Tipoff is 9 p.m. on ESPN2.
After a sluggish first half versus the Mocs where KU was down 36-28,
the Jayhawks (2-1) elevated their intensity and energy and outscored
Chattanooga by 22 after halftime, winning 69-55. KU held the Mocs to
just 24.0 percent shooting in the second half while hitting 50 percent
of its shots after intermission as the Jayhawks got their fast-break
game in gear and had several game-changing dunks.
“I thought the first half was the worst we've played and the second
half was the best we've played all year,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Our
defense was tremendous the second half.”
Self now hopes for 40 minutes of tremendous defense against Washington State (2-1), which is coming off a 58-56 overtime loss at Pepperdine on
Friday. The Cougars had previously won their first two games against
Eastern Washington and Utah Valley.
WSU is led by senior Brock Motum, one of 50 preseason candidates for
the 2012-13 John R. Wooden Award. Motum, a 6-10 senior forward who was
named All-Pac-12 First Team and the league’s most improved player his
junior year, led the Cougars and the Pac-12 with 18.0 points per game
The Brisbane, Australia, native has started this season where he left
off last year, averaging 17.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Motum
is followed in scoring by 6-5 senior guard Mike Ladd (12.0 ppg, 7.0
rpg), 6-3 sophomore guard DaVonte Lacy (11.3 ppg, tied for team lead
with 10 assists), 6-6 sophomore guard Dexter Kernich-Drew (8.7 ppg),
6-3 sophomore point guard Royce Woolridge (7.7 ppg) and 6-10 junior
forward D.J. Shelton (5.3 ppg, team-high 7.3 rpg).
Woolridge is a former Jayhawk who played at KU during the 2010-11
season, scoring nine points in 16 games. The son of former late NBA
star Orlando Woolridge, Royce has started all three games for WSU,
averaging 31.3 minutes per game while making 4 of 8 three-point shots.
He’s shooting 44.4 percent from the field, and is tied for team lead
with 10 assists and four steals.
WSU is averaging 72.0 points per game while allowing just 58.7. The
Cougars are shooting 49.4 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from
downtown and 66.7 percent from the free throw line, while holding foes
to 39.9 percent shooting and 39.1 percent from three-point range.
Washington State is strong on the glass, outrebounding opponents 37.7
to 27.7 boards per game.
Self, whose team played well the first 35 minutes against Michigan State last Tuesday (KU lost 67-64) and the last 20 minutes versus
Chattanooga, is now aiming for a complete, high-energy game by the
“We're not good enough to play at 80 percent or 90 percent,” Self said.
“We have to play at 100 percent every night; when we do that we're
THE KU-WSU SERIES
KU and Washington State have played just one time with the Jayhawks
winning, 66-51, in The Opening round of the Jayhawk Classic on Dec. 14,
1973, in Allen Fieldhouse. KU's Norm Cook led all scorers with 16
points, while Danny Knight scored 16 and Dale Greenlee 10. KU went on
to win the Jayhawk Classic defeating Oregon, 67-49, the next day.
Kansas, which went just 8-18 the previous season, had the best comeback
in school history in 1973-74, finishing at 23-7 and advancing to the
Final Four. The Jayhawks also won the Big Eight regular-season title
with a 13-1 record. Knight, the late uncle of Lady Jayhawks’ sophomore
guard Natalie Knight, led KU in scoring that season at 12.4 points per
Through three games, KU averages 69 points per game while allowing 59.
The Jayhawks are shooting 43.8 percent from the field, 24.5 percent
from beyond the arc and 70.8 percent at the free throw line, while
holding foes to 37.7 percent shooting and 38.8 percent from three-point
KU is outrebounding opponents 38.3 to 34.3 while averaging 7.7 steals
and a Big 12-leading 8.7 blocks per game. Senior center Jeff Withey
leads KU’s block party with 4.3 blocks per contest, while chipping in
12.0 points and 9.7 rebounds. He also has two double-doubles.
KC, HOME SWEET HOME
Kansas City has always been a second home for the Jayhawks. Kansas
posted a sterling 81-25 record in Kemper Arena, while recording a 14-4
mark thus far in Sprint Center, including winning the 2008, 2010 and
2011 Big 12 Championships at the arena. KU’s greatest moment in Kansas
City was winning the 1988 national championship in Kemper Arena with
Danny and the Miracles. The Jayhawks are 199-78 all time in games
played in Kansas City.