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December 16, 2010

KU returns home to face USC

Kansas Returns Home:

After a two-game hiatus, Kansas returns to the friendly confines of Allen Fieldhouse when it plays host to Southern California, Saturday, Dec. 18, at 11 a.m. The Jayhawks are 9-0 after defeating Memphis in the Jimmy V Classic in Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., and Colorado State at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., last week. USC is 6-4 on the season and brings a two-game winning streak to Allen Fieldhouse.


About Kansas:

Kansas is 9-0 for the second-straight season and fourth time in the Bill Self era. KU leads the Big 12 in scoring (87.3), scoring margin (+27.4), field goal percentage (55.8), three-point field goal percentage (40.5), three-point field goal percentage defense (25.4), assists (20.0), blocked shots (6.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5). Junior forward Marcus Morris leads the team with a 16.9 scoring average, which ranks fourth in the Big 12, while his 64 percent shooting leads the league. Marcus also adds 6.2 rebounds per game.

Marcus' twin, Markieff Morris, a junior forward, is averaging 12.3 points per game and is second in the Big 12 with a team-leading 9.1 rebounds per contest after his double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) against Colorado State (Dec. 11). Junior Tyshawn Taylor leads the Big 12 in assists with 6.3 per contest and his 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio is fifth in the conference. Taylor scores 10.9 points per game.

Senior guard Tyrel Reed averages 10 points per game and has made a team-best 16 three-pointers. Reed is also 16-for-16 from the free throw line for the season. Senior guard Brady Morningstar rounds out the Kansas starters. He leads the team with 19 steals, is second on the squad with 23 assists and is scoring 5.7 points per game.

Top reserves for Kansas include sophomore forward Thomas Robinson (9.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg), sophomore guard Travis Releford (6.7 ppg), senior guard Mario Little (6.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg), sophomore guard Elijah Johnson (5.7 ppg, 2.7 assists per game) and sophomore center Jeff Withey (2.7 ppg, 11 blocked shots).

The USC game will mark the debut of Kansas freshman guard Josh Selby, who missed the first nine games of the season.


About Southern California:
Located in Los Angeles, Calif., with an enrollment of 33,500, USC is 6-4 on the season after its 60-52 win against Northern Arizona on Dec. 11. One of the Trojans' most notable wins was a 73-56 victory against Big 12 foe Texas on Dec. 5. Two games earlier, Nebraska defeated USC 60-58 in Lincoln, Neb., on Nov. 27. USC averages 68.9 points per game and has a +6.2 scoring margin. The Trojans out-rebound opponents by 5.9 per contest.

Junior forward Nikola Vucevic is averaging a double-double with 16.5 points and 10.6 rebounds. He also leads USC with 43 free throws and is tied for the team high with 13 blocked shots. Freshman guard Maurice Jones is next in scoring at 12.2 points per game and he leads the team with 4.2 assists per contest and 1.7 steals per outing. Freshman guard Bryce Jones, no relation to Maurice, averages 11.2 points per game and he is second on the team with 15 steals, 24 assists and 15 three-pointers.

Senior forward Alex Stepheson (8.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and senior guard Marcus Simmons (6.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg) round out the USC starters. Senior guard Donte Smith comes off the bench to score 9.1 points per game and he has a team-best 20 three-pointers made. Freshman forward Garrett Jackson is another top USC reserve who scores 4.6 points per contest.


The KU-USC Series:

Kansas leads the overall series with USC 9-5 and has won the last five matchups. This series dates back to 1935 with KU claiming the first three meetings. USC then won five of the next six matchups from 1958-78. Most recently, KU and USC clashed in a home-and-home series with the Jayhawks winning 72-62 in Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 4, 2006, and 59-55 in Los Angeles on Dec. 7, 2008, during Kansas' NCAA National Championship season. Current KU seniors Tyrel Reed and Conner Teahan did not play in the 2008 contest against USC and Brady Morningstar was a 2007-08 redshirt.


Team Notables

--Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring (87.3), scoring margin (+27.4), field goal percentage (55.8), three-point field goal percentage (40.5), three-point field goal percentage defense (25.4), assists (20.0), blocked shots (6.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5). KU leads the nation in scoring margin, field goal percentage and assists.

--Kansas' bench averages 31.3 points compared to its opponents' 20.1 ppg.

--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 went 6-0 in the month of November and has 12-straight wins in the month dating back to the 2008-09 season. In the Bill Self era, KU is 31-4 (88.6 percent) in the month of November.

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

--Kansas has used the starting line-up of Tyshawn Taylor, Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed, Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris in each of the last seven games.

--Kansas has won 39-straight home games against non-conference competition. That ranks third in the Big 12 behind Texas A&M (57) and Missouri (52).

--Kansas men's basketball (9-0) and women's basketball (9-1) are a combined 18-1 so far in the 2010-11 season.


Individual Notables:

--Junior Marcus Morris leads the Big 12 in shooting percentage at 64 percent. Against Colorado State (Dec. 11), he was 2-for-2 with eight points and four rebounds in 18 minutes. Marcus has led Kansas in scoring five times this season and his 16.9 scoring average is fourth in the conference. He has led KU in every stat at least once this season. Marcus has three games of 20-plus points in 2010-11. He is tied for 17th in the Big 12 in rebounding at 6.2 rpg.

--Junior Markieff Morris, twin of Marcus, recorded his third double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds against Colorado State (Dec. 11). He is second in the Big 12 with a 9.1 rebound average and his 12.3 scoring average is 20th in the conference. Against CSU he blocked a season-high three shots. Markieff has pulled down eight-plus boards in six games this season and has been the leading rebounder for KU in five of nine games.

--Junior Tyshawn Taylor leads the Big 12 and ranks in the top 15 nationally in assists per game at 6.3. Taylor has led KU in assists in seven of nine games this season. In his last seven games, Taylor is 26-for-42 (61.9 percent) from the field. He has scored in double figures in each of his last four games and five games this season. Taylor is scoring 10.9 points per game in 2010-11 compared to 7.2 ppg last season. Taylor is tied for eighth in the Big 12 in steals at 1.8 spg and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.1.

--Senior Tyrel Reed has scored in double figures in three of his last four games, including 11 points against Colorado State (Dec. 11) with three three-pointers. He scored a career-high 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting against UCLA (Dec. 2). Reed has started all nine games and is averaging 10.0 ppg on the season. He leads the team with 16 three-pointers made and is 16-for-16 from the free throw line. One of 30 nominees for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, Reed is 11th in the Big 12 in three-point percentage at 35.6.

--Senior Brady Morningstar had four steals against Colorado State (Dec. 11) to mark the third game this season he has recorded four steals. A lockdown defender who scores 5.7 points per game, Morningstar also had a season-high four rebounds against CSU. He is third in the Big 12 in steals per game at 2.1.

--Sophomore Thomas Robinson had seven points on 3-for-5 shooting, and eight rebounds in 17 minutes against Colorado State (Dec. 11). In the previous game, Robinson recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Memphis (Dec. 7) in only 15 minutes. Robinson is tied for the team lead with nine dunks this season. He averages 9.2 points per game in 2010-11, while his 6.6 rebounds are 14th in the Big 12. He is seventh in the conference with 1.3 blocked shots per game and his 12 blocks are a team high. He has pulled down 10-plus rebounds in three games.

--Sophomore Elijah Johnson was 2-for-2 from the field with both shots from three-point range in scoring six points against Colorado State (Dec. 11). He is 15-for-25 (60 percent) from the field this season, including 7-for-13 (53.8 percent) from three-point range. Johnson's four rebounds against CSU tied his career high. Johnson averages 5.7 points, 2.7 assists and has a 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio so far this season.

--Sophomore Travis Releford pulled down a career-high five rebounds against Colorado State (Dec. 11). He is shooting 63.2 percent from the field this season and averages 6.7 points per contest. A Las Vegas Invitational all-tournament selection, Releford averages 15 minutes per game and has scored 10-plus points in three times this season, including a career-high 13 points against Ohio (Nov. 26).

--Senior Mario Little scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting against Colorado State (Dec. 11). Little led Kansas with eight rebounds against UCLA (Dec. 2). He also scored nine points against the Bruins, including the game-winning free throw. Little is scoring 6.2 points per game and is shooting 55 percent from the field.

--Sophomore Jeff Withey is second on the team with 11 blocked shots and his 1.2 blocks per game are 11th in the Big 12. He is scoring 2.7 ppg. Withey averages 7.0 minutes per game compared to 3.0 last season.


Up Next:

Kansas will play at California on Wednesday, Dec. 22, at 10 p.m. (Central). The game will be televised on Fox Sports Network. KU returns home to host Texas-Arlington on Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU to close out the 2010 calendar year. Kansas will start 2011 by hosting Miami (Ohio) on Sunday, Jan. 2, at 5 p.m. on ESPNU.



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