JAYHAWKS CLOSE OUT NON-CONFERENCE PLAY AGAINST TEMPLE
Kansas closes out non-conference play when it hosts Temple out of the Atlantic 10 Conference on Sunday, Jan. 6, at 3:30 p.m. (Central), on CBS. The Jayhawks have won 10-straight games, which marks the 12th time in the 10-year Bill Self era that KU has won 10 consecutive games.
Ranked No. 6 in both the Dec. 31 polls, Kansas is 11-1 on the season after its 89-57 win against American on Dec. 29 to extend its homecourt winning streak to 29 games, which is second nationally. Coached by Bill Self, who is in his 10th season at KU with a 280-54 record for an 83.8 winning percentage, Kansas averages 78.4 points per game and is giving up 59.0 for a Big 12-leading +19.4 scoring margin. KU is outrebounding foes 38.8 to 33.0 and averages 7.3 steals, while also leading the conference in field goal percentage at 50.4 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 15.8 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 leads KU with 21 three-pointers made and is second on the KU team with 14 steals. Senior center Jeff Withey has two double-doubles in his last three games and leads Kansas in rebounding (7.9 rpg) and blocked shots at 4.9 bpg, which also leads the league and is second nationally.
Withey, the Dec. 3 Big 12 Player of the Week, has five double-doubles on the season and is scoring 13.8 points per outing. Senior guard Travis Releford has been on fire lately. Against American, Releford scored 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including a career-high 5-for-6 from three-point range. In his last four games, Releford is 9-for-11 from beyond the arc. The Nov. 26 Big 12 Player of the Week, Releford is scoring 13.3 points per game and leads KU with a 61.7 field goal percentage and 16 steals.
A Bob Cousy Award nominee, senior guard Elijah Johnson has a team-high 59 assists and is second on the team with 20 three-pointers made to complement his 10.1 scoring average. Senior forward Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters; he is scoring 6.5 points per game and is second on the team with 6.7 rebounds per outing.
Other KU regulars include freshman forward Perry Ellis (6.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg), sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe (5.0 ppg, 3.2 apg), redshirt freshman forward Jamari Traylor (2.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and freshman guard Andrew White III (4.4 ppg). Ellis is coming off his first collegiate career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds against American. Tharpe has 22 assists and no turnovers in his last four games, including a career-high 12 dimes against American.
Located in Philadelphia, Pa., with an enrollment of 39,000, Temple is 10-2 after defeating Bowling Green 75-57 on Dec. 31 in Philadelphia. The Owls are coached by Fran Dunphy who is 144-67 in his seventh season at Temple and 454-230 in his 24th season overall. Temple's win against Bowling Green was its 1,800th all-time victory. The Owls' 1,800 wins rank sixth in NCAA Division I history. Kansas is second on the list at 2,081.
Temple is 4-1 in its last five games, which includes a win against previously unbeaten Syracuse (83-79) in the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 22. The Owls average 71.6 points per game and give up 64.2 for a +7.3 scoring margin. Temple averages 15.3 free throws made, 8.7 steals and 15.5 assists per game, while shooting 22.3 three-pointers per game, making 31 percent from beyond the arc.
Senior guard Khalif Wyatt leads Temple with a 15.4 scoring average and 51 assists. He makes 4.7 free throws per game with an 83.6 free throw percentage. Senior guard/forward Scootie Randall is the team leader in rebounding at 7.4 boards per game and scores 12.8 points per outing. Randall also leads the team with 21 three-pointers made on the season.
Sophomore forward Anthony Lee averages 11.4 points per game and is second on the Temple team with 7.1 rebounds per contest and 11 blocked shots. Senior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson is second on the squad with 37 assists and 22 steals to complement his 9.1 scoring average. Sophomore guard Will Cummings rounds out the Temple starters. He leads the team with 23 steals and scores 5.7 points per game.
Coming off the bench, senior forward Jake O'Brien is second on the team with 20 three-pointers made. He averages 8.2 points per contest. Other Temple regulars include freshman guard Quenton DeCosey (3.5 ppg), senior guard T.J. DiLeo (3.2 ppg) and junior guard Dalton Pepper (2.5 ppg).
Kansas leads the overall series with Temple 7-3 as the teams last met in a home-and-home series during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Kansas won both those meetings: 71-59 on Dec. 20, 2008, in Allen Fieldhouse and 84-52 on Jan. 2, 2010, at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. Current KU seniors Elijah Johnson (four points, all free throws, four minutes) and Jeff Withey (two minutes, one rebound) played in the 2010 contest. This series dates back to 1940 when the Owls defeated the Jayhawks 40-35 in Philadelphia. Five of the 10 meetings have been played on neutral courts.
This is the third Atlantic 10 team Kansas has faced this season. The Jayhawks defeated St. Louis 73-59 on Nov. 20 in the title game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic and Richmond 87-59 on Dec. 18 in Allen Fieldhouse. KU is 45-13 all-time against current membership of the Atlantic 10 Conference and has faced 12 of the league's 16 teams.
IN THE POLLS
Kansas moved up to No. 6 in both the Associated Press poll and the USA Today Coaches' poll released Dec. 31. Dating back to the final three polls of the 2008-09 season, this marks the 66th-straight poll in which the Jayhawks have been ranked in the AP poll, including 56 times in the Top 10. In the coaches' poll, Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 71 polls, including 58 times in the Top 10.
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 (+19.4), field goal percentage (50.4), scoring margin (+19.4), three-point field goal percentage (37.8), assists (17.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). The Jayhawks also rank in the top four of the Big 12 in scoring (second, 78.4), field goal percentage defense (second, 34.7), free throw percentage (second, 73.7), rebound margin (third, +5.8) and made three-pointers (third, 6.6).
--Kansas has trailed in only four of 12 games this season.
--Over the last five contests, KU is averaging a 26.6-point scoring margin over its opponents.
--Kansas set a school record with 16 blocked shots against San Jose State (11/26).
--KU has outrebounded 10 of 12 opponents this season including a season-best 46-26 advantage against Richmond (12/18).
--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 seven games this season, including each of the last six contests.
--Kansas has posted a first-half double-digit lead in five of its last six games and in nine contests this season.
--Nine of Kansas' 11 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 each of the last seven games. 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 each of its last six games and leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 50.4 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 shooting 78.9 percent (56-for-71) from the field in his last nine games, including 64.0 percent (16-for-25) from three-point range. Redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore is making 60.0 percent of his three-pointers (15-for-25) in his last six games. Senior center Jeff Withey has shot 50 percent or better in 10 of his last 11 games, including six games at 62.5 percent or higher. He was 5-for-7 against American. Senior forward Kevin Young is 8-for-8 in his last three games and is making 69.7 percent of his shots (23-for-33) in his last six games.
Here are some block party notables for Kansas All-American candidate Jeff Withey:
--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 second in the nation with 4.9 blocked shots per game.
--Withey ranks fifth on the KU career blocked shots list with 224.
--For his career, Withey has had nine games with seven or more blocked shots.
--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).
MCLEMORE TOPS AMONG BIG 12 FRESHMEN
Kansas guard Ben McLemore leads the Big 12 freshman class with a 15.8 scoring average, which is second best overall in the conference. KU's leading scorer as well, McLemore has four games with 20 points or more this season: 22 at Ohio State (12/22), 24 vs. Colorado (12/8), 21 vs. Oregon State (11/30) and 25 vs. Chattanooga (11/15).
Kansas' single-season freshman average scoring record is 14.6 points by Danny Manning in 1985. McLemore's 5.5 rebounds would rank eighth on the KU freshman single-season list.
WINNING STREAKS IN THE Bill Self ERA
Kansas has won 10-straight games heading into the non-conference finale against Temple. The 10-consecutive victories mark the 12th time in the Bill Self era at KU that the Jayhawks have won 10 or more games in a row.
Streak - Season(s) - Dates
20-0 - 2007-08 - Nov. 9-Jan. 30
18-0 - 2010-11 - Nov. 12-Jan. 17
16-0 - 2007-08, 2008-09 - Feb. 27-Nov. 24
14-0 - 2009-10 - Nov. 13-Jan. 6
14-0 - 2006-07 - Feb. 7-March 22
14-0 - 2004-05 - Nov. 19-Jan. 19
13-0 - 2009-10 - Jan. 13-Feb. 22
11-0 - 2010-11 - Feb. 19-March 25
10-0 - 2012-13 - Nov. 15-active
10-0 - 2011-12 - Dec. 22-Jan. 23
10-0 - 2006-07 - Dec. 4-Jan. 15
10-0 - 2005-06 - Jan. 21-Feb. 21
ELLIS JOINS ELITE KU COMPANY
Freshman forward Perry Ellis recorded his first Kansas career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds against American on Dec. 29. Ellis also had a season-high two blocked shots versus the Eagles. Ellis' double-double was the 11th time a freshman has accomplished the feat in the 10-season Bill Self-era at Kansas: Brandon Rush (three in 2005-06), Darrell Arthur (two in 2006-07), Marcus Morris (two in 2008-09), Cole Aldrich (one in 2007-08), Thomas Robinson (one in 2009-10) and Tyshawn Taylor (one in 2008-09).
Kansas, eight-time defending Big 12 Conference regular-season champion, will open league play when it hosts Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 6 p.m. on ESPNU. KU will then play at Texas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Television Network before returning home to host nationally-ranked Baylor on ESPN's Big Monday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m.