Lawrence, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Both the Texas Longhorns and the eighth- ranked Kansas Jayhawks will try to bounce back from losses as they meet in a head-to-head Big 12 Conference clash Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.
Texas has dropped three consecutive contests, with a 71-64 defeat at the hands of West Virginia on Tuesday serving as the most recent. The Longhorns have fallen to a mere 6-9 against Big 12 competition, and own just a 4-6 road record as they travel to Lawrence to face the Jayhawks.
Kansas lost a heartbreaker to in-state rival Kansas State on Monday, 70-63, which prompted a vicious court-storming episode from those in attendance in Manhattan. Kansas has dropped two of its last three, but still sits atop the conference standings at 11-4. The Jayhawks are a perfect 14-0 at home this season and own a 22-game homecourt winning streak overall.
Kansas has dominated the all-time series against Texas. The Jayhawks own a 24-8 lead over the Longhorns, which includes a 75-62 thumping of Texas in Austin earlier this season.
Texas connected on a better percentage of its shots from the floor than West Virginia, which included a 73.3 shooting percentage by the Longhorns in the first half of Tuesday's bout. But the Mountaineers still were able to take a 36-25 lead over Texas into the intermission after the Longhorns only attempted 15 shots in the period. The lead was enough for WVU, which coasted to victory. Demarcus Holland scored 14 points to pace Texas in the loss, while Isaiah Taylor chipped in 13 points with six assists. Jonathan Holmes was ejected in the contest after picking up a flagrant foul.
Taylor, who missed a chunk of the season earlier, seems to be back to full form now for the Longhorns. He leads the team with 13.4 ppg, and adds in 4.4 apg with 16 steals to pace the squad in both categories. Freshman Myles Turner ranks second on the team in scoring with 11.2 ppg, while the 6-foot-11 player leads the team on the glass with 6.5 rpg, followed closely by Holmes's 6.3 boards per outing. Holmes rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers for Texas this season at 10.5 ppg for a Longhorns unit that is averaging 68.7 ppg this season on 44.1 percent shooting. Texas has built its foundation around a solid defense, which is allowing only 60.5 ppg to opponents (ranked third in the Big 12).
Kansas State held a slim one-point lead over visiting Kansas at halftime on Monday, 31-30, but the Wildcats were able to build on that advantage in the second period after holding the Jayhawks to a mere 36 percent shooting in the frame. Kansas finished the contest connecting on only 39.3 percent of its attempts from the floor, which included a 2-of-13 mark from 3-point distance. Perry Ellis led the charge with 24 points and nine rebounds for the Jayhawks, while Kelly Oubre Jr. netted 14 points with seven boards in the defeat. Wayne Selden Jr. dished out a team-best four assists with seven points in the game.
Kansas has been able to use Ellis and Frank Mason III as the go-to players on the offensive end this season, but for the most part the Jayhawks have relied on a team effort on both ends to get the job done. Ellis leads the squad with 14.0 ppg, adding in another team best in rebounding at 7.0 rpg. Mason is the only other Kansas player averaging a double-digit scoring total at 12.1 ppg, connecting on 45.9 percent of his shots from the floor. Mason also serves as the team's court general, having dished out 121 assists to lead the team (4.3 apg ranks third in the Big 12 Conference this season). Selden, at 9.6 ppg, is right on the cusp of a double-digit scoring average for Kansas, which as a unit is netting 71.8 ppg. The Jayhawks are giving up 64.6 ppg to opponents on 39.8 percent shooting.