Lubbock, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The eighth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks attempt to continue their reign atop the Big 12 Conference on Tuesday night when they venture to United Spirit Arena to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
After dropping a heartbreaking 85-82 overtime loss at Kansas State on Feb. 10, Kansas bounced back in dominant fashion versus TCU on Saturday, 95-65, for its third win in the past four games. The Jayhawks are 19-6 overall and own sole possession of first place in the Big 12 at 10-2, but they have gone just 4-4 on the road.
Texas Tech had been winners of three straight heading into its most recent bout, but although it fought hard at nationally-ranked Iowa State, it ultimately fell on the wrong end of a 70-64 decision to dip to 13-12 overall and 5-7 in league play. The Red Raiders have enjoyed their home cooking at United Spirit Arena, winning 10 of 14 at home.
The Jayhawks have dominated the all-time series with Texas Tech, 25-4, which includes wins in five straight meetings.
Although Kansas only led by a modest seven-point margin at the half of its most recent game, it caught fire in the second stanza and eventually made claim to the 30-point home win by shooting a blistering 61.5 percent from the field while dominating the rebounding battle, 35-18. Perry Ellis was on fire in the victory, knocking down 13-of-15 from the field on his way to a career- high 32 points, while adding eight rebounds, five assists and two steals for good measure. Andrew Wiggins contributed 17 points, Wayne Selden Jr. scored 15 and Jamari Traylor came off the bench to tally 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Jayhawks have made their presence felt on both ends of the floor all season long by shooting 50.4 percent from the field, which is tied for first in the nation, for 80.1 ppg while allowing 69.9 ppg on just 41 percent shooting by their opponents. They also own a strong +7.7 rebounding margin, although their top big man Joel Embiid (10.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.5 bpg) sat out the TCU game to rest lingering knee and back injuries. Embiid is expected to return to the lineup for this tilt, however. Wiggins has impressed during his freshman campaign with 16.1 ppg and 5.8 rpg, Ellis posts 14.0 ppg and 6.9 rpg and Selden, Jr. (10.4 ppg) and Naadir Tharpe (9.0 ppg, 5.3 apg) are also integral pieces of the puzzle.
The Red Raiders fell behind Iowa State by as many as 18 in the second half of their latest bout only to climb all the way back to take a one-point lead with 3:02 remaining on a Jaye Crockett layup, but ISU avoided an epic collapse by reeling off a 9-2 run to close it out. They were ultimately done it by a lackluster 37 percent field goal shooting effort, although they kept the game interesting by outscoring their adversary from the free-throw line, 20-9. Crockett did his best to lead the team to victory by logging 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Toddrick Gotcher and Jordan Tolbert poured in 14 and 10 points, respectively.
On the season, Texas Tech has been better than average across the board, posting positive margins in terms of scoring (+3.3), rebounding (+3.8) and turnovers (+0.3), while shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 74.3 percent at the free-throw line. The team's strength comes in the frontcourt, where Crockett (14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Tolbert (10.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg) both shoot greater than 54 percent from the field. Robert Turner (9.8 ppg) and Dusty Hannahs (9.0 ppg) are regular contributors to the solid offensive attack as well.