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February 10, 2012

KU returns home to face OSU

No. 7/10 Kansas Returns Home

No. 7/10 Kansas returns home after a two-game road trip to host Oklahoma State, Saturday, Feb. 11, at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Network. The Feb. 11 game will honor the 60th anniversary of Kansas' 1952 NCAA National Championship team which will be recognized at halftime. KU will wear retro uniforms commemorating the anniversary. Kansas is 19-5 overall and tied for first in the Big 12 with a 9-2 record. The Jayhawks won at No. 6 Baylor, 68-54, on Wednesday. Oklahoma State is 12-12 overall and 5-6 in Big 12 action after defeating Iowa State 69-67 on Tuesday in Stillwater, Okla.

About Kansas

Kansas is 19-5 and tied for first in the Big 12 standings with Missouri at 9-2 after its 68-54 win at No. 6 Baylor Wednesday. The Jayhawks are 12-0 at home, 5-2 in road games and 2-3 on neutral courts this season. KU's 18-game home court winning streak is tied for ninth nationally and the Jayhawks are 87-1 in their last 88 games in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas averages 75.1 points per game and allows 61.0 for a +14.1 scoring margin, which ranks second in the Big 12. KU is second in the Big 12 in rebound margin at +6.1, first in field goal percentage defense at 38.2 and second with 15.8 assists per contest.

The Jayhawks are led by national player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson, who is the only player in the Big 12 to average a double-double with 17.8 points and 12.0 rebounds per game. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Robinson has eight double-doubles in 11 conference games after his 15 points and 11 rebounds at Baylor (2/8). His league-leading 17 double-doubles on the season rank second nationally.

Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 16, has scored 15-plus points in each of his last nine games and has averaged 20.3 ppg in his last three contests. Taylor leads KU in scoring in conference games with a 19.0 ppg average. In all games, he leads KU with 122 assists and 41 three-pointers made in 2011-12. Taylor is scoring 17.0 ppg overall.

Junior guard Travis Releford, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, averages 10.4 ppg in league play and 9.2 in all games. Junior guard Elijah Johnson is third on the team 37 three-pointers and leads KU with 38 steals this season. Johnson scores 8.8 points per game and is second on the team with 88 assists. Junior center Jeff Withey is coming off a career-high 25 points at Baylor (2/8). He leads the Big 12 in blocked shots at 3.0 per game and rounds out the KU starters.

Withey has scored in double figures in seven of his last eight games and is averaging 8.8 points for the season. He is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds per contest and has 37 blocked shots in 11 league contests.

Senior guard Conner Teahan, who has one start in 2011-12, is second on the team with 38 three-pointers this season, while averaging 6.6 points per game. Sophomore forward Justin Wesley is a regular who averages 1.6 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest. Junior forward Kevin Young (3.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (1.0 ppg, 18 assists) are also KU regulars.

About Oklahoma State

Located in Stillwater, Okla., with an enrollment of 35,000, Oklahoma State is 12-12 (5-6) after defeating Iowa State 69-67 on Feb. 7 in Stillwater. The Cowboys are coached by Travis Ford who is 77-49 in his fourth season at OSU and 267-195 in his 15th season overall. OSU is 9-3 at home, 2-4 in road games and 1-5 on neutral courts in 2011-12. Oklahoma State, directly affected by injuries and departures this season, averages 66.8 points per game and gives up 66.4 points. The Cowboys, who have used 12 different starting lineups in 2011-12, average 5.9 three-point field goals made and 4.6 blocked shots per outing this season.

Senior guard Keiton Page leads OSU in scoring with 14.2 points per game. He also leads the team with 57 three-pointers made, 52 assists and an 82.6 free throw percentage. Page is second on the team with 29 steals. Freshman guard/forward Le'Bryan Nash is next in scoring at 13.4 points per game. He leads the team in league games with 15.5 ppg and averages 4.9 rebounds in all games this season.

Sophomore guard Markel Brown is second on the team with 5.2 rebounds per game to complement his 10.3 scoring average. He is second on the squad with 48 assists while leading OSU with 32 steals this season. Freshman guard/forward Brian Williams and freshman forward Michael Cobbins round out the OSU starters. Williams averages 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds, while Cobbins scores 5.1 points per outing, pulls down 5.4 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 34 blocked shots.

Junior center Philip Jurick (2.1 ppg, team-best 5.8 rpg and team-high 41 blocked shots) is listed day-to-day with an ankle injury. He has missed the last four games for OSU.

Freshman guard C.J. Guerrero is a top reserve who averages 5.6 points per game. Freshman forward/center Marek Soucek (1.2 ppg, 0.5 rpg) has been logging more minutes as of late due to Jurick's injury.

The Kansas-Oklahoma State Series

In a series that dates back to 1926, Kansas leads Oklahoma State 104-53, including a 57-10 record in meetings in Lawrence and a 42-8 record in Allen Fieldhouse. KU has won the last 15 meetings with OSU in Allen Fieldhouse dating back to the 1990 season. Since the 2004 season, Kansas narrowly leads the Oklahoma State in the series 7-4. Since the Big 12 Conference formed in 1996-97, KU holds a 15-6 series lead - 11-4 in regular-season play and 4-2 in the conference championship.

The six KU-OSU meetings in the Big 12 tourney make OSU the second-most team Kansas has faced in the event - behind Kansas State, whom KU has a 7-0 record against in the event. The winner of the last three KU-OSU meetings in the Big 12 Championship has gone on to win the title - OSU 78-75 in 2005 in Kansas City, KU 78-75 in Dallas in 2006 and KU 63-62 in Kansas City in 2011.

Team Notables

--Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 38.2, which is in the top 10 nationally. KU has led the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense in five of the last six seasons, all under head coach Bill Self.

--KU is second in the conference in rebound margin at +5.8. The Jayhawks have led the Big 12 in rebound margin in each of the last five seasons, all under Bill Self.

--Kansas has tied or outrebounded 20 of 24 opponents this season, including five of the last seven games. KU has seven games with a +10 rebound margin, including a season-best 50-26 (+24) vs. Kansas State (1/4) and a +16 (40-24) at Texas Tech (1/11).

--Six different Jayhawks - Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson, Conner Teahan, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey - have led Kansas in scoring through 23 games.

--KU has shot a higher percentage than 22 of 24 opponents this season. KU shot 51.1 percent at Baylor (2/8) and has shot 50 percent or better in each of its last three games and 11 times this season.

--Kansas has blocked five or more shots in 11 games this season, including a season-high 13 against Florida Atlantic (11/30). KU had 12 blocked shots against Long Beach State (12/6) and Texas A&M (1/23) and 10 versus Iowa State (1/14). KU ranks second in the Big 12 with 5.5 blocked shots per game.

--After its 68-54 win at No. 6 Baylor (2/8), Kansas is 4-3 against ranked teams in 2011-12, 30-11 versus ranked foes since 2006-07 and 39-21 against ranked foes under Bill Self (since 2003-04).

--Kansas has 114 dunks to its opponents' 38 through 24 games. Thomas Robinson leads KU with 54 dunks, while Jeff Withey has 22.

Player Notables

--Junior THOMAS ROBINSON, who recorded his Big 12-leading 17th double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds at No. 6 Baylor (2/8), has been mentioned on many national player of the year lists. He has three-straight double-doubles and eight DDs in 11 conference games. Robinson, who is 26-of-40 (65.0 percent) from the field in his last three games, has eight 20-point efforts this season. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Robinson had career highs with 30 points and 21 rebounds against North Dakota (12/31). It was the sixth 30-20 in Big 12 history and first at KU since 1961 (Wayne Hightower vs. Missouri). Robinson is the only player in the Big 12 Conference this season who is averaging a double-double with 17.8 ppg and 12.0 rpg. His 17 double-doubles, like his 12.0 rebounds per game, lead the Big 12 and both are second nationally. Robinson's 17.8 points are third in the league and he also ranks second in field goal percentage (54.8) and ninth in blocked shots (1.2).

--Senior TYSHAWN TAYLOR has averaged 20.3 points in his last three games, following his 19 points at No. 6 Baylor Wednesday. He scored 21 points at No. 4 Missouri (2/4) and 28 vs. Oklahoma (2/1). He had his first double-double of the season at ISU (1/28) with 16 points and 10 assists. Taylor had a career-high 28 points in back-to-back games against Iowa State (1/14) and Baylor (1/16). Named Big 12 Player of the Week Jan 16, he is second on the team with 17.0 points per game and leads KU in scoring in Big 12 games at 19.0 ppg. In all games, Taylor leads KU with 122 assists, 41 three-pointers made and a 45.1 three-point field goal percentage. Taylor's 17.0 points per game average is fifth in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is sixth in field goal percentage at 48.9, fourth in three-point field goal percentage at 45.1, tied for 14th in three-pointers made at 1.6, fifth in assists at 5.2 and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.4. Taylor underwent knee surgery on Dec. 11 but returned to start the Davidson contest on Dec. 19, when he scored 15 points and had seven assists.

--Junior JEFF WITHEY scored a career-high 25 points at No. 6 Baylor (2/8) and has scored in double figures in seven of his last eight games, including two double-doubles: 13 points, 11 rebounds against Iowa State (1/14) and 10 points, 10 rebounds versus Baylor (1/16). Withey leads the Big 12 with 3.0 blocked shots per game, which ranks in the top 15 nationally. He has a Big 12-best 37 blocked shots in conference play (3.4 bpg average). Withey has 12 games with 10-plus points scored and is also solid from the line with an 86.1 free throw percentage. Withey almost had a triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocked shots against Long Beach State (12/6). His nine blocked shots rank No. 2 on the KU single-game records list and were just one shy of the school record - Cole Aldrich's 10 against Dayton in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Withey has multiple blocks in 13 of his last 17 games and 16 overall contests in 2011-12. His 5.8 rebound average, which is second best on the KU team, is 13th in the Big 12 while his 86.1 free throw percentage is fifth in the conference.

--Junior TRAVIS RELEFORD, the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, has scored in double figures in 12 games this season, including two of his last four games: 12 points, six rebounds against Oklahoma (2/1) and 10 points at Iowa State (1/28). He is third on the team in scoring with 9.2 ppg in all games and 10.4 ppg in Big 12 contests. Releford opened Big 12 play with his first career double-double, recording 16 points and 11 rebounds against Kansas State (1/4). Both were career highs at the time. He then scored 28 points at Oklahoma (1/7). A lockdown defender, Releford is tied for 15th in the Big 12 with 1.2 steals per game.

--Junior ELIJAH JOHNSON had 11 points at No. 4 Missouri (2/4). He scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting at Iowa State (1/28). He has 10 games with 10 or more points this season, including four of his last eight contests. Johnson is third on the team with 37 three-pointers made and is the team leader with 38 steals. Johnson has started every game this season for KU and is second on the team in assists with 88. Johnson is ninth in the Big 12 in assists at 3.7, third in steals at 1.6 and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.9.

--Senior CONNER TEAHAN has made 38 three-pointers which is second most on the team and three behind Taylor's team-leading 41. He is 4-for-5 (80 percent) from beyond the arc in his last two games. Teahan scored a career-high 14 points versus LBSU (12/6) and has chipped in 13 points twice (at USC, 12/22 and vs. Howard, 12/29). Teahan is 13th in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 37.3 and tied for 14th in three-pointers made at 1.6.

--Junior KEVIN YOUNG scored seven points at Texas Tech (1/11) and again against Iowa State (1/14). He also pulled down seven rebounds at Texas Tech. Young's best performance of the season came against then-No. 2 Ohio State (12/10) with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He has pulled down four or more rebounds seven times this season. In 2011-12, Young is shooting 53.8 percent (28-for-52) from the field.

Taylor To Join Elite Company

Senior Tyshawn Taylor continues to etch his name into the Kansas career lists. A four-year starter, Kansas is 114-19 (85.7 percent) during Taylor's time in Lawrence with three Big 12 regular-season titles, two Big 12 Championship crowns and trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. His 111 all-time KU starts are 11th all-time at Kansas. Statistically, against Duke, Taylor became the 54th player in school history to record 1,000 points.

He currently sits 26th with 1,341 points. He is eighth on the KU all-time assists list with 511. Taylor also ranks 18th with 149 career steals and his 39.2 percent career three-point percentage is 16th best at Kansas. Once Taylor gets his next steal, he will be only the fourth player in KU history with the combination of at least 1,300 points, 500 assists and 150 steals in his career. He will join former KU greats Darnell Valentine (1,821 points, 609 assists, 336 steals), Kirk Hinrich (1,753 points, 668 assists, 206 steals) and Adonis Jordan (1,373 points, 568 points, 181 steals).

Up Next

Kansas will play on ESPN Big Monday at Kansas State on Feb. 13, at 8 p.m. The Jayhawks defeated the Wildcats 67-49 in the 2012 conference opener on Jan. 4, in Allen Fieldhouse. KU will then host Texas Tech on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. on the Big 12 Network.



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