Lawrence, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Seeking their first win over a ranked opponent in more than 36 years, the Lafayette Leopards head to legendary Allen Fieldhouse to challenge the 10th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday afternoon.
Lafayette comes in sporting a 7-2 record, and the team has won its last four games. The last outing took place on Tuesday night, with the Leopards easily disposing of visiting Susquehanna, 91-66, in what was the finale of a three- game homestand. Following this contest, the team will return home for next Sunday's clash with NJIT, before opening up Patriot League action at Army on Jan. 3.
Kansas is riding the wave of a seven-game win streak, with its latest triumph coming in a 63-60 final against fellow ranked foe Utah in Kansas City last Saturday. As a result, the Jayhawks own an 8-1 record -- their lone setback coming against No. 1 Kentucky back on Nov. 18. KU is hoping to continue its dominance over unranked, non-conference opponents at Allen Fieldhouse, as it is an astounding 92-4 in such bouts under current head coach Bill Self.
This matchup marks the first meeting between these two schools in men's basketball.
Lafayette put forth a solid effort at both ends of the court in its recent win over Susquehanna, as four players scored in double figures while the visitors were held to just 36.4 percent shooting for the game. Bryce Scott and Dan Trist netted 16 points apiece to pace the Leopards, who drained 11-of-28 3- point attempts while logging an 18-6 edge in points from the foul line. Seth Hinrichs tacked on 14 points, Joey Ptasinski 10, and freshman Matt Klinewski had the best performance of his young career in tallying nine points and 11 rebounds, the latter of which helped the Leopards easily win the battle on the boards, 53-32.
Trist heads the team's scoring list after the first month, averaging 17.0 ppg, and he is also the club's top rebounder (6.0 rpg). Hinrichs (12.2 ppg) and Ptasinski (12.0 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers for a Lafayette squad that is putting up 79 ppg while ranking ninth in the nation in 3-point FG percentage (.424) and 13th in overall FG percentage (.506). Defensively, the Leopards are yielding 72.2 ppg, with foes converting 35.1 percent of their long-range launches.
Perry Ellis scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead Kansas in both categories in its recent win over Utah. Jamari Taylor came off the bench to chip in 13 points and five boards, while Frank Mason III finished with 10 points and five assists. As a team, the Jayhawks drained 6-of-11 3-point tries and held a 21-14 advantage in points at the charity stripe. KU was red-hot from the field in the first half (.600), but cooled considerably after the break (.261). Fortunately, Self's club was able to limit the Utes to 38.9 percent field goal efficiency, which included a dreadful 4-of-19 showing from beyond the arc.
Kansas hasn't lit it up offensively this season, the team averaging just 69.3 ppg, but it has been strong at the defensive end in allowing only 63.2 ppg. Ellis (14.3 ppg) and Mason (10.6 ppg) are the only two double-digit scorers for the Jayhawks at the moment, with the former also spearheading their rebounding effort with 7.0 rpg. The team as a whole is shooting only 41 from the field, but knocking down 37.3 percent from long range.