Kansas (4-1) will host San Jose State (2-2) after winning the Edward Jones CBE Hall of Fame Classic two days before Thanksgiving. The KU-San Jose State contest will begin at 8 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU. Kansas has won three straight heading into the game, while San Jose State brings a two-game winning streak to Allen Fieldhouse.
Ranked No. 12 (AP)/11 (coaches) in the Nov. 19 polls, Kansas is 4-1 on the season after having won the Edward Jones CBE Hall of Fame Classic Nov. 19-20 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. KU defeated Washington State, 78-41, and Saint Louis, 73-59, in the championship rounds of the event.
KU senior Travis Releford was named the Classic's Most Valuable Player as he averaged 20 points in the two KU wins, including a season-high 23 against SLU. He was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Jeff Withey and Ben McLemore.
Coached by Bill Self, who is in his 10th season at KU with a 273-54 record for an 83.5 winning percentage, Kansas averages 71.6 points per game and is giving up 55.4 for a +16.2 scoring margin. KU is outrebounding foes 37.6 to 32.4 and averages 7.4 steals and a Big 12-leading 8.8 blocked shots per game. McLemore, a redshirt freshman, leads Kansas in scoring with 14.0 points per game. He also is tied for second on the team with 13 assists and six three-pointers made. He averages 6.2 rebounds per game.
Withey is next in scoring at 13.8 ppg and he leads the team with 8.0 rebounds per game and the Big 12 with 5.0 blocked shots per contest. Withey tied his career high with 25 points against Saint Louis (11/20) and has two double-doubles this season. Releford is next in scoring at 11.8 points per game. He leads Kansas in steals (8) and in free throw percentage (88.2 percent). Senior guard Elijah Johnson has a team-high 20 assists and nine three-pointers made to complement his 10.2 scoring average.
Senior forward Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters. He is scoring 3.0 points per game and is second on the team with 6.3 rebounds per outing. Other KU regulars include freshman forward Perry Ellis (7.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg), sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe (5.2 ppg, 13 assists) and redshirt freshman forward Jamari Traylor (3.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg).
ABOUT SAN JOSE STATE
Located in San Jose, Calif., with an enrollment of 26,796, San Jose State is 2-2 on the season after its 94-54 home win versus UC Santa Cruz on Nov. 20. The Spartans are members of the Western Athletic Conference and are coached by George Nessman who is 79-143 in his eighth season at SJSU. Through four games, San Jose State averages 76.2 points and is giving up 67.5 for a +8.8 scoring margin. The Spartans are outrebounding foes 39.5 to 34.2, average 8.5 steals and 6.3 threes per game. In their two losses, the Spartans lost by four at New Orleans (72-68 on Nov. 9) and two versus Houston (77-75 on Nov. 13).
SJSU is led by senior guard James Kinney who is averaging 21.0 points to go along with 6.5 rebounds. Kinney leads the team with 11 steals and is second with seven three-point field goals made. Sophomore guard Nick Grieves played in his first game of the season against UC Santa Cruz and had 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting, all from three-point range, in 11 minutes. Junior forward Chris Cunningham leads the team with 9.0 rebounds per game to go along with his 12.0 scoring average. Sophomore guard D.J. Brown is also scoring 12.0 points per game and he has a team-high nine three-pointers made and 14 assists.
Other San Jose State starters include junior center Alex Brown (6.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and senior guard Chris Jones (3.3 ppg, five steals). Senior guard LaVenne Pennington is a top reserve who averages 5.3 points per game. Spartans who also see regular playing time include sophomore forward Stephen Smith (4.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg), Louis Garrett (3.3 ppg) and junior guard Xavier Jones (4.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg).
THE KU-SJSU SERIES
Kansas and San Jose State are meeting for the first time in men's basketball. SJSU and Oregon State (Nov. 30), are the only teams on this season's schedule that KU has not previously played in men's hoops. Kansas is 16-3 against current members of the Western Athletic Conference: 5-2 vs. Utah State, 3-1 vs. Denver, 2-0 vs. Idaho and New Mexico State, and 1-0 vs. Louisiana Tech, Seattle, Texas-Arlington and Texas-San Antonio.
In the Polls
Kansas is ranked No. 12 in the Associated Press poll and No. 11 the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll released Nov. 19. Dating back to the final three polls of the 2008-09 season, this marks the 60th-straight poll in which the Jayhawks have been ranked in the AP poll, which includes 50 times in the Top 10. In the coaches' poll, Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 65 polls, including 52 times in the Top 10.
Kansas will face Oregon State in the BMO Harris Bank Kansas City Shootout at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m.. The game is part of the KU home ticket package and will air on Jayhawk IMG Television. KU will then return to Allen Fieldhouse to host former Big 12 foe Colorado on Saturday, December 8 at 1 p.m. on ESPN2. The KU-CU contest will be the first of three straight home contests for the Jayhawks.