No. 17/18 Kansas to Host North Dakota in Men's Basketball on New Year's Eve
Dec. 30, 2011
Kansas Closes Out 2011 Calendar
No. 17/18 Kansas closes out the 2011 calendar year when it hosts North Dakota on New Year’s Eve at 3 p.m. on ESPNU. Kansas is 9-3 on the season after its 89-34 win against Howard on Dec. 29 in Allen Fieldhouse. North Dakota is 5-7 on the season and looking to snap a two-game losing streak. The Fighting Sioux last played at Western Illinois, a 68-46 loss, on Dec. 22.
No. 17/18 Kansas is 9-3 on the season and takes a 12-game home-court winning streak into the North Dakota contest. Kansas averages 75.3 points per game and allows 60.0 for a +15.3 scoring margin. KU is using solid defense as six opponents have scored 56 or less points this season. KU is outrebounding foes by 7.6 per game, including four games of +10 or better. Additionally, KU averages 15.7 assists per contest. The Jayhawks are led by All-American candidate Thomas Robinson, who is the only player in the Big 12 Conference this season to average a double-double with 16.7 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. He has posted three 20-point games in his last five contests. Against Davidson (12/19), Robinson pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds. He has a league-leading eight double-doubles on the season. Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor is next in scoring at 15.1 points per game. Taylor leads Kansas with 63 assists. Junior guard Elijah Johnson has made 11 three-pointers in his last four games. He is scoring 10.2 points per game, leads KU with 18 steals and is second on the team with 23 three-pointers made and 41 assists. Rounding out the KU starters are juniors Travis Releford and Jeff Withey. A guard, Releford averages 7.8 points per game and is just behind Johnson with 17 steals. Withey, KU’s center, is averaging 8.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. He leads the Big 12 with 2.9 blocked shots per game and had six blocks against Howard (12/29). Senior guard Conner Teahan, who has one start this season, scores 8.3 points per game and leads KU with 24 three-pointers. Sophomore forward Justin Wesley joins Teahan as the first two off the bench. Wesley averages 2.5 points and 2.7 rebounds per contest. Junior forward Kevin Young (4.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (0.9 ppg, 14 assists) are the other KU regulars.
About North Dakota
Located in Grand Folks, N.D., with an enrollment of 14,194, North Dakota is 5-7 on the season. Defending Great West Conference Tournament champion, North Dakota is 5-1 at home and 0-6 on the road this season. UND averages 70.0 points per game and gives up 71.5 ppg. Playing solid defense, the Fighting Sioux have a +2.3 turnover margin, forcing 16.3 per game. Sophomore guard Troy Huff leads the team with 13.5 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per contest. He also has a team-high 23 steals. Sophomore guard Aaron Anderson is next in scoring at 12.2 points per outing and he is also second on the team with 14 three-pointers made and 32 assists. Sophomore guard Jamal Webb is the UND leader in assists with 42 and he is second in steals with 20. He scores 11.6 points per game, just ahead of fellow starter Patrick Mitchell’s 11.4 ppg. Mitchell, a senior forward, has a team-high 25 three-pointers made and 20 blocked shots through 11 games played. Rounding out the UND starters is junior center Mitch Wilmer (2.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg). Sophomore post player Brandon Brekke has started nine of 10 games played and is second on the team in rebounds with 4.8 rpg to complement his 7.5 scoring average. Sophomore guard Josh Schuler is also a top reserve who scores 7.0 points per game and has dished out 21 assists. Junior forward Spencer Goodman saw his first action of the season at Western Illinois (12/22) where he contributed seven points. Junior forward Jordan Allard (3.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg) is also seeing significant playing time for the Fighting Sioux.
The KU-North Dakota Series
Kansas leads the series with North Dakota 2-0 when the teams played a home-and-home in 2000-01 and 2001-02. KU won the first meeting 92-61 on Nov. 17, 2000, in its home opener in Allen Fieldhouse. Kenny Gregory and Drew Gooden each recorded double-doubles in the game with Gregory pacing KU with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Gooden contributed 16 points and led all rebounders with 11. Nick Collison also scored 16 points for KU. Valley City, N.D., native Jeff Boschee had four points and four assists for the game. KU’s second meeting with UND had a then-attendance-record 13,280 watch the Jayhawks defeat the Fighting Sioux 108-77, on Dec. 22, 2001, in Grand Folks, N.D. Boschee led KU with 23 points, while Collison had 16 points.
–Kansas has outrebounded 11 of 12 opponents this season, including the last 10 games. The Jayhawks have four games with a +10 rebound margin: 34-21 vs. UCLA (11/2), 53-32 vs. Florida Atlantic (11/30) , 41-24 vs. Long Beach State (12/6) and 39-29 at USC (12/22).
–Four different Jayhawks – Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson and Conner Teahan – have led Kansas in scoring through 12 games.
–KU has shot a higher percentage than 10 of 12 opponents this season.
–KU has blocked four or more shots in nine of 12 games this season, including a season-high 13 against Florida Atlantic (11/30). KU had 12 blocked shots against Long Beach State (12/6).
–Kansas has 63 dunks to its opponents’ 16 through 12 games. Thomas Robinson leads KU with 28 dunks, while Jeff Withey has 12.
–Kansas’ bench has outscored its opponents’ bench in four of the last five games and six times this season.
–Junior Thomas Robinson has scored 21-plus points in three of his last five games and has four 20-point efforts this season. He pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds against Davidson (12/19) to go along with 21 points. Robinson is the only player in the Big 12 Conference who is averaging a double-double with 16.7 ppg and 11.4 rpg. His eight double-doubles, like his 11.4 rebounds per game, lead the Big 12. Robinson’s 16.7 points are fourth in the league and he also ranks sixth in field goal percentage (51.0) and tied for 10th in blocked shots (1.1).
–Senior Tyshawn Taylor underwent knee surgery on Dec. 11 but returned to start the Davidson contest on Dec. 19, where he scored 15 points and had seven assists. Taylor’s 15.1 points per game are seventh in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is fourth in assists at 5.3 and 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.3. In his last two games, Taylor has 14 assists and three turnovers. He has averaged 8.5 assists over his last four games. Taylor has two 20-point efforts this season and has scored in double figures in 11 of 12 games played.
–Junior Elijah Johnson led Kansas in scoring for the second time this season with 14 points at USC (12/22). He set his career high with four steals against the Trojans and has six steals in his last two games. He has averaged 13.3 points in his last four games and is averaging 10.2 ppg for the year. Johnson has started every game this season for KU and is second on the team with 23 three-pointers made and 41 assists. Johnson is 10th in the Big 12 in assists at 3.4, tied for fifth in steals at 1.5, tied for 10th in three-pointers made at 1.9 and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.6.
–Junior Jeff Withey’s six blocked shots against Howard (12/29) were the second most in his career. His 10 points against the Bison marked his fifth double-figure scoring effort of 2011-12. Withey just missed his third double-double of the season with nine points and nine rebounds at USC (12/22). He nearly 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 Cole Aldrich’s 10 against Dayton in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Withey leads the Big 12 with 2.9 blocked shots per game and has multiple blocks in each of his last five games and nine contests in 2011-12. His 6.1 rebound average is tied for 12th in the conference.
–Senior Conner Teahan has made 18 three-pointers in his last seven games, including a career-high four twice at USC (12/22) and against Long Beach State (12/6). He leads KU with 24 threes in 2011-12. He was 3-for-5 from beyond the arc against Howard (12/29) and is 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) from three-point range in his last two games. Teahan scored a career-high 14 points versus LBSU and has had 13 points in each of his last two games (at USC and vs. Howard). Teahan is eighth in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 42.9 and ninth in three-pointers made at 2.0.
–Junior Travis Releford tied his career high with six rebounds against Davidson (12/19). He has started every game this season and has scored in double figures five times in 2011-12. Releford is second on the team with 17 steals, including a career-high four against Davidson. His 1.4 steals per game are tied for ninth in the Big 12.
–Junior Kevin Young scored seven points on 3-of-4 shooting with six rebounds and three steals against Howard (12/29). His best performance of the season came against No. 2 Ohio State (12/10) with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He has pulled down four or more rebounds in five of his last seven games and six times this season. He is shooting 61.3 percent (19-for-31) from the field.
–Sophomore Justin Wesley’s six points against Howard (12/29) tied a season high while his five rebounds against the Bison tied for the second most by the forward this season. Wesley averages 12.9 minutes per game and is 11-for-21 (52.4 percent) from the field.
The Big 12 season starts for Kansas on Wednesday, Jan. 4 when the Jayhawks host Kansas State at 7 p.m. on the Big 12 Television Network. The Jayhawks have won won 20-straight conference openers dating back to the 1991-92 season with eight of those at home. KU will play its next two conference games on the road at Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 1 p.m. on ESPNU and at Texas Tech, Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. The Jayhawks return to Allen Fieldhouse when they host Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Television Network.