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February 25, 2011

Kansas Heads to Oklahoma

Kansas Heads to Oklahoma:

No. 3/2 Kansas (26-2, 11-2) heads to Oklahoma (12-15, 4-9) for a Big 12 battle on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 3 p.m. on ESPN. The Jayhawks are coming off a 92-65 win against Oklahoma State on ESPN Big Monday. KU has now won at least 11 conference games for 17th-straight season. Oklahoma is looking to snap a six-game losing streak after its 61-47 loss at No. 21/17 Texas A&M Wednesday.

About Kansas:

Kansas is 26-2 on the season and 11-2 in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks are second in the Big 12 race, one game behind Texas (12-1). Kansas is guaranteed a bye, i.e. a top-four seed, in the first round of the Big 12 Championship for the 14th time in the 15-year history of the event. The Jayhawks average 83.8 points per game and give up 64.8 for a +19.0 scoring margin. KU also leads the battle of the boards with a +7.4 rebound margin. Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage at 52.1 percent. KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring (83.8), scoring margin (+19.0), three-point field goal percentage (39.2), assists (18.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).

Junior forward Marcus Morris has averaged 18.7 points in Big 12 play and leads Kansas in all games with a 17.1 scoring average. Marcus' 6.9 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 leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 60.3 percent, just ahead his twin brother, Markieff Morris, who is at 60.0 percent. Markieff, a junior forward, leads the Big 12 in rebounding with 8.4 boards per game and in double-doubles with 10.

Markieff is averaging 13.4 points per game. He leads KU with 33 blocked shots. Senior guard Tyrel Reed is averaging 10.4 points per game in conference play and 9.8 points for the season. He leads KU with 54 three-point field goals made in 2010-11. Senior guard Brady Morningstar leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 3.0 mark in all games and an incredible 7.4 in conference games. He is scoring 8.2 points in Big 12 play and 6.4 for the season. After missing three games with an ankle injury, freshman guard Josh Selby has played the last three games. Selby averages 10.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.7 three-pointers per game.

Sophomore forward Thomas Robinson had surgery for a meniscus tear in his right knee on Feb. 11 and was expected to be out approximately two weeks. Robinson returned 10 days following surgery. He scored six points and pulled down six rebounds against Oklahoma State Feb. 21. Robinson is third on the team with a 6.4 rebound average to complement his 8.7 scoring average. Other KU contributors include senior guard Mario Little (6.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg), sophomore guard Travis Releford (4.7 ppg), sophomore guard Elijah Johnson (3.9 ppg) and sophomore center Jeff Withey (2.6 ppg, 19 blocked shots).

Junior guard Tyshawn Taylor was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules on Feb. 21. He 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. Johnson replaced Taylor in the starting lineup against Oklahoma State and scored a career-high 15 points against the Cowboys.

About Oklahoma:

Located in Norman, Okla., with an enrollment of 30,092, Oklahoma is 12-15 overall this season and 4-9 in Big 12 Conference action after its 61-47 loss at No. 17/21 Texas A&M Wednesday. The Sooners are 11-3 at home this season, average 66.0 points per game and have a -1.9 scoring margin. The Sooners are led by sophomore forward Andrew Fitzgerald who is scoring 13.3 points per game and has recorded 18 blocked shots and 31 steals this season. Senior guard Cade Davis is just behind Fitzgerald in scoring at 13.0 points per game and he and Fitzgerald are tied for the team high in rebounds at 5.2 rpg.

Davis has made a team-high 56 three-pointers, two ahead of sophomore guard Steven Pledger's 54. Pledger averages 11.4 points per game this season. Freshman guard/forward Cameron Clark scores 9.6 points per contest and is third on the team with a 4.6 rebound average. The aforementioned and sophomore guard Carl Blair round out the OU starters. Blair leads the team with 111 assists and is third on the squad with 24 steals. He scores 7.6 points per game.

Other key contributors for the Sooners include junior forward Nick Thompson (4.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg), freshman forward Tyler Neal (4.0 ppg), freshman guard Calvin Newell (3.1 ppg) and junior forward C.J. Washington (2.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg).

The Kansas-Oklahoma Series:

This series dates back to 1920 when both schools were members of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association and Kansas leads 135-64. Since 2006, the Jayhawks have won six straight against the Sooners. Kansas is 47-40 against Oklahoma in games played in Norman, yet the series is tied at 15 in games played in Lloyd Noble Center. Kansas has won the last two meetings at Lloyd Noble and is 2-1 in the facility under Bill Self. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 14-4 against Oklahoma - 12-2 in regular-season play and 2-2 in the Big 12 Championship.

Team Notables:

--Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage at 52.1 percent. KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring (83.8), scoring margin (+19.0), three-point field goal percentage (39.2), assists (18.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).

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

--Kansas has outrebounded 23 of 28 opponents this season, including seven of the last eight.

--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 20 games this season. KU has shot 50 percent or better in eight of the last nine games and nine of its last 11.

--Kansas' bench averages 27.5 points compared to its opponents' 16.8 ppg. KU's bench has outscored its opponents' bench in 22 of 28 games this season.

--Kansas is 25-1 when leading at the half (1-1 when trailing) this season and 26-0 when leading with five minutes remaining (0-2 when trailing).

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

--Kansas has scored 50 or more points in the first half five times this season.

--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 scored 27 points against Oklahoma State (Feb. 21) on 9-of-13 shooting. The 27 points were his second most this season (33 at Iowa State, Jan. 12). Marcus leads Kansas in scoring at 17.1 points, which ranks sixth in the Big 12. Marcus averages 18.7 points in Big 12 play, which is third in the league. Marcus leads the league in shooting percentage at 60.3 percent, which is barely ahead of his twin brother Markieff's 60.0 percent. In his last nine games, Marcus is shooting 63.3 percent. Marcus has eight games with 20-plus points this season. He has led Kansas in scoring 13 times in 2010-11. His 6.9 rebounds per game are 12th 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 has averaged 20.5 points in his last two games with a career-high 26 points and a career-high-tying 15 rebounds against Colorado Feb. 19. He scored 15 points against Oklahoma State Feb. 21. Markieff is shooting 70.8 percent (46-for-65) in his last eight games, including 8-for-14 (57.1 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 is second in 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 15th in the Big 12 in scoring at 13.4 ppg. He has been the leading rebounder for KU in 15 of 28 games this season.

--Senior TYREL REED was named Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team on Feb. 22. He leads Kansas with 54 threes made this season and has made multiple threes in 17 games, including a 3-for-4 effort in scoring 13 points against Colorado Feb. 19. In conference play, Reed is KU's third-leading scorer with 10.4 points per game. He is scoring 9.8 points for the season. Reed is the only Jayhawk to have started every game this season. Reed has an 83.1 free throw percentage (54-of-65) on the season. Ranked 11th in the Big 12 in three-point percentage (38.8) and tied for 11th in three-pointers made per game (1.9), 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.

--Senior BRADY MORNINGSTAR leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.0 for all games and an incredible 7.4 in conference games. In his last six contests, Morningstar has 20 assists and two turnovers. He 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 Feb. 19. He is scoring 8.2 points in Big 12 play and 6.4 points per game for the season. Morningstar, who graduated in May 2010, leads KU with 42 steals. A 2011 Academic All-Big 12 Second Team selection, Morningstar is 10th in the Big 12 in steals per game at 1.5. Morningstar averages 3.1 assists per game, which has him 12th in the Big 12.

--Sophomore THOMAS ROBINSON had surgery on Feb. 11 for a meniscus tear in his right knee and was expected to be out approximately two weeks but returned 10 days later. He logged 10 minutes against OSU on Feb. 21 with six points, on 2-of-2 shooting, and six rebounds in the victory. Robinson missed three games due to the injury. Robinson averages 8.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and is shooting 63.2 percent from the field overall in 2010-11. His 6.4 rebounds rank 14th 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.
--Freshman JOSH SELBY has played each of the last three games after missing the previous three games due to a stress reaction in his right ankle. He scored seven points against Oklahoma State (Feb. 21) for his most points since his return. Selby has scored in double figures in nine of 16 games played this season. Selby averages 10.7 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 24-for-29 (82.8 percent) from the free throw line. Selby is a two-time Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Jan. 31 and Dec. 20).

--Sophomore ELIJAH JOHNSON made his second start of the season, fourth of his career, against Oklahoma State Feb. 21 and scored a career-high 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 4-for-4 from three-point range. Johnson also dished out three assists against OSU. Johnson averages 13.7 minutes per game with a 3.9 scoring average. He has scored in double figures four times this season. Johnson has a 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio for the season.

--Senior MARIO LITTLE pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds against Oklahoma State (Feb. 21) and scored seven points. He 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). Little averages 15.6 minutes, 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game and is shooting 51.9 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 eight games after missing the previous five contests due to an ankle sprain on his right foot suffered at Michigan (Jan. 9). Releford is shooting 52.0 percent from the field, is averaging 4.7 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 JEFF WITHEY is a combined 7-for-8 from the field in his last four 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 Feb. 19 and Oklahoma State Feb. 21. Withey tied his season high with eight points against Iowa State Feb. 12. Withey averages 6.9 minutes, 2.6 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots per game in 2010-11.

--Junior TYSHAWN TAYLOR was suspended indefinitely on Feb. 21 for violating team rules and did not play against Oklahoma State that night. He 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 Feb. 19. 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.

Wilt Chamberlain Special Olympic Clinic to be Held Feb. 27:

Kansas men's basketball will host the 27th annual Wilt Chamberlain Special Olympics Clinic on Sunday, Feb. 27, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. More than 100 Special Olympians from 10 teams in the surrounding area will participate with the KU players, coaches and staff serving as hosts. The clinic is sponsored by former KU legend Wilt Chamberlain who left the money to fund the event in his estate.

Up Next:

The Jayhawks will play their final home game of the 2010-11 season on Wednesday, March 2 against Texas A&M. Kansas has won 27-straight season home finale games. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. on ESPN2. KU will close out the regular season when it travels to Columbia, Mo., on Saturday, March 5 for part two of the Border Showdown against Missouri at 11 a.m. on CBS.


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