#1 KU Welcomes Belmont Tonight

News, notes and quotes on No.1 KU's matchup with Belmont tonight (8:00) at Allen Fieldhouse on ESPNU. Mitch Holthus and Rich Zvosec will call the action.


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).


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 5.9 rpg.

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 vs. California.

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.


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).


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.

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