Jayhawks to Face Rockets in Kemper Arena Saturday

Dec. 7, 2006

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Kansas (7-2) returns to the friendly confines of Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo., to face Toledo (2-4) in the American Century Investments Shootout Saturday at noon on ESPN2. The game will mark Kansas’ 104th game played in Kemper and the 16th time in the last 18 years the Jayhawks have played a regular-season contest in the facility.

About Kansas
No. 12/13 Kansas has won six of its last seven games heading into the American Century Investments Shootout at Kemper Arena. The Jayhawks defeated Pac-10 foe USC 72-62 on Monday. Kansas is outscoring opponents 77.3 to 59.3. The Jayhawks lead the Big 12 in rebound margin at plus-8.9 per game. Freshman Darrell Arthur leads the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game and in blocked shots with 19. He is second on the squad with six rebounds per game and he is making 62.2 percent of his shots from the field. Sophomore Julian Wright is next in scoring at 12.4 points per game. He leads KU in rebounds with an 8.3 average. Sophomore guards Brandon Rush (12.3 points per game) and Mario Chalmers (11 ppg) are next in scoring. Chalmers leads KU in steals with 21 and in three-point field goals made with 15. Junior guard Russell Robinson is the lone upper classmen in the starting five. He has a team-high 49 assists to go along with 18 steals and a seven points scoring average. Top reserves include junior forward Darnell Jackson (7.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and freshman guard Sherron Collins (7.7 ppg, 12 three-pointers).

About Toledo
Toledo is 2-4 on the season after its 98-93 overtime loss at Vanderbilt on Dec. 2. The Rockets’ first seven games are away from home, including the Kansas contest in Kansas City. UT’s first home game will be Dec. 16 against UNC-Wilmington. Senior guard Keonta Howell leads the team with a 19.8 scoring average. He leads UT with 23 three-point field goals and is making 46 percent from beyond the arc. Fellow senior Justin Ingram is next in scoring with 17.2 points per game. He is tied for the team lead with nine steals on the season along with sophomore guards Jonathan Amos (6.0 ppg) and Tyrone Kent (5.8 ppg). Senior forward Florentino Valencia is next in scoring at 13.8 points per game and leads the team with 7.3 rebounds per outing. Junior guard Kashif Payne leads the team with 27 assists as he is scoring 3.5 points per contest. The Rockets were dealt a tragic blow just prior to the beginning of official practices when junior center Haris Charalambous passed away on October 9, 2006. The Manchester, England, native collapsed shortly after the start of morning conditioning workouts.

The Series
Kansas and Toledo are meeting for the first time in men’s basketball. Toledo is the second Mid-American Conference team the Jayhawks will play this season. KU defeated Ball State 64-46 in the third round of the Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas on Nov. 24. Kansas is 5-1 against teams from the Mid-American Conference – 2-1 vs. Ball State, 1-0 vs. Bowling Green, 1-0 vs. Ohio and 1-0 vs. Western Michigan.

KU in Kansas City
Kansas City has been a second home of sorts for Kansas over the years. KU’s first ever game — a 16-5 loss to Kansas City YMCA on Feb. 3, 1899 — was played in Kansas City. Saturday’s game will mark KU’s 259th game all-time in Kansas City, and its 104th all-time in Kemper Arena. KU is 184-74 in Kansas City, including a mark of 79-24 in Kemper Arena. After a 69-56 win against California on Dec. 10, 2005, KU has won 25 straight regular-season games in Kansas City.

More Notes on the Jayhawks in Kansas City
–Kansas is 25-4 in Kemper Arena since the 1997 season. Included in that run were league tournament titles in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
–Kemper Arena was the host of the 1988 NCAA Final Four when the Jayhawks won the national championship.
–Kansas has played at least one regular-season game in Kansas City in 16 of the last 18 seasons. The team hasn’t dropped a regular-season game in Kansas City since losing to Ohio State, 64-61, on Jan. 2, 1983.

Up Next
Following final exams, KU will next play Tuesday, Dec. 19, against Winston-Salem State in Allen Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. After WSSU, KU will then play host to Boston College on Dec. 23. The Jayhawk-Eagle game will tip at 1 p.m. and be televised on CBS.