Jayhawks and Aggies to meet in Big 12/SEC Challenge
Senior G Devonte’ Graham
|GM 21: vs. Texas A&M|
|Allen Fieldhouse (16,300)|
|Record||16-4, 6-2||13-7, 2-6|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 5/5 Kansas and the rest of the Big 12 step out of conference play to compete in the Big 12/SEC Challenge this weekend. KU will host former league-foe Texas A&M on Saturday, Jan. 27, inside Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks are 20-1 all-time against the Aggies, which includes wins in each of the last nine meetings. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. (Central) on ESPN with Joe Tessitore (play-by-play), Sean Farnham (analyst) and Holly Rowe (reporter) calling the action.
- Since the start of the Big 12/SEC Challenge in 2013-14, Kansas is 3-1 in the event after its sweep of Kentucky the past two seasons and a split with Florida the first two years of the event.
- Eight games into Big 12 play, Kansas is atop the Big 12 standings at 6-2. The Jayhawks have a one-game lead on four teams at 5-3 – Texas Tech, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kansas State.
- For the Texas A&M contest, the KU staff will be participating in the NABC’s Coaches vs. Cancer Suits And Sneakers®. The annual occurrence is a nationwide event to raise funds and awareness about the fight against cancer and promotes the American Cancer Society.
- Seven of Kansas’ eight conference games this season have been decided by six points or less with the Jayhawks going 6-1 in those battles. Stretching back to last season, Kansas has played 18 Big 12 games that were decided by seven points or less. Kansas is 16-2 in those outcomes.
- Kansas’ win at No. 6 West Virginia on Jan. 15 marked KU’s seventh-straight win over an Associated Press top-10 team in a true road game. Kansas’ last loss to a top-10 squad on the road came at No. 4 Missouri on Feb. 2, 2012.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham is the only player in NCAA Division I averaging 17.5-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 2.0-plus steals and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game.
- Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike leads the NCAA in field goal percentage at 77.4 percent. He is 32-for-38 (84.2 percent) in his last six games.
- In Big 12 play, senior guards Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have combined to average 36.9 points per game, including 55 of Kansas’ 83 3-pointers (66.2 percent).
- Kansas is scoring 84.0 points per game, which is the highest scoring average in the Bill Self era (since 2003-04). The last KU team to average that many was the 2001-02 Final Four team at 90.9. Including 2017-18, Kansas has averaged 80 or more points in each of the last three seasons.
Kansas (16-4, 6-2) is ranked No. 5 in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches’ polls, released Jan 22. Kansas ranks in the top three in the Big 12 in won-loss percentage (tied for first at 80.0), scoring (third at 84.0), scoring margin (third at +13.4), field goal percentage (second at 49.9, 15th nationally), 3-point field goal percentage (second at 40.5), 3-point field goal percentage defense (second at 31.8), assists (second at 17.8, 12th nationally), assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.5, 12th nationally) and 3-point field goals made per game (second at 10.6, 16th nationally).
Senior G Devonte’ Graham leads KU with a 17.8 scoring average, which is tied second in the Big 12. Graham leads KU and is second in the Big 12 in assists (7.4), fifth in free throw percentage (85.1), third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7), fifth in 3-point field goals made (3.1) and fifth in steals (2.0). Graham’s 61 3-pointers are second on the team to senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s 70. Mykhailiuk is second on the team, seventh in the Big 12, in scoring at 16.5 points per game. He is second in the league in 3-point field goals made at 3.5 and third in 3-point field goal percentage (47.3). Mykhailiuk is the only player in the league to rank that high in both.
Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike is next in scoring at 14.2 points per game, which is 18th in the Big 12. Azubuike leads the nation in field goal percentage at 77.4 percent. Azubuike’s 7.7 rebounds per game are a team best and fifth in the Big 12. Junior G Lagerald Vick is next in scoring at 13.6 points per game, which is 17th in the conference. He is second on the team with a 5.8 rebound average, which is 15th in the conference. Redshirt sophomore G Malik Newman has back-to-back 20-point games with 24 versus Baylor (1/20) and 20 at Oklahoma (1/23) and scores 11.8 points per game. He has made 34 3-pointers this season.
Freshman G Marcus Garrett has started six games this season. He averages 3.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest. Garrett is tied for second on the team with 23 steals. Sophomore F Mitch Lightfoot leads Kansas with 33 blocked shots and his 1.7 per game are eighth in the Big 12. Lightfoot averages 4.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
ABOUT TEXAS A&M
Located in College Station, Texas, with an enrollment of 66,175, Texas A&M is 13-7 on the season and 2-6 in SEC play, which tied for 13th in the league. The Aggies are coached by Billy Kennedy who is 128-92 in his seventh season at A&M and 339-271 in his 20th season overall. Texas A&M entered the season ranked No. 25 by Associated Press and climbed to No. 5 in late December but an 0-5 conference start took the Aggies out of the rankings. Texas A&M averages 75.1 points and has a plus-7.7 scoring margin. A&M pulls down 42.4 rebounds per game and its plus-7.7 rebound margin leads the SEC and is 14th nationally.
A&M leads the conference in assists per game at 16.7 and its 39.0 field goal percentage defense is second in the league and 12th nationally. The Aggies also rank high in blocked shots at 6.1 which is second in the SEC and eighth nationally. Texas A&M also averages 5.9 steals per contest.
Junior C Tyler Davis leads Texas A&M in scoring at 14.3 points per game. His 8.8 rebound average is second on the team as are his 27 blocked shots. Junior F D.J. Hogg is next in scoring at 12.3 points per game and he pulls down 6.1 rebounds per contest. Hogg leads A&M with 41 3-pointers made this season. Junior G Admon Gilder is second on the team with 23 3-pointers made and he averages 11.7 points per game. Gilder is also second on the squad with 45 assists.
Sophomore F Roberts Williams is a starter who leads A&M in rebounds at 9.9 per game and block shots with 35. Williams averages 10.4 points per game. Graduate G Duane Wilson is the fifth Aggie to average double figures scoring at 10.1 points per contest. He leads the team with 71 assists and 20 steals. Other A&M regulars include senior C Tonny Trocha-Morelos (8.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg), freshman G T.J. Starks (5.8 ppg), freshman G/F Savion Flagg (5.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and freshman G J.J. Caldwell (3.4 ppg).
This series dates back to 1967 and Kansas is 20-1 all-time against Texas A&M, including 8-1 in Allen Fieldhouse. The first game, a KU 78-52 win, was part of a Sunflower Doubleheader played at Ahearn Fieldhouse in Manhattan, Kansas, on Dec. 16, 1967. Every meeting since, from 1997-2012, KU and A&M were members of the Big 12 Conference. A&M’s lone win in the series came Feb. 3, 2007, when the No. 8 Aggies defeated the No. 6 Jayhawks, 69-66, in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas has won nine-straight series meetings with Texas A&M.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 17-4 or better for the fourth-straight season, starting in 2014-15 … Make Kansas 4-1 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, giving KU it’s fourth-straight win in the event … Give Kansas its 10th-straight win against Texas A&M … Make the KU-A&M series 21-1 in favor of the Jayhawks … Make Kansas 10-2 in Allen Fieldhouse this season, 230-12 under head coach Bill Self and 767-112 all-time in the venue … Make Self 433-92 while at KU and 640-197 for his career … Make Kansas 2,234-845 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
Make Kansas 16-5 on the season … Make Texas A&M the second team to win two games in Allen Fieldhouse in the Bill Self era which started in 2003-04 (Iowa State has also won twice at AFH) … End a Kansas nine-game series winning streak against Texas A&M … Make the KU-A&M series 20-2 in favor of the Jayhawks … Make Kansas 3-2 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, ending a KU three-game win streak in the event … Give Kansas three losses in Allen Fieldhouse for the first time since the 1998-99 season when KU was 10-3 in the building … Make Self 432-93 while at Kansas and 639-198 as a head coach … Make KU 2,233-846 all-time.
OKLAHOMA LEFTOVERS & NOTABLES
- The loss ended a Kansas seven-game Big 12 road winning streak which started last season. It also ended KU’s 10-game overall road winning streak, one win shy from tying the longest in the Bill Self era.
- The loss ended a Kansas four-game winning streak against Oklahoma, making the series 146-67 all-time in favor of KU, including 19-18 in Lloyd Noble Center
- The game marked just the 13th loss in the Bill Self era when the Jayhawks have scored 80 points or more in a game. Kansas is now 225-13 when scoring 80 or more under Self.
- KU saw its opponent shoot better from the field for just the sixth time this season. The Jayhawks are now 3-3 in those instances.
- KU enjoyed 22 points off Oklahoma’s 16 turnovers, the most for the Jayhawks in league play and their most since netting 32 points off Toledo’s 20 giveaways on Nov. 28.
- Kansas’ six free throws marked the second time in four games and the fifth time this season the Jayhawks posted six or fewer free throws in a game.
- The Jayhawks’ 15 offensive rebounds were their most since pulling down 17 against Texas Southern (11/21/17) in the fourth game of the season.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham’s 11 points marked the 12th-straight game he has scored in double figures and the 18th times this season.
- Graham’s one steal pulled him into a tie with Jerod Haase for 11th on KU’s all-time steals list. He now has 174 thefts in his career.
- Graham’s 19 field goal attempts tied a career high.
- Sophomore G Malik Newman collected a career-high four steals.
- Newman posted his second-straight 20-point effort and the third in his last five games.
- In his last two outings, Newman has been was 14-of-23 (60.9%) from the field, which included a 6-of-9 (67%) clip from 3-point range.
- Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s 24-point outing marked the seventh 20-point game of the season and fourth in Big 12 play.
- Mykhailiuk turned in a 6-of-13 clip from 3-point range, with his six treys tying a career high.
- Mykhailiuk’s 19 field goal attempts were also a career-high.
KANSAS IN THE BIG 12/SEC CHALLENGE
This is the fifth year for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and the third-straight all 10 games in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge will take place in one day. In the previous four years of the event, the Big 12/SEC Challenge trophy has remained in the Big 12 office. The Big 12 won it the first three seasons and the leagues split the 10 games in 2017 (in case of a tie, the trophy stays with the conference that won it the previous season). Big 12 teams are 25-15 (.625) in the Big 12/SEC Challenge since it began and have posted a 53-35 (.603) record in the last two conference challenge series (vs. Pac-10, SEC) dating back to 2007.
Kansas is 3-1 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, having split with Florida, in 2013-14 and 2014-15, as both teams claimed home victories. KU then swept a home-and-home series with Kentucky claiming a 90-84 overtime in Allen Fieldhouse in 2016 and a 79-73 win in Lexington, Kentucky last year. Dating back to 2007, Kansas is 6-2 in conference challenges (1-1 vs. Arizona, 2-0 vs. UCLA, 1-1 vs. Florida, 2-0 vs. Kentucky).
Through their first 20 games, the Jayhawks have proven they are well versed in starting games off strong. Over the first five minutes of regulation this season, Kansas is shooting 58.5 percent from the field, scoring more than 12 ppg and are holding their opponents to just under 8.0 ppg and 37 percent shooting. Kansas has found itself trailing after the first five minutes in just two of its 20 contests.
Inside Allen Fieldhouse, the opening five minutes have been even more impressive. The Jayhawks have built leads of eight points or more within the first five minutes in six of their 11 contests in Lawrence and shot 63 percent from the field. KU is also lethal from long range. Kansas is 24-of-37 (65 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc over the opening five minutes in those 11 games at Allen Fieldhouse.
SELF GARNERS 200TH BIG 12 VICTORY
What has seemed like a nearly every-week occurrence lately, KU head coach Bill Self has hit yet another coaching milestone. The Jayhawks’ win over West Virginia on Jan. 15 marked Self’s 200th Big 12 regular-season victory as the KU head man, now in his 15th season in Lawrence. That number ranks Self No. 1 among the league’s all-time coaches, 14 victories ahead of former Texas head man Rick Barnes.
On Kansas’ all-time coaches list, which features five Naismith Hall of Famers, Self’s 201 league wins is second behind Dr. Phog Allen, who collected 334 victories in league play over his 39 seasons when KU was a member of the Missouri Valley, Big Six and Big Seven Conferences.
During Self’s tenure, KU has never won fewer than 12 Big 12 regular-season contests in a season and has claimed 15 or more league wins on four occasions. The Jayhawks have won at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season crown in all but one of Self’s 14 years in Lawrence, his first season in 2003-04, which saw KU claim a runner-up finish that year.
NEWMAN NAMED BIG 12 CO-NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Redshirt sophomore Malik Newman was named the co-Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Jan. 22. Newman averaged 16.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in KU’s wins at No. 6 West Virginia, 71-66, and versus Baylor, 70-67. The Jackson, Mississippi, guard scored 12 of Kansas’ final 14 points in the comeback win against Baylor. Newman won the honor with Iowa State freshman forward Cameron Lard. This is the third Big 12 weekly honor for a Jayhawk this season. Freshman guard Marcus Garrett was named co-Big 12 Newcomer of the Week Nov. 13 and senior guard Devonte’ Graham was the conference player of the week on Dec. 4.
GRAHAM MIDSEASON WATCH LIST GROWS
Kansas senior Devonte’ Graham has been named to two national player of the year watch lists. On Jan. 11, he was selected to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25. On Jan. 22, Graham was one of 14 student-athletes named to the Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch List, present by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). KU’s Frank Mason III won both honors in 2017.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2018 John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s. The leading candidates will be further pared to 20 top players in early February. The ten-man Wooden Award All American Team™ will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2018 John R. Wooden Award will be presented during the ESPN College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s on Friday, April 6, 2018.
Balloting for the USBWA’s All-America Team, All-District Teams and the association’s individual awards will take place in March. The Oscar Robertson Trophy will be presented at a news conference on Friday, March 30, at the Final Four in San Antonio.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS BASKETBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 11-7 all-time on Jan. 27
Jan. 29, 1990: Terry Brown scored 21 points in 22 minutes to lead Kansas to an 85-57 win at Kansas State. Rick Calloway scored 16 points and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line, while Mark Randall added 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds. The win was Kansas’ seventh straight in Manhattan. In 1989-90, Kansas won the Preseason NIT posting a 30-5 record and finish the season ranked No. 5 in the national polls.
KU FROM DOWNTOWN
Kansas is averaging 10.6 3-point field goals made per game with a 40.5 3-point field goal percentage. KU’s 3-point field goal percentage is second in the Big 12 and its 10.6 made are second. Kansas has made 10 or more 3-pointers in four of its last six games and five of its last eight. The Jayhawks are 10-2 in games where they have made 10 or more threes this season.
Last season, KU set the school single-season 3-point record, making 318 from beyond the arc for 8.8 per game. Three of the last eight Jayhawk squads have averaged more than seven treys per game, with both of the last two KU teams hitting an average of eight or more threes per contest.
DEVONTE’ + SVI = THREES
The senior pairing of Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk recently established itself as one of the top long-range shooting duos in KU history. Already this year, the two Jayhawk guards have combined for 131 of KU’s 212 3-pointers, which is 61.8 percent of the team’s threes. The prolific outside shooting from these two is nothing new as they continue to move up the all-time KU 3-point charts.
Since the advent of the 3-point line prior to the 1986-87 season, no other Kansas duo has tallied more threes over a three-year stretch than the 407 that Graham and Mykhailiuk have combined for since the 2015-16 season. At Oklahoma (1/23), Graham and Newman passed Jeff Boschee and Kirk Hinrich as the most prolific 3-point shooting twosome in school history. Boschee and Hinrich amassed 405 treys while they played together from 2000-02. In the Bill Self era, since 2003-04, Graham and Mykhailiuk passed Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers (2006-08) who made 385. Graham is also one half of another sharp-shooting pair after he and Frank Mason III combined for the fourth-most threes (353) among KU duos during the last three seasons (2015-17).
Graham and Mykhailiuk are also among the most-accurate Jayhawk pairs. They have teamed up to shoot 41.7 percent from beyond the arc in that same three-year span, the third-best mark among KU teammates who have combined for 700 or more attempts. Rush and Chalmers boast the best combined percentage with a 42.7 percent (385-of-901) clip coming during their three seasons in Lawrence from 2006-08.
Udoka Azubuike ranks first in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 77.4 percent and he is one of only three players shooting 70 percent or better with a minimum of five made per game (Mike Watkins, Penn State, 70.8 percent and Nick Ward, Michigan State, 70.3). Azubuike is on pace to set the Big 12 single-season record of 69.3 percent by Ricardo Ratliffe of Missouri in 2011-12.
History has shown that it isn’t easy to lead the nation in a statistic. In fact, checking the NCAA Records Book of annual leaders, only twice has a Jayhawk led the country in a season stat and both were KU All-Americans. KU legend Clyde Lovellette led the NCAA in scoring average in 1951-52 at 28.6 points per game. More recently, Thomas Robinson led the country in double-doubles with 27 during the 2011-12 season. Under Lovellette’s leadership KU won the 1952 NCAA National Championship and Robinson led the Jayhawks to a runner-up finish in 2012.
With a minimum of 175 attempts, the Kansas single-season field goal percentage record is 64.6 percent by Mark Randall in 1988-89. Last year, Landen Lucas shot 63.1 percent from the field, which ranks fourth on the KU single-season list. On the NCAA level, with a minimum of five makes per game, there have been only 12 players who have shot 70 percent or better in a season, with the most recent being Devontae Cacok of UNC-Wilmington, who set the NCAA record last season (2016-17) at 80.0 percent.
BIG 12 RUN NO CAKEWALK
Kansas ended 2016-17 ranked No. 4 in the NCAA Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and its strength of schedule was 19th nationally. In Self’s first 14 seasons, KU has ranked fifth or higher in the final RPI 10 times, including each of the last eight years. This season the strength of the Big 12 is quite prevalent. Kansas’ RPI is 13th nationally but third in the conference behind Oklahoma (4) and West Virginia (12). Kansas does lead the league in strength of schedule at 10th nationally. Oklahoma is second at 17th.
KANSAS VS TOP-25 TEAMS
Kansas is 3-3 against ranked foes this season with wins over then-No. 7 Kentucky on Nov. 14 in the Champions Classic, at then-No. 16 TCU on Jan. 6 and at No. 6 West Virginia on Jan. 15. The KU losses were to No. 16/17 Arizona State on Dec. 10, No. 18 Texas Tech on Jan. 2 and at No. 12 Oklahoma on Jan. 22. Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 85-44 against Associated Press ranked opponents. In his first 14 seasons, Self’s Jayhawks have collected four wins or more over top-25 ranked foes in 11 of those seasons, which includes a 30-15 record from 2014-present.
Kansas’ record against top-10 ranked opponents is even more impressive. KU is 14-3 against foes ranked inside the top-10 of the AP poll since 2013-14. This number includes the Jayhawks’ victory over Kentucky on Nov. 14 and at West Virginia on Jan. 15. Since Bill Self’s first season, the Jayhawks are 13-2 against AP top-10 teams inside Allen Fieldhouse, which includes KU’s current streak of nine-straight home victories against top-10 foes.
CELEBRATING 120 YEARS IN 2017-18
Kansas Athletics will host numerous events throughout the 2017-18 season to celebrate 120 years of KU men’s basketball and other Jayhawk basketball milestones. The first celebration will be for 120 years of Kansas basketball. It will be held Saturday, Feb. 3 when KU hosts Oklahoma State in Allen Fieldhouse. Players, coaches and staff from every era of KU basketball will be recognized during the game; the weekend’s festivities will also celebrate the 30-year anniversary of KU’s 1988 NCAA National Championship team.
The 2017-18 season marks the 10th anniversary of the 2008 NCAA National Championship team, which will be honored when KU hosts West Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 17. That weekend, which is also the NBA All-Star Game weekend, KU will retire the jersey of former Jayhawk All-American Cole Aldrich. Additionally, plans are in place to retire the jersey of 2010 Consensus All-America First-Team selection Sherron Collins on KU’s ESPN Big Monday game against Oklahoma on Feb. 19.
Including 2016-17, Kansas has won 17 of the 21 Big 12 regular-season titles (includes ties), including the last 13, which is tied for the NCAA record. Kansas’ 60 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kentucky is second with 54 and Penn third at 37. KU’s 13-straight league titles are the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history. Kansas is now tied with UCLA, which from 1967-79, also won the NCAA record of 13 straight, which was under two coaches. Kansas’ current run has been under head coach Bill Self.
WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR…
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham is quickly moving up the school’s all-time career lists. Graham entered his senior season No. 45 on the KU scoring list with 1,075 points. At West Virginia (1/15), Graham became the 26th player in KU history to score 1,400 career points. He currently sits 26th with 1,430 points and three points from legend Wilt Chamberlain’s 1,433 in his two seasons in Lawrence.
- Against Iowa State (1/9), Graham moved into third all-time on the KU 3-point field goal list, currently at 247. Jeff Boschee (1999-2002) is first at 338 and Billy Thomas (1995-98) is second at 269.
- Graham is 247-599 (41.2 percent) all-time from 3-point range. His 3-point attempts are fourth on the KU career list and his 3-point field goal percentage is tied for 11th with Terry Brown (1990-91).
- Graham has 497 career assists, which is 12th on the KU career assists list. Additionally, his 174 steals are tied for 11th on the KU career list with Jerod Haase (1995-97).
- Entering 2017-18 with a 247-48 (83.7 percent) record since 2010, Kansas is the winningest program, by percentage, this decade: 1. KANSAS (247-48, 83.7%); 2. Gonzaga (239-47, 83.6%); 3. Kentucky (249-53, 82.5%); 4. Wichita State (233-53, 81.7); 5. Duke (238-56, 81.0%).
- The Jayhawks are pursuing their 14th-conseuctive Big 12 regular-season championship. A 14th-league title would break UCLA’s NCAA record mark of 13-consecutive conference championships from 1967-79.
Kansas returns to Big 12 play when it travels to Kansas State for ESPN Big Monday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m. (Central). Kansas leads the overall series with Kansas State, 194-93, including a 77-47 mark in games played in Manhattan (25-4 in Bramlage Coliseum). KU has won 55 of the last 60 meetings with Kansas State dating back to Feb. 12, 1994.
Earlier this season, Kansas defeated Kansas State 73-72, on Jan. 13, in Allen Fieldhouse. KU’s Devonte’ Graham scored 23 points, while Udoka Azubuike added 18 with eight rebounds and five blocked shots. Malik Newman had seven points in the game, including a pair of free throws with 15 seconds remaining to end the scoring.
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