Oklahoma St.-Kansas Preview
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- Kansas has a share of the Big 12 lead and is looking to build on another impressive road victory. Returning to Lawrence to face a conference foe is usually a great way to do that.
The No. 7 Jayhawks look to continue their Big 12 domination at Allen Fieldhouse by beating Oklahoma State there for the 16th time in a row Saturday.
Kansas (19-5, 9-2) is tied with No. 4 Missouri for first place in the conference, though it lost 74-71 on the road to the Tigers last Saturday. They'll meet at Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 25.
The Jayhawks regrouped and turned in a stellar performance in a 68-54 win at sixth-ranked Baylor on Wednesday, sweeping the two-game season series.
They could be in position for a similar effort against visiting Oklahoma State (12-12, 5-6).
Kansas has dominated the Cowboys at home to the tune of 15 straight wins since a loss during the 1988-89 season. That's been a familiar fate for most conference rivals, as the Jayhawks own a 40-1 home record in the past 41 Big 12 contests, including a 92-65 rout of the Cowboys on Feb. 21. They've won 11 consecutive home conference games.
They beat Oklahoma State again, 63-62, in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament March 10.
Another big performance from Jeff Withey could help extend Kansas' home winning streaks. The junior center scored a career-high 25 points Wednesday, going 8 of 10 from the floor and 9 of 11 on free throws.
Withey's point total was 10 better than his previous personal best, and following a scoreless effort against Missouri.
"Coach (Bill Self) definitely got into my head and just told me that I need to be able to play," Withey said. "I can't go games where I don't score. ... My teammates definitely trusted me. They made great plays and got me open."
Thomas Robinson, who had 20 points and 17 rebounds against the Bears, is tied for third in the conference with 18.8 points per game, while his 12.0 boards ranks first. The junior forward is the only player in the Big 12 averaging a double-double, and he's accomplished the feat in each of the last six home games.
Oklahoma State, 1-8 in its last nine against Top 25 opponents, is trying to win two in a row for the first time since a season high-tying three-game run Nov. 30-Dec. 7.
Le'Bryan Nash helped the Cowboys win for the third time in five games Tuesday, hitting a fadeaway jumper with 4.7 seconds left and blocking a shot at the buzzer in a 69-67 victory over Iowa State.
The freshman swingman finished with 18 points against the Cyclones and is averaging 17.0 over the last five games - nearly four more than his season average.
"He should be (proud) and I'm proud of him," coach Travis Ford said. "To make the last-second shot and block the shot, it's good to feel good about yourself, but also understand you have to play defense all the time, that's what you're capable of doing.
"He has to become a little more consistent, but he'll get there, no question he's trying. I'm glad he feels good about himself because we are on him a lot."
Keiton Page leads the Cowboys with 14.2 points per game. The guard scored 23 against Kansas in the conference tournament last season.
Updated February 10, 2012