Jeff Withey was more than ready when his number was called during KU's 89-66 victory over Iowa State…
Scouting Iowa State (Redux)
Iowa State is 14-10 and last in the Big 12 at 1-8. The Cyclones, whose only win in conference play was against Baylor (72-57) at home on Jan. 15, have dropped six straight. Two of their losses in league play came in overtime against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, while ISU also lost by just one at Nebraska in the Big 12 opener and to KSU, 86-85, in its last game on Feb. 5 in Ames.
Senior guard Diante Garrett leads the attack with 17.9 points per game (No. 5 in Big 12), while ranking No. 1 in the league with 6.0 assists per game. Junior guard Scott Christopherson is next in scoring (14.2 ppg), followed by senior guard Jake Anderson (11.9 ppg, team-high 7.8 rpg), senior forward Jamie Vanderbeken (11.5 ppg, team-best 1.9 bpg) and freshman forward Melvin Ejim (10.8 ppg).
The Cyclones average 76.3 points per game and allow 67.9. They shoot 44 percent from the field, 37.1 percent from three-point range, and 73.6 percent from the free-throw line. They're holding opponents to 40.2 percent shooting and 32.5 percent from three-point range, while being outrebounded 38.8 to 37.7 boards per game.
ISU leads the Big 12 with 8.7 three-point field goals made per game.
SELF ON THE CYCLONES
KU coach Bill Self said coach Fred Hoiberg's team has been "really unlucky."
"He goes from a situation where they can win the first game in Lincoln, have the ball playing for one, turn it over and foul to lose in regulation," Self said. "They had the game in Stillwater, up four with a minute left with the ball, and lose. The K-State game was one of those heartbreaking games also. He's real close to being .500 in the league, or better, and I think what he's done is give his guys a free mind offensively.
"Their players have really improved offensively, particularly Garrett. He definitely should be on the (All-Big 12) First Team ballot right now. Any time you lead the league in assists, defenses are designed to slow him down. He's obviously having a great year. "
ROBINSON OUT; SELBY SERIOUSLY DOUBTFUL
Sophomore forward Thomas Robinson underwent successful surgery Friday on a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee and will be out approximately two weeks.
"Thomas injured his knee against Missouri on Monday," Self said Friday. "It's been bothering him since the game and we did an MRI on him this morning and found out he had a meniscus tear in his right knee. Surgery was performed. It went well but he will be out on either side of two weeks depending on how progress goes."
Robinson, who is 20-for-25 (80.0 percent) from the field in his last four games with a 12.8 points per game average in that stretch, is averaging 8.9 points and 6.4 rebounds this season.
"Thomas has a great attitude," Self said. "He's very disappointed, but has (been) strong throughout this. We're disappointed for him for a lot of reasons. One is he is playing so well as of late. We would rather have him healthy and in rhythm going into the postseason than waiting and doing the surgery later on."
In other injury news, Self said Josh Selby saw limited practice on Friday. The freshman guard has been nursing a stress reaction in his right ankle.
"I seriously doubt he will play (today)," Self said.
LAST TIME OUT
KU beat ISU, 84-79, in the teams' last game in Ames in the Jayhawks' Big 12 opener on Jan. 12. Marcus Morris led KU with a career-high 33 points and 13 rebounds. Twin brother Markieff Morris also recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 boards. Iowa State was led by Garrett's 27 points.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP
Self wasn't pleased that KU gave up 86 points to Missouri on Monday. He said "our next step is that we've got to play defense like we're not making shots."
"I know it's coach-speak, but defense does win championships," Self said. "In every competitive sporting contest, if you have great defense going against great offense, the majority of the time great defense wins — great pitching against great hitting, it doesn't make a difference. When great is going against great, defense usually wins, so we need to get better at that."
THIS & THAT
KU leads the nation in field goal percentage at 52.4 percent. Kansas also leads the Big 12 in scoring offense (83.7), scoring margin (+19.8), three-point field goal percentage (39.4), assists (18.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3).
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