Orlando, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The 11th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks continue play in the Orlando Classic as they take on the Tennessee Volunteers in semifinal action of the event at HP Field House on Friday afternoon.
The winner of this game will take on either Michigan State or Marquette for the tournament title on Sunday.
Donnie Tyndale is in his first season in Knoxville as the head coach. The Volunteers have played just three games, but have won two of them, with the lone loss coming to nationally-ranked VCU (85-69). The Vols opened up play in this event on Thursday and took care of Santa Clara, 64-57
Bill Self's Jayhawks came into this event with a 2-1 record and were able to add to their win total while handing Rhode Island its first loss of the season on Thursday, 76-60. The team's three wins have all come by double digits, with the lone loss being a humbling 72-40 demolishing at the hands of top-ranked Kentucky in the Champions Classic.
The all-time series is knotted at 1-1. The teams played in 2009 and 2010 and each squad won on its home floor.
Tennessee played stifling defense to start the second half, holding Santa Clara scoreless for a little more than the first nine minutes after the break and went on to post a seven-point win on Thursday. Josh Richardson and Armani Moore led the way offensively for the Vols, netting 18 points apiece, as the team shot a decent .451 from the floor overall. Tennessee dominated inside, outscoring Santa Clara, 32-14 in the paint.
Tennessee isn't the most explosive squad around, coming in averaging 67.7 ppg on .434 shooting. In fact, the team has really struggled from long range, connecting on just under 30 percent of its 3-point attempts. Richardson has been outstanding however, averaging a robust 18.0 ppg. Moore adds 12.3 ppg, while Kevin Punter and Detrick Mostella provide limited scoring support with 8.7 and 8.3 ppg, respectively.
Perry Ellis poured in 17 points for the second straight game, as Kansas ran by Rhode Island in Thursday's action. The Jayhawks got off to a fast start, hitting seven 3-pointers in the first half alone, taking an 18-point lead into halftime (43-25). Overall, Kansas shot .472 from the floor and owned a 40-31 edge in rebounding. Frank Mason III added 12 points to the cause, while Wayne Selden Jr. and Devonte Graham chipped in with 10 points each.
After a horrible performance against Kentucky, the offensive numbers are starting to climb for Kansas, which now is averaging 68.0 ppg on a still meager .416 shooting. Ellis has been the most consistent scorer through four games, coming into this contest at 12.8 ppg. Mason (9.5 ppg) and Cliff Alexander (9.0 ppg) are just below double figures.