He is scoring 7.5 points per game and is third on the team with 5.7 rebounds per game. Junior guard Tyrel Reed scores 5.8 points per outing and he has eight three-pointers this season. Freshman guard Elijah Johnson (4.5 ppg, 3.5 apg) and freshman forward Thomas Robinson (6.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg) also average more than 12 minutes per game for the Jayhawks. Robinson registered his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Alcorn State Wednesday.

Kansas is the five-time defending Big 12 champion, finished 27-8 last season and won the 2009 league title outright with a 14-2 conference record. The Jayhawks advanced to their third-straight NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 before falling to NCAA runner-up Michigan State in Indianapolis last year.

About UCLA

UCLA is 2-4 on the season and takes a three-game losing streak into the Kansas contest. The Bruins average 65.5 points per game and are giving up 67.7 points. They are outrebounding foes 35.5 to 34.5 per contest and force 15.8 turnovers per game. Senior guard Michael Roll leads the team in scoring with 13.2 points per game. He also leads the team with 30 assists, 14 three pointers and a 38.9 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Malcom Lee is next in scoring at 12.3 points per game and assists with 22. He has made a team-high 15 free throws. He is pulling down 4.7 rebounds per contest. Senior forward Nikola Dragovic is scoring 7.8 points and pulling down a team high seven rebounds per game. Freshman forward Reeves Nelson is making 69.2 percent from the floor and averages 7.3 points. Sophomore guard Jerime Anderson leads UCLA with 10 steals and he has 18 assists to complement his 6.2 scoring average. Senior forward James Keefe (3.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and junior guard Mustafa Abdul-Hamid (2.8 ppg) are also averaging 10-plus minutes per game for UCLA. On Dec. 1, sophomore Drew Gordon (11.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg) left the UCLA team.

The Series

UCLA leads the all-time series with Kansas 10-4 and the Bruins won the last meeting 68-55 in the West Regional finals of the 2007 NCAA Tournament in San Jose, Calif. Five of the 14 matchups have come in NCAA Tournament play with UCLA winning each of those battles. Half of the meetings have been played at neutral sites. This series dates back to 1958 and UCLA won the first eight meetings, but Kansas won four of the next five.

Team Notables

–Five of Kansas’ six victories this season have been by 30 or more points.

–Kansas leads the nation in scoring margin at +37. The Jayhawks also rank in the top 10 nationally in scoring average (second at 91.8), field goal percentage (third at 52.2), three-point percentage (second at 44.3), field goal percentage defense (third at 32.6), assists (seventh at 20.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (seventh at 1.7).

–KU averages 7.5 blocked shots per game to its opponents’ 3.2.

–Kansas has shot 50 percent or better in four of six games this season. Conversely, the Jayhawks have held their last 80 opponents to under 50 percent shooting. All six opponents this season have shot under 40 percent.

–KU’s bench outscored Oakland’s bench 32-3 on Nov. 25. The Jayhawks’ bench averages 32.8 points per game compared to 16.5 by its opponents.

–Through six games, seven different Jayhawks, including ties, have led the team in steals, six in assists and six in points.

–Kansas forces 17.8 turnovers per game and averages 23 points off turnovers per game.

Player Notables

–Senior Sherron Collins scored 18 points against Alcorn State, his highest output since scoring 23 in the season opener against Hofstra. His five three pointers versus ASU were a season high. For his career, last game Collins became the 22nd player in school history to record 1,400 points. With 1,416 points, he is 17 points shy of KU legend Wilt Chamberlain who had 1,433 points from 1957-58.

–Junior Cole Aldrich, who will be nominated for Academic All-America this season, leads the Big 12 with 3.7 blocked shots per game and has had at least three blocked shots in every game this season. He led the league with 2.7 blocked shots per game last year. Aldrich posted his second straight and third double-double of the season with 13 points and a season-high 16 rebounds against Alcorn State. Aldrich is 10-for-14 (.714 percent) from the field in his last two games. He has pulled down 35 rebounds in his last three outings.

–Freshman Xavier Henry has led KU in scoring in four of six games this season and has a team-best and Big 12 freshmen-leading 17.0 scoring average. He has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in five of six games and 50 percent or better from three-point range in four of six contests. Xavier averages 4.2 rebounds per outing and has four steals in each of his last two games. The last KU freshman to lead the team in scoring was Brandon Rush in 2005-06 at 13.5 ppg.

–After going 0-for-6 in his first two games, junior Tyrel Reed, an Academic All-America candidate, is 12-for-19 (.632 percent) in his last four games. In that span, Reed is 8-for-15 (.533 percent) from three-point range. Reed has six steals on the season, including two against Alcorn State.

–Sophomore Marcus Morris recorded his third career double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds against Oakland (Nov. 25). He has scored in double figures in three of six games this season and in 14 games during his career. Against Alcorn State, Marcus was 3-for-3 with nine points, seven rebounds and two steals.

–Sophomore Tyshawn Taylor had a career-high five steals against Alcorn State. He is tied for the team lead with 22 assists on the season and has had at least five assists in three of six games.

–Sophomore Markieff Morris is shooting 72.7 percent (16-for-22) from the field on the season and had a string of 15-straight made shots in that span. His seven rebounds against Alcorn State tied his season high and his two blocked shots against the Braves were a season best.

–Freshman Elijah Johnson had nine assists against Alcorn State in addition to four rebounds. He is third on the team with 21 assists for an average of 3.5 per game.

–Freshman Thomas Robinson has pulled down four or more rebounds in five of six games this season, including 11 against Central Arkansas (Nov. 19) and 10 versus Alcorn State. He recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Alcorn State and is scoring 6.5 points and pulling down 5.8 rebounds per game.

Up Next

Kansas returns home to face Radford on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. That game will be televised on ESPNU. The Jayhawks will then face La Salle in the M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout at the Sprint Center on Saturday, Dec. 12. Tip is set for 1 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN.