Lawrence, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - The ninth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks go in search of their third straight win to open Big 12 Conference play when they host the 24th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys at Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.
Oklahoma State has enjoyed a tremendous start to the season, logging a 12-3 record. The team is 2-1 in league play though, having opened with a 61-47 win over Kansas State, then losing at Iowa State in a 63-61 final, before claiming a 69-58 upset of nationally-ranked Texas this past Saturday. The Cowboys are 2-2 in true road games, and 4-2 outside of Stillwater all told when you factor in their 2-0 mark in neutral-site affairs.
Kansas has won 13 of its first 15 games, including the first two in conference action by topping the likes of Baylor (56-55) and Texas Tech (86-54). The Jayhawks are a perfect 8-0 at home this season, winning six times by double figures, and their recent victory over the visiting Red Raiders was their 11th straight in the series, moving them to 15-0 all-time against Texas Tech in Lawrence.
Kansas leads the all-time series with Oklahoma State, 109-55, which includes a 58-11 advantage in Lawrence. Each of the last five meetings has been decided by seven or fewer points. The Jayhawks won two of the three matchups last season, the last being a 77-70 overtime triumph in the Big 12 Conference Tournament.
Le'Bryan Nash and Phil Forte each scored 20 points to help power Oklahoma State past Texas over the weekend. The Cowboys' two biggest stars were certainly instrumental, but Anthony Hickey, a senior transfer from LSU, may have been even more so when you consider he finished with a line of 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. As a team, OSU shot 47.3 percent from the field, knocking down 9-of-17 3-point attempts in the process, while holding the Longhorns to a mere 34.4 percent overall shooting effort.
Forte and Nash have done it all for the Pokes this season, netting 17.7 and 17.6 ppg, respectively, helping the team muster up 71.7 ppg. Nash grabs 6.0 rpg to rank second on the club to Michael Cobbins' 6.3 rpg. Oklahoma State's defensive effort has been top-notch for the most part, as it yields just 58.6 ppg, with foes shooting only 37.3 percent from the floor, while committing nearly 15 turnovers per outing.
Kansas performed exceptionally well at both ends of the court in its recent rout of Texas Tech, hitting 52.5 percent of its field goal attempts, which included an 11-of-22 showing from beyond the arc, while limiting the Red Raiders to only 32.7 percent shooting accuracy, as they missed the mark on 12 of their 17 3-point launches. Perry Ellis paced the Jayhawks with 15 points, Kelly Oubre, Jr. had 14, Cliff Alexander 12 and Frank Mason III 10 points to go with five assists. Overall, KU recorded helpers on 24 of its 32 field goals, while claiming a 43-34 rebounding advantage.
Kansas doesn't exactly light up the scoreboard with reckless abandon, averaging 71.2 ppg, instead relying on a balanced attack to keep its challengers at bay. Eight different players net at least 5.4 ppg, with Ellis (12.5 ppg) and Mason (12.1 ppg) serving as the unit's only double-digit scorers at the moment. Ellis pulls down 6.3 rpg in an effort to help the Jayhawks log a +6.5 edge on the glass. The team's defensive yield sits at 63.1 ppg, with foes shooting just over 40 percent from the floor.