Lawrence, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - In-state rivals collide in a Big 12 showdown, as the ninth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks play host to the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday afternoon at the Allen Fieldhouse.
Bill Self's Jayhawks return home from a two-game road trip to the Lone Star State, where they knocked off Texas (75-62) and TCU (64-61). Kansas has now won three straight games and sits atop the Big 12 standings at 6-1.
Bruce Weber's Wildcats have had an up and down season, reflected in the team's 12-9 overall record. KSU is 5-3 in league play, but has dropped two of its last three games, including Tuesday's 65-59 setback at home to West Virginia.
This series dates back to 1907, with Kansas holding a sizable 187-92 advantage all-time. The Jayhawks have won six of the last seven meetings, 13 of the last 15 and 48 of the last 52 clashes dating back to 1994. Kansas has won the last eight meetings in the Allen Fieldhouse dating back to 2007.
It was a smothering West Virginia defense that did in the Wildcats this week, as KSU turned the ball over a season-high 25 times in the six-point loss. The team did itself no favors by shooting just .367 from the floor and an ugly .571 from the free-throw line (20-of-35). Marcus Foster led KSU with 15 points in defeat. Wesley Iwundu was the only other Wildcat to notch double digits in the loss, finishing with 12 points.
Kansas State has been much more efficient in terms of its offensive play on the season. The Wildcats are averaging a modest 65.4 ppg, but are doing so on a solid .457 shooting. Foster is having a strong sophomore season, pacing the team with 13.8 ppg. Seniors Nino Williams (11.7 ppg) and Thomas Gipson (11.0 ppg) complete a trio of double-digit scoring threats for Kansas State. However, the scoring pool dries up fast after that, with the fourth-leading scorer (Justin Edwards) putting up just 6.4 ppg.
It wasn't the most explosive offensive performance of the season, but Kansas was able to take advantage of a poor shooting effort by the Horned Frogs (.306) and escape Forth Worth with a three-point victory and maintain their standing atop the Big 12. Frank Mason III led the charge for Kansas, converting 8-of-12 from the floor, putting up 16 points in the win. No other Jayhawk managed double figures, with Perry Ellis and Landen Lucas tying for second on the team with eight points each.
Kansas hasn't exactly been an offensive juggernaut this season at 72.0 ppg on .436 shooting, but the team has played solid defense, holding foes to .402 shooting and outrebounding them by seven boards per game. Mason headlines the play at the offensive end, pacing the Jayhawks in both scoring (12.9 ppg) and assists (4.0 apg). Ellis ranks second in scoring (12.6 ppg) and is tops on the team in rebounding (6.9 rpg).