Trojans and Jayhawks lock horns in Lawrence
Lawrence, TN (Sports Network) – One of the nation’s most exciting teams
will be on display tonight, as the fifth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks host the
USC Trojans in a non-conference clash.
USC lost its season opener to South Carolina by an 80-74 final in overtime,
but the team has run off five consecutive victories since that point. The
most recent triumph came on Saturday by a 67-50 final over Loyola Marymount,
and the last four victories have all come by double figures.
Kansas carried a five-game win streak into Saturday’s road clash with DePaul,
and the result of that contest was a 64-57 setback. The poor offensive showing
marked the worst output for the Jayhawks this season by a wide margin, as they
have surpassed the 80-point mark five times. The only other loss came against
Oral Roberts back in mid-November.
Kansas holds a 7-5 series edge over USC, and the Jayhawks won the most
recent meeting by a score of 107-78 during the 1998-99 campaign.
Three players are scoring in double figures for the Trojans, who are netting
71.0 ppg while limiting opponents to just 31.3 percent shooting from the
floor, including 24.3 percent efficiency from three-point range. Clearly,
strong defense has been key to the team’s success. Nick Young leads USC with
16.5 ppg, and Lodrick Stewart checks in with 14.7 ppg. Taj Gibson rounds out
the double-digit scorers with 11.7 ppg, and he is pulling down 9.8 rpg as
well. Stewart scored a season-high 21 points in the win over Loyola Marymount,
as he connected on 6-of-9 three-point attempts. Young was close behind with 18
points, and Abdoulaye N’diaye pitched in 12 points and nine boards. Smothering
defense by the Trojans forced a staggering total of 30 turnovers while
limiting Loyola Marymount to 27.8 percent shooting from the floor.
A quick look at the stats from Saturday’s game against DePaul reveals that
Kansas held a slight advantage in shooting and rebounding. The Jayhawks also
committed two fewer turnovers than their counterparts, but a 10-point deficit
in points from the foul line proved to be the difference. Mario Chalmers
netted 15 points to lead the way in defeat, and Julian Wright contributed 12
points off the bench. As for Darrell Arthur, he rounded out the double-digit
scorers with 10 points. Arthur is currently averaging 15.1 ppg, tremendous
production for an inexperienced freshman. Wright brings 12.8 ppg and 8.6 rpg
to the floor, while Brandon Rush is posting 12.3 ppg. Chalmers adds 10.8 ppg
for Kansas, which is scoring 78.0 ppg while limiting opponents to 59.0 ppg on
37.4 percent shooting.