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November 23, 2010

KU extends home winning streak to 63 games

No. 6 ranked Kansas (4-0; 0-0) extended its homecourt winning streak to a record 63 games against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday night, and did so in convincing fashion. Behind a game-high 15 points from Thomas Robinson, the Jayhawks dominated the Islanders, 82-41. Three other players, Marcus Morris, Mario Little and Travis Releford, scored in double-figures for Bill Self's squad.

Under Bill Self, Kansas appears to be unbeatable at home. Since losing to Texas A&M, 69-66, on February 3, 2007, the Jayhawks haven't lost at home in Allen Fieldhouse. The new streak began with a victory over Kansas State on Feb. 7. 2007.

The Jayhawks closed out that season with three more wins in Allen Fieldhouse, and then such players as Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins, Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush and the Marcus and Markieff Morris rang up unblemished home records in the next three seasons of 19-0, 18-0 and 18-0.

Facing Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday night, Kansas wasted little time in moving its winning streak to 63 games. Sophomore big man Thomas Robinson set the tone early on against the Islanders. In 16 minutes of action, Robinson scored 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and pulled down five rebounds.

Marcus Morris chipped in 12 points, while Mario Little and Travis Releford scored 11 points apiece for the Jayhawks. Markieff Morris finished with nine points and 10 rebounds and Tyshawn Taylor finished with a game-high nine dimes to just two turnovers.

Sophomore combo-guard Elijah Johnson dished out seven assists and committed just two turnovers against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Offensively, the Jayhawks just couldn't be stopped. They connected on 60.3 percent of their field goals and out-rebounded the Islanders, 38-29.

Defensively, Kansas limited Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to just 31 percent shooting from the field, including just 17.6 percent from behind the arc.

Minutes after the game, Self said he was pleased with KU's effort on the defensive end of the court.

"We played pretty well defensively," said Self. "That's what (Texas A&M-CC Head Coach) Perry Clark said after the game. We guarded them pretty well. We have improved in that area 50 percent at least since 10 days ago.

"We have gotten a lot better," he added.

More than anything, it's become quite clear that this particular Kansas loves the game of basketball. Tonight, Self's squad finished the game with eight dunks, all assisted, with a handful coming off lobs and alley-oops.

After tonight, it's safe to say that this Kansas team might be the most unselfish group in Self's era at Kansas.

"Of all the teams that we have had here, this team likes to play more than any other team," said Self. "They play more pick-up and get together and shoot on their own. That is contagious. This is a team that really does like to play.

"They enjoy playing with each other," he added. "They certainly share the ball pretty well."

In all, nine players scored for Kansas on Tuesday night. The Bench is producing just as much as the starting five, which hasn't gone unnoticed by Self.

In fact, it's something he touched on following the game.

"A lot of guys off of our bench would be starters for a lot of teams," said Self. "Certainly, Travis (Releford), Mario (Little), and Elijah (Johnson) are talented, Jeff Withey is talented. We have a good 10 without question. Thomas (Robinson) has really produced.

"He has made the most of his minutes," he added. "Tonight our leading starter scored 12 and we had three reserves in double figures. The reserves did a good job scoring the ball."

Kansas had eight dunks by five different players during the first half, including three within a one minute stretch. During an 11 minute stretch in the first half, KU made nine-straight shots and 11-of-12 during a 25-9 run over the Islanders.

During the game, KU also had scoring runs of 14-0 and 18-0. The 17 first half points scored by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi tie the lowest point total KU has allowed an opponent all season.

The Jayhawks prevented opponents from scoring a three point basket for four straight halves dating back to the Valparaiso game. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi hit a three-point field goal to break the drought in the second half.

With games against Ohio, Arizona and UCLA fast approaching, Tyshawn Taylor is looking forward to upcoming competition.

"I'm so ready," said Taylor. "This is kind of what we have been waiting for. We are Kansas, so we want to play against the Arizona's, the Duke's and everybody we are playing against. That is kind of what we expect and we expect this competition at all times.

"I'm looking forward to it," he added.


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