Kent St.-Kansas Preview
The No. 13 Jayhawks will try to bounce back from their latest defeat by continuing their dominance on campus Tuesday night against Kent State.
Kansas (9-2) won eight straight following a 72-40 defeat to top-ranked Kentucky on Nov. 18, but the streak came to an end in much more surprising fashion Dec. 22. The Jayhawks missed nine of their first 10 shots, matched a season high with 17 turnovers and never led in a 77-52 road loss to Temple.
They've shot 25.9 percent in their defeats compared to 45.3 in the victories, but Self felt there was something specific lacking against the Owls.
"We can tweak some things, though, to put us in position to make more plays, but when you're talking about the Temple game only - if you have to coach enthusiasm and passion and energy, then it doesn't matter what you run," he said. "It's the same way in every sport. And we are talking about the Temple game only.
"You can go back to (when we beat) Florida, Michigan State, Utah, Georgetown - you don't play well, but energy can make up for some things, and that's what I think that we didn't have the other day. We played like a bunch of duds."
That's not usually the case in Lawrence, where Kansas has won by average of 17.4 points during a 13-game streak that includes its first four contests there this season.
The venue hasn't made much of a difference lately for sophomore guard Frank Mason III, who is averaging 14.5 points on 55.6 percent shooting - including 9 of 15 from 3-point range - over the past three games. He went 4 for 6 from long range against the Owls and was the only Kansas player to reach double figures with a career-best 20 points.
"Frank's been, obviously, our best player to date," Self said. "Most consistent, without question. But I still don't think he's played like he's capable of playing.
"His stats are good, but I think he can do more things to create havoc offensively by getting in the paint and certainly defensively because he's probably our best perimeter defender."
Perry Ellis is Kansas' top scorer at 12.5 points per game, but he's totaled nine while shooting 3 of 16 over the past two games.
Kent State (8-3) won 65-57 over then-No. 23 Saint Mary's in its most recent meeting with a ranked opponent, but that came on Feb. 23, 2008.
A victory this time will likely require a better defensive effort after the Golden Flashes turned in their worst of the season in a 78-75 loss at UTEP on Dec. 22.
They surrendered a season-high in points - nearly 20 more than their average - while allowing the Miners to shoot 52.3 percent after yielding 38.3 over the first 10 games.
Jimmy Hall is looking to build on his 20 points and 10 rebounds against UTEP after totaling 15 points and as many boards in the previous two games. The sophomore forward leads Kent State with 13.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
Kansas won 87-60 at Allen Fieldhouse in the only previous meeting on Dec. 1, 2008.