No. 1 Kansas Plays at No. 18/19 Temple Jan. 2 in Men's Basketball
Dec. 31, 2009
Two of the top defensive teams in the nation square of as No. 1 Kansas (12-0) begins the New Year at No. 18/19 Temple (11-2). Kansas is allowing 58.6 points per game, while Temple is holding opponents to 54.2 points per contest. Both teams posted 7-0 records in the month of December. KU and Temple each have rich traditions as Kansas ranks third all-time with 1,981 victories and Temple is sixth at 1,722 wins.
Top-rated Kansas extended the nation’s longest home-court winning streak to 50 games with an 81-51 win against Belmont on Dec. 29. The Jayhawks, 12-0, average 87.8 points per game, are giving up 58.6 points and rank in the top five nationally with a +29.2 scoring margin. KU is shooting 52 percent from the field, while its opponents are shooting 34.6 percent. Only one KU opponent, Radford (Dec. 9), 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 has shot 50 percent or better in nine of 12 games this season, is making 51.9 percent of his shots from the field and leads the Big 12 with his 45.9 three-point field goal percentage. Xavier leads KU with 28 threes and 21 steals. Senior guard Sherron Collins is averaging 13.8 points on the season and is second on the team with 24 three pointers and 51 assists. Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor (7.3 ppg) leads the Jayhawks with 52 assists and has 29 assists compared to just three turnovers in his last five games. Taylor’s 17 steals are second on the team and one ahead of Collins (16). Junior center Cole Aldrich has two double-doubles in his last two games and leads the team in rebounds with 10.1 per game following his 14 boards against Belmont (Dec. 29). He has 35 boards in his last three games. Aldrich has five double-doubles this season and averages 3.8 blocked shots per outing. He had a season-best six blocked shots against Belmont. Sophomore forward Marcus Morris has averaged 17 points in his last three games and is averaging 11.6 ppg and 5.6 rpg on the season. He has shot 50 percent or better in each of his last five games and 10 of 12 games in 2009-10. Marcus’ twin, sophomore forward Markieff Morris, is coming off the bench to score 7.4 points per game. He leads the team in field goal percentage at 63 percent. Markieff is tied with his brother in rebounds at 5.6 boards per game. Junior guard Brady Morningstar returned to the lineup three games ago and is averaging 19.7 minutes, 4.0 points and 4.0 assists per game. He has 12 assists and two turnovers this season. Junior guard Tyrel Reed scores 4.8 points per outing and he has 14 three-pointers and 20 field goals made this season. Freshman guard Elijah Johnson (4.2 ppg) has started two games this season. Thomas Robinson (4.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg) is another KU regular.
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.
Located in Philadelphia, Pa., with an enrollment of 34,000, No. 18/19 Temple is one of the hottest teams in the nation with its seven-game winning streak. The Owls returned to the national rankings on Dec. 21 for the first time since Nov. 2001. Included in the current win streak are victories over then-No. 3 Villanova, at Miami and at Seton Hall. The Owls are 5-0 at home (4-0 in the Liacouras Center), average 64.1 points on the season and have a +9.8 scoring margin. Strong defensively, Temple’s opponents are shooting 36.4 percent from the field, including 24 percent from three-point range. Senior guard Ryan Brooks leads the team with 15.8 points per game. He is second on the squad with 35 assists, 11 steals and a 5.5 rebound average. Sophomore guard Juan Fernandez leads the Owls with 32 three pointers and 46 assists to complement his 14.3 scoring average. Junior forward Lavoy Allen is seeing doubles with his 10.6 scoring and 10.6 rebounding averages. Besides rebounding, Allen also leads Temple with 24 blocked shots. Sophomore guard Ramone Moore comes off the bench to score 5.3 points per game, as does junior forward Craig Williams at 5.2 ppg. Williams is second on the team with 18 threes made. Senior guard Luis Guzman is a starter who averages three assists per contest and is scoring 4.5 points per contest. Freshman forward Rahlir Jefferson comes off the bench to score 4.1 points per game, while sophomore forward Michael Eric is a starter who scores 4.1 points per game and has seven blocked shots.
Kansas leads the overall series with Temple 6-3 as the teams last met last season in Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 20, 2008, a KU 71-59 win. This series dates back to 1940 when the Owls defeated the Jayhawks 40-35 in Philadelphia. Five of the nine meetings have been played on neutral courts. This is the second Atlantic 10 team Kansas has faced this season. The Jayhawks defeated La Salle 90-65 on Dec. 12 in Allen Fieldhouse. KU is 46-14 all-time against current membership of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Last season, Sherron Collins led Kansas with 19 points, while Cole Aldrich posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds in Kansas’ 71-59 win. Tyshawn Taylor led Kansas with eight assists and four steals. He and Brady Morningstar each scored 11 points in the game. Dionte Christmas led Temple with 21 points. Current Owl Lavoy Allen had 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
–Kansas remains one of six undefeated teams in NCAA Division I (Dec. 30). Others include Kentucky, Purdue, Syracuse, Texas and West Virginia.
–KU leads the Big 12 in scoring (87.8 ppg), scoring margin (+29.2), field goal percentage (.520), assists (20.3), blocked shots (7.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6). The Jayhawks rank in the top three in all but two Big 12 statistical categories.
–Through 12 games, Bill Self has used at least nine players in the first half of every game. He used a season-high 11 players in the first half against Central Arkansas (Nov. 19).
–Eight of Kansas’ 12 victories this season have been by 25 or more points with seven of those by 30 points or more.
–KU averages 7.4 blocked shots per game to its opponents’ 3.0.
–Kansas has shot 50 percent or better in nine of 12 games this season, including its last five contests.
–KU’s bench has outscored its opponents’ bench in 10 of 12 games this season. KU’s bench averages 28.6 points per game compared to 13.3 by its opponents.
–Through 12 games, nine different Jayhawks, including ties, have led the team in steals, seven in points and six in assists.
–Kansas forces 16.7 turnovers per game and averages 21.1 points off turnovers per game.
–Senior Sherron Collins went 1-for-12 from the field against La Salle (Dec. 12) and is 17-for-32 (.531) from the field since. Collins has scored in double figures in nine games this season. He has 25 assists in his last five games. He is second on the team in scoring and his 13.8 ppg ranks tied for17th in the Big 12. Collins also ranks among the league leaders in assists (seventh at 4.3), three-point field goal percentage (10th at .414), three-point field goals made (eighth at 2.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (10th at 2.0).
–Junior Cole Aldrich, an Academic All-America candidate, posted his second straight and fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 14 rebounds against Belmont (Dec. 29). He also had a season-high six blocked shots against the Bruins. Aldrich has 19 blocked shots in his last four games. He is second in the Big 12 and ranks in the top 10 nationally with 3.8 blocked shots per game. Aldrich has had at least three blocks in all but one game this season. He led the league with 2.7 blocks per game last year and his 174 career blocked shots are sixth on the KU list. Aldrich is third in the Big 12 in rebounding at 10.1 rpg. He has 27 career double-doubles.
–Freshman Xavier Henry has been named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week twice this season and he leads the conference freshmen class in scoring with 16.4 ppg. He has led KU in scoring in five games this season, including 31 points against La Salle (Dec. 12). Xavier has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in all but three games this season and is making .459 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 leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at .459 percent. He also ranks 10th in the Big 12 in scoring at 16.4 ppg, fifth in field goal percentage at .519, 14th in free throw percentage at .756 and fifth in three pointers made at 2.3.
–Sophomore Marcus Morris has averaged 17 points in his last three games, including a career-high 23 points against Michigan (Dec. 19). He added 10 rebounds for a double-double against the Wolverines. He has started the last 10 games and is tied for second on the team with his twin brother Markieff with 5.6 rebounds per contest. Marcus is shooting .593 percent from the field. Marcus has pulled down six or more boards in six of his last nine games. He has two double-doubles this season: the Michigan game and 19 points and 11 rebounds against Oakland (Nov. 25). Marcus ranks tied for 18th in the Big 12 in rebounding with his 5.6 rpg.
–Sophomore Markieff Morris pulled down seven rebounds against California (Dec. 22) to mark the seventh time this season he has pulled down six or more boards. Markieff had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds against La Salle (Dec. 12). He also had a career-high four blocked shots against the Explorers. Two games earlier, Markieff had a career-high 19 points at UCLA (Dec. 6) on 8-of-11 shooting. He is shooting a team-best .630 percent from the field on the season and had made 15 consecutive shots at one point. Markieff ranks tied for 18th in the Big 12 in rebounding at 5.6 rpg and tied for 14th in blocked shots at 1.0.
–Sophomore Tyshawn Taylor has 29 assists and just three turnovers over his last five games. In the win against California (Dec. 22), Taylor had 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting with seven assists, one turnover and two steals. He has five or more assists in each of his last five games. Taylor ranks sixth in the Big 12 in assists at 4.3 and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.5.
–Junior Brady Morningstar made his season debut against Michigan (Dec. 19) playing 22 minutes with three assists and two points. In his second outing he scored seven points and dished out a career-high seven assists against California (Dec. 22). In three games, Morningstar is 5-for-10 (.667) from the field with 12 assists and three steals. A defensive stopper who started all but one game last season, Morningstar missed the first nine games of the season due to breaking team rules. Morningstar is a redshirt junior who is the oldest player in the Big 12 at 23.
–Junior Tyrel Reed, an Academic All-America candidate, has made 14 three pointers and 20 field goals on the season. He was 2-for-3 from the field, all threes, against Michigan (Dec. 19) scoring six points and 1-for-2, all threes, against California (Dec. 22). He also tied his season high with three rebounds against the Wolverines. Reed is averaging 4.8 points per game.
–Freshman Thomas Robinson had two blocked shots against Michigan (Dec. 19) to mark the fourth time this season he has had multiple blocked shots in a game. He has pulled down four or more rebounds in seven games. He recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Alcorn State (Dec. 2). For the season, he is scoring 4.8 points and pulling down 4.4 rebounds per game. He ranks tied for 14th in the Big 12 with 1.0 blocked shots per game.
–Freshman Elijah Johnson scored seven points against Belmont (Dec. 29) to mark the fifth time this season he has scored seven or more. Johnson, who has two starts this season, had a career-high 11 points in his starting debut against Radford (Dec. 9). Johnson had nine assists against Alcorn State (Dec. 2) in addition to four rebounds. He is third on the team with 27 assists.
–Freshman C.J. Henry averages 5.7 points in only 8.7 minutes of action. He had eight points in nine minutes against Belmont (Dec. 29). C.J. had a career-high 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting against Radford (Dec. 9). He is 12-of-19 (.632 percent) from the field, including 9-for-16 (.563) from three-point range.
Kansas returns home on Wednesday, Jan. 6 against Cornell at 7 p.m. and closes out non-conference play at Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 10. The KU at Tennessee contest is currently scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. tip but NFL playoffs may move the tip time.