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January 27, 2012

KU faces tough road test in Ames

Kansas to Play at Iowa State Saturday

No. 5 Kansas (17-3, 7-0) closes out the month of January at Iowa State (14-6, 4-3) on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. (Central) on ESPN. In recognition of Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend, the KU staff will be wearing sneakers for the game.

KU has a two-game lead in the Big 12 standings with just a little more than one third of the 2012 conference race having been played. KU has won 10 straight heading into the weekend after its 64-54 victory against Texas A&M on ESPN's Big Monday. Iowa State is looking to rebound from a 62-55 loss at Texas on Tuesday (Jan. 24).

About Kansas

No. 5 Kansas is 17-3 and sits atop the Big 12 standings at 7-0 after beating Texas A&M 64-54 on Monday. The Jayhawks are 11-0 at home, 4-0 in road games and 2-3 on neutral courts this season. Kansas averages 75.8 points per game and allows 60.0 for a +15.7 scoring margin, which ranks second in the Big 12. KU leads the Big 12 in rebound margin at +7.3 and field goal percentage defense at 37.2. Additionally, KU averages 15.7 assists per contest.

The Jayhawks are led by national player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson, who is the only player in the Big 12 Conference to average a double-double with 17.8 points and 12.0 rebounds per game. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Robinson has five double-doubles in seven conference games. His league-leading 14 double-doubles on the season rank third nationally.

Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 16, has scored 15-plus points in each of his last five games, including a career-high 28 points in back-to-back games against Iowa State (1/14) and Baylor (1/16). Taylor leads Kansas with 100 assists and is tied for the team lead with 32 three-pointers. Junior Travis Releford has been hot in Big 12 play and was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9. He averages 12.3 ppg in league play and 9.7 in all games.

Junior guard Elijah Johnson is tied with a team-high 32 three-pointers made and leads the team with 32 steals this season. Johnson scores 9.2 points per game and is second on the team with 72 assists. Junior center Jeff Withey leads the Big 12 in blocked shots at 3.3 per game and rounds out the KU starters. Withey has scored in double figures in each of his last four games and is averaging 8.1 points for the season. He is second on the team with 6.1 rebounds per contest and has 31 blocked shots in seven league contests.

Senior guard Conner Teahan, who has one start in 2011-12, is tied with Johnson and Taylor on the team with 32 three-pointers this season while averaging 7.0 points per game. Sophomore forward Justin Wesley is a regular who averages 1.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per contest. Junior forward Kevin Young (3.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (1.3 ppg, 17 assists) are the other KU regulars.

About Iowa State

Located in Ames, Iowa, with an enrollment of 29,887, Iowa State is 14-6 overall and 4-3 in Big 12 play after its 62-55 loss to Texas on Jan. 24. Iowa State is coached by former Cyclone great Fred Hoiberg who is 30-22 in his second season as a head coach with both being at ISU. Iowa State is 10-2 at home, 2-4 in road games and 2-0 on neutral courts in 2011-12. ISU averages 74.3 points per game and gives up 66.6 points for a +7.8 scoring margin. ISU is a solid shooting team, averaging a Big 12-best 8.9 three-pointers made per game and 23.6 three-point attempts per contest. ISU is also solid on the boards, outrebounding foes by +3.9 per game.

Sophomore forward Royce White leads Iowa State in scoring at 13.4 points per game and in rebounding at 9.6 boards per outing. His rebounds are second in the Big 12 to Kansas' Thomas Robinson's 12.0 rpg. White also has a team-high 90 assists and 24 steals this season. Senior guard Chris Allen is next in scoring at 12.1 points per game and he is second on the team with 40 three-pointers made and 51 assists.

Senior guard Scott Christopherson has made 33 three-pointers and is scoring 10.7 points per game. He is shooting 91.8 percent from the free throw line, which is a team best. Junior guard Chris Babb has a team-high 46 three-pointers and 61 overall field goals this season. He scores 9.3 points per game, is second on the team with 23 steals and his third on the ISU roster with 4.5 rebounds per game.

Sophomore forward Melvin Ejim rounds out the ISU starters, averaging 8.1 points while his 6.0 rebounds per game are second on the team this season.

Junior guard Tyrus McGee comes off the bench to score 9.3 points per game and has connected on 37 threes. Freshman center Percy Gibson (4.5 ppg, six starts) and junior forward Anthony Booker (3.8 ppg) are also regulars for the Cyclones.

The Kansas-Iowa State Series

Kansas leads the all-time series with Iowa State 171-58 dating back to 1908 and has won the last 13 meetings. KU holds 66-36 advantage in games played in Ames, inlcuding a 22-18 edge in Hilton Coliseum. The Jayhawks have defeated the Cyclones seven straight times in Hilton Coliseum dating back to 2004. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 26-7 against Iowa State with a 24-7 record in regular-season play and a 2-0 mark in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.

Earlier this season, Tyshawn Taylor scored a career-high 28 points to lead Kansas past Iowa State, 82-73, on Jan. 14 in Allen Fieldhouse. Taylor scored 22 of his 28 points in the second period helping the Jayhawks overcome a 12-point deficit. KU's Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey each recorded a double-double with Robinson's 11 points and 14 rebounds and Withey's 13 points, 11 rebounds to go along with seven blocked shots. Royce White led Iowa State with 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Team Notables

--Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 37.2. KU has led the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense in five of the last six seasons, all under head coach Bill Self.

--KU also leads the conference in rebound margin at +7.3 and has led the Big 12 in rebound margin in each of the last five seasons, all under Bill Self.

--Kansas has tied or outrebounded 17 of 20 opponents this season, including 15 of the last 17 games. KU has seven games with a +10 rebound margin, including a season-best 50-26 vs. Kansas State (1/4) and a +16 (40-24) at Texas Tech (1/11).

--Five different Jayhawks - Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson, Conner Teahan and Travis Releford - have led Kansas in scoring through 20 games.

--KU has shot a higher percentage than 17 of 20 opponents this season.

--KU has blocked five or more shots in 11 games this season, including a season-high 13 against Florida Atlantic (11/30). KU had 12 blocked shots against Long Beach State (12/6) and Texas A&M (1/23) and 10 versus Iowa State (1/14).

--Kansas is 3-2 against ranked teams in 2011-12, 29-10 versus ranked foes since 2006-07 and 38-20 against ranked foes under Bill Self (2003-04). KU has faced current Associated Press 1. Kentucky, 4. Ohio State, 6. Baylor, 8. Duke, 9. Georgetown and 22. Kansas State. KU will play No. 2 Missouri twice later this season.

--Kansas has 98 dunks to its opponents' 30 through 20 games. Thomas Robinson leads KU with 47 dunks, while Jeff Withey has 20.

Player Notables

--Junior THOMAS ROBINSON, who recorded his Big 12-leading 14th double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds against Texas A&M (1/23), was named the No. 1 candidate for national player of the year in Dick Vitale's midseason lists released on Jan. 4. He has six 20-point efforts this season. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Robinson had career highs with 30 points and 21 rebounds against North Dakota (12/31). It was the sixth 30-20 in Big 12 history and first at KU since 1961 (Wayne Hightower vs. Missouri). Robinson is the only player in the Big 12 Conference this season who is averaging a double-double with 17.8 ppg and 12.0 rpg. His 14 double-doubles, like his 12.0 rebounds per game, lead the Big 12 and his rebound average is in the top five nationally. Robinson's 17.8 points are second in the league and he also ranks second in field goal percentage (53.5) and 11th in blocked shots (1.2).

--Senior TYSHAWN TAYLOR has scored 15-plus points in each of his last five games after his 17 points against Texas A&M (1/23). Taylor had a career-high 28 points in back-to-back games against Iowa State (1/14) and Baylor (1/16). Named Big 12 Player of the Week Jan 16, he is second on the team with 16.6 points per game and leads KU in scoring in Big 12 games at 18.9 ppg. In all games, Taylor leads KU with 100 assists, a 45.7 three-point field goal percentage and is tied for the team lead with 32 three-pointers. Taylor's 16.6 points per game average is fifth in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is eighth in field goal percentage at 47.4, fourth in three-point field goal percentage at 45.7, tied for 14th in three-pointers made at 1.6, fifth in assists at 5.0 and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.3. Taylor underwent knee surgery on Dec. 11 but returned to start the Davidson contest on Dec. 19, when he scored 15 points and had seven assists.

--Junior TRAVIS RELEFORD, the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, is third on the team in league-game scoring with 12.3 ppg and is averaging 9.7 ppg for the season. He opened Big 12 play with his first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Kansas State (1/4). Both were career highs at the time. He then scored 28 points at Oklahoma (1/7). Releford has started every game this season and has scored in double figures 11 times in 2011-12, including 11 points against Baylor (1/16). A lockdown defender, Releford is tied for 10th in the Big 12 with 1.4 steals per game.

--Junior ELIJAH JOHNSON had nine points and four rebounds with three steals at Texas (1/21). He has scored in double figures in eight games this season, including two of his last four contests: 12 against Iowa State (1/14) and 11 versus Baylor (1/16). Johnson is tied for the team lead with 32 three-pointers made and is also the team leader with 32 steals. Johnson has multiple steals in six of his last 10 games. He has started every game this season for KU and is second on the team in assists with 72. Johnson is ninth in the Big 12 in assists at 3.6, tied for third in steals at 1.6, tied for 14th in three-pointers made at 1.6 and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8.

--Junior JEFF WITHEY has scored in double figures in each of his last four games, including two double-doubles: 13 points,11 rebounds against Iowa State (1/14) and 10 points, 10 rebounds versus Baylor (1/16). Against Texas A&M (1/23) he had 10 points and eight blocked shots. Withey leads the Big 12 with 3.3 blocked shots per game, which ranks in the top 10 nationally. He has a Big 12-best 31 blocked shots in conference play. Withey has nine games with 10-plus points scored. Withey almost had a triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocked shots against Long Beach State (12/6). His nine blocked shots rank No. 2 on the KU single-game records list and were just one shy of the school record - Cole Aldrich's 10 against Dayton in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Withey has multiple blocks in 12 of his last 13 games and 15 contests in 2011-12. His 6.1 rebound average, which is second best on the KU team, is 10th in the Big 12 and his 84.7 free throw percentage is seventh.

--Senior CONNER TEAHAN is tied with Johnson and Taylor with 32 three-pointers made. He scored a career-high 14 points versus LBSU (12/6) and has chipped in 13 points twice (at USC, 12/22 and vs. Howard, 12/29). Teahan is 13th in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 36.4 and tied for 14th in three-pointers made at 1.6.

--Junior KEVIN YOUNG scored seven points at Texas Tech (1/11) and again against Iowa State (1/14). He also pulled down seven rebounds at Texas Tech. Young's best performance of the season came against then-No. 2 Ohio State (12/10) with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He has pulled down four or more rebounds seven times this season. In 2011-12, Young is shooting 59.5 percent (25-for-42) from the field.

10-Straight Under Self

Kansas extended its win streak to 10 games with its victory against Texas A&M Jan. 23. The current streak is the 10th time in the Bill Self era that Kansas has won 10 or more consecutive games.

Kansas Win Streaks Under Bill Self

Games Start End (last win)
20 11/9/07 1/26/08
18 11/12/10 1/17/11
16 2/27/08 11/24/08
14 11/13/09 1/6/10
14 2/7/07 3/22/07
14 11/19/04 1/19/05
13 1/13/10 2/22/10
10 12/22/11 present
10 12/4/06 1/15/07
10 1/21/06 2/21/06

In the Polls

Kansas is ranked No. 5 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls released Jan. 23. This is Kansas' third appearance in the Top 10 of either poll in 2011-12. KU has been ranked in each of the last 59 Associated Press polls dating back to the 2008-09 season. Included are 42 times when the Jayhawks have appeared in the AP Top 10. KU has been ranked in each of the last 60 coaches polls with 45 appearances in the Top 10. Kansas has faced or will face seven teams currently ranked. The Jayhawks are 3-2 against ranked foes 2011-12.

Taylor Climbing the Charts

Senior Tyshawn Taylor continues to etch his name into the Kansas career lists. A four-year starter, Kansas is 112-17 (86.8 percent) during Taylor's time in Lawrence with three Big 12 regular-season titles, two Big 12 Championship crowns and trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. His 108 all-time KU starts are tied for 11th all-time at Kansas. Statistically, against Duke, Taylor became the 54th player in school history to record 1,000 points. He currently sits tied for 30th (Jerod Haase) with 1,264 points. He is 10th on the KU all-time assists list with 489. Taylor also ranks 21st with 144 career steals and his 38.8 percent career three-point percentage is 17th best at Kansas.

Up Next

Kansas will host Oklahoma on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU before traveling to Columbia, Mo., to face Border Showdown rival Missouri on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. on ESPN. The Oklahoma contest will be aired in 3D.



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