The Belmont Bruins return one starter off last year's 20-13 team.
Belmont, which enters the Phog at 7-4 (2-0 in Atlantic Sun Conference),
had won six straight games before losing its last two contests to Saint
Louis (75-67) and Eastern Illinois (63-60) on Dec. 19.
Head coach Rick Byrd's Bruins average 76.9 points per game while
allowing 70.7. Belmont shoots 47.6 percent from the field, 35.2 percent
beyond the arc, and 67 percent at the free-throw line. BU, which is
located in Nashville, Tenn., holds foes to just 40.1 percent field goal
shooting and 29.5 percent from three-point range, while slightly
outrebounding opponents 37.0 to 36.0 per game.
The Bruins, who run a motion offense, love to shoot the three ball and
also attack the basket. They average 21.5 three-point attempts and 25.6
free-throw attempts per game
Six-foot-nine sophomore forward/center Mick Hedgepeth leads Belmont
with 13 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, while adding a team-high nine
blocks. He's followed in scoring by 6-9 senior forward Keaton Belcher
(12.5 ppg, team-high 25 treys), 6-3 freshman guard Ian Clark (12.5
ppg., 10 steals, 24 assists), 6-10 sophomore forward/center Scott Saunders (9.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg), 6-1 freshman guard Kerron Johnson (7.5
ppg, 33 assists, team-best 12 steals), 6-5 junior guard/forward Jordan Campbell (7.2 ppg), 6-6 junior guard/forward Jon House (7.0 ppg) and
5-11 sophomore guard Drew Hanlen (4.7 ppg, team-high 46 assists).
COACH BYRD ONE OF THE BEST
Byrd may not be a household name, but he is one of the winningest
coaches in the country. He entered this season ranking No. 11 among
active NCAA Division I head coaches in wins. Byrd has recorded a
476-265 record in his 24th season at Belmont, and is 568-329 in his
29th season overall. Only six head coaches in the nation have had
longer tenures at their respective schools.
Byrd has led Belmont to four straight 20-plus wins season and
postseason berths. The Bruins appeared in the CollegeInsider.com
Postseason Tournament last year.
Kansas is 11-0 for the third time under head coach Bill Self. Other
Self's teams which started 11-0 are the 2004-05 squad (14-0) and the
2007-08 national championship team (20-0). The Jayhawks, who've won
1,980 games all time, are one of just six undefeated teams in NCAA
Division I, along with Kentucky, Purdue, Syracuse, Texas and West Virginia.
Sophomore forward Marcus Morris has averaged 18.5 points in his last
two games. He scored a career-high 23 points against Michigan on Dec.
19, while adding 14 vs. California on Dec. 22. Morris is third on the
team in scoring at 11.4 points per game, and second in rebounding with
Morris, who started the last nine contests, is averaging 24.1 minutes
per game, up from 18.5 minutes per game last season. Morris tied his
career high with 32 minutes against Michigan, while logging 31 minutes
Morris has earned Self's trust with more playing time.
"It does mean a lot," Morris said after the California game. "I feel
like (Self) trusts me a lot more, that he can leave me in there for
more minutes. It's not just this game; he does it all the time. During
practice and during the beginning of the year, I think I have earned my
trust with him."
After losing his starting spot against Radford on Dec. 9, sophomore
guard Tyshawn Taylor has bounced back the past four games with 24
assists and just two turnovers. Taylor, who's started the last two
games against Michigan and California, ranks tied for 10th in the Big
12 in steals at 12.6, tied for seventh in assists at 4.3 and sixth in
assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8.
He's coming off one of the best games of his career against Cal,
posting 13 points (6-8 FG), seven assists and two steals, while
committing just one turnover in 28 minutes.
SHARING THE WEALTH
Through 11 games, eight different Jayhawks, including ties, have led
the team in steals, seven in points and six in assists. KU has four
players scoring in double figures, led by freshman Xavier Henry (17.2
ppg), senior Sherron Collins (14.2 ppg), Marcus Morris (11.4 ppg) and
junior Cole Aldrich (11.2 ppg).
Last year's team had just two players average in double figures with
Collins (18.9 ppg) and Aldrich (14.9 ppg).
REMEMBERING NO. 700
Fifty-eight years ago on Dec. 29, 1951, Kansas won its 700th game in
program history with a 75-65 victory over Missouri in the Big Seven
Holiday Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. The 1951-52 team won its first
13 games en route to a 28-3 record and national championship. Senior
Clyde Lovellette (28.6 ppg) became the only player in history to win a
NCAA title and lead the nation in scoring during the same season.
#1 KU Welcomes Belmont Tonight
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