Lubbock, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The eighth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks continue their quest for yet another Big 12 Conference championship, as they hit the road to challenge the Texas Tech Red Raiders at United Supermarkets Arena on Tuesday night.
Kansas recently had a five-game win streak come to an end, as it was tripped up at Oklahoma State last Saturday in a 67-62 final. As a result, the Jayhawks sit at 19-4 overall and 8-2 in conference, which has them in first place in the Big 12 entering the week. While KU is 12-0 at home this season, it is just 4-3 in true road games.
Texas Tech has had a difficult time keeping its head above water, as the team is an even 12-12 overall, with each victory coming at home (12-3). The bulk of its defeats have been to conference rivals, including a 75-38 rout at the hands of the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames last Saturday. It was the ninth loss in 11 Big 12 bouts for the Red Raiders, who are in the midst of a five-game run against teams that been among the nationally-ranked of late.
These two teams met in Lawrence back on Jan. 10, and Kansas easily came out on top, 86-54. It was the 11th straight win for the Jayhawks over the Red Raiders, and it increased their lead in the all-time series to 28-4, which includes a 15-0 mark at home.
Kansas held a 41-30 halftime lead at Oklahoma State over the weekend, but a dreadful shooting performance over the final 20 minutes (.267) sent the Jayhawks down to defeat as they fell by five points in that crucial Big 12 contest. Wayne Selden, Jr. went 4-of-5 from 3-point range to net a team-high 15 points, and he was joined in double figures by Frank Mason III, Perry Ellis and Brannen Green, each of whom contributed 10 points. Ellis pulled down 10 rebounds as well, but KU was guilty of 18 turnovers and was doubled up in points from the foul line (20-10). The Cowboys didn't exactly light it up, particularly from distance (3-of-16), but they scored 32 points in the paint, compared to 20 for the Jayhawks.
Kansas is a solid team when it comes to producing at the offensive end, netting 72.1 ppg, which comes as a result of the team draining 40.2 percent of its 3-point tries and just about 70 percent of its free throws. The Jayhawks defensive stance typically allows foes to connect on only 39.9 percent of their total shots, which includes a 31.9 percent showing out on the perimeter, resulting in an average of 64.8 ppg. Rebounding has played an important role in the team's success as well, as it owns a +5.2 margin on the glass. Ellis (12.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Mason III (12.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.1 apg) are the only players producing double digits on a consistent basis, although three others turn in between 8.0 and 9.7 ppg.
Texas Tech was turned away at nearly every opportunity in last Saturday's trip to Iowa State, as it shot just 30.9 percent from the field, missing the mark on 16 of its 20 3-point tries in the process. Adding insult to injury, the Red Raiders failed to covert even one of their seven free throws, committed 15 turnovers, suffered a 37-29 rebounding deficit, and allowed the Cyclones to nail 56 percent of their total shots, including eight treys. Toddrick Gotcher was the only player to reach double digits for Tech in the embarrassing loss, as he tallied 11 points thanks to a 3-of-6 effort beyond the arc. Devaugntah Williams and Robert Turner, who sit one-two on TTU's scoring list for the season, really struggled as they combined to go just 3-of-16 from the field for a total of six points.
While Williams and Turner pace the Red Raiders' scoring attack, they are netting only 10.5 and 9.0 ppg, respectively. Not exactly the kind of numbers that keep an opposing coach awake at night. As a result, the team is averaging a meager 62.0 ppg in hitting only 40 percent of field goal attempts, which encompasses a 31.0 percent performance out on the perimeter. Fortunately, the team's play at the defensive end has kept it competitive for the most part, as opponents are allowed only 63.4 ppg on 41.7 percent accuracy from the floor. Texas Tech commits a little more than 14 turnovers per outing, but is currently on the plus side of the ledger when it comes to cleaning the glass (+2.7).