Howard-Kansas Preview

The Associated Press

It's safe to say Kansas has experienced mixed results thus far.

Fortunately for the Jayhawks, they appear to have two fairly easy tune ups before opening Big 12 play next week.

No. 17 Kansas doesn't seem likely to face much of a challenge from Howard as it goes for a 12th consecutive victory at Phog Allen Fieldhouse on Thursday night.

The Jayhawks (8-3), who have posted signature wins over current No. 12 Georgetown and second-ranked Ohio State, have also experienced their fair share of defeats. Kansas fell 75-65 to then-No. 2 Kentucky and 68-61 to then-No. 6 Duke in November before a shocking 80-74 loss to Davidson at Kansas City's Sprint Center on Dec. 19.

Coach Bill Self's team, though, bounced back with an impressive 63-47 win at USC last Thursday to carry some momentum into the holiday break.

"We had to win (Thursday). There was no other choice," Self said. "To let that Davidson game get away was totally, I don't want to say unforgivable, but it was close."

The Jayhawks now seem all but certain to enter their conference opener Jan. 4 with in-state rival Kansas State on a bit of a roll. Kansas, which also hosts North Dakota (5-7) on Saturday, has taken 46 straight at home over unranked foes by 23.4 points per game.

Howard, meanwhile, has dropped 27 consecutive road games by an average of 16.9 points - including a 62-48 loss at then-No. 18 Georgetown and a 107-50 defeat at then-No. 17 Indiana earlier this month.

The Bison are sure to have their hands full with senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, averaging 15.3 points and a team-best 5.3 assists. In his second game back following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on Dec. 11, Taylor posted 10 points and nine assists versus the Trojans.

"After that loss, you can't turn it into two and not bounce back," he said. "We came out and handled business."

Forward Thomas Robinson, who ranks fourth in scoring (17.4) and leads the conference with 11.8 rebounds per game, could also present a difficult matchup.

Howard snapped a season-worst four-game losing streak with last Thursday's 88-83 overtime win over Delaware. Glenn Andrews, playing in just his third game with the team after transferring from Tulsa, scored a career-high 28 points while going 6 of 12 from 3-point range.

Fellow guard Calvin Thompson also came up big, scoring 16 points while making all 10 of his free throws.

"Glenn had a good game for us and hit some big shots," coach Kevin Nickelberry told the school's official site.

"And then Calvin settled us down. It was not so much his scoring and it was his leadership. He has been hurt and did not play the last two games and it affected how we play. But tonight, you could see the impact he has on how we play."

The Bison are averaging just 57.0 points on 36.7 percent shooting on the road.

In the only previous meeting in this series, Kansas blew out Howard 100-67 in the opening round of the 1992 NCAA tournament.

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