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December 21, 2010

No. 3 KU set for first true road test

No. 3 Kansas has its first true road game of the 2010-11 season when it travels to California on Dec. 22 at 10 p.m. on Fox Sports Network. The Jayhawks are 10-0, including a 4-0 record in neutral site contests. California is 6-4 and snapped a two-game losing streak with a 51-41 win against Cal Poly on Dec. 18. Cal will be the fourth Pac-10 team Kansas will face in the 2010-11 regular season.


About Kansas:

Kansas is 10-0 for the second-straight season and fourth time in the Bill Self era. KU leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+24.9), field goal percentage (54.2), three-point field goal percentage (40.4), three-point field goal percentage defense (27.1), assists (19.2), blocked shots (6.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).

In his first game of the season, freshman guard Josh Selby scored 21 points in KU's 70-68 win against USC (Dec. 18), including the game-winning three-pointer. Junior forward Marcus Morris is next on the team with a 16.3 scoring average, which ranks eighth in the Big 12, while his 61.6 percent shooting leads the conference. Marcus also adds 6.3 rebounds per game.

Marcus' twin, Markieff Morris, a junior forward, is averaging 12.2 points per game and leads the Big 12 with a team-leading 9.0 rebounds per contest. He has three double-doubles on the season. Junior Tyshawn Taylor leads the Big 12 in assists with 5.8 per contest and his 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio is eighth in the conference. Taylor scores 10.5 points per game.

Senior guard Tyrel Reed averages 9.4 points per game and has made a team-best 16 three-pointers. Reed is also 18-for-20 (90 percent) from the free throw line for the season. Senior guard Brady Morningstar rounds out the Kansas starters. He leads the team with 22 steals and his 2.2 thefts per game are third in the Big 12. Morningstar is second on the squad with 24 assists and is scoring 5.6 points per game.

Top reserves for Kansas include sophomore forward Thomas Robinson (9.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg), sophomore guard Travis Releford (6.1 ppg and started the USC contest), sophomore guard Elijah Johnson (5.0 ppg, 2.0 assists per game) and sophomore center Jeff Withey (2.4 ppg, 11 blocked shots).


About California

Located in Berkley, Calif., with an enrollment of 35,843, California is 6-4 on the season. The Golden Bears average 65.2 points per game and have a solid defense giving up 63.5 points per contest. Cal is outrebounding its opponents by +3.8 per game and defeated Big 12 foe Iowa State 76-73 on Dec. 4 in Ames, Iowa. Junior forward Harper Kamp leads the team with 13.1 points per game. He is second on the squad with a 5.8 rebound average and is making 87.8 percent from the free throw line.

Junior guard Jorge Gutierrez is next in scoring at 12.6 points per outing and he leads the team with 38 assists and 15 steals. Like Kamp, Gutierrez is a solid free throw shooter at 80.7 percent. Senior center Mark Sanders-Frison leads Cal with 7.8 rebounds per game and averages 9.1 points. Freshman guard Gary Franklin (8.3 ppg) and freshman guard Allen Crabbe (7.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg) round out the Cal starters.

Franklin has a team-best 18 three-pointers through 10 games. Top reserves for California include freshman forward Richard Solomon (4.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg), sophomore guard Brandon Smith (3.7 ppg) and junior guard Nigel Carter (3.1 ppg). Smith is second on the team with 30 assists. Cal plays its home games in historic Haas Pavilion, which is in its 74th season. The Bears are 704-340 in Haas Pavilion.


The KU-Cal Series:

Kansas leads the overall series with California, 15-3, and has won the last nine meetings with Cal, including an 84-69 win in Allen Fieldhouse last season (Dec. 22). This series dates back to 1929 when the two teams met Jan. 3-4-5 in Oakland, Calif. The following year, the teams clashed Jan. 2-3 in Kansas City, Mo., and Jan. 4 in Lawrence. Of the 18 matchups between KU and Cal, only one (1956) has been played in Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif., and two in Lawrence.

The rest have been in Oakland, Kansas City, Mo., Anchorage, Alaska, St. Louis, Mo., and Lahaina, Hawaii. Prior to last season, KU won the previous meeting on Dec. 10, 2005, at the M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout in Kansas City, Mo., during KU's third season under head coach Bill Self. Last year, Sherron Collins had 17 points and Cole Aldrich had 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots in KU's 84-69 win in Allen Fieldhouse. Marcus Morris scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while Tyshawn Taylor had 13 points and seven assists in the victory.


Team Notables

--At 10-0, Kansas is one of nine teams in NCAA Division I that remain undefeated as of Dec. 19. Other undefeated teams include Syracuse (11-0), Cincinnati (10-0), Connecticut (8-0), Ohio State (10-0), Duke (10-0), Northwestern (7-0), Central Florida (10-0) and San Diego State (12-0).

--Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+24.9), field goal percentage (54.2), three-point field goal percentage (40.4), three-point field goal percentage defense (27.1), assists (19.2), blocked shots (6.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4). Last week, KU led the nation in scoring margin, field goal percentage and assists.

--Three of Kansas' last five victories have been decided by eight or less points.

--Kansas has outrebounded eight of 10 opponents this season.

--After shooting 50 percent or better in its first eight games, Kansas is 46-108 (42.6 percent) in its last two outings. KU has outshot nine of 10 opponents this season.

--Kansas' bench averages 32.4 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 won 40-straight home games against non-conference competition. That ranks third in the Big 12 behind Texas A&M (58) and Missouri (53).

--Kansas men's basketball (10-0) and women's basketball (10-1) are a combined 20-1 so far in the 2010-11 season.


Individual Notables:

--Junior Marcus Morris leads the Big 12 in shooting percentage at 61.6 percent. Marcus has led Kansas in scoring five times this season and has scored in double figures in all but one game. His 16.3 scoring average is eighth 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 6.3 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 just missed a DD with 11 points and eight rebounds against USC (Dec. 18). He leads the Big 12 with a 9.0 rebound average. Markieff has pulled down eight-plus boards in seven games this season and has been the leading rebounder for KU in six of 10 games.

--Junior Tyshawn Taylor leads the Big 12 in assists per game at 5.8. Taylor has led KU in assists in seven of 10 games this season. In his last seven games, Taylor is 28-for-49 (57.1 percent) from the field. He has scored in double figures in four of his last five games and five games overall this season. Taylor is scoring 10.5 points per game in 2010-11 compared to 7.2 ppg last season. Taylor is ninth in the Big 12 in steals at 1.7 spg and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8. On Dec. 20, Taylor was named one of 66 candidates for the Bob Cousy Award for the nation's top point guard. The list will be narrowed down to 20 in early January.

--Senior Tyrel Reed has scored in double figures in three of his last five games and he leads KU with 16 three-pointers made this season. He scored a career-high 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting against UCLA (Dec. 2). Reed has started all 10 games and is averaging 9.4 ppg on the season. He is 18-for-20 (90 percent) from the free throw line. One of 30 nominees for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award who was accepted into KU Medicine's physical therapy school in December, Reed is 12th in the Big 12 in three-point percentage at 34.0 and 14th in three-pointers made at 1.6.

--Senior Brady Morningstar has seven steals in his last four games with four against Colorado State (Dec. 11) and three versus USC (Dec. 18). He has recorded four steals three times this season. A lockdown defender who scores 5.6 points per game, Morningstar also had a season-high four rebounds against CSU and has pulled down three or more boards in five games this year. Morningstar is third in the Big 12 in steals per game at 2.2.

--Freshman Josh 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. Selby made his first career shot and the three-pointer that put KU up 69-68 in the 70-68 win against USC (Dec. 18). Selby also had five boards against the Trojans and was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week Dec. 20.

--Sophomore Thomas Robinson continues to be one of the most efficient players in the country as he had 10 points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes against USC (Dec. 18). 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 leads KU with 11 dunks this season. He averages 9.3 points per game in 2010-11, while his 6.6 rebounds are 14th in the Big 12. He is tied for 12th in the conference with 1.2 blocked shots per game and his 12 blocks are a team high. He has pulled down 10-plus rebounds in three games.

--Sophomore Travis Releford started his third game of the season against USC (Dec. 18) after starting the first two contests against Longwood and Valparaiso. Releford pulled down a career-high five rebounds against Colorado State (Dec. 11). He is shooting 60.0 percent from the field this season and averages 6.1 points per contest. A Las Vegas Invitational all-tournament selection, Releford averages 15 minutes per game and has scored 10-plus points three times this season, including a career-high 13 points against Ohio (Nov. 26).

--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 averages 5.0 points, 2.4 assists and has a 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio so far this season.

--Sophomore Jeff Withey is second on the team with 11 blocked shots. He is scoring 2.4 ppg. Withey averages 6.6 minutes per game compared to 3.0 last season.


Up Next:

Kansas 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 and then UMKC on Wednesday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m. on Jayhawk TV.


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