basketball vs nevada

Super-senior guard Remy Martin defends the ball. Kansas defeated Nevada 88-61.

Kansas men’s basketball hosts George Mason Saturday in the first ever meeting between the two programs. 

The Jayhawks are coming off an 88-61 win against Nevada on Wednesday – the teams second consecutive game that wasn’t originally penciled in on the schedule, but comes as a result of COVID-19 protocols. 

To this point, KU is undefeated inside Allen Fieldhouse [7-0] and looks to continue the streak Saturday. While mentioning streaks, it’s important to note that the Fieldhouse has seen 324 consecutive sellouts, dating back to the 2001-02 season, according to Jesse Newell with the Kansas City Star. 

“The best fans in America gotta deliver when they’re called…,” Kansas coach Bill Self said on if he was worried about continuing the sellout streak despite the anticipated winter weather. “We expect our fans to purchase, and we expect them to be here, because that’s what the best does.”

George Mason, with a 7-5 record, will play for the first time since Dec. 21, after having won its last three games following five straight losses. The Patriots are under the direction of coach Kim English, an alum of Missouri, and coach Self knows his teams are always well prepared.

“I'm sure Kim [English] will have his guys juiced and jacked and ready to go, in large part because it means something extra to him,” Self said. “You know, even though he coaches at George Mason, he's a tiger playing Kansas, and so that should make it more fun also.”

Self noted that English’s teams shoot the ball a lot, but make a lot of their shots. The Patriots are averaging a 45.9% shooting clip from the floor, while maintaining a 36% mark from behind the arc, according to ESPN. 

As of late, senior guard Ochai Agbaji and junior guard Christian Braun have been a force to be reckoned with on the wings for Kansas. Agbaji and Braun are the first duo to average 20+ points per game for Kansas since Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce in December of 1997. 

But Self is wanting more production from the bench after only 13 points were scored from the reserves on Wednesday, seven of which were attributed to redshirt sophomore forward Jalen Wilson. 

“​​The bench when they get in there, they feel like they’ve got to do something too fast in order to stay in,” Self said. “And we haven't figured out that the job of benching isn’t to make your margin wider. The job the benches have is to keep the margin where it is, you know, whether it be a deficit or an advantage and we haven't quite gotten there yet.”

With wanting more production comes a level of trust and chemistry. And Braun said all the pieces are where they need to be. 

“Yeah, we're all extremely confident in each other,” Braun said. “I would say that there's not a person on that team that I doubt. They all know what they can do. We all know what they brought to the teams in the past and what they've brought to us in practice and in games, so we're all really confident in each other. And I wouldn't say that as a single player that I don't trust on the court.”

Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.