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January 13, 2012

KU returns home to face ISU

Kansas Comes Home

After a two-game road trip in Big 12 play, No. 10 Kansas returns home to host Iowa State. KU is 13-3 and 3-0 in league play after its 81-46 win at Texas Tech Jan. 11. The Jayhawks are 3-0 in conference play for the 15th time in the 16-year history of the league.

KU brings a 14-game home court winning streak into Saturday. Iowa State is 12-4 on the season, 2-1 in Big 12 play and looking to rebound from a 76-69 loss to No. 9 Missouri on Jan. 11. Kansas will recognize its 2002 Final Four team during the Iowa State contest.

About Kansas

No. 10 Kansas is 13-3 (3-0 in Big 12) after defeating, 81-46, in Lubbock, Texas, on Jan. 11. The win is the widest margin of victory for a KU road team in the Bill Self era. The Jayhawks are 8-0 at home, 3-0 in road games and 2-3 on neutral courts this season. Kansas averages 75.5 points per game and allows 58.4 for a +17.1 scoring margin. KU is using solid defense as nine opponents have scored 58 or less points this season.

KU leads the Big 12 in rebound margin at +9.0. 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 17.6 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Robinson has two double-doubles in three conference games and narrowly missed another double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds at Oklahoma (1/7). 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 11 double-doubles on the season. Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor is next in scoring at 14.8 points per game and leads Kansas with 82 assists. Junior Travis Releford has been hot in Big 12 play and was named the Big 12 Player of the Week Jan. 9, for his efforts against Kansas State (1/4) he had his first career double-double with then-career highs in points with 16 and rebounds with 11. At

OU in the next game, Releford scored a career-high 28 points. He averages a team-best 18.7 ppg in league play. Junior guard Elijah Johnson is second on the team with 27 three-pointers made and leads KU with 25 steals this season, two ahead of Releford.

Johnson scores 9.2 points per game and is second on the team with 60 assists. Junior center Jeff Withey rounds out the KU starters. Withey is averaging 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest. He leads the Big 12 with 2.9 blocked shots per game and has 11 blocked shots in three league contests.

Senior guard Conner Teahan, who has one start in 2011-12, leads Kansas with 29 three-pointers this season while averaging 7.8 points per game. Sophomore forward Justin Wesley joins Teahan as the first two off the bench. Wesley averages 2.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest. Junior forward Kevin Young (4.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (1.4 ppg, 17 assists) are the other KU regulars. Tharpe had a season-high nine points on 3-for-3 shooting, all from behind the arc, at Texas Tech while Young had seven points and seven rebounds against the Red Raiders.

About Iowa State

Located in Ames, Iowa, with an enrollment of 29,887, Iowa State is 12-4 overall and 2-1 in Big 12 play after its 76-69 loss to No. 9 Missouri on Jan. 11. Iowa State is coached by former Cyclone great Fred Hoiberg who is 28-20 in his second season as a head coach with both being at ISU. Iowa State is 9-2 at home, 1-2 in road games and 2-0 on neutral courts in 2011-12. ISU averages 75.8 points per game and gives up 66.8 points for a +9.0 scoring margin. Iowa State is a solid shooting team, averaging a Big 12-best 9.1 three-pointers made per game and 23.2 three-point attempts per contest. ISU is also solid on the boards, outrebounding foes by +4.4 per game.

Sophomore forward Royce White leads Iowa State in scoring at 13.1 points per game and in rebounding at 9.1 boards per outing. His rebounds are second in the Big 12 to Kansas' Thomas Robinson's 12.1 rpg. White also has a team-high 69 assists while his 18 steals are second most on the ISU roster this season. Senior guard Chris Allen is next in scoring at 12.7 points per game and he is second on the team with 34 three-pointers made and 45 assists. Senior guard Scott Christopherson has made 28 three-pointers and is scoring 11.1 points per game. He has made 90.5 percent from the free throw line, which is a team best.

Junior guard Chris Babb has made a team-high 43 three-pointers and 54 overall field goals this season. He scores 10.4 points per game, has a team-best 20 steals and his third on the ISU roster with 4.6 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Melvin Ejim rounds out the ISU starters. He averages 7.3 points and his 6.3 rebounds per game are second best on the team this season.

Junior guard Tyrus McGee comes off the bench to score 8.5 points per game and he has made 25 threes. Freshman center Percy Gibson (4.9 ppg, six starts) and junior forward Anthony Booker (4.0 ppg) are also regulars for the Cyclones.

The Kansas-Iowa State Series

Kansas leads the all-time series with Iowa State 170-58 dating back to 1908 and has won the last 12 meetings. KU holds an 87-15 record against ISU in games played in Lawrence, including a 46-9 record in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks have defeated the Cyclones six-straight times in Allen Fieldhouse dating back to 2005. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 25-7 against Iowa State with a 23-7 record in regular-season play and a 2-0 mark in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.

Coaches Series

--Kansas head coach Bill Self is 15-2 all-time against Iowa State, including a 14-2 record while at Kansas.

--Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg is 0-2 as a coach against Kansas. As a player from 1992-95, Hoiberg was 4-5 against Kansas: 0-4 in Lawrence, 3-1 in Ames and 1-0 in Kansas City.

Team Notables

--Kansas has tied or outrebounded 15 of 16 opponents this season, including the last 14 games. KU has seven games with a +10 rebound margin, including a season-best 50-26 vs. Kansas State (1/4) and a +16 (40-24) at Texas Tech (1/11).

--Five different Jayhawks - Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson, Conner Teahan and Travis Releford - have led Kansas in scoring through 16 games.

--KU has shot a higher percentage than 13 of 16 opponents this season.

--KU has blocked four or more shots in 12 of 16 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 82 dunks to its opponents' 20 through 16 games. Thomas Robinson leads KU with 40 dunks, while Jeff Withey has 15.

--Kansas' 35-point margin of victory at Texas Tech (1/7) was the biggest road victory for KU in the Bill Self era (previous was a 29-point victory at Colorado, 2/14/07) and the widest for a KU team since a 97-58 (39 points) win at SMU (1/7/95). It was the widest conference road victory for Kansas since a 58-22 (36 points) win at Missouri on Feb. 23, 1910. In Big 12 history, the 35-point road-win margin tied a conference record: (100-65) Oklahoma State def. Texas A&M, 1/3/98.

Player Notables

--Junior THOMAS ROBINSON, who recorded his Big 12-leading 11th double-double of the season with 19 points and 12 rebounds at Texas Tech (1/11), was named the No. 1 candidate for national player of the year in Dick Vitale's midseason lists released Jan. 4. He is 37-for-57 (64.9 percent) from the field in his last five 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 this season who is averaging a double-double with 17.6 ppg and 12.1 rpg. His 11 double-doubles, like his 12.1 rebounds per game, lead the Big 12 and his rebound average is second nationally. Robinson's 17.1 points are third in the league and he also ranks third in field goal percentage (54.5), tied for ninth in steals at 1.3 and tied for 10th in blocked shots (0.9).

--Senior TYSHAWN TAYLOR has averaged 6.6 assists in his last eight games. He is second on the team with 14.8 points per game and leads KU with 82 assists. Taylor, who is making 44.2 percent from three-point range (19-for-43), underwent knee surgery on Dec. 11 but returned to start the Davidson contest on Dec. 19, when he scored 15 points and had seven assists. Taylor's 14.8 points per game average is sixth 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 and leads KU in league-game scoring with 18.7 ppg, which ranks second in the conference. 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) where he made a career-high nine field goals and three three-pointers. Releford has started every game this season and has scored in double figures nine times in 2011-12, while averaging 10.2 points. Releford is tied for seventh in the Big 12 with 1.4 steals per game and has five steals in his last two games.

--Junior ELIJAH JOHNSON has 21 assists and six turnovers in his last five games. He has scored in double figures in six games this season and averages 9.2 points per contest. He is second on the team with 27 three-pointers made and is the team leader with 25 steals. Johnson has multiple steals in four of his last six games and seven games this season. He has started every game this season for KU and is second on the team in assists with 60. Johnson is 10th in the Big 12 in assists at 3.8, fifth in steals at 1.6, 13th in three-pointers made at 1.7 and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.9.

--Senior CONNER TEAHAN has made multiple three-pointers in five of his last eight games, including a career-high four twice -- at USC (12/22) and against Long Beach State (12/6). He leads Kansas with 29 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 10th in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 39.2 and 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 11 in conference play. He had six blocked shots against Kansas State (1/4), three at Oklahoma (1/7) and two at Texas Tech (1/11). He has five games with 10-plus points scored. 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 eight of his last nine games and 12 contests in 2011-12. His 5.6 rebound average is 14th in the Big 12.

--Junior KEVIN YOUNG had seven points and seven rebounds at Texas Tech (1/11), including 2-for-3 from the field and 3-for-4 from the 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 seven times this season. In 2011-12, Young is shooting 59.5 percent (22-for-37) 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 12.3 minutes per game and is 12-for-23 (52.2 percent) from the field.

Self to Coach His 300th Game at Kansas

Bill Self is only the eighth coach in Kansas men's basketball history and against Iowa State Saturday, he will become only the fourth KU coach to log 300-plus games on the sideline for the Jayhawks. Here is a breakdown of the 300-plus coaches in KU history, ranked by victories: Bill Self: 250-49; Roy Williams: 243-57; Phog Allen: 225-75; and Ted Owens: 210-90.

Kansas Basketball Fans Encouraged to Vote In Naismith Student Section of the Year Award
Kansas has been nominated as one of the top college basketball student sections in the country, and Jayhawk fans will now have a say in determining the most deserving student section by voting for the Naismith Student Section of the Year Award. By visiting Facebook.com/ILoveCollegeHoops, Kansas fans can vote for KU's student section as the top student section in college basketball. The Naismith Student Section of the Year Award, which is presented through a partnership of The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), a division of IMG College, and the Atlanta Tipoff Club, administrators of the Naismith Awards, is dedicated to celebrating fans that love college hoops and provide support to their college basketball team with devotion and passion. Nearly 80 schools representing 21 conferences are vying for the title.

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.

Taylor Climbing the Charts

Kansas senior Tyshawn Taylor continues to etch his name on the Kansas career lists. A four-year starter, Kansas is 108-17 (86.4 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 104 all-time KU starts are just three 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 36th with 1,169 points. He will most likely end his career ranked in KU's top 10 in assists, currently 11th with 471 and 14 shy of 10th. Taylor also ranks 33rd with 136 career steals and while 37.7 career three-point percentage is tied 18th best at Kansas.

Up Next

Kansas continues conference play at Texas on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. on CBS. The Jayhawks then return home for a second straight ESPN Big Monday appearance when they host Texas A&M on Jan. 23 at 8 p.m. KU will then play at Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 1 p.m.





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