No. 13/12 Jayhawks welcome Omaha to Allen Fieldhouse Monday
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Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike
|GM 11: vs. Omaha|
|Allen Fieldhouse (16,300)|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 13/12 Kansas (8-2) continues its stretch of three games in six days when it plays host to Omaha (3-10) on Monday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. (Central). Both squads enter the contest on short rest, with the Jayhawks coming off a 74-73 win at Nebraska on Saturday night, while the Mavericks picked up a 99-58 win over Cornell College on Sunday afternoon. The first meeting between the two programs will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Jason Benetti (play-by-play) and Dan Dakich (analyst) calling the action.
- KU edged former conference foe Nebraska, 73-72, on Dec. 16. The win was Nebraska’s first home loss of the season.
- Kansas leads the nation in assists per game at 20.0. KU also ranks in the top-10 nationally in scoring margin (eighth at 19.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (seventh at 1.6).
- Kansas is one of five teams in NCAA Division I that have five players averaging 10.4 points for better. The others include Virginia Tech, Duke, Gonzaga, Arkansas and TCU.
- Junior G Lagerald Vick leads Kansas in scoring at 17.7 points per game, which is third in the Big 12. Senior G Devonte’ Graham is sixth in the conference at 17.0 ppg, while senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is ninth at 15.6 ppg. Kansas is the only league school with three players ranked in the top 10 in scoring.
- Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike is first in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 78.0 percent. Through 10 games, Azubuike is 71-for-91, which includes 40 dunks.
- With the win at Nebraska, Kansas is now 79-11 following a loss in the Bill Self era, which began in 2003-04. Since 2013-14, KU is 29-3 following a loss.
- With the Washington game at Sprint Center on the KU season ticket package, it is considered a home game. KU is trying to avoid three-consecutive home losses for the first time since the 1988-89 season under head coach Roy Williams.
- After Udoka Azubuike’s 26-point effort at Nebraska, Kansas has seen four different players score 26 points or more in a game this season. That also includes Devonte’ Graham, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Lagerald Vick.
- Kansas is trying to avoid losing three games in the month of December for the first time since the 1998-99 season.
Kansas is ranked No. 13 by the Associated Press and No. 12 in the USA TODAY Coaches’ polls, released Dec. 11. The Jayhawks average 86.6 points per game and their plus-19.6 scoring margin is third in the Big 12 and eighth in NCAA Division I. KU leads the conference in assists (20.0), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6) and 3-point field goals made (10.7). Besides the aforementioned, KU ranks in the top three in the Big 12 in scoring offense (third at 86.6 ppg), field goal percentage (second at 51.2), 3-point field goal percentage (second at 40.2) and steals (third at 8.3). Kansas pulls down 38.1 rebounds per game, has a plus-4.7 rebound margin and averages 4.8 blocked shots per game.
Junior G Lagerald Vick has scored 20 or more points in three of his last four games and leads KU in scoring with an 17.7 scoring average. He has five 20-point efforts this season. Vick’s 6.6 rebounds per game are second on the team. Senior G Devonte’ Graham is next on the team with 17.0 points per game and he leads KU with 77 assists and 21 steals. Graham also averages 3.9 rebounds per outing. Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk leads Kansas with 32 3-pointers made and averages 15.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest. Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike is coming off his second double-double of the season with a career-high 26 points and 10 rebounds at Nebraska (12/16). Azubuike leads NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 78.0 percent, is KU’s leading rebounder at 7.7 rpg and scores 15.1 points per game. Azubuike is second on the team with 15 blocked shots. Sophomore G Malik Newman rounds out the KU starters. Newman averages 10.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game and has made 17 3-pointers.
Sophomore F Mitch Lightfoot leads Kansas with 18 blocked shots and he averages 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. His 1.8 blocks per game are tied for fifth in the Big 12. Freshman G Marcus Garrett (4.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg) rounds out the KU regulars. He is second on the team with 16 steals.
Located in Omaha, Nebraska, with an enrollment of 15,731, Omaha is 3-10 on the season after its 99-58 win against Cornell College on Dec. 17. The Mavericks bring a two-game winning streak to Allen Fieldhouse having also defeated Arkansas State, 77-74, on Dec. 13. The Mavericks are coached by Derrin Hansen who is 200-176 in his 13th season as a head coach, all at Omaha. Kansas will be Omaha’s 11th game away from home as the Mavericks will play 18 of 30 contests either on opponents’ floors or on neutral courts in 2017-18. Omaha averages 77.7 points per game and 35.3 rebounds. The Mavericks make 8.6 3-pointers per contest and also average 14.9 assists, 6.9 steals and 2.3 blocked shots per game.
Junior G Zach Jackson leads Omaha in scoring at 17.5 points per game. He averages 6.2 rebounds and has made 19 3-pointers this season. Junior F Mitch Hahn has been battling injuries and has only played in six games for Omaha. He leads the Mavericks with a 7.3 rebound average and scores 12.2 points per game. Hahn has played in three of the last six games for Omaha but has missed the last three. Senior G Daniel Nori is next in scoring at 11.9 points per game and he, like Jackson, has made 19 3-pointers. Sophomore G JT Gibson (10.8 ppg) is second on the team with 38 assists and leads Omaha with 16 steals. His 25 3-pointers are tied for the team lead with sophomore G KJ Robinson. Robinson has a team-high 50 assists and he averages 10.5 points per game. Senior F Lamar Wofford-Humphrey has started eight games this season and pulls down 5.9 rebounds per contest. He scores 7.9 points per outing. Freshman F Matt Pile (5.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg) leads Omaha with seven blocked shots. Other Omaha regulars include senior F Daniel Meyer (2.9 ppg), freshman G Ayo Akinwole (2.8 ppg), and senior G Alex Allbery (2.4 ppg).
Kansas and Omaha are meeting for the first time in men’s basketball. Omaha will be the second team from the Summit League that Kansas will play in 2017-18. KU defeated South Dakota State, 98-64, on Nov. 17, in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas is 14-5 all-time against current Summit League membership: 7-4 vs. Oral Roberts, 3-1 vs. Denver, 2-0 vs. South Dakota State, 1-0 vs. North Dakota State and 1-0 vs. Western Illinois.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 9-2 or better for the fourth-straight year … End a KU two-game home losing streak … Make Kansas 1-0 versus Omaha and 15-5 against current membership of the Summit League, including 2-0 this season … Make Kansas 6-1 in Allen Fieldhouse this season, 226-11 under Bill Self and 763-111 all-time in the venue … Make Self 425-90 while at Kansas and 632-195 for his career … Make Kansas 2,226-843 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
Make Kansas 8-3 on the season … Be Kansas’ first three-game home losing streak since the 1988-89 season … Give Kansas three December losses for the first time since the 1998-99 season … Make the KU-Omaha series 1-0 in favor of the Mavericks … Make Kansas 5-2 in Allen Fieldhouse this season, 225-12 under head coach Bill Self and 762-112 all-time in the venue … Make Self 424-91 while at Kansas and 631-196 as a head coach … Make KU 2,225-844 all-time.
NEBRASKA LEFTOVERS & NOTABLES
- The one-point victory marked KU’s eighth in games decided by one point since the 2010-11 season. Since that season, the Jayhawks are 8-1 contests that have a final margin of one point.
- The Jayhawks were a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line, marking the second time this year KU has gone without a miss from the charity stripe (6-for-6 vs. Toledo Nov. 28). Kansas is 36-of-42 (85.7 percent) from the free throw line over its last five games.
- Kansas led 36-33 at halftime and has led at intermission in all but one game this season. KU averages 47.2 points in the first half with a plus-17.1 halftime scoring margin.
- Azubuike and Devonte’ Graham combined for 11 of KU’s 14 first-half field goals.
- Kansas led 66-59 with 5:00 remaining in regulation. The Jayhawks have won 36 of their last 38 games dating back to the start of last season when holding a lead heading into the game’s final five minutes. Under Bill Self, the Jayhawks are now 392-14 in those instances.
- KU posted 19 assists on its 29 field goals (65.5 percent). The Jayhawks have now tallied 19 or more assists in seven of their 10 outings this season.
- Nebraska was the third-straight KU opponent to post a better field goal percentage (49.2 percent). Kansas boasted better field goal percentages in five of the six games prior to that stretch.
- Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike posted a career-high 26 points on 13 field goals, also a career-high. He pulled down 10 rebounds to mark the third double-double of his career and the second this season.
- Going 13-for-17 (76.5 percent) from the field, Azubuike has shot better than 62 percent from the field in all 10 contests this season. He has posted five or more field goal attempts in all but one of those games.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham’s 18 points moved him past Steve Woodberry to No. 34 on KU’s all-time scoring chart, now with 1,245 career points.
- Graham moved past Mario Chalmers (420) and Jeff Boschee (425) to 14th on the school’s all-time assists list, currently at 427.
- Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk connected on the go-ahead 3-pointer with 21 seconds remaining in regulation to put Kansas ahead 73-72. He scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half.
- Junior G Lagerald Vick’s three steals tied his career high.
- Vick is shooting 57.4 percent (27-of-47) from the field over his last three outings.
- Kansas leads the nation in assists per game at 20.0. KU also ranks in the top-10 nationally in scoring margin (eighth at 19.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (seventh at 1.6).
- Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike leads the NCAA in field goal percentage at 78.0 percent.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham is fifth nationally in assists per game at 7.7 and 49th in steals per game at 2.1.
Udoka Azubuike ranks first in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 78.0 percent going 71-of-91 in his first nine games of the 2017-18 season.
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.
DEVONTE’ + SVI = THREES
The senior pairing of Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is beginning to establish itself as one of the top long-range shooting duos in KU history. Already this year, the two Jayhawk guards have combined for 62 KU’s 107 3-pointers. The torrid 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, only three other Kansas duos have tallied more threes over a three-year stretch than the 338 that Graham and Mykhailiuk have combined for since the 2015-16 season. Jeff Boschee and Kirk Hinrich are the most prolific 3-point shooting duo in school history as they netted 405 treys while they played together from 2000-02. Graham is also one half of another sharp-shooting pair after he and Frank Mason III combined for the third-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 41.0 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. Brandon Rush and Mario 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.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS BASKETBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 17-7 all-time on Dec. 18
Dec. 18, 1934: Kansas defeated Kansas State, 34-20, in Manhattan, Kan., in a game where the two teams played with an experimental set of rules designed by Kansas head coach Forrest C. “Phog” Allen. The baskets were raised from 10 feet to 12 feet and all field goals counted for three points rather than two. The baskets were also moved from two feet inside the baseline to six. Kansas played its final 18 games of the season using the standard rules of the time and went on to a 15-5 record that year, which included five total victories over Kansas State. KU finished second in the Big Six Conference with a 12-4 record.
SELF MOVES TO NO. 2 IN ALL-TIME WINS AT KU
Bill Self surpassed yet another coaching milestone early this season. Now in his 15th year at the helm of the Jayhawks, Self has amassed 424 victories, which is second-most among the eight men who have roamed the sidelines in Lawrence. Self’s 424 wins surpassed his predecessor, Roy Williams, who reached 418 victories in 15 years (1988-2003) at KU. Self sits only behind the all-time winningest coach in Kansas history, Dr. F.C. “Phog” Allen, who amassed 590 victories in 39 seasons with the Jayhawks.
KANSAS VS. RANKED TEAMS
Kansas is 1-1 against ranked foes this season with a win over then-No. 7 Kentucky on Nov. 14 in the Champions Classic and a loss to No. 16/17 Arizona State on Dec. 10. Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 83-42 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 29-14 record from 2014-present. Kansas’ record against top-10 ranked opponents is even more impressive. KU is 13-3 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. 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.
KANSAS IN THE POLLS
Kansas men’s basketball enters this week at No. 13 in the Associated Press and No. 12 in the USA TODAY Coaches’ polls released on Dec. 11.
Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 167 AP polls dating back to Feb. 3, 2009, which is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I. Kansas was preseason No. 4 by AP entering 2017-18. Under 15th-year and Hall of Fame head coach Bill Self, this is the 12th time that Kansas entered the season ranked seventh or higher in the Associated Press preseason poll and historically, the No. 4 ranking marks the 20th time since the 1992-93 season that Kansas entered the season seventh or higher. Last season, KU entered the year No. 3 nationally in the Associated Press poll and ended at No. 3.
At No. 3 in the coaches’ preseason poll, 2017-18 marked the fourth-straight year the Jayhawks have opened the season in the top five in the coaches’ poll. Kansas is ranked in the preseason for the 26th time in time in the 29-year history of the coaches’ poll. The No 3 ranking marked the eighth time KU has been preseason No. 3 or higher in the coaches’ poll. Additionally, it is the 12th time in the Self era the Jayhawks have been preseason seventh or higher, including each of the last six seasons. In 2016-17 Kansas opened the year No. 2 in the preseason coaches’ poll and ended No. 4.
In Bill Self’s 14 seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks have led the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense nine times and finished no lower than fourth. Nationally, Self-coached Jayhawks have ranked eighth or higher in all but four seasons in field goal percentage defense and have ranked in the top five on eight occasions, including first in 2005-06 and 2012-13.
After posting its highest field goal percentage defense numbers in Self’s 14 seasons a year ago (42 percent), the stingy KU defense appears to be back on the right track, having allowed its first 10 opponents to shoot just 39.6 percent. That number is the lowest for KU since the Jayhawks held opponents to an NCAA-leading 36.1 in 2012-13.
PRESEASON NATIONAL HONORS
Kansas guards Devonte’ Graham and Malik Newman have both been named to preseason watch lists by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Graham is one of 20 candidates for the 2018 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, while Newman is one of 20 on the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch lists for each award.
Named after Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic and Holy Cross guard Bob Cousy, the annual honor, now in its 15th year, recognizes the top point guard in NCAA Division I men’s basketball. Graham is vying to become the second-straight Jayhawk to win the award as Frank Mason III was KU’s first-ever Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award winner last season.
Named after Hall of Famer and 1959 NCAA Final Four Most Valuable Player Jerry West, the annual honor, in its fourth year, recognizes the top shooting guard in Division I men’s college basketball. On Nov. 6, the USBWA named Graham one of 32 on the Oscar Robertson Trophy Watch List, an award also won by Mason last season.
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.
BILL SELF INDUCTED INTO NAISMITH BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME
Kansas head coach Bill Self, along with 10 others, was officially enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Sept. 8 at Springfield Symphony Hall in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.
Joining Self in the evening’s enshrinement festivities were the other 10 Class of 2017 inductees: Zack Clayton (player, posthumous), Nick Galis (player), Robert Hughes (coach), Mannie Jackson (contributor), Tom Jernstedt (contributor), Jerry Krause (contributor, posthumous), Tracy McGrady (player), Rebecca Lobo (contributor), George McGinnis (player) and Muffet McGraw (coach).
Self becomes the 19th person associated with Kansas basketball to be inducted, the last being coaching legend John McClendon, who was inducted in 2016 for the second time. As only the eighth coach in KU history, Self is the fifth KU mentor to be inducted into Hall joining James Naismith, Dr. F.C. “Phog” Allen, Larry Brown and Roy Williams. Kansas has the highest percentage of coaches in the Hall of Fame, 63 percent, than any other school. KU’s five matches North Carolina’s five for the most inducted in college coaching with St. John’s third with four.
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 TO LOOK FOR IN 2017-18
- 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. Through nine games, Graham is No. 34, currently at 1,245 points. He is 70 points from KU’s top 30 in scoring. Against Syracuse on Dec. 2, he became only the sixth player in KU history to have made 200 threes for his career. Graham is 216-524 (41.2 percent) all-time from 3-point range. His 3-pointers made and attempted are fifth most in KU history. He is 16 3-pointers made from fourth and 22 attempted from fourth. Graham has 427 career assists, which is 14th on the KU career assists list and 10 shy of No. 13. Additionally, Graham has surpassed the 150 plateau in steals and his 156 are 19th on the KU career list.
- 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.
- Should Kansas advance to the 2018 NCAA Tournament it would be its 29th-consecutive NCAA tourney appearance. The current 28 straight is the NCAA Tournament longest -consecutive appearance streak with North Carolina (1975-2001) second at 27.
Kansas will play in its third NBA venue of the 2017-18 season when it faces Stanford Thursday, Dec. 21, at Golden1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. The game will be televised on ESPN2 with a 10 p.m. (Central) tip. Kansas leads the overall series with Stanford, 9-3, which includes an 89-74 win last season on Dec. 3, 2016, in Allen Fieldhouse. Stanford head coach Jerod Haase was a standout guard at Kansas from 1995-97.
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