University of Kansas

Kansas-Oklahoma State men’s basketball preview

No. 24 Oklahoma State at No. 9 Kansas

P

No.

Kansas

Ht.

Yr.

PPG

F

34

Perry Ellis

6-8

Jr.

12.5

F

31

Jamari Traylor

6-8

Jr.

5.8

G

12

Kelly Oubre

6-7

Fr.

7.5

G

1

Wayne Selden

6-5

So.

9.2

G

0

Frank Mason

5-11

So.

12.1

P

No.

Oklahoma State

Ht.

Yr.

PPG

F

20

Michael Cobbins

6-8

Sr.

7.2

F

2

Le’Bryan Nash

6-7

Sr.

17.6

G

22

Jeff Newberry

6-2

Jr.

5.8

G

12

Anthony Hickey

5-11

Sr.

9.3

G

13

Phil Forte

5-11

Jr.

17.7

▪ WHEN/WHERE: 6 p.m. Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence

▪ TV/RADIO: ESPN2; KCSP (610 AM)

▪ ABOUT KANSAS (13-2, 2-0 Big 12): Kansas junior forward Perry Ellis snapped out of a minislump on Saturday against Texas Tech, finishing with a career-high three three-pointers and 15 points in an 86-54 victory over Texas Tech. Ellis had scored fewer than five points in three of Kansas’ last five games — though he had put up more than 15 points in consecutive victories over Kent State and UNLV during the stretch. Ellis appeared to benefit from the return of freshman guard Devonte’ Graham, who had six rebounds and six assists in his first game since Dec. 10. Graham, who has returned from a “turf toe” injury, will be back in the mix against Oklahoma State, but Kansas coach Bill Self says he will be cautious about overworking Graham as he slides back into the rotation. At this point in the season, the Jayhawks’ offense still ranks substantially ahead of its defense — at least statistically. After the victory over Texas Tech, Kansas moved to 15th in the country in offensive efficiency, averaging 1.13 points per possession. The Jayhawks’ defense ranks 45th. With a victory, Kansas can start 3-0 in Big 12 play before heading to Iowa State on Saturday. Kansas is 11-4 against Oklahoma State in its last 15 games, but the Cowboys did knock off the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse in 2013.

▪ ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (12-3, 2-1 Big 12): The post-Marcus Smart era has been good to Oklahoma State — perhaps better than expected. After losing Smart, the mercurial All-Big 12 point guard, to the NBA Draft, the Cowboys have regrouped around senior forward Le’Bryan Nash and junior gunner Phil Forte. Nash, who once upon a time was recruited by Kansas and figured to be on a college campus for just a few years, is averaging 17.6 points per game, which ranks second in the Big 12. Who’s first? That would be Forte, who was once thought to be a second piece in a package recruiting deal with Smart, his former high school teammate. Forte has been lighting up opposing defenses all season, averaging 17.7 points per game. He’s shooting 41 percent from three-point range, and his range extends out to 30 feet. The Cowboys defeated Texas 69-58 on Saturday in Stillwater and have lost just three times — at Iowa State, at South Carolina and at home against Maryland. While the Cowboys rely heavily on Nash and Forte on offense, their defense ranks 21st in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com. One reason: Senior big man Michael Cobbins is healthy again after suffering a season-ending foot injury last year.

| Rustin Dodd, rdodd@kcstar.com

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