Lawrence, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas Jayhawks continue their trek toward the start of Big 12 Conference play, as they entertain the Rider Broncs on Monday night in a non-bracketed game of the Orlando Classic.
Rider, which plays its basketball out of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, comes in a game over .500 on the young season, as it lost the season opener to Princeton (64-58), before notching a pair of victories against schools hailing from the Keystone State -- 73-57 at Penn, 78-74 versus Lehigh. This is the first of several tough games for the Broncs, as they'll take on Michigan State, either Marquette or Georgia Tech and an opponent to be determined this coming week in Orlando.
Kansas is seeking redemption in this bout, as the team fell to 1-1 on the season after getting hammered by top-ranked Kentucky in Indianapolis last Tuesday. The loss what surprising in that the Jayhawks were expected to put up more of a fight, but perhaps the 69-59 win they posted in the season opener against UC Santa Barbara four days earlier should have been an indication of lackluster play to come.
This is only the third meeting between the Broncs and Jayhawks on the hardwood, with the latter having won both prior matchups, including a 103-51 decision in Lawrence back on Dec. 15, 1990. Kansas also eclipsed the century mark in a 110-72 decision at home three years before. The Jayhawks are 13-1 all-time against teams from the MAAC.
Although it's early, Rider has done a decent job putting points on the board (69.7 ppg). Doing so behind typical shooting efforts of .484 overall and .421 from 3-point range, the Broncs boast three double-digit scorers in Teddy Okereafor (15.7 ppg), Zedric Sadler (12.7 ppg) and Jimmie Taylor (10.7 ppg). Defensively, Rider is permitting 65 ppg, with foes connecting on 45.3 percent of their total shots, and 80 percent of their free throws. The Broncs are losing the rebounding battle by five caroms per contest.
In last Friday's home win over Lehigh, Okereafor scored a career-high 29 points and added six rebounds, three assists and three steals. He was joined in double figures by Khalil Thomas and Taylor who tallied 11 points apiece. As a team, the Broncs made good on 50 percent of their field goal attempts, draining eight treys along the way. They committed only eight turnovers, while goading the Mountain Hawks into 17 miscues. They also easily won the rebounding battle, 34-22.
The Jayhawks were absolutely horrid shooting the basketball against the No. 1 team in the land last week, converting an embarrassing 19.6 percent of their field goal attempts, which included a 3-of-15 showing from beyond the arc. Conversely, the Wildcats found the bottom of the net on 43.1 percent of their total shots, while outscoring KU in the paint (30-12) and in bench points (34-12). Wayne Selden, Jr. led the team with nine points, a game after netting 10 against UCSB.
Devonte Graham, Perry Ellis and Frank Mason III also scored in double figures in the opener, but the team shot only 41.5 percent from the field, missing eight of its 10 long-range launches in the process.