Kansas endured a rough set of games before its Christmas break. The next week might prove a little easier.
After getting six days off, the third-ranked Jayhawks face Texas-Arlington on Wednesday night in the opener of a three-game homestand against largely unheralded opponents.After winning its first nine games by an average of 27.4 points, Kansas (11-0) needed freshman Josh Selby's 3-pointer to escape with a 70-68 home win over Southern California on Dec. 18. Four days later, the Jayhawks took a 78-63 victory at California while surviving a second half that featured three technical fouls, one flagrant and junior forward Marcus Morris' ejection for an elbow to the head."We didn't handle it very well," coach Bill Self said. "We let it bother us too much and had to get the last word in. I was disappointed in how our guys reacted, really disappointed in Marcus. He got exactly what he deserved."The thing that bothers me in basketball is when guys put their own agendas ahead of their team. That's very, very, very selfish."Markieff Morris had a career-high 21 points and 10 rebounds in his twin brother's absence, and Tyrel Reed added a career-best 18 points. Selby contributed another 18 points in his second game back from an NCAA suspension for accepting improper benefits."Selby stepped up, Markieff had a big night," Reed said. "We're a team, and somebody is going to make a play."The addition of Selby, who scored 21 points and knocked down five 3-pointers in his collegiate debut, to the rotation should help the Jayhawks cruise through their homestand. Kansas will face Miami (Ohio) on Jan. 2 and UMKC on Jan. 5 after taking on the Mavericks (5-5).Texas-Arlington heads into Allen Fieldhouse having lost four straight on a six-game road stretch, including a 73-56 defeat to Big 12 foe Texas Tech on Dec. 22. The Mavericks endured their worst shooting performance in five years (29.3 percent) in that game and have made just 37.3 percent of their attempts during their trek.LaMarcus Reed III, though, has managed to extend his streak of double-figure scoring performances to 10 games. The junior swingman, who is scoring 15.5 points per game, is the only Texas-Arlington player averaging more than 9.4.The Mavericks will likely need more than just Reed's scoring to snap Kansas' NCAA-best, 65-game home win streak. The Jayhawks have won 40 in a row there over non-conference opponents.Kansas is facing Texas-Arlington for the first time and is 3-0 against current members of the Southland Conference.