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11:00 AM PT12:00 PM MT1:00 PM CT2:00 PM ET7:00 PM GMT3:00 PM 北京时间12:00 PM MST2:00 PM EST, Dec 29, 2018
Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas  Attendance: 16,300

No. 5 Jayhawks host Eastern Michigan

As tune-ups go, the last nonconference test for No. 5 Kansas does not figure to dissuade anyone from believing the No. 5 Jayhawks (10-1) are favorites to capture a 15th consecutive Big 12 championship.

Their opponent at home Saturday is Eastern Michigan (6-6), which is winless on the road and recorded its two most recent wins against opponents outside Division I.

The Jayhawks' streak of league titles is a Division I record, set last season when they topped a string of 13 consecutive crowns UCLA captured in the Pac-8 during a dynasty in which the Bruins also claimed 10 national championships.

Although Kansas lost key contributors, coach Bill Self reloaded with immensely talented newcomers led by junior forward Dedric Lawson, a Memphis transfer.

Lawson has contributed four consecutive double-doubles in games Kansas missed junior center Udoka Azubuike, who is recovering from an ankle injury. Lawson also averages a double-double, contributing 20.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

"I thought I needed a fresh start," Lawson told the Lawrence Journal-World. "And I always wanted to play in the NCAA Tournament, so I thought Kansas was the best spot for me to do that. ... I know how coach Self coaches and I know he's going to put me in the right spots to be the best Dedric Lawson I could be."

The basketball IQ Self said his 6-9 forward exhibits has accentuated the four-guard lineups inserted while the 7-0 Azubuike is unavailable.

"I didn't know we could play through (Lawson) to the extent we have at times," Self said. "Dedric puts up numbers on 15 shots and it looks easy, even though it's not. He's so fluid."

Kansas could soon be whole again.

Azubuike is practicing, though Self said his pivot was "probably 60 or 70 percent still" and uncertain for the Eastern Michigan game. The timetable on Azubuike, who turned his ankle in a Dec. 4 win over Wofford, was set for the Big 12 opener Wednesday against Oklahoma.

"Eastern Michigan can play about as big as anybody we've played so far," said Self, "so it'd be nice to have another body out there and it'd be nice just for him to get some reps going into conference play."

Eastern Michigan's most noteworthy achievement in nonconference play was inglorious at best. The Eagles tied a Division I record by scoring just four points in the first half of a Nov. 19 loss at Rutgers. They trailed 31-4 at halftime before falling 63-36.

The matchup with Kansas marks the second opportunity against a top-five opponent this season. Eastern Michigan previously lost at Duke when the Blue Devils were ranked No. 1. The Eagles' last win over a ranked opponent was in 1994 against Wisconsin.

Senior forward Elijah Minnie has been hot of late, averaging 16.2 points in the last four games. Senior guard Paul Jackson leads Eastern Michigan's scorers with a 12.6-point average.

The Eagles have struggled around the arc on both ends, allowing opponents a 117-66 advantage on 3-point makes.

The trip to Kansas completes Eastern Michigan's nonconference schedule. The Eagles return home Jan. 4 to face No. 21 Buffalo to begin MAC play.

Updated December 28, 2018

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