News, notes and quotes on No. 4 Kansas’ matchup with Loyola Maryland Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas (4-1) just won the Maui Invitational, where it beat Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game on Nov. 25. Loyola (1-5), meanwhile, has lost three straight games after falling at Siena, 90-82, in overtime on Nov. 28.
Loyola, a member of the Patriot League, is 0-3 at home and 1-2 on the road this season with its only win coming against UMBC (76-57) on Nov. 18. The Greyhounds average 73.7 points per game and allow 79.0, while averaging 32.8 rebounds per contest, compared with 35.2 to their foes. Loyola shoots 44.7 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from three-point range, and 69.7 percent at the free throw line.
Redshirt junior forward Jarred Jones leads four players in double figures with 16.8 points and also has a team-high 9.2 rebounds per game. Senior guard Tyler Hubbard is next in the offensive attack at 16.5 points per game, while making a team-high 25 three-pointers and shooting a scorching 52.1 percent from beyond the arc. He’s followed in scoring by sophomore guard Andrew Walker (12.2 ppg, team-high 29 assists and 11 steals) and senior forward Franz Rassman (10.5 ppg, team-best seven blocks).
Senior guard Eric Laster also starts and is averaging 9.7 points per contest.
The Greyhounds are coached by G.G. Smith, who is in his third season with a 23-43 record. He is the son of legendary Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith.
Kansas coach Bill Self has known the younger Smith for many years.
“I know G.G., I don't know about real well, but he was obviously a kid in school when I was coaching Oral Roberts and Tubby was at Tulsa,” Self said. “I've known G.G. for a long time but not on a real personal level. He was a good player and obviously had a great career at Georgia playing there and has been in the business ever since.”
Self talked more about the Loyola head coach.
“I like playing guys like G.G. that has a chance to help their program by playing here, and, of course, you know, his dad is one of the pillars in our profession, and certainly a friend,” Self said. “So, certainly, I hope that G.G. and his team gets something out of coming here. I just hope it's not at our expense.”
SELF ON LOYOLA
Self knows the Greyhounds have some potent scorers.
“From a record-wise, they are not off to a great start, obviously, but they've got guys that can score the ball and they can get 30 in a night,” Self said. “We'll certainly scout them just like we do every opponent, but this has been a unique last three or four days. Our team's been really tired (since coming back from the Maui Invitational) and yesterday (Sunday) is the first day that we've shown any signs of life at all from a competitive spirit standpoint and that kind of stuff. That trip is a hard trip. We'll worry about Loyola, don't get me wrong. But I'm excited to see our guys getting back to playing the way we need to be playing, because we haven't yet since we've been back.”
The Jayhawks have a balanced attack with five players averaging in double figures led by Wayne Selden Jr. with 17.0 points per game. He’s followed in scoring by Perry Ellis (15.4), Frank Mason III (13.0), Brannen Greene (12.0 through two games) and Devonte’ Graham (10.6). And Svi Mykhailiuk is close to double digits at 9.4 points per game.
Greene, who is practicing with the team, is still undergoing a six-game suspension and will miss the next three contests.
LET’S PLAY FAST, REAL FAST
The Jayhawks are averaging 93.4 points per game (No. 1 in Big 12) and playing a very up-tempo pace, especially with two speedy point guards Graham and Mason in the starting lineup.
“We're playing so much faster than what we've ever had since I've been here,” Self said. “It seems like to me, this is one of the best from defense, from securing the ball defense, to pushing it down the floor of anybody we've ever had.”