Stillwater, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - The eighth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks go in search of their sixth consecutive win, as they hit the road to tangle with the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Big 12 Conference action on Saturday afternoon.
Kansas comes into the weekend with a 19-3 record, 8-1 in conference, and both marks are the best in the Big 12. The Jayhawks, who took care of fellow Top-25 member Iowa State at home last Monday in an 89-76 final, are seeking their third straight road win and fifth in seven opportunities this season.
Oklahoma State finds itself in a state of flux at the moment, the team having alternated wins and losses over the last month or so. The Cowboys took down Texas in overtime on the road on Wednesday night, improving their record to 15-7 overall and 5-5 in conference. OSU has won four of its last five home games to move to 10-2 in Stillwater this season.
These two teams met in Lawrence back on Jan. 13, and the Jayhawks prevailed in a 67-57 final. As a result, KU's lead in the all-time series sits at 110-55.
Wayne Selden, Jr. scored 20 points to lead five players in double figures, as Kansas beat visiting Iowa State earlier in the week. Perry Ellis tacked on 17 points to go with six rebounds and four assists, while Kelly Oubre, Jr. added 16 points and five boards, Frank Mason III had 12 points and eight helpers, and Brannen Greene 11 points for a Kansas club that drained 10-of-21 3-point attempts as part of a 50.8 percent overall shooting effort. The Jayhawks committed 16 turnovers, but held the Cyclones to 41.7 percent field goal efficiency, while outscoring them at the free-throw line, 15-9.
Instead of relying on one or two star players to carry the load, Kansas prefers to use a balanced attack. While Ellis (13.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Mason III (12.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.1 apg) both average double digits in the scoring column, there are three others who net between 8.0 and 9.5 ppg. As a team, the Jayhawks are knocking down just shy of 40 percent of their long-range launches, while holding the opposition to a mere 39.9 percent shooting effort overall. As a result of that latter stat, and the fact that is has a +5.5 rebounding margin, KU is giving up just 64.7 ppg.
Oklahoma State held a double-digit lead at halftime in its recent clash with Texas, but allowed the Longhorns to battle back and force overtime. The Cowboys didn't allow a single basket in the extra session however, as they pulled out a hard-fought road win. Le'Bryan Nash led OSU with 17 points, and he got help from Anthony Hickey and Phil Forte with 15 and 14 points, respectively. The Pokes shot just 38.5 percent from the field, but went 5- of-10 beyond the arc and 20-of-29 at the charity stripe. They lost the battle on the board, 35-29, but forced 18 turnovers, off which they scored 18 points.
Oklahoma State can boast having the second- and third-leading scorers in the Big 12 on its roster, as Forte averages 17.1 ppg and Nash 16.9 ppg. Those are the only two players currently netting double figures for the Pokes, who ring up 68.1 ppg, which ranks them eighth in the 10-team conference. They do rank second in 3-pointers made with 6.91 per contest. OSU's defensive stance has been top-notch for the most part this season, as opponents are permitted just 59.7 ppg, which ranks the team third in the Big 12. The Cowboys sit second in both steals (8.68 per game) and turnover margin (+2.05).