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January 6, 2010

Kansas, Cornell set to battle

Kansas was dominant in its toughest test of the season, even though it didn't have the comfort of playing at Allen Fieldhouse.

After remaining undefeated with an impressive road victory, the top-ranked Jayhawks look to extend the nation's longest home winning streak to 51 in a matchup with Cornell on Wednesday night.

Kansas (13-0) was again the runaway No. 1 team this week, proving worthy of that position with an 84-52 win at then-No. 18 Temple on Saturday. It was the Jayhawks' first matchup with a ranked opponent this season, but the ninth time they beat a team by at least 25 points.

Though it was facing one of the country's best defensive squads, Kansas had little trouble scoring. The Jayhawks shot 53.4 percent over their last five contests.

They have averaged 92.3 points in 10 games at home.

After hosting Cornell (12-2), Kansas visits No. 16 Tennessee on Sunday before opening Big 12 play at Nebraska on Jan. 13. While the Jayhawks shouldn't overlook the Big Red, winners of 10 straight, they are 13-0 versus the Ivy League - 2-0 against Cornell - and have shown no signs of slowing down.

Kansas shot 54.5 percent against Temple, which came into the game allowing 54.2 points a contest.

Jayhawks freshman Xavier Henry had a game-high 15 points after being held to a career-low eight in an 81-51 win over Belmont on Dec. 29. He is averaging a team-high 16.3 points and shooting 46.0 percent from 3-point range.

While Henry and Sherron Collins lead Kansas' backcourt, Marcus Morris and Cole Aldrich have improved their post play. Morris is averaging 16.0 points in his last four games after scoring 7.6 in his previous five contests.

"One of my major things was to get better," Morris said.

Aldrich averaged 11.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.7 blocks in the last 13 games following a slow start. The 6-foot-11 junior has helped Kansas hold opponents to 58.1 points per game.

The Jayhawks lead the nation in scoring margin, beating teams by an average of 29.4 points. They are one of the best shooting teams in the country from 3-point range, making 42.9 percent.

Kansas ranks just behind Cornell in that category. The Big Red have made 43.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Cornell, off to the best start in its history through 14 games, went 12 of 23 from 3-point range in a 75-49 win over Bryant on Saturday. None of the Big Red's starters played more than 20 minutes.

Ryan Wittman had another big game for Cornell, going 5 for 5 from beyond the arc and 7 for 7 overall to finish with a game-high 19 points in 14 minutes. The senior forward has been named the Ivy League's player of the week for the fourth time this season.

Wittman is averaging 18.9 points on the season and is a career 43.4 percent shooter from 3-point range. He had 19 points in an 88-73 loss to then-No. 10 Syracuse on Nov. 24, Cornell's last defeat.

The Big Red have lost 16 straight to ranked opponents, are 0-3 against top-ranked teams and 0-10 against current members of the Big 12.



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