KU hoops notebook: Mario Little scores eight in return

Tyshawn Taylor up for Bob Cousy Award

Little’s return

Kansas University senior guard/forward Mario Little scored eight points off 3-of-8 shooting and grabbed four rebounds while playing 19 minutes.

He had missed the past six games while on suspension.

“It was good to be back out there. First, I want to thank everybody who supported me, helping me get through this,” he said. He recently received diversion for his role in a disturbance in mid-December.

“The coaching staff, my teammates, the administration for not giving up on me. It was fun to be back out there with my teammates.”

Little entered at the 16:10 mark of the first half. He swished a three on his first shot attempt.

“I was surprised how early I got in the game. I wanted to let the game come to me,” Little said.

Of Little’s performance, KU coach Bill Self said: “I thought he played well. He made a couple bad plays. This is a bad game for Jeff (Withey, who didn’t play). If we play Jeff, you can’t switch ball screens. We thought it was important to do that. Thomas’ foul trouble … Mario really bailed us out. I thought he did a good job.”

Thomas Robinson had two points and three fouls in just six minutes.

Taylor up for award

KU junior Tyshawn Taylor has been named one of 20 finalists for the 2011 Bob Cousy Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Wednesday.

The Cousy Award is given to college basketball’s top point guard and is named after Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtics standout Bob Cousy. An original list of 70-plus candidates was trimmed by a Hall of Fame-appointed, nationally based committee to the list of 20.

Other Jayhawks who have been Bob Cousy Award finalists: Sherron Collins in 2009 and 2010, Aaron Miles in 2005 and Russell Robinson in 2007.

Other finalists: Jacob Pullen, Kansas State; Kevin Anderson, Richmond; Norris Cole, Cleveland State; Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech; Corey Fisher, Villanova; Jimmer Fredette, BYU; D.J. Gay, San Diego State; Tu Holloway, Xavier, Scoop Jardine, Syracuse; Brandon Knight, Kentucky; Kalin Lucas, Michigan State; Demetri McCarney, Illinois; Mickey McConnell, St. Mary’s; Nolan Smith, Duke; Isaiah Thomas, Washington; Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin; Kemba Walker, UConn; Casper Ware, Long Beach State; and Chris Wright, Georgetown.

Releford on mend

Self said Travis Releford (ankle sprain) likely would return to practice Friday and, if all goes well, should play Saturday versus Nebraska.

Stats, facts

KU has won 20 consecutive conference openers. … Self’s teams are 13-2 versus ISU. … KU has won 11 straight versus the Cyclones and seven straight in Hilton Coliseum. … KU hit just five of 19 threes; ISU made nine of 32. … ISU made 10 of 10 free throws; KU 19 of 31. Markieff Morris made just five of 11 from the line. Marcus Morris was 11-of-14. … KU will meet Nebraska at 1 p.m. Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.