Kansas continues its homestand when KU plays host to the Richmond Spiders, Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. The Spiders are visiting historic Allen Fieldhouse for the second time in the Bill Self era and the two schools are meeting for the first time since the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Ranked No. 9 in the Dec. 10 polls, Kansas is 8-1 on the season after its 89-60 win against Belmont Dec. 15. The Jayhawks have won seven straight. Overall, KU’s current 27-game winning streak in Allen Fieldhouse ranks second nationally behind Syracuse’s 29.
Coached by Bill Self, who is in his 10th season at KU with a 277-54 record for an 83.7 winning percentage, Kansas averages 76.8 points per game and is giving up 58.4 for a Big 12-leading +18.3 scoring margin. KU is outrebounding foes 38.0 to 33.9 and averages 8.0 steals and also leads the conference in blocked shots at 8.9, assists at 17.0 and assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.3. Redshirt freshman Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring at 16.1 points per game, which is tops among Big 12 freshmen and third overall in the conference. He is second on the squad with 15 three-pointers made and 11 steals. Senior center Jeff Withey leads Kansas in rebounding (7.6 rpg), field goal percentage (57.3 percent) and blocked shots per game (5.6 bpg), which also leads the nation. Withey, the Dec. 3 Big 12 Player of the Week, is scoring 13.8 points per outing. Senior guard Travis Releford is next in scoring at 13.2 points per game. The Nov. 26 Big 12 Player of the Week, Releford leads the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 92.3 percent and also leads Kansas in steals (14). Senior guard Elijah Johnson has a team-high 46 assists and 16 three-pointers made to complement his 9.8 scoring average. Senior forward Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters. He is scoring 6.5 points per game and is second on the team with 6.4 rebounds per outing. Other KU regulars include freshman forward Perry Ellis (6.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg), sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe (3.9 ppg, 20 assists), redshirt freshman forward Jamari Traylor (2.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg) and freshman guard Andrew White III (5.1 ppg, seven three-pointers).
Located in Richmond, Va., with an enrollment of 2,750, Richmond is 9-2 on the season after defeating Stetson 76-57 at home Dec. 15. The Spiders are coached by Chris Mooney who is 137-105 in his eighth season at Richmond and 155-117 in his ninth season at the Division I level.
Richmond has won five straight and six of its last seven games. The Spiders average 73.5 points per game and have a +10.7 scoring margin. Richmond shoots 46.6 percent from the field, including 38.8 percent from three-point range. The Spiders force more than 16 turnovers per game and convert those to 19 points per contest. Richmond averages 17.9 free throws made, 8.8 steals per game and has a +1.0 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Senior guard Darien Brothers and junior forward Derrick Williams have each scored 360 points this season to lead the team with a 14.8 scoring average. Brothers has made a team-high 28 three-pointers and is shooting 51.9 percent from behind the arc and 86.1 percent from the free throw line. Williams leads Richmond with 7.2 rebounds per contest and a 60.3 shooting percentage. He makes 7.3 free throws per game. Sophomore guard Kendall Anthony comes off the bench and averages 13.9 points per game. He is second on the team with 19 three-pointers made. Junior guard Cedrick Lindsay leads Richmond with 40 assists and 18 steals to complement his 13.9 scoring average. Williams, Anthony and Lindsay are joined in the starting lineup by senior forward Greg Robbins and redshirt freshman forward Alonzo Nelson-Ododa. Robbins scores 7.0 points per contest and is second on the team with 22 assists, while Nelson-Ododa leads Richmond with 13 blocked shots and is second on the squad with 4.0 rebounds per game. He is scoring 2.5 points per contest. Other Richmond regulars include sophomore guard Wayne Sparrow (5.1 ppg, nine three-pointers), freshmen forwards Terry Allen (2.0 ppg), Deion Taylor (1.9 ppg) and redshirt freshman forward Trey Davis (1.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg).
THE KU-RICHMOND SERIES
Kansas and Richmond are meeting for the third time in men’s basketball. In the first matchup, the Spiders defeated the then-12th-ranked Jayhawks 69-68 on Jan. 22, 2004, in Allen Fieldhouse. The game came during current KU head coach Bill Self’s first season at the Jayhawks’ helm and in the middle of the Big 12 Conference regular season. KU defeated Richmond 77-57 in the 2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. KU dominated early, leading 41-22 at halftime. Current Jayhawks who played in that game include: Jeff Withey (no points, one rebound), Elijah Johnson (four points, one assist) and Travis Releford (no points). Richmond players who faced KU that day include: Darien Brothers (started, five points, one rebound), Cedrick Lindsay (two points), Derrick Williams (no points) and Greg Robbins (no points).
Phillips 66 Big 12 PlayerS of the Week
Kansas seniors Jeff Withey and Travis Releford have each earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honors this season. The KU duo won the accolade in back-to-back weeks with Releford Nov. 26 and Withey Dec. 3. Kansas is the only school to have claimed the award twice this season. Last year, Kansas' NCAA national runner-up team became the first to have four different players from the same school win Big 12 Player of the Week honors in the same season.
KANSAS SHOOTING THE BALL WELL LATELY
Kansas has shot 54.9 percent from the field in its last three games and is shooting 48.0 percent for the season. Included was a 60 percent game in the 84-78 win against Oregon State. Individually, senior Travis Releford is shooting 69.8 percent (37-53) from the field in his last six games, including 56.3 percent (9-16) from three-point range. Redshirt freshman Ben McLemore is making 60 percent of his three-pointers (9-15) in his last three games. Senior Jeff Withey has shot 50 percent or better in his last eight games, including four games at 62.5 percent or higher. Senior Kevin Young is making 60 percent of his shots (15-25) in his last three games. Freshman Andrew White III is 9-for-13 (69.2 percent) in his last two games, including 5-for-8 (62.5 percent) from three-point range.
Here are some block party notables for Kansas All-American candidate Jeff Withey:
--Withey set the KU and Big 12 single-game record with 12 blocked shots versus San Jose State (11/26).
--Withey leads the nation with 5.6 blocked shots per game.
--Withey ranks sixth on the KU career blocked shots list with 215.
--For his career, Withey has had nine games with seven or more blocked shots.
--Withey broke the NCAA Tournament record for blocked shots with 31 in the 2012 event.
--Withey broke the Kansas and Big 12 single-season blocked shots record with 140 last year (3.6 per game). He became only the second Jayhawk to pass 100 blocked shots for a single season (125, Cole Aldrich in 2009-10).
KANSAS TEAM NOTABLES
--Kansas leads NCAA Division I in blocked shots at 8.9 per game and also leads the conference in scoring margin (+18.3), assists (17.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). The Jayhawks also rank in the top four of the Big 12 in scoring offense (fourth at 76.8), free throw percentage (second at 75.7) andfield goal percentage defense (third at 35.4).
--KU has never relinquished the lead in its last six games; meaning the Jayhawks have led for their last 253 minutes and 17 seconds on the court.
--Kansas set a school record with 16 blocked shots against San Jose State (11/26).
--KU has outrebounded seven of nine opponents this season.
--Kansas has outshot all but one opponent in 2012-13. Only Michigan State outshot KU this year (52.1 to 50.0 percent). Additionally, KU has shot 50 percent or better in four games this season, including each of the last three games.
--Kansas has posted a first-half double-digit lead in each of its last six games.
--Seven of Kansas’ seven wins have been by 13 or more points.
--Kansas has held a 41-plus lead in three different games this season.
--Kansas had four players score in double figures in each of the last four games. Six different players have made that happen (Johnson, McLemore, Releford, White, Withey and Young).
MCLEMORE TOPS AMONG BIG 12 FRESHMEN
Kansas guard Ben McLemore leads the Big 12 freshman class with a 16.1 scoring average, which is third best overall in the conference. KU's leading scorer as well, McLemore has three games with 20 points or more this season: 25 vs. Chattanooga (11/15), 21 vs. Oregon State (11/30) and 24 vs. Colorado (12/8).
Kansas' single-season freshman average scoring record is 14.6 points by Danny Manning in 1985. McLemore's 5.6 rebounds would rank eighth on the KU freshman single-season list.
SPACE AVAILABLE FOR MEN'S BASKETBALL HOLIDAY CLINIC
The University of Kansas men's basketball program will hold its annual Men's Basketball Holiday Clinic for boys and girls ages first through sixth grade on Thursday, Dec. 27 from 1-3:30 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.
The annual clinic, hosted by current KU players, coaches and staff, will include fundamental instruction, an official camp t-shirt, a Junior Jayhawk basketball and one general admission ticket to KU's Dec. 29 home game against American. Additionally, there will be an autograph session with the current KU team and coaches following the clinic.
The cost of the clinic is $85 and pre-registration MUST be done online at www.billselfbasketballcamp.com. No walk-up registration will be taken on the date of the clinic. Upon completing the online registration, those that sign up will receive a promotional code to purchase additional tickets to the American game at www.kutickets.com. All tickets will be general admission.
Check-in begins at noon and lasts until 12:50 p.m. at the north end of Allen Fieldhouse. Parents are welcome to watch and take pictures from the second level of Allen Fieldhouse during the two and a half hour clinic.
For more information and to pre-register for the clinic, please log onto www.billselfbasketballcamp.com.
Kansas will play at No. 7 Ohio State on Saturday, Dec. 22, on CBS before returning home to host American University on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. on Jayhawk TV to close out the 2012 calendar year.