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January 11, 2012
KU looks to remain perfect in conference play
Kansas Continues Road Trip
No. 10 Kansas (12-3, 2-0) continues its Big 12 road trip when it travels to Texas Tech (7-7, 0-2) on Wednesday, Jan. 11. Tip from United Spirit Arena is set for 8 p.m. (Central) and the game can be seen on ESPNU and heard on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access via kuathletics.com with the Jayhawk IMG Radio production. Kansas is looking to go 3-0 in Big 12 play for the sixth-straight season, eighth time under head coach Bill Self and 15th time in the 16-year history of the conference.
No. 10 Kansas is 12-3 (2-0 in Big 12) after defeating Oklahoma, 72-61, in Norman, Okla., on Jan. 7. The Jayhawks are 8-0 at home, 2-0 in road games and 2-3 on neutral courts. Kansas averages 75.1 points per game and allows 59.2 for a +15.9 scoring margin. KU is using solid defense as eight opponents have scored 58 or less points this season. KU leads the Big 12 in rebound margin at +8.5. The Jayhawks outrebounded Kansas State 50-26 in the conference opener (1/4) and have outrebounded all but two teams this season. Additionally, KU averages 15.9 assists per contest.
The Jayhawks are led by All-American candidate Thomas Robinson, who is the only player in the Big 12 Conference this season to average a double-double with 17.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Robinson narrowly missed a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds at Oklahoma Saturday. He posted career highs with 30 points and 21 rebounds against North Dakota (12/31). It was the first 30-20 effort by a Jayhawk since Wayne Hightower in 1961. Dick Vitale's No. 1 Midseason Player of the Year candidate, Robinson has a league-leading 10 double-doubles on the season.
Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor is next in scoring at 14.7 points per game and leads Kansas with 77 assists. Junior Travis Releford has been hot in Big 12 play. Named the Big 12 Player of the Week Jan. 9, in the conference opener against Kansas State (1/4) he had his first career double-double with then-career highs in points with 16 and rebounds with 11. On Saturday at OU, Releford scored a career-high 28 points. He averages a team-best 22.0 ppg in league play.
Junior guard Elijah Johnson is tied for the team lead with 27 three-pointers made and leads KU with 24 steals this season. Johnson scores 9.7 points per game and is second on the team with 58 assists. Junior center Jeff Withey rounds out the KU starters. Withey is averaging 7.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest. He leads the Big 12 with 2.9 blocked shots per game and has nine blocked shots in his two league contests.
Senior guard Conner Teahan, who has one start this season, is tied with Johnson for the team lead with 27 three-pointers made while averaging 7.7 points per game. Sophomore forward Justin Wesley joins Teahan as the first two off the bench. Wesley averages 2.1 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest. Junior forward Kevin Young (4.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (0.9 ppg, 15 assists) are the other KU regulars.
About Texas Tech
Located in Lubbock Texas, with an enrollment of 30,000, Texas Tech is 7-7 on the season and 0-2 in Big 12 play after its 73-60 loss to No. 4/5 Baylor Saturday in Lubbock. Long-time Bill Self assistant coach Billy Gillispie is Tech's head coach with a 7-7 record in his first season at TTU and 147-92 in his eighth season overall. Texas Tech is 6-1 at home, 1-3 in road games and 0-3 at neutral sites this season. The Red Raiders average 66.6 points per game and give up 65.8 and are outrebounding their opponents 32.2-30.9. Texas Tech ranks second in the Big 12 in shooting percentage at 48.4 percent.
Freshman Jordan Tolbert (6-7) leads Texas Tech in scoring and rebounding with 14.8 points per game and 6.4 boards per contest in 2011-12. His 14.8 scoring average is sixth in the Big 12 and his rebounding average is ninth. Tolbert is second in the conference with a 62.4 shooting percentage. Junior Ty Nurse (6-1) is next in scoring at 10.7 points per contest and he leads Tech with 22 three-pointers and 15 steals in 2011-12. Freshman Javarez Willis (5-11) has a team-best 33 assists this season to complement his 9.1 scoring aveage. He is scoring a team-best 12.0 ppg in two Big 12 contests.
Senior Robert Lewandowski (6-10) and sophomore Jaye Crockett (6-7) are tied for the team lead with 10 blocked shots. Lewandowski averages 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds this season, while Crockett is second on the team with 4.7 rebounds per game and scores 6.4 points per outing. Other Red Raider regulars include 6-3 freshman DeShon Minnis (3.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, two starts) and 6-6 freshman Terran Petteway (4.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg).
The Kansas-Texas Tech Series
Kansas leads the overall series with Texas Tech 20-4 and the Jayhawks have won three straight and four of the last five meetings. KU leads the overall series played in Lubbock 7-4 but is 3-3 in the United Spirit Arena, including a 1-3 mark during the Bill Self era after last year's 88-66 KU win on Feb. 1, 2011. Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1997, Kansas is 13-4 against Texas Tech - 11-4 in regular-season match-ups and 2-0 in conference championship meetings.
--Kansas has tied or outrebounded 14 of 15 opponents this season, including the last 13 games. KU has six games with a +10 rebound margin, including a season-best 50-26 vs. Kansas State (1/4).
--Five different Jayhawks - Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson, Conner Teahan and Travis Releford - have led Kansas in scoring through 15 games.
--KU has shot a higher percentage than 12 of 15 opponents this season.
--KU has blocked four or more shots in 11 of 15 games this season, including a season-high 13 against Florida Atlantic (11/30). KU had 12 blocked shots against Long Beach State (12/6).
--Kansas has 78 dunks to its opponents' 20 through 15 games. Thomas Robinson leads KU with 39 dunks, while Jeff Withey has 14.
--KU's bench has outscored its opponents' bench in five of the last eight games and seven times overall this season.
--Junior Thomas Robinson, who just missed his 11th double-double of the season with 18 points and nine rebounds at Oklahoma (1/7), was named the No. 1 candidate for national player of the year in Dick Vitale's midseason lists released Jan. 4. He is 29-for-45 (64.4 percent) from the field in his last four games and has five 20-point efforts this season. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Robinson had career highs with 30 points and 21 rebounds against North Dakota (12/31). It was the sixth 30-20 in Big 12 history and first at KU since 1961 (Wayne Hightower vs. Missouri). Robinson is the only player in the Big 12 Conference who is averaging a double-double with 17.5 ppg and 12.1 rpg. His 10 double-doubles, like his 12.1 rebounds per game, lead the Big 12 and his rebound average is second nationally. Robinson's 17.5 points are fourth in the league and he also ranks fourth in field goal percentage (53.4) and 10th in blocked shots (1.0).
--Senior Tyshawn Taylor has averaged 6.8 assists in his last seven games. He is second on the team with 14.7 points per game and leads KU with 77 assists. Taylor, who is making 43.9 percent from three-point range (18-for-41), underwent knee surgery on Dec. 11 but returned to start the Davidson contest on Dec. 19, where he scored 15 points and had seven assists. His 18 points against North Dakota (12/31) were the most since his season-high 24 versus South Florida (12/3). Taylor's 14.7 points per game average are seventh in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is fourth in assists at 5.1 and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.3.
--Junior Travis Releford was named Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9. Last week, he opened Big 12 play with his first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Kansas State (1/4). Both were career highs at the time. He then scored 28 points at Oklahoma (1/7) in which he made a career-high nine field goals and three three-pointers. In his last three games, Releford has 58 points and 21 rebounds. He has started every game this season and has scored in double figures eight times in 2011-12, while averaging 10.1 points. His 22.0 points in two Big 12 games is tops in the league as is his 62.5 field goal percentage (15-for-24). In all games, Releford is tied for 14th in the Big 12 with 1.3 steals per game.
--Junior Elijah Johnson has 19 assists and four turnovers in his last four games. He has scored in double figures in six games this season and averages 9.7 points per contest. He is tied for the team lead with 27 three-pointers made and is the team leader with 24 steals. Johnson has multiple steals in four of his last five games and seven games this season. He has started every game this season for KU and is second on the team in assists with 58. Johnson is tied for eighth in the Big 12 in assists at 3.9, tied for fourth in steals at 1.6, tied for 11th in three-pointers made at 1.8 and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.0.
--Senior Conner Teahan has made multiple three-pointers in four of his last seven games, including a career-high four twice -- at USC (12/22) and against Long Beach State (12/6). He is tied for the team lead with 27 threes in 2011-12. Teahan scored a career-high 14 points versus LBSU and has had 13 points in two of his last four games (at USC and vs. Howard, 12/29). Teahan is ninth in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 39.7 and tied for 11th in three-pointers made at 1.8.
--Junior Jeff Withey leads the Big 12 with 2.9 blocked shots per game, which includes a Big 12-best nine in conference play. He had six blocked shots against Kansas State (1/4) and three at Oklahoma (1/7). He has five games with 10-plus points. Withey has two double-doubles on the season: 14 points, 10 rebounds vs. Duke (11/23) and 13 points, 13 rebounds vs. Long Beach State (12/6). He just missed two more: eight points, nine rebounds vs. Kansas State and nine points with nine rebounds at USC (12/22). Withey almost had a triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocked shots against Long Beach State. His nine blocked shots rank No. 2 on the KU single-game records list and were just one shy of the school record - Cole Aldrich's 10 against Dayton in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Withey has multiple blocks in seven of his last eight games and 12 contests in 2011-12. His 5.8 rebound average is tied for 11th in the conference.
--Junior Kevin Young scored seven points on 3-of-4 shooting with six rebounds and three steals against Howard (12/29). He had six points against Kansas State (1/4), including 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Young's best performance of the season came against No. 2 Ohio State (12/10) with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He has pulled down four or more rebounds six times this season. For the season, Young is shooting 60.6 percent (20-for-33) from the field.
--Sophomore Justin Wesley had two points and four rebounds at Oklahoma (1/7). The four rebounds marked the fourth time this season he has pulled down four-plus boards in 2011-12. Wesley averages 12.2 minutes per game and is 12-for-23 (52.2 percent) from the field.
Taylor Climbing the Charts
Kansas senior Tyshawn Taylor continues to etch his name on the Kansas career lists. A four-year starter, Kansas is 107-17 (86.3 percent) during Taylor's time in Lawrence with three Big 12 regular-season titles, two Big 12 Championship crowns and trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. His 103 all-time KU starts are just four shy of cracking the KU top 12. Statistically, against Duke Taylor became the 54th player in school history to record 1,000 points. He currently sits 38th with 1,154 points. He will most likely end his career ranked in KU's top 10 in assists, currently 11th with 466 and 19 shy of 10th. Taylor also ranks 33rd with 136 career steals and while 37.6 career three-point percentage is 20th best at Kansas.
In the Polls
Kansas is ranked No. 10 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls released Jan. 9. This is Kansas' first appearance in the Top 10 of either poll in 2011-12. KU has been ranked in each of the last 57 Associated Press polls dating back to the 2008-09 season. Included are 40 times when the Jayhawks have appeared in the AP Top 10. KU has been ranked in each of the last 58 coaches' polls with 43 appearances in the Top 10. Kansas has faced or will face seven teams currently ranked. The Jayhawks are 3-2 against ranked foes 2011-12.
Kansas returns to Allen Fieldhouse for two games when it hosts Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 3 p.m. (Central) on the Big 12 Television Network and Baylor on Monday, Jan. 16, at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.