No.13 Kansas welcomes Long Beach State to Lawrence
Lawrence, KS – Playing their third ranked opponent of the conference clash with No. 13 Kansas.
Further adding to the 49ers' rough stretch here in the early going, they will head to Chapel Hill on Saturday to take on No. 4 North Carolina. Long Beach State is 4-3 on the season, with all three of its losses coming on the road. The Niners, who will also face nationally-ranked Xavier in Hawaii three days before Christmas, have at least one impressive win on their resume' thus far, as they snapped a nine-game losing streak against ranked foes under current head coach Dan Monson by claiming an 86-76 upset victory at No. 9 Pittsburgh on November 16.
LBSU stopped a two-game slide by beating up on BYU-Hawaii last Friday, 79-43.
Kansas came into the season as one of the teams expected to challenge for the Big 12 Conference crown, and while little has changed to alter that thought, two of the team's four toughest games to this point have resulted in defeat, thus saddling the team with a 5-2 mark after seven games. Losses to now top- ranked Kentucky (75-65) and ACC power Duke (68-61) have some wondering if the Jayhawks have what it takes to topple the nation's top teams, and they'll get another shot to show what they're made of when they play host to No. 2 Ohio State this Saturday.
KU has won its last two games, knocking off a couple of Sunshine State schools in Florida Atlantic (77-54) and South Florida (70-42), and the Jayhawks have won eight straight home games, and 78 of their last 79 in Lawrence overall. Under Self, Kansas is a staggering 132-7 at home.
Kansas has won two of the previous three meetings with Long Beach State, but it was the 49ers who prevailed in the most recent, taking a 64-49 decision back on January 25, 1993.
Long Beach State is averaging 73.7 ppg on the strength of its 47.6 percent overall shooting performance, and the 49ers boast three players scoring in double figures. Casper Ware leads the way with his 17.1 ppg behind 48.0 percent shooting from three-point range, and he serves as the team's primary playmaker as well with 4.6 apg. Larry Anderson adds 15.1 points and 3.6 helpers per outing, while T.J. Robinson averages a double-double consisting of 13.7 points and 11.3 caroms per contest. Defensively, LBSU is allowing 67.3 ppg on 42.7 percent field goal efficiency, and the Niners typically come up with just shy of 16 turnovers per affair. Leading by just four at the break in its recent bout with BYU-Hawaii, Long Beach State went on a tear over the final 20 minutes, outscoring its overmatched opponent 47-15 to claim the 36- point win. Anderson finished with a line of 16 points, five steals, four assists and he hit all four of his three-point tries, Eugene Phelps (14 points, 13 rebounds) and Robinson (12 points, 14 rebounds) both logged double- doubles, and Ware chipped in with 13 points, five steals and four assists. The Niners shot 53.7 percent from the floor while taking advantage of 23 Seasider turnovers.
Thanks to several lopsided wins over inferior opponents, Kansas is averaging 73.1 ppg while yielding 58.9 ppg for a scoring differential of +14.2. The team has just two double-digit scorers at the moment, but both Tyshawn Taylor (17.4 ppg, 3.6 apg) and Thomas Robinson (16.1 ppg, 12.1 ppg) have performed at All- Big 12 levels thus far, with Robinson already laying the groundwork to be named the league's Player of the Year. The Jayhawks' strength this season has been their ability control the glass (+8.0) and limit the open looks their foes get at the basket (.380 FG percentage). Taylor was a man possessed in the recent win over South Florida, nailing 8-of-10 shots, including four treys, on his way to a season-high 24 points. He added five assists for a team that tallied 17 helpers in the game, and KU posted favorable margins in points from the foul line (17-8), the paint (30-14) and out on the break (20-2). Robinson added 14 points, eight boards and four steals, while Conner Teahan came off the bench to contribute 11 points and four helpers. Kansas held USF to a season-low 42 points and for the third time this season, the Jayhawks forced at least 19 turnovers.