No. 1 Kansas to Host Radford in Men's Basketball Wednesday

Dec. 8, 2009

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Following its 73-61 win at UCLA in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series on Dec. 6, No. 1 Kansas (7-0) looks to extend the nation’s longest home court winning streak against Radford Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. The Jayhawks have won 46 straight in Allen Fieldhouse. Radford is 4-2 on the season and 2-0 in Big South Conference play after its 61-57 win at Presbyterian College on Dec. 5.

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 Jayhawks then won their first true road game of the season at UCLA on Sunday. Kansas averages 89.1 points per game and is giving up 59.1 points for a +33.4 scoring margin. KU is shooting 51 percent from the field, while its opponents are shooting 33.1 percent. No KU opponent has shot above 40 percent against the Jayhawks this season. Freshman guard Xavier Henry leads the team with a 16.9 point scoring average. He is making 50 percent of his shots from three-point range and leads KU with 19 threes through seven games. Henry was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Monday for his efforts against Alcorn State and at UCLA. Senior guard Sherron Collins is at 14.3 points per game and he has made 17 three pointers. Collins leads the team with 26 assists, which are three ahead of sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor (7.1 ppg). Taylor leads KU with 13 steals, one ahead of Collins and Henry who have 12 apiece. Junior center Cole Aldrich leads the team in rebounds with 10.1 per game. He also leads KU and the Big 12 in blocked shots with 3.5 per outing. Sophomore forward Marcus Morris is a starter who is scoring 10 points and pulling down 5.6 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Markieff Morris is coming off a career-high 19 points at UCLA and he is scoring 9.1 points per game. Markieff is second on the team with his 5.7 rebound average and leads KU with 72.7 percent field goal shooting. Junior guard Tyrel Reed scores 5.7 points per outing and he has nine three-pointers this season. Freshman guard Elijah Johnson (3.9 ppg, 3.0 apg) and freshman forward Thomas Robinson (5.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg) also average more than 11 minutes per game for the Jayhawks.

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 Radford

Located in Radford, Va., Radford is 4-2 on the season and 2-0 in Big South after its 61-57 win at Presbyterian on Dec. 5. The Highlanders won their 11th-straight Big South Conference game with their win at Presbyterian on Saturday. Radford has eight players who average 15 or more minutes per game. Big South Preseason Player of the Year Art Parakhouski anchors the Highlanders with his 22.3 scoring and 14.8 rebound averages. The senior center has scored 20 or more points in all but one game this season and he leads the team with 14 blocked shots. Senior forward/center Joey Lynch-Flohr is next in scoring at 13.2 points and he averages 8.2 rebounds. Junior forward Lazar Trifunovic has only played the last two games yet he is second on the team with 8.5 rebounds per game along with a 12 point scoring average. Freshman guard Blake Smith has a team-high nine three pointers, 13 steals and is scoring 11 points per game. Senior forward Philip Martin (7.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg) is a starter, as is senior guard Amir Johnson (4.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg), who leads the team with 23 assists. Junior guard Jeremy Robinson (5.5 ppg) and freshman guard Evan Faulkner (3.8 ppg) come off the bench to provide quality time for the Highlanders.

The Series

Kansas and Radford are meeting for the first time in men’s basketball. The Jayhawks have only faced one other team from the Big South in men’s basketball, Winthrop. KU defeated the Eagles 94-51 on Jan. 6, 1990, in Allen Fieldhouse.

Team Notables

–Kansas remains one of 16 undefeated teams in NCAA Division I (12/6). Others include Florida, Georgetown, Illinois State, Kentucky, Missouri State, New Mexico, Purdue, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Texas, Texas Tech, UNLV, UTEP, Villanova and West Virginia.

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

–Kansas leads the nation in scoring margin at +33.4. The Jayhawks also rank in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense (third at 89.1), scoring defense (ninth at 55.7), field goal percentage (seventh at 51), field goal percentage defense (second at 33.1), assists (fifth at 19.4), assist-to-turnover ratio (eighth at 1.56) and blocked shots (10th at 7.1).

–KU averages 7.1 blocked shots per game to its opponents’ 3.4.

–Kansas has shot 50 percent or better in four of seven games this season.

–KU’s bench outscored Oakland’s bench 32-3 on Nov. 25. The Jayhawks’ bench averages 31.2 points per game compared to 15.6 by its opponents.

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

–Kansas forces 17.4 turnovers per game and averages 22.6 points off turnovers per game.

Player Notables

–Senior Sherron Collins has scored in double figures in all but one game this season. He is second on the team in scoring and his 14.3 ppg ranks 15th in the Big 12. Collins also ranks among the league leaders in field goal percentage (eighth at .486), assists (tied for ninth at 3.7), steals (tied for 10th at 1.7), three-point field goal percentage (fourth at .447), three-point field goals made (third at 2.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (third at 3.3). With 1,430 career points scored, he is three points shy of KU legend Wilt Chamberlain who amassed 1,433 points from 1957-58.

–Junior Cole Aldrich, an Academic All-America candidate, leads the Big 12 with 3.6 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 has pulled down 10 or more rebounds in his last three games and leads the Big 12 in rebounding 10.1 rpg. He has three double-doubles this season.

–Freshman Xavier Henry was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Monday for his efforts against Alcorn State and UCLA where he averaged 17 points in two KU victories. He has led KU in scoring in four of seven games this season and has a team-best and Big 12 freshmen-leading 16.9 scoring average. He has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in six of seven games and 50 percent or better from three-point range in five of seven contests. The last KU freshman to lead the team in scoring was Brandon Rush in 2005-06 at 13.5 ppg. Henry ranks seventh in the Big 12 in scoring at 16.9 ppg, fifth in field goal percentage at .533, 10th in steals at 1.7, third in three-point field goal percentage at .500 and fifth in three pointers made at 2.4.

–Junior Tyrel Reed, an Academic All-America candidate, played a season-high 22 minutes at UCLA with five points. He is averaging 5.7 points per game and is 14-for-23 (.609 percent) in his last five games. In that span, Reed is 9-for-18 (.500 percent) from three-point range. Reed has eight steals on the season, including two in each of his last two games.

–Sophomore Marcus Morris pulled down nine rebounds and scored four points at UCLA. He recorded his third career double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds against Oakland (Nov. 25). His 5.6 rebound average ranks tied for 20th in the Big 12. Against Alcorn State (Dec. 2), Marcus was 3-for-3 with nine points, seven rebounds and two steals.

–Sophomore Tyshawn Taylor has seven steals in his last three games and leads KU with 13 on the season. He had a career-high five steals against Alcorn State (Dec. 2). He is second on the team with 23 assists on the season and has had at least five assists in three games. Taylor ranks tied for 10th in the Big 12 in steals at 1.7, tied for 14th in assists at 3.3 and 15th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.3.

–Sophomore Markieff Morris had a career-high 19 points at UCLA on 8-of-11 shooting. He also pulled down six boards against the Bruins and had two steals. He is shooting 72.7 percent from the field on the season and had made 15 consecutive at one point. Markieff ranks 19th in the Big 12 in rebounding at 5.7.

–Freshman Elijah Johnson had nine assists against Alcorn State (Dec. 2) in addition to four rebounds. He is third on the team with 21 assists for an average of three per game. He ranks 10th in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.1.

–Freshman Thomas Robinson has pulled down four or more rebounds in five of seven games this season, including 11 against Central Arkansas (Nov. 19) and 10 versus Alcorn State (Dec. 2). He recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Alcorn State. For the season, he is scoring 5.6 points and pulling down five rebounds per game.

Up Next

Kansas heads to Kansas City to take on La Salle in the M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout on Saturday, Dec. 12. Tip from the Sprint Center is set for 1 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN. Kansas will take a week off for final exams before hosting Big Ten Conference foe Michigan on Dec. 19 at 11 a.m. (Central). The game will be televised on ESPN who is promoting the game as a Green Game. In that, ESPN has been on campus filming the University of Kansas and the city of Lawrence’s sustainability efforts. These efforts will be featured throughout the telecast.

Kansas preview quotes

Head Coach Bill Self

On the trip to UCLA:

“It was a good trip. We had a good time. We didn’t play particularly well. We did some good things. We can play better, but I am not going to apologize for coming away with a win.”

On Radford:

“They are real big. They have a guy, he’s not quite as big from a girth stand point as [6-10, 290 pound Texas senior center Dexter] Pittman, but he’s not far off. He looks like he goes a lot more than 260 to me. He’s very agile and athletic. He’s taller than Dexter at 6-11, but he’s a legitimate post. He’s probably the biggest, maybe as talented, true big guy that we go against all year long.”

On if the team has been practicing more free throws than normal:

“We haven’t practiced since we got back from UCLA. Since the first game or two I think we’re shooting about 65 percent. We’ve obviously not shot them [free throws] very well, but we’ll work on them and that’s something we have down to work on everyday and will continue to do.”

On Kansas’ distribution of the basketball:

“I’ve been pretty happy with that. In our two most competitive games we’ve had a lot more turnovers than assists and in all of our other games we’ve had twice as many assists as turnovers. Against UCLA I don’t think there was any selfishness going on, but we did miss some wide open guys because we were hesitant. We go through phases where we’re not as confident and we’re playing to not make mistakes and don’t take any chances at all. You can’t do that as a player. You have to learn how the play the percentages. You have to learn when to take risks and when not to.”

On the play of senior guard Sherron Collins:

“In the last two games he’s gotten up attempts, but he has eight turnovers on the year in seven games. He’s played 30 minutes a game for the most part. That’s pretty good. That’s probably about as good as any point guard in the country right now. He can still do a better job creating for others at times. The ball is not in his hands as much as I would like for it to be. We have to find a way to get the ball in his hands a lot more. His assist-to-turnover ratio is so good and he can score the ball.”

Sophomore forward Marcus Morris

On Radford:

“They are almost as good as we are in the post. Their big guy [Art Parakhouski] leads the nation is rebounding. We’re going to use our strengths and try to run them up and down the court.”

On the team only shooting 65 percent from the free throw line this season:

“We can do better, a lot better. We shoot free throws everyday after practice and I feel like we should do better than that. That’s unacceptable, 65 percent. We’re shooting more at the end of practice and I feel like I’m a better free throw shooter this year than I was last year. I don’t know what it is.”