Jayhawks to Host Great Danes in Men's Basketball Tuesday

Dec. 28, 2008

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Kansas vs. Albany

Kansas returns home to Allen Fieldhouse when it plays host to Albany in the final game of the 2008 calendar year. Kansas is 8-3 on the season following its 84-67 loss at Arizona in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series on Dec. 23. UAlbany brings a three-game win streak to Allen Fieldhouse and is 8-4 on the season. In their last action, the Great Danes won at Saint Francis College (NY) 68-56 on Dec. 22. Kansas is 7-0 in Allen Fieldhouse this season, 7-1 in home contests, while UAlbany is 4-4 on the road.

About Kansas

Kansas is 8-3 on the season and looking to bounce back from an 84-67 loss at Arizona on Dec. 23. The Jayhawks are averaging 78.7 points per game and giving up 63.8 for a +14.9 scoring margin. KU leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 40.5 and rebound margin by +8.0. Two of KU’s three losses have been by one point to UMass (61-60) and in overtime to Syracuse (89-81).

Junior guard Sherron Collins leads KU in scoring at 17.8 points per game. Collins has led the team in scoring in nine of 11 games this season and has a team-high 25 three-point field goals and 53 assists. Sophomore center Cole Aldrich is next in scoring at 13.6 points per game and leads the team with 9.9 rebounds per game. Aldrich has led Kansas in rebounding in eight of the last nine games. He also has six double-doubles in that span. Aldrich has 26 of KU’s 51 blocked shots for a Big 12-leading 2.4 per game. Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor had 11 assists, two turnovers and five steals in his last two games. He is scoring 10.6 ppg, has 44 assists and a team-best 19 steals. Freshman forward Marcus Morris (8.6 ppg) is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds per game and had 12 points and five boards at Arizona. Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar has made multiple three pointers in three of his last four games and he is scoring 7.5 points per outing. Freshman forward Markieff Morris has started the last two games and is third on the team with a 5.3 rebound average. He is scoring 5.6 ppg. Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed (6.4 ppg) averages 21.9 minutes per contest. Freshman forward Quintrell Thomas (2.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg) and freshman guard Travis Releford (3.4 ppg) also see time in KU’s rotation.

About Albany

Albany is 8-4 on the season and has won its last three games with two of those on the road. The Great Danes, 4-4 on the road this season, won at Sacred Heart 60-59 on Dec. 20 and at St. Francis College (N.Y.) 68-56 on Dec. 22. UAlbany averages 66.2 points per game and gives up 61.9 points. UAlbany has a +8.4 rebound margin and is making 72.2 percent from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Tim Ambrose leads the team in scoring at 12.8 points per game and in rebounding with a 4.9 average. Freshman guard Anthony Raffa and Ambrose each have a team-best 14 steals on the season. Raffa is scoring 11.9 points per game and has a team-high 14 three pointers. Junior forward Will Harris also averages double figures with 10.3 points per contest and he and Raffa are each averaging 4.6 rebounds per game. Senior forward Brian Connelly (8.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg) and junior center Brett Gifford (2.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg) round out the Great Dane starters. Junior guard Mike Johnson leads UAlbany with 37 assists on the season. In all, UAlbany is deep as 10 players average 12.5-plus minutes per game.

The Series

Kansas and Albany are meeting for the first time in men’s basketball. Other KU first-time opponents this season have included Florida Gulf Coast and Kent State. Kansas is 6-0 against the current membership of the America East Conference – 3-0 vs. Maryland-Baltimore County, 1-0 vs. Binghamton, 1-0 vs. Maine and 1-0 vs. Vermont.

Team Notables

–Kansas leads the Big 12 in rebounding (40.7) and rebound margin (+8.0).

–KU has outshot eight of 11 opponents this season and has shot 50 percent or better in four games. Last year, KU outshot 39 of 40 opponents.

–Kansas has outrebounded nine of 11 opponents this season.

–Through 11 games, four different Jayhawks have scored 20 or more points this season. Sherron Collins leads the list with two 20-point efforts (25 vs. Florida Gulf Coast and 21 vs. Syracuse). Other 20-point scorers include Brady Morningstar (21 vs. Coppin State), Cole Aldrich (23 vs. Coppin State) and Tyshawn Taylor (23 vs. New Mexico State).

–Kansas has held 121 of its last 124 opponents to under 50 percent shooting, including all 11 foes this season. Six of those opponents have shot below 40 percent.

–Kansas posted its 100th game of scoring 100 points in the 100-79 win against defending WAC champion New Mexico State Dec. 3.

–Six different Jayhawks have led the team in assists this season.

–KU is 78-11 (87.6 percent) in its last 89 games.

Player Notables

–Junior guard Sherron Collins has scored 19 or more points in five games this season. He has led KU in scoring in nine of 11 games this season, including 16 at Arizona. Collins has made seven three pointers in his last two games with three against Temple and four at Arizona. Collins is 14-for-16 from the free throw line in his last seven games but has not attempted a charity shot in his last two. Collins is fourth in the Big 12 in scoring at 17.8 ppg. He also ranks among the league leaders in assists (sixth at 4.8), field goal percentage (13th at 42.9), three-point field goals made (ninth at 2.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (12th at 1.8).

–Sophomore Cole Aldrich has shot 50 percent or better from the field in nine of 11 games this season and is 22-for-36 (61.1 percent) in his last five games. He went 2-for-4 at Arizona with 10 points and a season-low four rebounds. He has a team-leading six double-doubles on the season, all in his last eight games. Aldrich leads the Big 12 in blocked shots at 2.4 per game and is second in the conference in rebounding at 9.9, field goal percentage at 59.1 and fourth in free throw percentage at 81.6. His 13.6 ppg is 19th in the league.

–Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor, twice named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week this season, had nine points, three assists and one steal at Arizona. In his last two games, Taylor has 11 assists, two turnovers and five steals. He had a solid stat line against Temple with 11 points, eight assists, one turnover and four steals. Taylor has scored in double figures in seven of his last nine games. He has multiple steals in three of his last four games. He has 25 assists in his last four games, including a double-double with 11 assists and 10 points against Jackson State. He is ninth in the league in assists at 4.0 apg, 11th steals at 1.7 spg and 11th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8.

–Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar had eight points, four assists and one turnover at Arizona while holding UA’s leading scorer Chase Budinger to five points, 14 lower than his season average. Morningstar had 11 points against Temple (Dec. 20) to mark his second double-figure scoring game of the season (21 vs. Coppin State on Nov. 28). He has made at least one three-pointer in each of his last eight games. Morningstar is fifth in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 45.9 percent.

–Freshman forward Markieff Morris has started each of the last two games and is 6-for-9 (66.7 percent) from the field with 7.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg in those two games. His 5.3 rebounds on the season are second behind twin Marcus Morris (5.8 rpg) among Big 12 freshmen and 20th overall in the league.

–Freshman forward Marcus Morris had 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting at Arizona. It marked his fifth double-figure scoring game of the season and the seventh time he has shot 50 percent or better from the field. Marcus has started six games for KU this season and is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds per game. Marcus leads the Big 12 freshmen in rebound average, which is 16th overall in the conference.

–Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed has made 11 three-pointers in his last five games and is 11-for-26 (42.3 percent) from beyond the arc in that span.

–Sophomore guard Conner Teahan played a career-high 17 minutes against UMass (Dec. 13), tying a season high with five points and setting a career high with five rebounds.

Youth Movement

The 2008-09 Kansas basketball team is young. How young? Ten of its top 11 scorers are freshmen or sophomores and the two classes are neck-and-neck in scoring with the freshmen scoring 38.8 percent of KU’s points and the sophomores 37.2 percent. That’s a combined effort of 76 percent scoring from KU’s underclassmen. 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 four points.

Kansas Scoring for 2008-09

Freshmen – 38.8 percent (336 points)

Sophomores – 37.2 percent (322 points)

Juniors – 23.5 percent (204 points)

Seniors – 0.5 percent (4 points)

Up Next

Kansas starts the new year hosting Tennessee on Jan. 3 at 1 p.m. on ESPN. KU will then close out its non-conference schedule hosting Siena on Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. on Jayhawk TV before traveling to Michigan State on Jan. 10 for a noon game on CBS. KU, four-time defending Big 12 regular-season champion, plays host to Kansas State in its league opener on Jan. 13.