December 21, 2014

Kansas' two marquee freshmen have struggled to find their footing, though they flashed their potential in the last victory.

Two transfers made an immediate impact in their debuts for Temple.

The 10th-ranked Jayhawks seek a ninth straight victory when they visit the Owls on Monday night.

Coach Bill Self landed two of the top players in the class of 2014 when he signed McDonald's All-Americans Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander. Both have progressed slowly, averaging fewer than 20 minutes per game.

Self said Alexander was "starting to get it" following his season-best 16-point performance in a Nov. 28 win over Tennessee. The 6-foot-8 forward has averaged 7.2 points and 42.9 percent shooting in five games since, however.

He was expected to make his first start in Saturday's 96-69 win over Lafayette, but Self opted instead to keep Alexander as a reserve, saying had a bad practice Friday.

Oubre took advantage of his second start in place of Brannen Greene, who was late to a weightlifting session, scoring a season-high 23 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Alexander was efficient with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in 17 minutes.

"Today was a confidence booster, something to get me started," said Oubre, who was 4 of 7 from 3-point range after hitting his previous three this season. "I'm just going to keep doing the things I've been doing, be patient and enjoy the process."

Oubre's performance was particularly timely with leading scorer Perry Ellis (13.3 ppg) limited to four points in 14 minutes, with Self saying the forward didn't seem to be feeling well. Kansas (9-1) was 38 for 76 from the field after shooting 39.4 percent and averaging 67.5 points in the previous four games.

The Jayhawks have won eight in a row since a 72-40 loss to top-ranked Kentucky on Nov. 18.

Temple (7-4) had struggled from 3-point range before the debuts of guards Jesse Morgan and Devin Coleman in Thursday's 82-62 win at Delaware. Morgan had 16 points while hitting four 3-pointers, while Coleman had nine points on three 3s.

Morgan was second on Massachusetts with 13.4 points per game in 2012-13 while Coleman averaged 5.4 points in 10 games for Clemson. Both had been ineligible until the completion of the first semester due to transfer rules.

"Just to have those guys, they've been practicing hard, it just felt good to have them on the court with us and helping us get a win," said guard Will Cummings, who had a career-high 10 assists.

The Owls had been shooting 25.9 percent from 3-point range while averaging 4.5 made 3s. They were 16 of 33 against the Blue Hens after not hitting more than six in a game.

"I think they'll make a significant impact," coach Fran Dunphy said of Morgan and Coleman. "I think they are, again, they're good at just about every aspect of the game. They're good jump shooters, they're pretty good on the defensive end, they're very competitive."

Kansas is holding teams to an average of 6.4 made 3-pointers but allowed Lafayette go 12 for 26.

The Jayhawks own an 8-3 series edge over Temple and have won the last three meetings, taking the most recent 69-62 at home Jan. 6, 2013. Temple's last victory over Kansas was 74-66 in overtime Dec. 22, 1995, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The Owls have dropped seven straight against top-10 teams and failed to defeat one in 2013-14 for the first time in six seasons.

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