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January 28, 2011

Sunflower Showdown

Sunflower Showdown:

Kansas and Kansas State will meet for the 270th time in men's basketball in the Sunflower Showdown presented by Dillons on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m. on ESPN. The game coincides with the 150th Kansas Day and ESPN College GameDay will originate from Allen Fieldhouse that morning and an hour before tip. Kansas improved to 19-1 overall and 4-1 in Big 12 play with an 82-78 win at Colorado on Tuesday. Kansas State ended a two-game losing streak with a 69-61 win against Baylor on Monday. The Wildcats are 14-7 overall and 2-4 in Big 12 action.

About Kansas:

No. 6 Kansas bounced back from its first loss of the season with an 82-78 win at Colorado on Jan. 25. The Jayhawks average 82.1 points and give up 62.5 for a +19.6 scoring margin. KU also leads the battle of the boards with a +7.4 rebound margin. Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+19.6), field goal percentage (51.4), three-point field goal percentage defense (27.7) and assists (18.3).
Junior forward Marcus Morris has averaged 21.2 points in his last six games. Marcus averages 17.0 points for the season and leads the Big 12 with his 59.7 percent field goal percentage. A two-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season and a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate, Marcus' 6.8 rebounds per game are second best on KU's team. Marcus' twin, Markieff Morris, a junior forward, leads the Big 12 in rebounding with 8.7 boards per game and in double-doubles with seven. Markieff is averaging 12.7 points per game.
Freshman guard Josh Selby led KU with 17 points at Colorado (Jan. 25) and is scoring 11.8 points per game. He averages 2.0 three-pointers, 3.0 assists and 2.8 rebounds per contest this season. Senior guard Tyrel Reed is averaging 14.5 points in his last four games and 10.0 ppg for the season. He leads KU with 41 three-point field goals made this season. He is 35-for-41 (85.4 percent) from the free throw line.
Junior Tyshawn Taylor averages 8.7 points per game and ranks third in the Big 12 with 5.1 assists per contest. Sophomore forward Thomas Robinson is third on the team with a 6.1 rebound average to complement his 8.0 scoring average. He has 17 blocked shots, which are three behind Markieff's team-best 20. Senior forward Mario Little is a top reserve who averages 5.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per outing.
Senior guard Brady Morningstar leads Kansas with 29 steals, one ahead of Reed and three ahead of Taylor. Morningstar is second on the team with 50 assists and is scoring 5.0 points per game after his season-high 14 points at Colorado (Jan. 25). Other KU contributors include sophomore guard Elijah Johnson (3.9 ppg), sophomore center Jeff Withey (2.6 ppg, 15 blocked shots) and sophomore guard Travis Releford (5.7 ppg with four starts). Releford has missed the last five games due to an ankle sprain.

About Kansas State:

Located in Manhattan, Kan., with an enrollment of 23,520, Kansas State is 14-7 overall and 2-4 in Big 12 play after its 69-61 win against Baylor on Monday. The Wildcats average 73.5 points and give up 64.6 points for a +8.9 scoring margin. K-State dominates the boards with a +8.8 rebound margin and averages more than 15 free throws made per game. Senior guard Jacob Pullen leads Kansas State with a 17.9 scoring average.
Pullen leads the team with 63 assists and 29 steals. He is second on the squad with 37 three-pointers made. Sophomore guard Rodney McGruder leads the Wildcats in rebounds with 6.7 per game. He is second on the team with an 11.2 scoring average. Senior forward Curtis Kelly scores 10.5 points per game, which is just ahead of junior forward Jamar Samuels' 9.6 ppg average.
Samuels pulls down 5.9 rebounds per game, while Kelly is at 5.2 rpg. Freshman guard Will Spradling is second on the team with 47 assists. He is scoring 6.1 points per contest. Other KSU regulars include sophomore forward Wally Judge (5.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg with 11 starts), sophomore guard Martavious Irving (5.1 ppg) junior forward Freddy Asprilla (4.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg), sophomore guard Nick Russell (4.4 ppg) and sophomore forward Jordan Henriquez-Roberts (3.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg).

The Kansas-Kansas State Series:

Kansas leads the overall series with Kansas State 180-90 and the Jayhawks have won five straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings against the Wildcats. KU leads the series with KSU in games played in Lawrence 81-35, including a 40-18 record in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas has won four straight and 15 of the last 16 meetings with Kansas State in Allen Fieldhouse. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 26-2 in regular-season battles and 33-2 including Big 12 Championship meetings versus Kansas State. This series dates back to 1907.

Team Notables:

--Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+19.6), field goal percentage (51.4), three-point field goal percentage defense (27.7) and assists (18.3).

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

--Kansas has outrebounded 16 of 20 opponents this season, including 10 of its last 12.

--KU has outshot all but two teams this season (USC on Dec. 18 and Texas on Jan. 22). The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in 13 games this season.

--Kansas' bench averages 28.4 points compared to its opponents' 16.9 ppg. KU's bench has outscored its opponents' bench in 16 of 20 games this season.

--Kansas is 18-1 when leading at the half this season and 19-0 when leading with five minutes remaining.

--KU has used six different starting lineups this season with Taylor, Reed, Mk. Morris, Mc. Morris and Selby starting the last seven contests.

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

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

--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 has averaged 21.6 points and 8.5 rebounds in his last six games and has scored 22-plus in three of those contests. He has three double-doubles in his last six games. He has six 20-point or more scoring games this season. Marcus leads the Big 12 in shooting percentage at 59.7 percent after his 5-for-6 game at Colorado (Jan. 25). He has shot 70 percent or better in seven games. Marcus has led Kansas in scoring nine times this season. His 17.0 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 has been named Big 12 Player of the Week twice (Nov. 29 and Jan. 17) and was named a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate Jan. 6.

--Junior MARKIEFF MORRIS, twin of Marcus, has scored in double figures in four of his last six games. He had 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting at Baylor (Jan. 17) and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Markieff has a Big 12-high seven double-doubles this season with five in his last 12 contests. Markieff leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.7 rpg. Named Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 27, Markieff is 20th in the Big 12 in scoring at 12.7 ppg. Markieff has pulled down eight-plus boards in 13 games, including 11 at Colorado (Jan. 25) and has been the leading rebounder for KU in 11 of 20 games.

--Senior TYREL REED is averaging 12.2 points in Big 12 play and 10.0 for the season. In his last four games, Reed has averaged 14.5 points, including 14 points at Colorado (Jan. 25) and 17 against Texas (Jan. 22). The guard is the only Jayhawk to have started every game this season. Reed leads Kansas with 41 three-pointers and has an 85.4 free throw percentage (35-of-41). Reed had career-highs in points with 18 and rebounds with seven at California (Dec. 22). Ranked 11th in the Big 12 in three-point percentage (38.0) and 10th in three-pointers made per game (1.9), Reed is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award who graduated from KU in December and has been accepted into KU Medicine's physical therapy school. He is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection and has been nominated for Academic All-America for the third-straight year in 2010-11.

--Freshman JOSH SELBY scored 17 points at Colorado (Jan. 25), 15 of which came in the first half. It was the most points for the guard since scoring 18 against UMKC on Jan. 5. He has scored in double figures in seven of 11 games this season. He has multiple three-pointers in seven games and steals in eight of his 11 contests played in 2010-11. Selby averages 11.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 steals per contest on the season. He has scored 16 or more points in five games and is 20-for-24 (83.3 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).

--Sophomore THOMAS ROBINSON missed the Colorado contest on Jan. 25 tending to the funeral of his mother, Lisa, in Washington, D.C. Robinson had nine points on 4-of-6 shooting and five rebounds against Nebraska Jan. 15. It was his best outing since his first season start against UT Arlington (Dec. 29) where he had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Robinson has two double-doubles in 2010-11. In his last 10 games, Robinson is 29-for-45 (64.4 percent) from the field. Robinson has pulled down 10 rebounds in five games this season. He averages 8.0 points per game in 2010-11 and his 6.1 rebounds are 16th in the Big 12.

--Junior TYSHAWN TAYLOR is averaging 8.7 points per game this season and his nine points at Colorado (Jan. 25) were the most since he had 12 points at Michigan on Jan. 9. Taylor has scored in double figures seven times. Named a Bob Cousy Award finalist (one of 20) on Jan. 12, Taylor is third in the Big 12 in assists per game at 5.1. He has led KU in assists in 14 of 20 games this season, including seven of the last 10 contests. Taylor is eighth in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.7.

--Senior BRADY MORNINGSTAR set a season high with 14 points at Colorado (Jan. 25) on 5-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-7 from three-point range. In his last two games, Morningstar is averaging 11 points and is 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) from the field. Against No. 10/11 Texas on Jan. 22, Morningstar was 4-of-5 from the field with three assists and one steal. He is scoring 5.0 points per game and leads KU with 29 steals. Morningstar, who graduated May 2010, has recorded a steal in 13 of 20 games played this season. He is 11th in the Big 12 in steals per game at 1.5.

--Senior MARIO LITTLE scored in double figures for the second time this season with 10 points at Baylor (Jan. 15). He was 4-for-6 (66.7 percent) from the field in Waco. Little averages 15.8 minutes, 5.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and is shooting 50 percent from the field on the season.

--Sophomore TRAVIS RELEFORD has missed the last five games due to an ankle sprain on his right foot suffered at Michigan (Jan. 9). He matched his career high with 13 points against UMKC (Jan. 5). Releford is shooting 56.1 percent from the field. 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 logged 12 minutes at Colorado with two points, four assists and no turnovers. He has appeared in 18 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. He has a 2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio for the season. Johnson averages 3.9 points and 1.2 assists in 2010-11.

--Sophomore JEFF WITHEY scored three points and pulled down four rebounds in eight minutes at Colorado (Jan. 25). Withey averages 7.3 minutes, 2.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots per game. His blocked shots average ranks 14th in the Big 12.

Simien to Have Jersey Retired Saturday:

Former KU basketball All-American Wayne Simien will have his jersey retired at halftime of the Kansas State at Kansas men's basketball game Saturday, Jan. 29. That day, ESPN Gameday will originate from Allen Fieldhouse for the fourth time in the seven-year history of the show. Coincidentally, the date marks Kansas Day - the 150th anniversary of Kansas becoming the 34th State in the Union. A native of nearby Leavenworth, Kan., Simien, who wore jersey No. 23 at KU from 2002-05, started attending Kansas basketball camps when he was in the seventh grade, and said coming to Kansas was a "life-long dream." As a forward, Simien ended his career at Kansas as No. 12 in scoring (1,593 points), No. 7 in rebounds (884), No. 4 in double-doubles (38) and tied for fourth in games with double-figure rebounds (39).
Simien helped lead Kansas to a 110-28 record during his career, along with three Big 12 Championships, four NCAA Tournament appearances, two Final Fours and an Elite Eight. A Consensus First-Team All-American his senior year (2005), Simien was also a two-time All-Big 12 First Team selection (2004 and 2005). He was the 2005 Big 12 Player of the Year, as well as an all-tournament team selection at the 2005 Big 12 Championship. Also in 2005, Simien was recipient of the Lowes' Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes the outstanding senior NCAA Division I Student-Athlete of the Year across nine different sports.
Simien was a finalist for both the John R. Wooden and Naismith Player-of-the-Year Awards during his junior and senior seasons. In his sophomore year Simien was a member of the Preseason NIT all-tournament team and was named to the 2002 Big 12 All-Reserve team. Simien was selected 29th in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat, with whom he won an NBA Championship in 2006.
Simien retired from professional basketball in May 2009 to pursue work in Christian ministry. Simien joins former teammates Nick Collison, Drew Gooden and Kirk Hinrich, all of whom have had their KU jerseys retired.

Fans are encouraged to meet and greet Simien, Saturday, Jan. 29 from 3:30-4:45 in 1865 - KU's Bookstore off The Oread hotel Lobby - 1200 Oread Ave. Following the game there will be an open to the public celebration with Simien at The Oread Hotel from approximately 9-11 p.m.

Up Next:

Kansas has a two game road swing starting at Texas Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. KU will then play at Nebraska on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Network. It will be KU's last trip to Lincoln, Neb., when KU and NU are members of the same conference as Nebraska will participate in the Big Ten Conference starting in 2011-12. Kansas returns home to host Missouri Feb. 7 on ESPN's Big Monday.


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