KU Hosts WVU on Saturday


Kansas returns to Allen Fieldhouse to host West Virginia in the first of its final two home contests, March 2, at 1 p.m. on CBS. The Jayhawks are coming off a 108-96 overtime victory at Iowa State on ESPN’s Big Monday, Feb. 25. The game marked the 500th all-time victory for KU head coach Bill Self.


With its win at Iowa State on Monday, Kansas has guaranteed itself a spot in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. First-round matchups between the Nos. 8-9 and Nos. 7-10 seeds will be Wednesday, March 13. Quarterfinals are Thursday, March 14, with the semifinals March 15 and the championship game March 16. In the 17-year history of the Big 12, Kansas has only played in the first round once, that being in 2000 as a No. 5 seed.



Kansas, ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press and No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches’ polls released Feb. 25, is 24-4 (12-3 Big 12). The Jayhawks are 15-1 at home, 7-2 in road games and 2-1 on neutral courts in 2012-13. In his 10th season at KU, Bill Self holds a 293-57 record for an 83.7 winning percentage. Self won his 500th career game in overtime at Iowa State (2/25) and is 500-162 in his 20th season as a head coach. KU averages 74.5 points per game and is giving up 61.1 for a Big 12-leading +13.4 scoring margin. KU also leads the league in rebound margin at +6.7, field goal percentage at 47.1, field goal percentage defense at 35.5, which leads the nation, and blocked shots at 6.6.


Kansas starts four seniors, including three fifth-year seniors, and one freshman. Named to the Sporting News Mid-Season All-American team Jan. 15, redshirt freshman G Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring at 15.9 points per game, which leads all Big 12 freshmen in scoring and ranks second overall in the conference. The Jan. 14 Big 12 Player of the Week and two-time conference Rookie of the Week, McLemore leads the league in free throw percentage (88.0) and is third in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage (42.3). McLemore, who is listed on the USBWA Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year Award Midseason list, has a team-high 52 three-pointers made and is second on the team with 33 steals. All-America candidate senior C Jeff Withey, who on Feb. 25 was named the Big 12 Player of the Week for the second-straight week and third time in 2012-13, leads Kansas in rebounding (8.5 rpg) and has 11 double-doubles this season, including four in his last five games. Withey leads the league in blocked shots at 3.8 per game, which ranks third nationally. Withey is Kansas’ and the Big 12’s all-time blocked shots leader with 272. Withey is scoring 13.5 points per outing. Withey and McLemore are on the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Midseason list, Wooden Award Mid-Season list and are Naismith Award Top-30 candidates. Senior G Travis Releford leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 60.3 percent. The Nov. 26 Big 12 Player of the Week, Releford is scoring 12.4 points per contest and contributed 19 points at Iowa State (2/25) in the Jayhawks’ OT win. Senior G Elijah Johnson is coming off a career night at Iowa State where he scored 39 points. He has a team-high 125 assists and is second on the team with 42 three-pointers made to complement his 10.2 scoring average. Senior F Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters; he is scoring 7.8 points per contest and is second on the team with 7.1 rebounds per outing. Young has 998 career points between Loyola-Marymount (658) and Kansas (340). Other KU regulars include freshman F Perry Ellis (4.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg), sophomore G Naadir Tharpe (5.4 ppg, 2.9 apg) and redshirt freshman F Jamari Traylor (2.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg).



Located in Morgantown, W.Va., with an enrollment of 29,306, West Virginia is 13-15 on the season and 6-9 in Big 12 play after its 65-62 lost to Baylor on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The Mountaineers are coached by Bob Huggins who is 133-71 in his sixth season at WVU, his alma mater, and 723-282 in his 31st season overall. West Virginia is 8-5 at home, 3-7 in road games and 2-3 on neutral courts in 2012-13. WVU averages 65.6 points per game and gives up 66.1. The Mountaineers are outrebounding foes 35.8 to 33.7 and average 7.4 steals per contest. WVU forces 14.4 turnovers per game.


West Virginia has a balanced team as 11 different Mountaineers average 11-plus minutes per game and 10 have started at least two games in 2012-13. Freshman G Eron Harris leads WVU in scoring with 9.3 points per game and with 37 three-pointers this season. Junior C Aaric Murray averages 8.8 points per game and leads the Mountaineers in rebounding at 6.2 boards per contest. Murray has a team-high 38 blocked shots. Senior F Deniz Kilicli also averages 8.8 points per game and his 4.4 rebound average is third best on the team. Sophomore G Juwan Staten scores 8.4 points per game and leads WVU with 87 assists and 35 steals. Sophomore G Jabarie Hinds has started all but two games for the Mountaineers and scores 7.5 points per outing. Freshman G Terry Henderson is second on the team with 33 three-pointers made and averages 7.5 points per contest. Sophomore G Gary Browne (6.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg) is second on the team with 27 steals. Other WVU regulars include senior G Matt Humphrey (4.3 ppg), sophomore F Keaton Miles (2.8 ppg), sophomore F Kevin Noreen (2.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and senior F Dominique Rutledge (2.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg).



Kansas and West Virginia are meeting for only the second time in men’s basketball with the previous being earlier this season when the Jayhawks defeated the Mountaineers 61-56 on Jan. 28 in Morgantown. Kansas seniors Jeff Withey and Travis Releford led the Jayhawks by scoring 15 points apiece. Withey had four blocked shots for the game and tied fellow senior Kevin Young with a team-high seven rebounds. Redshirt freshman G Ben McLemore contributed 13 points in the win. West Virginia’s Aaric Murray led all scorers with 17 points. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 1-0 all-time against West Virginia, while Bob Huggins is 0-5 versus Kansas.


Kansas-IOWA STATE Leftovers

–Kansas has 24 wins for the eighth-consecutive season, beginning in 2005-06.

–The Jayhawks have 12 conference wins for the 13th-straight season dating back to 2000-01.

–The win snapped a 22-game home winning streak for Iowa State.

–The win was KU’s 15th against ISU in the last 16 meetings.

–Head coach Bill Self won his 500th career game and became tied for the ninth-fastest head coach to reach 500 victories, needing just 662 games to accomplish the feat.

–Kansas scored 41 points in the first half, the third-most in Big 12 Conference play this season and most since logging 47 in the first 20 minutes against K-State at Allen Fieldhouse (2/11). The first half total was one point less than the Jayhawks tallied in the first half of the previous meeting with the Cyclones this season (42).

–Kansas led 41-40 at halftime and improved to 21-1 when leading at the half this season.

–Iowa State’s 41 three-point field goal attempts were the most ever by a KU opponent and the 17 makes tied for second-most against KU. The mark trails Nebraska’s made 18 three-pointers against Kansas (2/24/02) and ties Kentucky’s 17 made threes (12/9/89).

–Senior G Elijah Johnson scored eight points in the game’s final 35.7 seconds, including two three-pointers and a pair of free throws to tie and send the game to overtime. Johnson tallied a career-high 39 points, the most by a Jayhawk since Terry Brown scored 42 against NC State (1/5/91). Johnson’s previous career high was 26 points versus Texas A&M (3-8-12).

–Johnson’s 18 second-half points tied Thomas Robinson (second half vs. Texas, 3/3/12) for the sixth most by a Jayhawk in a half since the 1988-89 season. 

–Johnson scored 12 points in overtime, the most ever by a Jayhawk in a single overtime period. He passed Raef Lafrentz’ 11 points in overtime against Nebraska in Lawrence (2/1/97).

–Senior C Jeff Withey logged his 11th double-double of the season and 17th of his career with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The school and conference record holder in blocked shots was held without a redirect for just the second time this season.

–Senior G Travis Releford’s 19 points was his highest total in Big 12 Conference play this season. He went 5-for-9 from deep, tying a career-high with made threes set earlier this season against American (12/29).