This week will be a short turnaround for the Cowboys as they play their second game in four days. The Cowboys fell to 1-4 in Big 12 play and remain just one game over .500 with a 9-8 overall record after losing 74-69 to the Texas Longhorns. Life doesn't get easier for the Cowboys as the No.3 Kansas Jayhawks visit Stillwater.
The Jayhawks are 15-2 overall, 4-1 in Big 12 play. They bounced back with a 70-63 home win over TCU after losing just their second game of the year (first in Big 12 play) on the road in West Virginia the game prior. The Jayhawks have lost their last two meetings with the Cowboys in Stillwater.
Who: Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Kansas Jayhawks.
When: Tuesday, January 19th, 7:00pm EST.
Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Twitter: Follow @CowboysRFF for updates.
Last Meeting: 67-62 home win for the Cowboys.
The Jayhawks have one of the best offensive units in the nation, with the offensive numbers across the board being very impressive. Coming into this game, the Jayhawks are No. 6 in the nation (second in Big 12) averaging 85.8 points per game. The Jayhawks are also No. 15 in the nation in field goal percentage (49%) and second in the nation in three-point shooting (44.9%). They're led by senior forward Perry Ellis who leads the team in scoring (15.9), rebounding (7), and free-throw percentage at 77 percent.
Kansas is deep at every position. 51.9 of the Jayhawks 85.8 points per game come from their five guards (Selden Jr, Mason, Graham, Greene, Mykhailiuk). Opposing teams have to pick their poison when playing against the Jayhawks. This is due to the fact that the Jayhawks are one of the few teams who can beat you both inside and outside. Perry Ellis is a force down low and he's aided by 6'10'' junior forward Landon Lucas, 6'8'' senior Jamari Traylor, 6'9'' freshman Cheick Diallo, and 6'9'' freshman Carlton Bragg. Cheick Diallo had his most productive game as a Jayhawk against TCU as he scored nine points, collected a career high nine rebounds, and blocked a career high five shots. Carlton Bragg scored a career high 10 points off the bench in the same game.
Keys to the game:
If the Cowboys want to upset the No.3 Jayhawks they have to defend as a team. They need to come up with their best defensive effort of the season to beat the high scoring Jayhawks. The Cowboys are ranked third in the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense (39.2 percent). The Jayhawks want to rebound and push the pace, it will be imperative for the Cowboys to get back on defense off missed shots and not allow the Jayhawks easy looks at the basket. In their most recent loss to West Virginia, the Jayhawks committed a season high 22 turnovers and were held to their lowest scoring output of the season with 63 points. If the Cowboys force the Jayhawks into some early turnovers and keep this a low scoring game they will have a chance to get the upset. If this game becomes a track meet, the Jayhawks will run away with it in convincing fashion.
Role players stepping up
Players like Leyton Hammonds and Tavarious Shine must step up in a game of this magnitude to help upset the Jayhawks. Junior guard Leyton Hammonds is coming off a strong outing against the Texas Longhords. Hammonds led the Cowboys in scoring with 18 and collected a career high nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Tavarious Shine scored a career high 14 points off the bench against the Longhorns, hitting four of his five three-point shots. Both Hammonds and Shine need to match the Kansas guards to give the Cowboys a chance in this game. Shine prides himself on his defense and will need to step up his defensive effort against the Jayhawks. Senior guard Jeff Newberry needs to snap out of his recent funk and put in his best effort against the Jayhawks. Newberry has totaled just 14 points in his last two games shooting a combined 35 percent from the field. As one of the leaders on the team, Newberry has to set an example early and keep up with the Jayhawks guards.
Continued emergence of Jawun Evans
Evans followed up his breakout game of 42 points against the Sooners with a 12 point, eight rebound, and seven assist outing against the Longhorns. Evans didn't shoot the ball well (4-of-13) but he kept his teammates involved by dishing out seven assists. He collected a career high eight rebounds against the Longhorns which is very impressive for a six-foot guard. Evans needs to continue to play with a lot of confidence, if his shot isn't falling he has to keep his teammates involved and pitch in on the defensive end against the outstanding guard play of the Jayhawks.