No. 1 Kansas to Play La Salle at Sprint Center in KC Saturday in Men's Basketball

Dec. 11, 2009

Kansas notes for La Salle in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Kansas returns to the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., when it plays host to La Salle in the M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout, Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. on ESPN. The Jayhawks are 8-0 on the season, while the Explorers have won three straight and are 6-2 in 2009-10.

About Kansas

Kansas extended the nation’s longest home court winning streak to 47 games with its 99-64 win against Radford on Dec. 9. The Jayhawks are looking to snap a two-game losing streak at the Sprint Center, a venue which they are 5-2 in, including a 4-0 mark during their 2008 NCAA National Championship season. Kansas averages 90.4 points per game, is giving up 56.8 points and ranks in the top five nationally with a +33.6 scoring margin. KU is shooting 51.1 percent from the field, while its opponents are shooting 34.1 percent. Only one KU opponent, Radford, has shot above 40 percent against the Jayhawks this season. Freshman guard Xavier Henry leads the team with a 16.4 point scoring average. He is making 50 percent of his shots from three-point range and leads KU with 20 threes through eight games. Henry was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Dec. 7 for his efforts against Alcorn State and at UCLA (17 ppg, 4.0 rpg). Senior guard Sherron Collins is at 14.4 points per game and he has made 18 three pointers. Collins leads the team with 34 assists, which are five ahead of sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor (7.0 ppg). Taylor and Henry lead KU with 14 steals, two ahead of Collins at 12. Junior center Cole Aldrich leads the team in rebounds with 10 per game. He also leads KU and the Big 12 in blocked shots with 3.6 per outing. Sophomore forward Marcus Morris is a starter who is scoring 9.9 points and pulling down 5.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Markieff Morris is coming off the bench to score 8.5 points per game. Markieff is second on the team with his 5.5 rebound average and leads KU with 67.6 percent field goal shooting. Junior guard Tyrel Reed scores 5.4 points per outing and he has 10 three-pointers this season. Freshman guard Elijah Johnson (4.8 ppg, 2.8 apg) started his first collegiate game against Radford. Freshman forward Thomas Robinson (6.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg) is another regular who is coming off a 10-point, seven-rebound game against Radford.

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 La Salle

Located in Philadelphia, Pa., La Salle is 6-2 on the season and has won five of its last six games after its 69-60 win at Rider on Dec. 9. La Salle averages 72.8 points per game and gives up 69.6. La Salle dominates the rebounds with a +10.4 margin through eight games, yet no Explorer averages more than 7.1 boards per game. Senior guard Rodney Green leads La Salle with an 18 point scoring average. He has made a team-high 14 three pointers, just ahead of senior forward Kammini Barrett who has 12 threes. Barrett is second in scoring at 13.3 points per game. Freshman center Aaric Murray leads La Salle with 7.1 rebounds per game to complement his 11.5 scoring average. Murray has a team-high 20 blocked shots on the season. Senior forward Yves Mekongo is next in scoring at 10.1 ppg, while junior forward Terrell Williams (6.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg) rounds out the starters. He is second on the team in rebounds. Senior guard Ruben Guillandeaux comes off the bench to score 9.5 points per game.

The Series

Kansas leads the overall series with La Salle 2-0. The Jayhawks and Explorers first met on March 31, 1952, in the U.S. Olympic playoffs in New York, N.Y. Kansas won the game 70-65. The only other meeting was a Kansas 74-73 win in Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 20, 1975. Kansas is familiar with the Atlantic 10 Conference as it has faced 12 of its current membership in men’s basketball with a 45-14 all-time record. The most recent KU-A10 matchup was a Kansas 60-43 win against Dayton in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament in Minneapolis. Many will remember that junior center Cole Aldrich recorded the first official triple-double (14 points, 20 rebounds, 10 blocked shots) in school history against Dayton.

KU-La Salle Notables and Connections

–Both teams feature identical twins with Kansas sophomores Markieff and Marcus Morris and La Salle’s juniors Terrell and Jerrell Williams.

–The Morris twins played high school basketball with La Salle’s Parrish Grant and Rodney Green. With Green as a teammate, they led Prep Charter to the 2006 Pennsylvania Class AA State Championship. Additionally, the KU twins played AAU basketball with La Salle’s Devon White and Earl Pettis.

Team Notables

–Kansas remains one of 16 undefeated teams in NCAA Division I (12/9). Others include Florida, Georgetown, Illinois State, Kentucky, Missouri State, New Mexico, Purdue, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Texas, Texas Tech, UNLV, UTEP, Villanova and West Virginia.

–Six of Kansas’ eight victories this season have been by 30 or more points.

–Entering the week, Kansas led the nation in scoring margin at +33.4. The Jayhawks also ranked 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 7.0 blocked shots per game to its opponents’ 3.4.

–Kansas has shot 50 percent or better in five of eight games this season.

–The Jayhawks’ bench averages 31.1 points per game compared to 14.9 by its opponents.

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

–Kansas forces 17.0 turnovers per game and averages 22.0 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 14.4 ppg ranks 13th in the Big 12. Collins also ranks among the league leaders in field goal percentage (eighth at .488), assists (seventh at 4.3), steals (tied for 14th at 1.5), three-point field goal percentage (fifth at .450), three-point field goals made (sixth at 2.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (fourth at 2.8).

–Junior Cole Aldrich, an Academic All-America candidate, leads the Big 12 with 3.4 blocked shots per game and has had at least three blocked shots in all but one 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 three of his last four games and is third in the Big 12 in rebounding at 10.0 rpg. He has three double-doubles this season.

–Freshman Xavier Henry was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Dec. 7 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 eight games this season and has a team-best and Big 12 freshmen-leading 16.4 scoring average. He has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in all but one game this season and is making 50 percent from three-point range. 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 16.4 ppg, fifth in field goal percentage at .536, third in three-point field goal percentage at .500 and third in three pointers made at 2.5.

–Sophomore Marcus Morris had nine points against Radford and pulled down nine rebounds at UCLA (Dec. 6). He recorded his third career double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds against Oakland (Nov. 25).

–Sophomore Tyshawn Taylor has 12 assists and eight steals in his last three games. His five rebounds against Radford were a season high. Taylor had a career-high five steals against Alcorn State (Dec. 2). Taylor ranks tied for seventh in the Big 12 in steals at 1.8, 11th in assists at 3.6 and 13th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.6.

–Sophomore Markieff Morris had a career-high 19 points at UCLA (Dec. 6) on 8-of-11 shooting. He is shooting 67.6 percent from the field on the season and had made 15 consecutive shots at one point. Markieff ranks 20th in the Big 12 in rebounding at 5.5.

–Freshman Elijah Johnson made his first career start against Radford and responded with a career-high 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 2-for-2 from three-point range. Johnson had nine assists against Alcorn State (Dec. 2) in addition to four rebounds. He is third on the team with 22 assists.

–Junior Tyrel Reed, an Academic All-America candidate, played a season-high 22 minutes at UCLA (Dec. 6) with five points. He is averaging 5.4 points per game. Reed has eight steals on the season.

–Freshman Thomas Robinson had 10 points against Radford to record his second double-figure scoring game of the season. He has pulled down four or more rebounds in six of eight games this season, including seven against Radford, 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 6.1 points and pulling down 5.3 rebounds per game.

–Freshman C.J. Henry had a career-high 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting against Radford. Henry was 3-for-4 from three-point range versus RU with one blocked shot in 10 minutes.

Up Next

Kansas will take a week off for final exams before hosting Big Ten Conference foe Michigan on Saturday, 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 sustainability efforts. These efforts will be featured throughout the telecast.