News, notes and quotes on No. 13 Kansas’ matchup with Kent State Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse while the Jayhawks hope to start a new winning streak after getting crushed by Temple, 77-52, in Philadelphia on Dec. 22.
Kansas (9-2) had previously won eight straight games.
SCOUTING KENT STATE
Kent State (8-3) is coming off a 78-75 loss to UTEP in the championship game of the Sun Bowl Invitational in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 22. The Golden Flashes, members of the Mid-American Conference, had previously won four straight and are 3-1 in road games this season. They average 65.5 points and allow just 58.8 ppg (No. 39 nationally) while holding opponents to 39.4 percent shooting overall and only 31.1 percent from beyond the arc. Only three teams have managed to score more than 61 points and shoot at least 40 percent from the field against KSU this season.
The Golden Flashes shoot 42.1 percent from the field, 39.0 percent from three-point range, and 57.9 percent at the free throw line. They average 35.8 rebounds and post a +2.9 rebound margin. Kent State also averages 19.1 three-point attempts per game and makes 7.5. The Golden Flashes force 13.5 turnovers per game and average 5.4 steals.
Redshirt sophomore forward Jimmy Hall leads the attack with 13.7 points while also tops in rebounding (7.6 rpg) and blocks (10). He is the only player to have started every game for KSU this year, and is the program’s first player to score at least 10 points in his first eight games as a Golden Flash since Jay Peters during the 1986-87 season.
Senior guard Devereaux Manley is next in scoring (11.7 ppg) while making a team-high 36 three-pointers. He’s followed by senior guard Kris Brewer (10.8 ppg) and redshirt senior guard Derek Jackson (10.1 ppg), who rounds out the players in double-figure scoring.
KSU is coached by Rob Senderoff, who is 64-43 in his fourth season as head coach with all at Kent State.
KU coach Bill Self knows Kent State poses a tough challenge.
“(Kent State is) another tough opponent,” Self said. “We watched tape, and they are good. They are 8-3. They almost won at UTEP. That was a one-possession game. UTEP, obviously, could have easily had Arizona the other night (55-60 loss on Dec. 19). So they have a good team. They are very, very, very quick on the perimeter, very athletic, and they play around a big guy (Hall) that can score facing with his back to the basket. Rob has a really nice team.”
LOOKING TO REBOUND
KU is looking to rebound off its dismal performance against Temple. Self and the Jayhawks know they need to play with more energy every night.
“We didn't come ready to play,” Self said. “We played tired and it's very evident what happens when you play good teams, good players, when you're not quite on point or at that ‘magic level’ so to speak. I think there's a lot of things that we can learn from it, but the score differential obviously wasn't great, because they put us away there midway through the second half. But the thing that I think is very evident, that shouldn't surprise anybody, (is that) when you play good people and you're not at that level and they are, you're going to get beat, especially away from home. It's that way in all sports, regardless of what level you play and that was certainly the case with us.”
Junior forward Jamari Traylor and the veterans told their younger teammates that they have to move on after the Temple game.
“We definitely came out after that and told the guys, ‘Look we’re just going to forget it, we’re going to scratch that,’” Traylor said. “We all know what we’ve got to do better so let’s change it and not it make it a habit so move on to the next game and get better.”
INTENSITY PICKING UP
Traylor said the practices since the players returned to Lawrence Friday following Christmas break have been very productive.
“They're a lot more intense, a lot more focused,” Traylor said. “Everybody wanted to get back to work.”
BATTLE OF TRUE WINNERS
Entering 2014-15, Kansas and Kent State are two of 13 Division I programs with 20 wins in 14 of the past 16 seasons. KU is one of the seven which has accomplished the feat each of the last 16 years.
KU won the only meeting with Kent State, 87-60, on Dec. 1, 2008 in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks are 11-1 against current membership of the MAC.