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February 20, 2011

KU back on ESPN's Big Monday

Oklahoma State Visits Allen Fieldhouse for ESPN Big Monday:

Ranked No. 1 in Associated Press and in the ESPN/USA Today polls Feb. 14, Kansas plays its third straight and fourth overall ESPN Big Monday against Oklahoma State, Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. The Jayhawks are 25-2 and 10-2 in Big 12 play after their 89-63 win against Colorado Saturday. Oklahoma State is looking end a two-game losing streak with the latest a 67-66 loss to No. 21 Texas A&M Saturday in Stillwater, Okla. Kansas will be the third straight ranked opponent for OSU.

About Kansas:

Kansas is 25-2 on the season and 10-2 in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks have won 10 or more conference games for each of the last 17 seasons and 21 of the last 22 years dating back to 1989-90. The Jayhawks average 83.5 points per game and give up 64.7 for a +18.8 scoring margin. KU also leads the battle of the boards with a +7.2 rebound margin. Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage at 52.1 percent. KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring (83.5, tied), scoring margin (+18.8), three-point field goal percentage (39.0), assists (18.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).

Junior forward Marcus Morris has averaged 18.0 points in Big 12 play and leads Kansas in all games with a 16.7 scoring average. Marcus' 6.8 rebounds per game are second best on KU's team. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season and a Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy mid-season candidate, Marcus is second in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 59.9 percent, just behind his twin brother, Markieff Morris, who is at 60.0 percent. Markieff, a junior forward, also leads the Big 12 in rebounding with 8.4 boards per game and in double-doubles with 10 after his career-high 26 points and career-high-tying 15 rebounds against Colorado Saturday.

Markieff is averaging 13.3 points per game. He leads KU with 33 blocked shots. Senior guard Tyrel Reed is averaging 10.6 points per game in conference play and 9.9 points for the season. He leads KU with 53 three-point field goals made in 2010-11. Junior guard Tyshawn Taylor averages 8.8 points per game and ranks third in the Big 12 with 4.7 assists per contest. A Bob Cousy Award finalist, Taylor has 32 steals this season. Senior guard Brady Morningstar leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 2.9 mark in all games and an incredible 7.0 in conference games. He is scoring 8.8 points in Big 12 play and 6.6 for the season.

After missing three games with an ankle injury, freshman guard Josh Selby has played the last two games, including 21 minutes against Colorado Saturday. Selby averages 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 three-pointers per game. Other KU contributors include senior guard Mario Little (6.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg), sophomore guard Travis Releford (4.8 ppg), sophomore guard Elijah Johnson (3.4 ppg) and sophomore center Jeff Withey (2.6 ppg, 18 blocked shots).

Sophomore forward Thomas Robinson had surgery for a meniscus tear in his right knee on Feb. 11 and is expected to be out approximately two weeks. Robinson is third on the team with a 6.4 rebound average to complement his 8.9 scoring average.

About Oklahoma State:

Located in Stillwater, Okla., with an enrollment of 35,000, Oklahoma State is 16-10 overall this season and 4-8 in Big 12 Conference action after its 67-66 loss to No. 21 Texas A&M Saturday. The Cowboys average 69.3 points per game and have a +2.5 scoring margin. OSU also leads the battle of the boards with a +2.7 rebound margin. The Cowboys are led by senior forward Marshall Moses who is averaging 14.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He is shooting a team-best 55.4 percent from the field. Junior guard Keiton Page is chipping in 13.8 points per contest and leads the team with 44 three-point field goals made. Page is second on the team with 26 steals and 47 assists.

He leads the team in conference scoring at 13.7 ppg. Sophomore guard Jéan-Paul Olukemi is averaging 11.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Markel Brown leads OSU with 20 blocked shots and averages 6.0 points per game. Other key contributors for OSU include senior forward Matt Pilgrim (4.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg), sophomore guard Ray Penn (6.1 ppg, team high 57 assists) and sophomore forward Roger Franklin (12.0 minutes per game, 1.8 ppg).

Team Notables:

--Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage at 52.1 percent. KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring (83.5, tied with Missouri), scoring margin (+18.8), three-point field goal percentage (39.0), assists (18.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).

--Kansas has held 10 opponents to 60 points or less this season.

--Kansas has outrebounded 22 of 27 opponents this season, including the last six of seven.

--KU has outshot all but three teams this season (USC on Dec. 18, Texas on Jan. 22 and at Kansas State Feb. 14).

--The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in 19 games this season. KU has shot 50 percent or better in seven of the last eight games and eight of its last 10.

--Kansas' bench averages 27.6 points compared to its opponents' 16.8 ppg. KU's bench has outscored its opponents' bench in 21 of 27 games this season.

--Kansas is 24-1 when leading at the half (1-1 when trailing) this season and 25-0 when leading with five minutes remaining (0-2 when trailing).

--KU has used six different starting lineups this season.

--Kansas scored a combined 192 points against Missouri (103 on Feb. 7) and Iowa State (89 on Feb. 12). KU scored a combined 192 points in the first two games of 2010-11 against Longwood (113) and Valparaiso (79). The 192 combined points is the most in conference play since the final two league games of the 2007-08 national championship season when KU scored 197 points against Kansas State (88) and Texas Tech (109).

--Under Bill Self, Kansas has nine streaks of 10 or more victories, including the 18-0 start of 2010-11.

--KU is 2-1 against ranked foes this season with a win against No. 13/14 Memphis (Dec. 7) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, a loss against No. 10/11 Texas (Jan. 22) and a win against No. 19/20 Missouri (Feb. 7).

--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.

Individual Notables:

--Junior MARCUS MORRIS leads Kansas in scoring at 16.7 points, which ranks sixth in the Big 12. Marcus averages 18.0 points in Big 12 play, which is fourth in the league. Marcus has led the league in shooting percentage most of the season but was barely surpassed by his twin Markieff Saturday. Marcus is shooting 59.9 percent, while Markieff is at 60.0 percent. Marcus has seven games with 20-plus points this season. He has shot 70 percent or better in nine games this season, including two of his last four games, and has led Kansas in scoring 12 times in 2010-11. His 6.9 rebounds per game are 11th in the Big 12 and he has five double-doubles this season. He has led KU in every statistical category at least once this season. Marcus has been named Big 12 Player of the Week three times (Nov. 29, Jan. 17 and Feb. 14) and was named a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate Jan. 6 and Naismith Mid-Season candidate Feb. 11.

--Junior MARKIEFF MORRIS is coming off a career-high 26 points and a career-high-tying 15 rebounds against Colorado Saturday, in which he was 8-for-10 from the field, including 1-for-1 from three-point range. Markieff is shooting 72.7 percent (40-for-55) in his last seven games, including 7-for-11 (63.6 percent) from three-point range. In that span he is averaging 15.3 points per game. He leads the Big 12 with 10 double-doubles this season and has four in conference play. Markieff leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.4 rpg and field goal percentage at 60.0. He has 12 games with double-figure rebounds. Named Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 27, Markieff is 16th in the Big 12 in scoring at 13.3 ppg. He has been the leading rebounder for KU in 15 of 27 games this season.

--Senior BRADY MORNINGSTAR scored 16 points (all in the first half) on 6-of-9 shooting, including 4-for-6 from three-point range with five assists and no turnovers against Colorado Saturday. He is averaging 11.5 points per game in KU's last eight games. He is shooting 63.6 percent (21-for-33) from beyond the three-point arc during this time. He is scoring 8.8 points in Big 12 play and 6.6 points per game for the season. Morningstar, who graduated in May 2010, leads KU with 42 steals and has averaged 2.0 steals in his last six games. A 2011 Academic All-Big 12 Second Team selection, Morningstar is ninth in the Big 12 in steals per game at 1.6. Morningstar averages 3.1 assists per game, which has him 12th in the Big 12, and he leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 2.9 mark in all games and 7.0 in league games. In his last five contests, Morningstar has 17 assists and two turnovers.

--Senior TYREL REED has made 10 three-pointers in his last five games. He leads Kansas with 53 threes made this season and has made multiple threes in 17 games, including a 3-for-4 effort in scoring 13 points against Colorado Saturday. In conference play, Reed is KU's third-leading scorer with 10.6 points per game. He is scoring 9.9 points for the season. Reed is the only Jayhawk to have started every game this season. Reed has an 83.6 free throw percentage (51-of-61). Ranked 10th in the Big 12 in three-point percentage (39.3) and 11th in three-pointers made per game (2.0), Reed is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. He graduated from KU in December and has been accepted into KU Medicine's physical therapy school. He is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection, has been nominated for Academic All-America each of the last three seasons and is on the national ballot for Academic All-America in 2010-11.

--Junior TYSHAWN TAYLOR has averaged 11.3 points in his last four games, including his league-season-high 14 points against Iowa State Feb. 12. He has 11 games in double-figure scoring this season, including 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range against Colorado Saturday. Taylor averages 8.8 points overall per game. Named a Bob Cousy Award finalist (one of 20) on Jan. 12, Taylor is third in the Big 12 in assists per game at 4.7. He has led KU in assists in 16 of 27 games this season. Taylor is seventh in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.7.

--Freshman JOSH SELBY has played each of the last two games - 21 minutes vs. Colorado Saturday and 11 minutes at Kansas State (Feb. 14) after missing the previous three games due to a stress reaction in his right ankle. He has scored in double figures in nine of 15 games played this season. Selby averages 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals per contest. He has scored 16 or more points in five games and is 23-for-28 (82.1 percent) from the free throw line. Selby is a two-time Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Jan. 31 and Dec. 20).

--Senior MARIO LITTLE scored a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) shooting, including 3-for-3 from three-point range, against Missouri (Feb. 7). He has three games in double-figure points this season, including 17 versus Missouri (Feb. 7), 10 points at Baylor (Jan. 15) and 11 points versus Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Nov. 19). Little averages 15.4 minutes, 6.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and is shooting 52.5 percent from the field on the season.

--Sophomore TRAVIS RELEFORD scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including 2-for-2 from three-point range, against Missouri (Feb. 7). It was the most points scored in Big 12 play for Releford this season. Releford has played the last seven games after missing the previous five contests due to an ankle sprain on his right foot suffered at Michigan (Jan. 9). Releford is shooting 52.1 percent from the field, is averaging 4.8 points this season and has scored in double figures five 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 and is a national dunk of the year entrant by Intersport to be voted on in March.

--Sophomore ELIJAH JOHNSON averages 13.1 minutes per game with a 3.4 scoring average. He has scored in double figures three times this season. Johnson led Kansas with six assists against Kansas State (Jan. 29). He has appeared in 25 games this season with one start. Johnson has a 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio for the season.

--Sophomore JEFF WITHEY is a combined 6-for-7 from the field in his last three games. He was 3-for-3 versus Iowa State (Feb. 12), 2-for-2 at Kansas State (Feb. 14) and 1-for-2 against Colorado Saturday. Withey tied his season high with eight points against Iowa State Feb. 12. His two blocked shots against the Cyclones marked the fourth time this season he had multiple blocks in a game. Withey averages 7.0 minutes, 2.6 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots per game in 2010-11.

--Sophomore THOMAS ROBINSON had surgery on Feb. 11 for a meniscus tear in his right knee and will be out approximately two weeks. He has missed three games due to the injury. Robinson averages 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and is shooting 62.6 percent from the field overall in 2010-11. His 6.4 rebounds rank 13th in the Big 12. Robinson missed the Colorado contest on Jan. 25 tending to the funeral of his mother, Lisa, in Washington, D.C. Robinson has recorded two double-doubles in 2010-11.

Up Next:

KU will hit the road on Saturday, Feb. 26 to play at Oklahoma in a 3 p.m. game on ESPN. On Wednesday, March 2, the Jayhawks will play their final home game of the season against Texas A&M. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. on ESPN. KU will then travel to Columbia, Mo., Saturday, March 5, for part two of the Border Showdown against Missouri at 11 a.m. on CBS to close out the regular season.



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