Men’s Hoops to Close Out Non-Conference Play vs. UNLV, Sunday, in Allen Fieldhouse
Kansas to Conclude Non-Conference Schedule vs. UNLV
No. 13/14 Kansas (10-2) concludes non-conference play when it hosts UNLV (9-4) on Sunday, Jan. 4, at 3:30 p.m., on CBS. Kansas is coming off a 78-62 win against Kent State, Dec. 28, and has won nine of its last 10 games. UNLV opened up Mountain West Conference play at Wyoming in its last outing and lost, 76-71, on Dec. 31, 2014. This is the fifth meeting between KU and UNLV with the last being in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, in which Kansas won and went on to win the NCAA National Championship.
No. 13/14 Kansas (10-2) is seeking its 15th-straight win inside Allen Fieldhouse when it plays UNLV. The Jayhawks are 10-2 for the second time in the past three seasons and eighth time in head coach Bill Self’s 12 years at KU. Kansas averages 70.8 points per game and has a +6.1 scoring margin. The Jayhawks have outrebounded nine opponents, average 38.7 boards per contest and hold a +6.8 rebound margin. KU shoots 42.4 percent from the field and has outshot eight opponents this season. The Jayhawks also average 12.8 assists, 6.5 steals and 4.8 blocked shots per game.
Junior F Perry Ellis leads KU with 12.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest. Named the Big 12 Player of the Week (12/1), Ellis has led KU in scoring five times this season and in rebounding five times. Sophomore G Frank Mason III has averaged 17.0 points in his last two games, including a career-high 20 points and three steals at Temple (12/22). He leads KU with 17 three-pointers made, 48 assists and 18 steals through 12 games. Mason is scoring 11.9 points per contest and, at 5-11, pulls down 3.8 rebounds per outing. Sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., is second on the team with 42 assists and tied for second with 14 three-pointers made. He has a 8.8 scoring average. Rounding out the KU starters are freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., and junior F Jamari Traylor. Oubre is coming off his second 20-point effort in his last three games with 20 points versus Kent State (12/30). He scored a career-high 23 points against Lafayette (12/20) and is averaging 6.9 points and 3.7 rebounds for the season. Traylor started his third game of the season against Kent State (12/30) and responded with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting. Traylor averages 5.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in 2014-15 and is second on the team with 12 blocked shots.
Freshman F Cliff Alexander is a mark of efficiency, averaging 8.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game. He is shooting a team-best 54.7 percent from the field and leads KU with 16 blocked shots in 2014-15. Sophomore G Brannen Greene is tied with Selden with 14 three-pointers, including a 5-for-5 effort at Georgetown (12/10). Greene has two starts and is scoring 5.4 points per game. Freshman G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk scores 4.8 points per game and has made 12 three-pointers. Mykhailiuk has started six games this season. Sophomore F Landen Lucas has started eight games this season and averages 2.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. He pulled down a career-high seven boards against Kent State (12/30). Redshirt junior F Hunter Mickelson scored eight points and pulled down seven rebounds against Lafayette (12/20). He has averaged 11 minutes in his last three games and 5.9 minutes for the season. Mickelson averages 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds per game and has six blocked shots. Ellis, Selden, Alexander and Oubre are on the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list as KU is one of only two schools, Kentucky being the other, to have four on the list.
On Dec. 13, KU head coach Bill Self announced freshman G Devonte’ Graham (5.9 ppg, seven steals) has a sprained toe and will miss four weeks due to the injury suffered at Georgetown (12/10). Graham had the walking boot removed Dec. 30 and is now able to do cardio exercise such as on a stationary bike.
Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, with an enrollment of 28,000, UNLV is looking to rebound from its Mountain West Conference loss at Wyoming, 76-71, on Dec. 31. The Runnin’ Rebels are coached by Dave Rice who is 80-36 in his fourth season as a head coach, all at UNLV. UNLV is 7-0 at home in the Thomas & Mack Center, 0-2 in true road games and 2-2 on neutral courts. The Runnin’ Rebels average 68.9 points per game and have a +5.5 scoring margin. UNLV is outrebounding foes 38.9 to 37.5. The Runnin’ Rebels rank fifth nationally with 7.2 blocked shots per game. They also average 13.4 assists and 5.2 steals per contest.
Mountain West Preseason Freshman of the Year, G Rashad Vaughn leads UNLV in scoring with 17.9 points per game. He has also made a team-best 22 three-pointers and is tied for third on the squad with 4.3 rebounds per contest. Sophomore F Christian Wood was named the conference and consensus national player of the week (Dec. 30) after UNLV’s 71-67 win versus then-No. 3 Arizona (12/23) where he scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. He has eight double-doubles this season and averages 15.7 points and a team-best 9.8 rebounds per game. Wood has a team-best 39 blocked shots. Senior G Cody Doolin leads UNLV with 60 assists and is second on the team with 17 steals. Rounding out the UNLV starters are senior G Jelan Kendrick and freshman F/C Goodluck Okonoboh. Kendrick averages 5.0 points and is tied for third on the team with 4.3 rebounds per game. Okonoboh is second on the team with 5.6 rebounds per contest and 33 blocked shots. He scores 4.9 points per outing.
Freshman G Patrick McCaw is third on the UNLV team in scoring at 7.4 points per game. He leads the Runnin’ Rebels with 21 steals and is second with 15 three-pointers made in 2014-15. Other UNLV regulars include freshman F Dwayne Morgan (5.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and freshman G Jordan Cornish (5.5 ppg, 11 three-pointers made).
Kansas has won all four meetings with UNLV with the last being a 75-56 victory in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament in Omaha, Nebraska. Three of the four KU-UNLV contests have been played at neutral sites. The first meeting (Nov. 22, 1989) was in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT in Madison Square Garden in New York City. KU won 91-77 and defeated St. John’s (66-57) two days later for the title. The second meeting was also in the Preseason NIT but was an early-round game in Allen Fieldhouse on Nov. 21, 1997, where the Jayhawks won 92-68. KU also went on to win the 1997 Preseason NIT. The following year Kansas defeated UNLV, 78-50, in the Tip-Off Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts. The 2008 meeting was March 22 in the NCAA Midwest Regional and Kansas went on to win the national title.
- The NCAA is listing statistics and Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) on a regular basis. As of Dec. 31, Kansas is No. 2 nationally in the RPI.
- Kansas has outrebounded nine of 12 opponents this season with four of those by double figures. Included are two in the last three games – 44-26 (+18) vs. Lafayette (12/20) and 44-31 (+13) vs. Kent State (13/30).
- Kansas leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 38.9 percent. The Jayhawks also rank in the upper half of the conference in free throw percentage (third at 72.8), rebound margin (fifth at +6.8) and blocked shots (fifth at 4.8).
- Kansas has made 52 percent or better from three-point range in three of its last five games.
- Freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., has averaged 17.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in his last three games. In that span he is shooting 60.0 percent from the field (21-35), including 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) from three-point range and has five steals.
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III is 9-for-15 (60.0 percent) from three-point range in his last four games. In his last three games, Mason is averaging 16.0 points and 5.2 assists.
- Freshman F Cliff Alexander is 7-for-11 (63.6 percent) from the field with five blocked shots in his last three games.
- Junior F Jamari Traylor is 10-for-13 from the line in his last four games. He has two double-figure scoring games this season with both in his last four contests. Traylor is coming off a 3-for-4 shooting game against Kent State (12/30).
- Sophomore G Brannen Greene has made 19-straight free throws dating back to last season, including 15-for-15 in 2014-15.
- Freshman G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk tied his season-best 11 points and three three-pointers against Lafayette (12/20).
- Six Big 12 teams are ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 which is more than any other conference. Nine of the 10 Big 12 teams have been ranked at one point during the 2014-15 season.
- At 103-21 (83.1 percent), the Big 12 is the only league nationally to have an 80 percent or better winning percentage against non-conference foes.
In the Polls
In the Dec. 29 national polls, Kansas men’s basketball is ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press and No. 14 in the USA Today Coaches’ polls. The Jayhawks have been ranked in each of the last 112 Associated Press polls dating back to the 2008-09 season, including in the top five 50 times. In the coaches’ poll, the Jayhawks have been ranked in each of the past 118 polls and in the top five on 54 occasions.
Versus Ranked Teams
With its win versus No. 13 Utah on Dec. 13, under KU head coach Bill Self, since the 2003-04 season, Kansas is 56-30 against Associated Press-ranked teams, including 2-1 in 2014-15. In each of the last five seasons the Jayhawks have a winning record versus ranked foes, including a 7-3 mark in 2013-14. Since the 2009-10 season, KU is 34-13 against AP ranked teams.
Historic Allen Fieldhouse Celebrating 60 Years
Kansas is currently playing its 60th season in historic Allen Fieldhouse, which has been deemed the greatest place to watch a college basketball game. The Jayhawks have sold out of 215-straight games in the Fieldhouse and are 718-109 (86.8 percent) all-time in the facility. At 180-9 (95.2 percent) in 12 seasons, Bill Self has won more Big 12 titles (10) than lost home games (9) in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas, 10-time defending Big 12 regular-season champion, will open conference play at Baylor on Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 8 p.m. (Central), on ESPNU. The Jayhawks then return home to host Texas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 2 p.m., on ESPNU. Kansas also hosts Oklahoma State on Tuesday, Jan. 13, at 6 p.m., on ESPN2.
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