Third-ranked Kansas had its 17-game winning streak halted in its last outing and now looks to begin a new streak when it faces Texas Southern in nonconference play on Monday night at Lawrence, Kan.
The Jayhawks (6-1) saw the impressive streak end against Tennessee with Friday’s 64-50 loss in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game in the Bahamas.
“We played a team that was older and more mature and obviously played stronger and tougher,” Kansas coach Bill Self said afterward. “We didn’t handle the situation near as well as what I would hope a poised team would.”
The Jayhawks’ streak included its six-game run to last season’s national championship. Coincidentally, the first March Madness opponent was Texas Southern, and Kansas rolled to an 83-56 victory.
Now the Jayhawks will be looking to rebound from a season-worst point total while counting on Jalen Wilson to continue his strong season and Gradey Dick to break out of a two-game slump.
Wilson has topped 20 points four times and has four double-doubles while leading Kansas in both scoring (22.9 points per game) and rebounding (9.4).
Dick is averaging 15.4 points but has scored just 16 points combined on 5-of-16 shooting over the past two games.
The Jayhawks will also be without reserve guard Bobby Pettiford Jr., who strained a hamstring during the loss to Tennessee.
“He’ll be out for a while. I don’t know how long,” Self said. “He’s got a hamstring strain. So those you can’t really mess with, I don’t think. So whether he’d be back in a week or two weeks or whatever, I have no idea. But certainly he won’t be available to us, I don’t think in the immediate future.”
Joseph Yesufu received 27 minutes off the bench due to Pettiford’s injury and contributed a season-high 14 points.
Dajuan Harris Jr. is the lone starter back from the Kansas squad that routed Texas Southern in last season’s NCAA tourney. The Jayhawks led 47-19 at halftime.
This season, Texas Southern (1-6) has lost four straight games entering the rematch as it continues its tradition of playing a plethora of major colleges in the first two months of the season.
The Tigers’ lone win was a 67-66 home decision in overtime over Arizona State in the Pac-12/SWAC Legacy Series. The losses include visits to then-No. 25 Texas Tech (78-54), then-No. 3 Houston (83-48) and then-No. 13 Auburn (72-56).
“One of the reasons we take on these type of challenges early in the season is to utilize a measuring stick of where we are and how our guys can compete,” Texas Southern coach Johnny Jones said after the loss to Houston on Nov. 16.
Texas Southern last played on Nov. 20 when it fell 78-63 to host Samford.
Davon Barnes broke out with a career-best 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Barnes leads the Tigers with a 14.1 scoring average.
PJ Henry (13.2) and John Walker III (12.1) also average in double digits.
Texas Southern is 0-5 all-time against Kansas. Three of the meetings came in the 1980s.
–Field Level Media