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March 1, 2011

Seniors preparing for final home game

Senior Night:

No. 3/2 Kansas (27-2, 12-2) plays host to No. 21/17 Texas A&M (22-6, 9-5) in its regular-season home finale Wednesday, March 2 at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. Since 1983-84, Kansas has won 27-straight home finales, including 26 consecutive Senior Days. In 2006-07, Kansas did not have a senior on its roster. Kansas won its third straight game with an 82-70 win at Oklahoma Saturday. The Jayhawks are tied for the Big 12 lead with Texas at 12-2 in conference play heading into the final two games of the season. Texas A&M is looking to rebound from a 58-51 loss at Baylor Saturday. The loss ended an Aggie five-game winning streak. KU's seniors who will be honored include Mario Little (Chicago), Brady Morningstar (Lawrence, Kan.) and Tyrel Reed (Burlington, Kan.). Additionally, KU senior managers Sean Mulhern (San Francisco) and Reid Elsen (Wichita, Kan.) will also be recognized Wednesday.

Senior Notables:

Mario Little:

--Little will graduate from Kansas in May with a degree in African and African American Studies.

--Including his redshirt season of 2009-10, Kansas is 87-13 (87 percent) during Little's career.

--Little has been a part of two Big 12 regular-season championships and one Big 12 tourney title while at Kansas.

--In 2008, Little's first year at KU, the Jayhawks advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.

--A native of Chicago, Little came to Kansas from Chipola (Fla.) Community College where he was rated the No. 1 juco player nationally in 2008.

Brady Morningstar:

--Morningstar graduated in May 2010 with a degree in communication studies.

--He was a redshirt during Kansas' 2007-08 NCAA National Championship season.

--In his five seasons at Kansas, Morningstar has seen 157 victories (157-21 record). In his four seasons on the court, excluding the redshirt, KU is 120-18 (86.9 percent).

--In his five seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks have won four Big 12 regular-season championships, three Big 12 tourney titles, one Final Four, one NCAA National Championship and have advanced to two NCAA Tournament Elite Eights and three Sweet 16s.

--Morningstar will end his career ranked in KU's career top 10 for three-point field goal percentage, currently eighth at 41.5 percent.

--Earlier this season, Morningstar was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team.

Tyrel Reed:

--On Feb. 22, Reed became the 15th player in Kansas history to be named Academic All-America First Team. Additionally, he is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection and has been on the athletic director's and commissioner's honor rolls every semester while at KU.

--Reed graduated from Kansas in 3.5 years with a degree in pre-physical therapy/exercise science and has been accepted to KU's School of Medicine physical therapy program.

--Reed is one of 10 finalists for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

--While at Kansas, Reed has a record of 124-16 (88.6 percent) for 31 wins per season (and counting). Last season, Sherron Collins left Kansas with the most wins in school history at 130-19 (87.2 percent).

--Reed will end his career ranked in the KU career top 10 for three-point field goals made, three-point field goals attempted and three-point field goal percentage.

--In his four seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks have won three Big 12 regular-season championships, two Big 12 tourney titles, one Final Four, one NCAA National Championship and have advanced to one NCAA Tournament Elite Eight and two Sweet 16s.

About Kansas:

Kansas is 27-2 on the season and 12-2 in Big 12 play. KU, six-time defending Big 12 regular-season champion, is tied with Texas atop the league standings heading into the final week of play. 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 64.9 for a +18.9 scoring margin. KU also leads the battle of the boards with a +7.8 rebound margin. Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage at 52.3 percent, scoring margin (+18.8) and assists at 18.4. KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring (83.8), scoring margin (+18.9), three-point field goal percentage (39.3), rebound margin (+7.8), assists (18.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).

Junior forward Marcus Morris has averaged 19.0 points in Big 12 play and leads Kansas in all games with a 17.3 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 60.7 percent, just ahead of twin brother Markieff Morris, who is at 60.2 percent. Markieff, a junior forward, leads the Big 12 in rebounding with 8.4 boards per game and in double-doubles with 11. Markieff is averaging 13.6 points per game. He leads KU with 34 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 56 three-point field goals made in 2010-11. Senior guard Brady Morningstar leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 2.8 mark in all games and 5.6 in conference games. He is scoring 8.3 points in Big 12 play and 6.5 for the season. After missing three games with an ankle injury, freshman guard Josh Selby has played the last four games. Selby averages 10.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 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 but returned 10 days following surgery.

Robinson is third on the team with a 6.3 rebound average to complement his 8.5 scoring average. Other KU contributors include senior guard Mario Little (6.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg), sophomore guard Travis Releford (4.5 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 in each of the last two games and scored a career-high 15 points against Oklahoma State.

About Texas A&M:

Located in College Station, Texas, with an enrollment of 48,702, Texas A&M is 22-6 overall and 9-5 in Big 12 play this season. A&M is third in the Big 12 heading into the final week of play. The Aggies are looking to rebound from a 58-51 loss at Baylor Saturday. Texas A&M averages 69.4 points per game and gives up 60.5 for a +8.9 scoring margin. The Aggies lead the Big 12 in defensive rebounds at 29.5 boards per game and have a +7.3 rebound margin.

Khris Middleton leads the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game and with 34 steals in 2010-11. Middleton is second on the team with 5.3 rebounds per game, 31 three-pointers made and 83 assists this season. David Loubeau is next in scoring at 11.2 points per game. He averages 4.9 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 11 blocked shots this season.

Nathan Walkup leads A&M in rebounds with a 5.8 average to complement his 9.7 scoring average. B.J. Holmes leads the Aggies with 41 three-pointers made and is second in assists with 86 in 2010-11. He is scoring 9.5 points per contest. Dash Harris rounds out the A&M starters. He leads the team with 89 assists, is tied with Middleton for the team-high 34 steals and scores 4.3 points per game.

Other A&M contributors include Kourtney Roberson (5.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, team-best 60 percent field goal percentage), Naji Hibbert (5.6 ppg), Ray Turner (4.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and Andrew Darko (2.5 ppg).

The Kansas-Texas A&M Series:

Kansas and Texas A&M are meeting for the 18th time in a series that dates back to 1967. KU leads the overall series 16-1 and has won the last five meetings. The teams have met in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship in two of the last three years - 2008 and 2010 - with Kansas winning both meetings and eventually claiming the league tourney titles. In 2009, Mark Turgeon faced his alma mater for the first time in Allen Fieldhouse and Kansas won the game 73-53.

Since the Big 12 started, Kansas is 15-1 against A&M. Prior to Texas ending KU's school-record 69 home-game winning streak earlier this season, Texas A&M handed Kansas its previous home loss on Feb. 3, 2007. Kansas is 6-1 against Texas A&M in Allen Fieldhouse. The first game of the series was played in 1967 in the Sunflower Doubleheader in Manhattan, Kan., with KU winning 78-52. Ever since, the series has been during the Big 12 era.


Team Notables:

--Kansas leads the nation in won-loss percentage (93.1), scoring margin (+18.8), field goal percentage (52.3) and assists (18.4). KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring (83.8), three-point field goal percentage (39.3), rebound margin (+7.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).

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

--Kansas has outrebounded 24 of 29 opponents this season, including eight of the last nine.

--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 21 games this season. KU has shot 50 percent or better in nine of the last 10 games and 10 of its last 12.

--Kansas' bench averages 27.0 points compared to its opponents' 16.8 ppg. KU's bench has outscored its opponents' bench in 22 of 29 games this season.

--Kansas is 26-1 when leading at the half (1-1 when trailing) this season and 27-0 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 (Nov. 26) 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 is averaging 25 points in his last two games with 27 points against Oklahoma State (Feb. 21) and 23 points at Oklahoma (Feb. 26). In that span he is shooting 69.6 percent (16-of-23) and averaging seven rebounds per game. Marcus leads Kansas in scoring at 17.3 points, which ranks fifth in the Big 12. Marcus averages 19.0 points in Big 12 play, which is third in the league. Marcus leads the league in shooting percentage at 60.7 percent, which is barely ahead of his twin brother Markieff's 60.2 percent. In his last 10 games, Marcus is shooting 64 percent. Marcus has nine games with 20-plus points this season. He has led Kansas in scoring 14 times in 2010-11. His 6.9 rebounds per game are tied for 10th 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 20.0 points in his last three games, including 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 and 19 points, with 10 rebounds, at Oklahoma Feb. 26. Markieff is shooting 69.8 percent (53-for-76) in his last nine games, including 8-for-14 (57.1 percent) from three-point range. In that span he is averaging 15.7 points per game. He leads the Big 12 with 11 double-doubles this season and has five in conference play. Markieff leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.4 rpg and is second in field goal percentage at 60.2. He has 13 games with double-figure rebounds. Named Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 27, Markieff is 14th in the Big 12 in scoring at 13.6 ppg. He has been the leading rebounder for KU in 16 of 29 games this season.

--Senior TYREL REED has scored in double figures in three of his last four games, including 11 points at Oklahoma Feb. 26. He was named Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team on Feb. 22. He is also a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection. He leads Kansas with 56 threes made this season and has made multiple threes in 18 games. 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 82.6 free throw percentage on the season. Ranked ninth in the Big 12 in three-point percentage (39.2) and 12th 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.

--Senior BRADY MORNINGSTAR leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.8 for all games and an incredible 5.6 in conference games. In his last seven contests, all starts, Morningstar has 24 assists and four 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. At Oklahoma (Feb. 26), he had nine points on 3-of-6 shooting. He is scoring 8.3 points in Big 12 play and 6.5 points per game for the season. Morningstar, who graduated in May 2010, leads KU with 44 steals. A 2011 Academic All-Big 12 Second Team selection, Morningstar is eighth in the Big 12 in steals per game at 1.5. Morningstar averages 3.1 assists per game, which has him 11th 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 has logged 10 minutes in each of his last two games - against OSU (six points, on 2-of-2 shooting, and six rebounds) and at OU (four points, five rebounds). Robinson missed three games due to the injury. Robinson averages 8.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and is shooting 62.8 percent from the field overall in 2010-11. His 6.3 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.

--Freshman JOSH SELBY has played each of the last four 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 17 games played this season. Selby averages 10.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals per contest. He has scored 16 or more points in five games and is a two-time Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Jan. 31 and Dec. 20).

--Sophomore ELIJAH JOHNSON made his third start of the season, fifth of his career, at Oklahoma and scored five points in 16 minutes. Against Oklahoma State Feb. 21, Johnson 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 13.8 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 nine 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 4.5 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 played. He was 3-for-3 versus Iowa State (Feb. 12), 2-for-2 at Kansas State (Feb. 14) and 1-for-2 against both 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 or at Oklahoma. 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.

More Senior Stats (through games of Feb. 27):

Last five seasons (Brady Morningstar era)
Most Wins and Best Winning Percentage - 1. KANSAS (157-21, 88.1), 2. North Carolina (143-37, 79.4), 3. Duke (141-32, 81.5), 3. Butler (139-31, 81.8), 5. Pittsburgh (137-36, 79.2)

Last four seasons (Tyrel Reed era)
Most Wins and Best Winning Percentage - 1. KANSAS (124-16, 88.6), 2. Duke (119-21, 85.0), 3. North Carolina (112-30, 78.9), 4. Butler (110-24, 82.1), 5. BYU (109-24, 82.0)

Last three seasons (Mario Little era)
Best Winning Percentage - 1. KANSAS (87.0, 87-13), 2. Duke (85.8, 91-15), 3. Utah State (83.8, 83-16), 4. BYU (83.7, 82-16), 5. Pittsburgh (81.8, 81-18).


Up Next:

Kansas 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. Kansas is one of the top four seeds of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and will play its first game on Thursday, March 10. NCAA Selection Sunday will be March 13.



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