Fran Dunphy's Temple Owls will try to take down another Goliath as they visit the Allen Fieldhouse for a non-conference tussle with the sixth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks.
Temple made a statement on Dec. 22 with an 83-79 upset of the previously unbeaten Syracuse Orange at Madison Square Garden. The Owls followed up the big victory with a 75-57 rout of Bowling Green on New Year's Eve that improved their record to 10-2, with Atlantic 10 Conference action on the horizon. Dunphy's squad is scoring 71.6 points per game on 41.6 percent shooting from the floor, while allowing only 64.2 ppg on a .418 field goal percentage.
Bill Self's Jayhawks closed out 2012 on a 10-game winning streak that included victories over Washington State (78-41), Colorado (90-54), Belmont (89-60), Ohio State (74-66), and most recently, American (89-57). Kansas has been defeating its opposition by a Big 12-leading +19.4 scoring margin. With the win over American, Kansas has now won 29 straight at home, the second-longest active streak in the nation.
Kansas leads the overall series with Temple 7-3 as the schools last squared off in a home-and-home series during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. The Jayhawks captured double-digit wins in both of those contests.
The Owls completely dominated Bowling Green their last time out by recording a season-high 23 assists in the outing and by holding the Falcons to only 37.7 percent success from the floor overall, including 4-of-16 behind the 3-point line. Jake O'Brien scored 15 points, leading five players in double figures. Scootie Randall and Anthony Lee both had double-doubles in an impressive performance by Temple. The recent surge has been powered by senior point guard Khalif Wyatt, who poured in 33 points in the upset of the Orange before dishing out eight assists against BGSU. Wyatt is leading the team with 15.4 points and 4.3 assists per game. Randall (12.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Lee (11.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg) are both big contributors in the scoring column as well as on the boards.
Kansas shot the lights out versus American, hitting 15-of-24 from beyond the arc to come just one short of the school record. Travis Releford drilled five of the triples to net a team-high 19 points as the Jayhawks shot a scorching 63 percent from the floor. Kansas has a very deep and diverse array of talent, with young guard Ben McLemore leading the pack in scoring at 15.8 points per game, which is the second best in the Big 12. Senior Jeff Withey has notched two double-doubles in his last three games. The 7-0 center is producing 13.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, and a Big 12-high 4.9 blocks per game. Releford (13.3 ppg, 1.3 spg), and Elijah Johnson (10.1 ppg, 4.9 apg) add outside scoring threats.