(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
KANSAS CONTINUES HOMESTAND
Kansas (7-1) continues it homestand when KU plays host to Belmont (6-2), Saturday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU. Dating back to the 2006-07 season, Kansas has won 59-straight games against non-conference teams in Allen Fieldhouse. The Bruins are visiting historic Allen Fieldhouse for the second time in the last four seasons. Belmont plays host to Middle Tennessee State on Thursday, Dec. 13, before making the trip to Lawrence.
Ranked No. 9 in the Dec. 10 polls, Kansas is 7-1 on the season after its 90-54 win against former conference foe Colorado on Dec. 8. The Jayhawks have won six straight. Overall, KU’s current 26-game winning streak in Allen Fieldhouse ranks second nationally behind Syracuse’s 28.
Coached by Bill Self, who is in his 10th season at KU with a 276-54 record for an 83.6 winning percentage, Kansas averages 75.2 points per game and is giving up 58.2 for a +17.0 scoring margin. KU is outrebounding foes 37.6 to 33.9 and averages 7.8 steals and a Big 12-leading 9.1 blocked shots per game. Redshirt freshman Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring at 16.0 points per game and scored 24 against Colorado. He is second on the squad with 11 three-pointers made and 10 steals. Senior center Jeff Withey leads Kansas in rebounding (8.0 rpg), field goal percentage (58.3 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 12.8 points per game. The Nov. 26 Big 12 Player of the Week, Releford leads Kansas in steals (11) and in free throw percentage (91.3 percent). Senior guard Elijah Johnson has a team-high 37 assists and 15 three-pointers made to complement his 10.1 scoring average. Senior forward Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters. He is scoring 6.3 points per game and is second on the team with 6.4 rebounds per outing following his 16-point, eight-rebound effort against Colorado. Other KU regulars include freshman forward Perry Ellis (5.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg), sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe (4.1 ppg, 16 assists) and redshirt freshman forward Jamari Traylor (2.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg).
Located in Nashville, Tenn., with an enrollment of 6,637, Belmont was 6-2 on the season at press time and played host to Middle Tennessee State on Dec. 13. A member of the Ohio Valley Conference, the Bruins are coached by Rick Byrd who is 551-286 in his 27th season at Belmont and 643-341 in his 32nd season overall. Belmont is used to the road as the Kansas game will be its fifth official road contest and seventh away from its home court this season. Belmont and Kansas are the only two NCAA Division I schools to have won 12 or more conference games in each of the last 10 seasons.
Belmont opened the season 4-0 and had won two of its last three contests before the Middle Tennessee State game. The Bruins average 78.4 points per game and have a +14.3 scoring margin. Belmont shoots 48.4 percent from the field, including 43.6 percent from three-point range, which ranks fifth nationally. Additionally, the Bruins’ 9.8 three-pointers made per game are third in NCAA Division I. Belmont also averages 15.6 assists and 10.0 steals per contest.
Senior guard Ian Clark leads the team with a 19.4 scoring average. He is shooting 58.7 percent from the field, while his 4.4 three-pointers made per game and 58.3 percent from beyond the arc both rank second nationally. Senior guard Karron Johnson is next in scoring at 13.9 points per game and he leads Belmont with 38 assists and 15 steals. Senior forward Trevor Noack leads the squad with 5.5 rebounds per game to complement his 11.5 scoring average. Joining the aforementioned in the starting lineup are junior forward Blake Jenkins and junior guard/forward J.J. Mann. Jenkins leads Belmont with 13 blocked shots, scores 10.4 points per game and is second behind Noack with 5.0 rebounds per contest. Mann is second on the team with 22 assists and 14 steals. He scores 8.5 points per game. Other Belmont regulars include sophomore guard Reece Chamberlain (3.9 ppg), freshman guard Craig Bradshaw (3.5 ppg) and senior forward Brandon Baker (3.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg).
THE KU-BELMONT SERIES
Kansas and Belmont are meeting for the second time in men’s basketball. KU defeated the Bruins 81-51 on Dec. 29, 2009, in Allen Fieldhouse. Cole Aldrich led KU with 11 points and 14 rebounds in the game, while Marcus Morris added 14 points. The game marked the kansas debut of Jeff Withey who scored two points and pulled down two rebounds. Guard Elijah Johnson had seven points on 3-of-3 shooting with three assists. Current KU senior Travis Releford was also a member of the 2009-10 Kansas squad, but took a redshirt that season. Belmont’s Ian Clark tied for the team lead in scoring with 11 points. Current Bruins Kerron Johnson (two points, two rebounds), Brandon Baker (two points, three rebounds), Adam Barnes (no points) and Trevor Noack (no points) also played in the game.
KANSAS TEAM NOTABLES
--Kansas leads NCAA Division I in blocked shots at 9.1 per game. The Jayhawks also rank in the top four of the Big 12 in scoring offense (fourth at 78.4), assists (third at 16.0), free throw percentage (second at 75.1), field goal percentage defense (third at 35.5), scoring margin (second at +17.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.2).
--Kansas set a school record with 16 blocked shots against San Jose State (11/26).
--KU has outrebounded six of eight 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 three games this season, including each of the last two games.
--Six of Kansas’ seven wins have been by 13 or more points.
MCLEMORE TOPS AMONG BIG 12 FRESHMEN
With back-to-back 20-point games, Kansas guard Ben McLemore leads the Big 12 freshman class with a 16.0 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). In the Colorado contest, McLemore was 10-for-11 from the free throw line to boost his free throw percentage to 86.1, which second on the team and third in the league.
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.
In the Polls
Kansas is ranked No. 9 in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll released Dec. 10. Dating back to the final three polls of the 2008-09 season, this marks the 63rdd-straight poll in which the Jayhawks have been ranked in the AP poll, which includes 53 times in the Top 10. In the coaches' poll, Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 68 polls, including 55 times in the Top 10.
uniform. Withey also had 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocked shots against Pittsburg State (11/2/11) during the 2011 exhibition season.
toys for tots
Fans of the nationally-ranked Kansas men's and women's basketball teams will have the opportunity to cheer on the Jayhawks, while also supporting Toys for Tots, during a pair of selected dates in December. There will be a Toys for Tots collection at the men's basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 15, against Belmont. The collection bins will also be in place on Sunday, Dec. 16, but fans who donate a new unwrapped toy at the women's basketball game will receive free admittance to the game against Prairie View A&M.
The United States Marine Corps will be on hand to collect toys at each Allen Fieldhouse entrance on Dec. 15 and 16.
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 host the Richmond Spiders on Tuesday, Dec. 18. Tip from Allen Fieldhouse is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN2. The Jayhawks will then 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.