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November 30, 2011Kansas Returns Home
After a four-game stretch against BCS competition away from Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas (3-2) returns home following the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational to take on Florida Atlantic (FAU), Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. The Jayhawks fell to then-No. 6 Duke, 68-61, in a classic preseason tournament battle in the Maui Invitational championship game (Nov. 23). FAU is 3-4 on the season following its 68-55 loss at South Florida on Nov. 26. Kansas will host South Florida in its next game on Dec. 3.
No. 15/14 Kansas is 3-2 on the season after its 68-61 loss to No. 6 Duke in the championship game of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. The Jayhawks defeated Georgetown, 67-63, in the quarterfinals of the event and UCLA, 72-56, in the semifinals. Both of Kansas' losses this season have been to teams ranked sixth or higher. Kansas averages 73.0 points per game and allows 63.2 for a +9.8 scoring margin. KU is outrebounding foes by 5.6 per game and averages 14.6 assists per contest.
KU is led by junior forward Thomas Robinson and senior guard Tyshawn Taylor who both average 16.0 points per contest. Robinson, an all-tournament selection at the Maui Invitational, averages a double-double with his 12.0 rebounds per game this season. Robinson has five double-doubles in five games for the Jayhawks in 2011-12. Taylor is tied for the team lead, along with junior guard Elijah Johnson, with 19 assists. His six three-pointers made are tied for second on the team. Taylor scored his 1,000th career point against Duke in Kansas' last game.
Johnson scored a career-high 23 points against UCLA (Nov. 22) and averages 11.6 points per game. He also leads the team with 10 three-pointers made and 10 steals. Rounding out the KU starters are juniors Travis Releford and Jeff Withey. A guard, Releford averages 8.0 points per game and is second on the team with eight steals. Withey, KU's center, is coming off his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds against No. 6 Duke. He averages 7.8 points and is second on the team with 6.4 rebounds per outing.
Withey leads KU with 11 blocked shots. Senior guard Conner Teahan scores 5.6 points per game and has made six three-pointers. Sophomore Justin Wesley is 5-for-7 (71.4 percent) from the field through five games with a 3.0 ppg scoring average. Junior forward Kevin Young (3.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (1.6 ppg, seven assists) are the other KU regulars.
About Florida Atlantic
Located in Boca Raton, Fla., with an enrollment of 28,000, Florida Atlantic is 3-4 on the season. FAU lost at South Florida (USF), KU's Dec. 3 opponent, on Nov. 26, 68-55. Last season, Florida Atlantic won the Sun Belt Conference championship and FAU is the preseason pick to win the league in 2011-12. Six of Florida Atlantic's seven games have been decided by seven points or less. The Owls share the ball well, averaging 14.5 assists per contest.
Junior guard Greg Gantt leads FAU in scoring with 14.7 points per game. He is second on the team with 15 three-pointers made and is tied for second on the team with six steals. Junior forward Kore White and freshman guard Omari Grier are next in scoring at 10.4 points per contest each. White leads the Owls with 5.9 rebounds per contest and is second on the team with 15 blocked shots. Grier comes off the bench and has a team-high 17 three-pointers.
Joining Gantt and White in the starting lineup are sophomore guard Pablo Bertone (10.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg), junior guard Raymond Taylor (7.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 36 assists) and freshman forward Kelvin Penn (2.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg and a team-high 17 blocked shots). Gantt and Taylor were preseason All-Sun Belt Conference First Team selections.
Senior guard Shavar Richardson (5.6 ppg), senior guard Alex Tucker (4.1 ppg, 32 assists) and junior forward Jordan McCoy (2.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg) round out the FAU regulars.
The Kansas-Florida Atlantic Series
Kansas won the only previous meeting with Florida Atlantic, 87-49, on Nov. 27, 2007. Brandon Rush led KU with 17 points, while Darnell Jackson scored 13 points, Darrell Arthur 12 and Mario Chalmers 11 in the win. The Jayhawks went on to post a 37-3 record, win the Big 12 regular-season and postseason championships, advance to their 13th Final Four and win the NCAA National Championship.
--Kansas outrebounded Duke 35-29 in its last game. The Jayhawks have outrebounded each of their last four opponents.
--Three different Jayhawks - Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson - have led Kansas in scoring through five games.
--Kansas has shot 77 percent or better from the free throw line in three of its last four games. Kansas is third in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 74.8 percent.
--KU has blocked four or more shots in four of five games this season.
--Kansas forces 16 turnovers per game and its +2.8 turnover margin is third in the Big 12.
--Junior THOMAS ROBINSON leads the Big 12 in rebounds with 12.0 boards per contest. Robinson is tied for fourth in the league in scoring at 16.0 ppg, is 10th in field goal percentage at 48.5 percent and tied for 12th in blocked shots at 1.0 per contest.
--Senior TYSHAWN TAYLOR is averaging 19.5 points against ranked teams this season - 22 vs. Kentucky and 17 vs. Duke. Taylor is tied with Robinson in scoring at 16.0 ppg, which is fourth in the Big 12. Taylor and Elijah Johnson are tied for ninth in the league in assists per game with a 3.8 average.
--Junior ELIJAH JOHNSON has had at least one steal in every game this season and multiple steals in three contests. Johnson is tied for ninth in the Big 12 in assists, along with teammate Tyshawn Taylor, at 3.8 per game. His 2.0 three-pointers made per game are tied for ninth in the league and his 33.3 percent three-pointer made are tied for 15th in the conference.
--Junior JEFF WITHEY had five blocked shots in the Maui Invitational and leads KU with 11 rejections this season. Withey ranks fifth in the Big 12 with 2.2 blocked shots per game and his 6.4 rebound average is 14th in the conference.
--Junior TRAVIS RELEFORD had a season-high five rebounds against Duke (11/23). He is 4-for-4 from the free throw line this season and his 1.6 steals per game are 10th in the Big 12.
Robinson Named Big 12 Player of the Week
Kansas junior forward Thomas Robinson was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week Nov. 28. He earned the honor for games of Nov. 21-27 in voting by a panel of media covering the conference. It is the first career weekly honor for Robinson. Robinson led Kansas to a 2-1 record at the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, with wins over Georgetown (67-63) and UCLA (72-56) before the Jayhawks fell to No. 6 Duke (68-61) in the event's title game. Robinson averaged 17.0 points and 12.3 rebounds, notching a double-double in each contest for the Jayhawks. He shot 50 percent (20-of-40) from the field and connected on 11-of-17 (.647) free throws while adding four assists and two steals. Robinson tied his career-high against the Hoyas, finishing with 20 points. He also posted a career-best rebounding total with 15 versus the Blue Devils.
Taylor Reaches 1,000 Career Points
While playing Duke (11/23) in the Maui Invitational, Kansas senior guard Tyshawn Taylor became the 54th player in school history to score 1,000 points during his career. Taylor enters the Florida Atlantic game with 1,013 points, 52nd on the school list. Also in Hawaii, Taylor became the 14th player in school history to record 400 career assists. He currently has 408 assists, which is 14th on the KU career assists list. Taylor also ranks 24th on the Kansas all-time steals list with 124.
Robinson Also Carving Name in KU Record Book
Kansas junior forward Thomas Robinson notched his fifth-straight and 10th career double-double (DD) with 16 points and 15 rebounds against No. 6 Duke in the title game of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, earning all-tourney honors. Robinson's five-straight double-doubles are tied for third on the consecutive DDs list at Kansas with the record being seven set twice before by Raef LaFrentz (1998) and Drew Gooden (2002). Robinson is the first Jayhawk to record five-straight DDs since All-American Wayne Simien did it in 2005. Robinson's 10 career DDs are tied for 23rd most in KU history.
In the Polls
Kansas is ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press and No. 14 the ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls released Nov. 28. KU has been ranked in each of the last 51 Associated Press polls dating back to the 2008-09 season. Included are 39 times when the Jayhawks have appeared in the AP Top 10. KU has been ranked in each of the last 52 coaches polls with 42 appearances in the Top 10.
Kansas continues its five-game homestand on Saturday, Dec. 3, when it plays host to South Florida. Tip from Allen Fieldhouse for the KU-USF game is set for 4:15 p.m. (Central) and will be televised on ESPN2. KU will then host Long Beach State on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m. on ESPNU and Ohio State on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2:15 p.m. on ESPN. KU will play Davidson in the M&I Kansas City Shootout at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Monday, Dec. 19, at 8 p.m. on ESPN. The KU-Davidson contest is part of the Kansas home season ticket package.