January 14, 2011

KU returns home to face Nebraska

Kansas to Open Home Big 12 Slate Against Nebraska:

No. 3 Kansas (16-0, 1-0) returns home for its home league opener when it hosts Nebraska for the final time as Big 12 Conference members in Allen Fieldhouse. Saturday's game will be televised on ESPNU with a 1 p.m. start. KU's 1971 Final Four team is celebrating a reunion as is the 1952 NCAA Championship team. KU has won four straight Big 12 home openers. Kansas is 16-0 following its 84-79 win at Iowa State on Jan. 12. The Jayhawks own the longest active home win streak in NCAA Division I at 68 games, a Kansas and Big 12 record. Nebraska is 13-3 overall and 1-1 in Big 12 play after its 77-69 loss at No. 15 Missouri on Jan. 12.


About Kansas:

At 16-0, Kansas is one of four teams in NCAA Division I to remain undefeated as of Jan. 12. KU improved to 16-0, 1-0 in Big 12 play, with an 84-79 win at Iowa State Jan. 12. Kansas is 16-0 for the first time since the 2007-08 NCAA National Championship team opened the season 20-0. The Jayhawks average 84.3 points and give up 50.9 for a +23.4 scoring margin. KU also leads the battle of the boards with a +9.1 rebound margin. Kansas leads the Big 12 in four different statistical categories: scoring margin (+23.4), field goal percentage (52.1), 3FG percentage defense (25.0) and assists (18.1).

Junior forward Marcus Morris scored a career-high 33 points at Iowa State (Jan. 12) and leads Kansas in scoring at 16.8 points per game. He has averaged 27.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in his last two games with double-doubles in both. Named a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate, Morris leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 60.0 percent and his 6.8 rebounds per game are second best on KU's team. He is 15 points from becoming the 53rd player in school history to score 1,000 points for his career.

Freshman guard Josh Selby is scoring 13.4 points per game after his 14 points at Iowa State. Selby averages 3.4 three-pointers, 3.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds per contest this season. Marcus Morris' twin, Markieff, a junior forward, leads the Big 12 in rebounding with 8.8 boards per game after his seventh double-double of the season (17 points, 11 rebounds), at Iowa State.

Like his brother, Markieff Morris has two DDs in his last two games. Markieff is averaging 13.2 points per game. Junior Tyshawn Taylor averages 9.3 points per game and ranks second in the Big 12 in assists with 5.3 per contest. Senior guard Tyrel Reed leads KU with 27 three-point field goals made this season. He averages 8.9 points per game and is 25-for-27 (92.6 percent) from the free throw line. Sophomore forward Thomas Robinson is third on the team with a 6.5 rebound average to complement his 8.7 scoring average. He is tied for second on the team with 14 blocked shots along with sophomore center Jeff Withey (3.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg).

Senior Mario Little came back after a six-game suspension to score eight points and pull down four rebounds at Iowa State. Little is scoring 6.4 points in 10 games played this season. Senior guard Brady Morningstar leads Kansas with 27 steals, two ahead of Reed. Morningstar is second on the team with 38 assists and is scoring 4.9 points per game. Other KU contributors include sophomore guard Travis Releford (5.7 ppg with four starts) and sophomore guard Elijah Johnson.


About Nebraska:

Located in Lincoln, Neb., with an enrollment of 24,610, Nebraska is 13-3 overall and 1-1 in Big 12 play after its 77-69 loss at No. 15 Missouri on Jan. 12. The loss ended a 10-game winning streak for the Huskers dating back to Nov. 19. Nebraska averages 69.2 points per game and holds a +14.3 scoring margin. NU also dominates the boards with a +5.9 rebound margin and forces 13.4 turnovers per game.

Senior center Jorge Brian Diaz leads Nebraska in scoring at 10.4 points per game, which is just ahead of senior guard Lance Jeter's 10.0 ppg. Diaz is shooting 57.4 percent from the field, averages 4.7 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 18 blocked shots. Jeter leads the team with 15 three-pointers, 62 assists and 32 steals. Junior guard Caleb Walker, leads the team with 4.8 rebounds per contest and averages 6.6 points per game.

Sophomore forward Brandon Ubel is scoring 6.3 points per game. He is shooting 53.1 percent from the field and averages 3.6 rebounds per game. Junior center Andre Almeida leads the Huskers with 25 blocked shots and is scoring 6.1 points per game. Diaz, Jeter and Walker are starters along with senior guard Drake Beranek (5.2 ppg) and junior guard Toney McCray (6.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg).

Joining Almeida and Ubel off the bench are junior guard Brandon Richardson (5.3 ppg, 29 assists with 13 starts), sophomore guard Eshaunte Jones (4.6 ppg) and sophomore guard Ray Gallegos (4.1 ppg).


The Kansas-Nebraska Series:

Kansas leads the overall series with Nebraska 168-71 and has won the last 15 meetings dating back to the 2004 season. The Jayhawks have also won 24 of the last 25 meetings against the Huskers dating back to the 1999 season. KU is 50-7 against NU in Allen Fieldhouse with a string of 11 consecutive victories. The last Husker win in Allen Fieldhouse was 64-59 on Feb. 10, 1999. Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97, Kansas is 29-3 against Nebraska (25-3 in regular season and 4-0 in the Big 12 Championship).


Team Notables:

--At 16-0, Kansas is one of four teams in NCAA Division I that remain undefeated as of Jan. 12. Other undefeated teams include Syracuse (17-0), Ohio State (17-0) and San Diego State (18-0).

--Kansas ranks first in the RPI released by the NCAA on Jan. 10 through games of Jan. 9. Statistically, KU leads the nation in field goal percentage at 52.5, is second in three-point field goal percentage defense at 24.7 and third in assists at 19.1.

--Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+24.7), field goal percentage (52.5), three-point field goal percentage defense (24.7) and assists (19.1).

--Kansas has held nine opponents to less than 60 points this season.

--Kansas has outrebounded 14 of 16 opponents this season, including its last eight. KU outrebounded Iowa State 47-34 on Jan. 12.

--KU has outshot all but one team this season (USC on Dec. 18).

--Kansas' bench outscored Iowa State's bench 15-2. KU's bench averages 31.8 points compared to its opponents' 17.5 ppg.

--Kansas' current 16-game win streak ties for the second longest in the Bill Self era. Under Self, Kansas has nine streaks of 10 or more victories.

--KU is 1-0 against ranked foes this season with its win against No. 13/14 Memphis (Dec. 7) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

--Kansas' 57-point win against Ohio (98-41) in the Las Vegas Invitational was the third-largest margin of victory in the Bill Self era and the largest in a game away from Allen Fieldhouse under Self.

--Kansas ended the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series with a 3-1 record (1-1 vs. Arizona, 2-0 vs. UCLA).

--KU went 4-0 against Pac-10 opponents this season.

--Kansas has won 42-straight home games against non-conference competition.

--Kansas men's basketball (16-0) and women's basketball (14-2) are a combined 30-2 in 2010-11.


Individual Notables:

--Junior MARCUS MORRIS has two double-doubles in his last two games, including a career-high 33 points on 11-of-15 shooting, and 13 rebounds at Iowa State (Jan. 12). With his 22 points and 10 rebounds at Michigan (Jan. 9), Marcus is averaging 27.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in his last two games. He has five 20-point or more scoring games this season. Marcus leads the Big 12 in shooting percentage at 60 percent. Marcus has led Kansas in scoring seven times this season and has scored in double figures in all but two games. His 16.8 scoring average is seventh in the conference, while his 6.8 rebounds per game are 13th in the Big 12. He has led KU in every stat at least once this season. Marcus was named Big 12 Player of the Week Nov. 29 and a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate Jan. 6.

--Junior MARKIEFF MORRIS, twin of Marcus, also has two double-doubles in his last two games after his 17 points and 11 rebounds at Iowa State (Jan. 12). He has a team-high seven double-doubles this season with three of those in his last four games. Markieff leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.8 rpg. In his last five games, Markieff is 26-for-40 (65 percent) from the field. Named Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 27, Markieff is 16th in the Big 12 in scoring at 13.2 ppg. Markieff has pulled down eight-plus boards in 11 games this season and has been the leading rebounder for KU in nine of 16 games.

--Freshman JOSH SELBY had 14 points at Iowa State (Jan. 12) and averages 13.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.3 steals in his seven games played this season. He has scored 16 or more points in four games and is 19-for-22 (86.4 percent) from the free throw line. Selby's career debut saw the guard score a team-high 21 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-8 from three-point range against USC (Dec. 18). His final three-pointer against USC came with 26 seconds remaining to give KU a 69-68 lead in the 70-68 win. For his efforts against USC, Selby was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Dec. 20).

--Senior TYREL REED has scored in double figures in two of his last three games and eight times this season. He is averaging 8.9 ppg during 2010-11. The guard is the only Jayhawk to have started every game this season. Reed leads Kansas with 27 three-pointers and has a 92.6 (25-of-27) free throw percentage. Reed had career-highs in points with 18 and rebounds with seven at California (Dec. 22). Reed is one of 30 nominees for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award who graduated from KU in December and has already been accepted into KU Medicine's physical therapy school. He is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection and will be nominated for Academic All-America for the third-straight year in 2010-11.

--Sophomore THOMAS ROBINSON recorded his first start against UT Arlington (Dec. 29) where he had a career-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting. His 10 rebounds against the Mavericks gave him his second double-double of the season. In his last seven games, Robinson is 23-for-34 (67.6 percent) from the field. Robinson has pulled down 10 rebounds in five games this season. He averages 8.7 points per game in 2010-11, while his 6.5 rebounds are 14th in the Big 12.

--Junior TYSHAWN TAYLOR is averaging 9.3 points per game this season and has scored in double figures seven times, including two of his last three contests. Named a Bob Cousy Award finalist (one of 20) on Jan. 12, Taylor is second in the Big 12 in assists per game at 5.3. He has led KU in assists in 12 of 16 games this season, including five of the last six contests. Taylor is eighth in in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.7.

--Senior BRADY MORNINGSTAR pulled down at season-high five rebounds to go along with five points at Iowa State (Jan. 12). He is scoring 4.9 points per game. Morningstar has recorded a steal in 11 of 16 games played this season, including three against UMKC (Jan. 5). He is ninth in the Big 12 in steals per game at 1.7.

--Senior MARIO LITTLE had his first game back from a six-game suspension and scored eight points with four rebounds at Iowa State (Jan. 12). Little averages 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game and is shooting 52.1 percent from the field.

--Sophomore TRAVIS RELEFORD missed the Iowa State contest due to an ankle sprain on his right foot. He matched his career high with 13 points against UMKC (Jan. 5). He was 4-for-7 (57.1 percent) from the field, including 2-for-3 from three-point range against the Kangaroos. Releford is shooting 56.1 percent from the field this season. He is averaging 5.7 points this season and has scored in double figures four times. A Las Vegas Invitational all-tournament selection, Releford's windmill dunk against UMKC (Jan. 5) was No. 1 on ESPN's Top 10 List on Jan. 6.

--Sophomore ELIJAH JOHNSON has appeared in 14 games this season with one start. He scored a career-high 13 points against UMKC (Jan. 5). Johnson had his first start of the season against UT Arlington (Dec. 29) and scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, 3-of-4 from three-point range. He has 11 assists and three turnovers in his last five games and a 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio for the season. Johnson averages 4.7 points and 2.3 assists in 2010-11.

--Sophomore JEFF WITHEY had his first career start against Miami (Ohio) (Jan. 2) and responded with six points on 3-of-5 shooting with four rebounds. He had seven points against UMKC (Jan. 5). Withey is tied for second on the team with 14 blocked shots with Thomas Robinson and his 1.1 blocked shots average is tied for ninth in the Big 12. He is scoring 3.0 ppg for the season.


Up Next:

Kansas plays its first of four ESPN Big Monday games at Baylor on Jan. 17 at 8:30 p.m. KU will then host Texas in Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, Jan. 22, at 3 p.m. on CBS.



 

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