CONFERENCE ROAD OPENER
No. 6/6 Kansas, eight-time defending Big 12 Conference regular-season champion, continues league play in its first Big 12 road game at Texas Tech, Saturday, Jan. 12, at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Television Network. Kansas (13-1, 1-0) takes a 12-game winning streak into the TTU contest and is looking to go 2-0 in Big 12 play for the seventh-straight season and 17th time in the last 18 seasons, dating back to 1995-96 and the Big Eight Conference days. Texas Tech (8-5, 1-1) is looking to rebound from an 82-48 loss to Baylor on Jan. 8.
Kansas, ranked No. 6 in both the Jan. 7 polls, is 13-1 on the season after defeating Iowa State, 97-89 in overtime, on Jan. 9.
Coached by Bill Self, who is in his 10th season at KU with a 282-54 record for an 83.9 winning percentage, Kansas averages 79.1 points per game and is giving up 61.4 for a Big 12-leading +17.7 scoring margin. KU is outrebounding foes 39.8 to 33.3 and averages 6.9 steals, while also leading the conference in field goal percentage at 49.9 and blocked shots at 8.1.
Kansas starts four seniors, including three fifth-year seniors, and one freshman. Redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring at 16.9 points per game, which leads all Big 12 freshmen and ranks second overall in the conference. The Dec. 24 Big 12 Rookie of the Week, McLemore scored 33 points against Iowa State (1/9) on 10-of-12 shooting including the game-tying three-pointer to send the game into overtime. His 33 points are the most by a KU freshman since Danny Manning scored 35 points against Oklahoma State in 1985. McLemore leads KU with 28 three-pointers made and is tied with senior guard Travis Releford for the team lead with 16 steals.
Senior center Jeff Withey has two double-doubles in his last four games. He leads Kansas in rebounding (8.4 rpg) and blocked shots at 5.1 bpg, which ranks first nationally. Withey, the Dec. 3 Big 12 Player of the Week, has six double-doubles on the season and is scoring 13.5 points per outing. Releford has been on fire lately. In his last 11 games, Releford is shooting 73.2 percent from the field, including 62.1 percent from three-point range. The Nov. 26 Big 12 Player of the Week, Releford is scoring 13.3 points per game and leads KU with a 62.9 field goal percentage.
A Bob Cousy Award nominee, senior guard Elijah Johnson has a team-high 78 assists after his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists against Iowa State. Johnson is second on the team with 23 three-pointers made to complement his 10.1 scoring average. Senior forward Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters; he is scoring 7.5 points per game and is second on the team with 7.4 rebounds per outing. Young has double-doubles in each of his last two games.
Other KU regulars include freshman forward Perry Ellis (5.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg), sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe (5.3 ppg, 2.8 apg), redshirt freshman forward Jamari Traylor (2.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg) and freshman guard Andrew White III (4.0 ppg). Tharpe has 23 assists and just three turnovers in his last six games.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH
Located in Lubbock, Texas, with an enrollment of 32,611, Texas Tech is 8-5 overall and 1-1 in Big 12 play after its 82-48 loss to Baylor on Jan. 8. The Red Raiders are coached by Chris Walker who is 8-5 in his first season as interim head coach.
Texas Tech is 7-5 at home in the United Spirit Arena, averages 73.2 points per game and gives up 70.4 points for a +2.8 scoring margin. The Red Raiders also average 36.7 rebounds per game and are outrebounding foes by 3.6 boards per contest. Texas Tech leads the Big 12 in steals per game at 9.5.
Redshirt junior forward Jaye Crockett leads Texas Tech with a 14.8 scoring average, which ranks fifth in the Big 12. His 8.5 rebounds per game are also a team high while are third in the conference and his 56.7 percent field goal percentage is second in the league. Crockett will vie for Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year as he has only one start in 2012-13.
Freshman guard Josh Gray leads Texas Tech with 28 steals and 36 assists and averages 10.0 points per game. His 2.2 steals per game are second in the Big 12. Redshirt junior forward Dejan Kravic leads the team with 21 blocked shots. He is shooting 57.1 percent from the field (which does not meet the minimum Big 12 attempts) and averages 9.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest. Sophomore forward Jordan Tolbert is second on the squad a 6.0 rebounding average and with 15 blocked shots to complement his 8.4 scoring average. He, too, is shooting above 50 percent from the field at 52.4 percent.
Freshman guard Dusty Hannahs leads Tech with 21 three-pointers made and his 43.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc is third in the league. Sophomore guard Trency Jackson is also a starter who is scoring 6.6 points per contest and is second on the team with 11 three-pointers made. Other Tech regulars include junior guard Daylen Robinson (5.1 ppg, second on the team with 20 steals) and senior guard Ty Nurse (1.3 ppg).
Kansas leads the overall series with Texas Tech 22-4 as the Jayhawks have won five straight and six of the last seven meetings. KU leads the overall series played in Lubbock, 8-4, and is 4-3 in games played in the United Spirit Arena. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1997, Kansas is 15-4 against Texas Tech - 13-4 in regular-season match-ups and 2-0 in conference championship meetings. The first meeting between the two schools took place in Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 7, 1959, a KU 85-71 victory.
Kansas-IOWA STATE Leftovers
--The win was KU's 12th straight.
--Kansas has won its last 22 conference openers, dating back to the 1991-92 season.
--The win was KU's seventh-straight league-opening win at Allen Fieldhouse.
--It was the Jayhawks' eighth-straight win over Iowa State in Lawrence.
--The victory extended KU's homecourt winning streak to 31 games.
--Kansas has won five-straight overtime games dating back to an 89-81 loss to Syracuse on Nov. 25, 2008.
--KU's 97 points were a season high and the most since KU tallied 100 points against Towson on Nov. 11, 2011.
--Kansas set season highs in points (97), free throws made (27) and free throws attempted (38).
--Iowa State's 89 points were the most by a Kansas opponent since Syracuse scored 89 in an overtime win on Nov. 25, 2008. It was the most points scored by a visiting team in Allen Fieldhouse since Baylor scored 90 in a 100-90 loss on Feb. 9, 2008.
--Kansas put a season-high five players in double figures, the most since the team had five in double digits against North Carolina in last season's NCAA Tournament.
--Freshman G Ben McLemore scored a career-high 33 points, which ranked the most by a Jayhawk since Marcus Morris tallied 33 points against Iowa State on Jan. 12, 2011.
--McLemore's 33 points are the most points scored in a game this season in the Big 12 Conference for all players.
--McLemore's 33 points were the most by a Kansas freshman since Danny Manning scored 35 points against Oklahoma State on March 2, 1985.
--McLemore connected on 6-of-6 three-point field goal attempts, marking the best three-point field goal percentage since Rex Walters went 6-for-6 from beyond the arc against Ball State in 2003.
--McLemore also hit 7-for-7 free throws, the most free throws without a miss since Tyshawn Taylor went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe against Texas on March 3 of last season.
--McLemore set career highs in points (33), field goals (10) and three-point field goals (six).
--Seniors C Jeff Withey (15 points, 12 rebounds), F Kevin Young (10 points, 12 rebounds) and G Elijah Johnson (12 points, 10 assists) all recorded double-doubles in the game. It was the first time since 2002 that KU has had three double-doubles in a single game, when Nick Collison, Wayne Simien and Keith Langford all accomplished the feat against Florida.
--Johnson's 10 assists were a career high.
--Withey recorded his sixth double-double of the season and 12th of his career.
--Young collected a double-double for the second-straight game. His 12 rebounds were a career high.
--Senior G Travis Releford scored 12 points in the game, marking his 11th-straight game in double figures.
KANSAS TEAM NOTABLES
--Kansas is second in NCAA Division I and first in the Big 12 in blocked shots at 8.1 per game and also leads the conference in scoring margin (+17.7), field goal percentage (49.9), three-point field goal percentage (38.0), assists (17.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). The Jayhawks also rank in the top four of the Big 12 in scoring (second, 79.9), field goal percentage defense (second, 34.9), free throw percentage (second, 74.3), rebound margin (third, +6.5) and made three-pointers (third, 6.6).
--Kansas has trailed in only five of 13 games this season.
--Over the last seven contests, KU is averaging a 21.1-point scoring margin over its opponents.
--Kansas set a school record with 16 blocked shots against San Jose State (11/26). The Jayhawks have had 10-plus blocked shots in three games this season.
--KU has outrebounded 12 of 14 opponents this season including its last eight foes. KU has had four games with 10-plus rebounds over its opponent.
--Kansas has outshot all but one opponent in 2012-13. Only Michigan State outshot KU this year (52.1 to 50.0 percent). Additionally, KU has shot 50 percent or better in eight games this season, including seven of the last eight contests.
--Kansas has posted a first-half double-digit lead in five of its last eight games and in nine contests this season.
--Nine of Kansas' 13 wins have been by 13 or more points.
--Kansas has held a 40-plus point lead in four different games this season.
--Kansas had four players score in double figures in eight of the last nine games, including five against Iowa State (1/9). Eight different players have made that happen: Ellis, Johnson, McLemore, Releford, Tharpe, White, Withey and Young.
KANSAS SHOOTING THE BALL WELL LATELY
Kansas has shot 50 percent or better from the field in seven of its last eight games and leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 49.9 percent. Included was a season-high 63.0 percent effort against American (12/29) and a 60 percent game versus Oregon State (11/30). Individually, senior guard Travis Releford is 60-for-82 (73.2 percent) from the field in his last 11 games and 23-for-29 (79.3 percent) in his last four contests.
Also in his last four outings, Releford is 9-for-13 (69.2 percent) from three-point range. Redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore has shot 50 percent or better from three-point range in five of his last six games, including a 6-for-6 effort against Iowa State (1/9). In his last six games, McLemore is 36-for-61 (59.0 percent) from the field.
Senior center Jeff Withey has shot 50 percent or better in 11 of 14 games this season, including seven games at 60 percent or higher. Senior forward Kevin Young is 18-for-28 (64.3 percent) in his last five games.
IN THE POLLS
Kansas remained at No. 6 in both the Associated Press poll and the USA Today Coaches' poll released Jan. 7. Dating back to the final three polls of the 2008-09 season, this marks the 67th-straight poll in which the Jayhawks have been ranked in the AP poll, including 57 times in the Top 10. In the coaches' poll, Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 72 polls, including 59 times in the Top 10.
Here are some block party notables for Kansas All-American candidate Jeff Withey:
--The 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Withey set the KU and Big 12 single-game record with 12 blocked shots versus San Jose State (11/26).
--Withey leads the Big 12 and is lead the nation with 5.1 blocked shots per game. KU's record for single-season blocked shot average is 3.6 set by Withey in 2012.
--Withey ranks fifth on the KU career blocked shots list with 236.
--For his career, Withey has had 10 games with seven or more blocked shots, including three in 2012-13.
--Withey broke the NCAA Tournament record for blocked shots with 31 in the 2012 event.
--Withey broke the Kansas and Big 12 single-season blocked shots record with 140 last year (3.6 per game). He became only the second Jayhawk to pass 100 blocked shots for a single season (125, Cole Aldrich in 2009-10).
--His 71 blocked shots in 2012-13 already rank 11th on the school's single-season list and he is seven swats from moving into eighth place.
MCLEMORE TOPS AMONG BIG 12 FRESHMEN
Kansas guard Ben McLemore leads the Big 12 freshman class with a 16.9 scoring average, which is second best overall in the conference. KU's leading scorer as well, McLemore has five games with 20 points or more this season, including a 33-point effort against Iowa State (1/9) in the Big 12 opener.
Kansas' single-season freshman average scoring record is 14.6 points by Danny Manning in 1985. McLemore's 5.3 rebounds would rank eighth on the KU freshman single-season list.
HUDY HONORED AS NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR
Kansas' Andrea Hudy, the Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Performance, was named the National College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) on Jan. 4. Hudy received her award at the annual NSCA Coaches Conference (Jan. 4-5) in Nashville, Tenn.
Kansas concludes its four games in nine days by returning home to host Baylor on ESPN's Big Monday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m. The Jayhawks will then travel to Texas to take on the Longhorns on Saturday, Jan. 19, for a 1 p.m. contest on CBS.