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W. Kentucky at Kansas coverage

Kansas defeats Western Kentucky, 64-57

  • 8:50 p.m., March 22, 2013
  • Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO

FINAL: KU slugs out 64-57 win over Western Kentucky

By Matt Tait.

In many ways Friday night's 64-57 victory by top-seeded Kansas University over Western Kentucky was an extension of the NCAA Tournament games the Jayhawks won last season.

Grind, grind, grind and hang on.

That's what the Jayhawks did on Friday, after trailing by a point at the half, to advance to Sunday's third round.

Led by senior center Jeff Withey's 17 points, six rebounds and seven blocks, the Jayhawks (30-5) took WKU's best shot and still managed to come out on top. The game was anything but comfortable for the de facto home team much of the way.

The Jayhawks struggled on offense throughout much of the first half and looked vulnerable on the boards and on defense. When Withey wasn't scoring at the rim or the free throw line, senior Kevin Young did his best to bring the sluggish Jayhawks energy.

Young finished with five points and eight rebounds.

It was far from pretty, but at this time of the year, it doesn't have to be. KU moves on and avoids the awful distinction of being the first No. 1 to lose to a 16 seed. It was never really close to coming to that, but the way KU played, it certainly could have.

The Jayhawks were 0-for-6 from three, marking the first time they failed to hit a three since a Feb. 9, 2008 home win against Baylor (100-90).

Here’s a quick look back at some of Friday night's action:

The game turned when: Western Kentucky began shooting in the second half. After shooting 48.1 percent in the first half (13-of-27), the Hilltoppers opened the second half just 4-of-29, a clip that slowly allowed the Jayhawks to gain control. WKU finished the game 21-of-67 shooting, good for 31 percent.

Offensive highlight: With the Jayhawks trailing early in the second half and still struggling on offense, Kevin Young rebounded his missed jumper from the free throw line and found himself wide open under the rim. Rather than laying it up and taking the two points, Young elected to go with the reverse slam, a move that put KU up 32-31 at the 17:55 mark and ignited the Sprint Center crowd. On the next possession, KU got a lob in transition from Ben McLemore to Travis Releford and the Jayhawks opened up their largest lead of the game to that point while Western Kentucky called a timeout.

Defensive highlight: This one's a bit odd, but it may have been one of the biggest plays of the game. At 18:19 in the second half, with WKU still leading, the Jayhawks defense stiffened and forced a shot-clock violation. That alone gave the fans something to cheer about and 15 minutes later, KU added to it by opening up a 10-point lead.

Key stat: Jeff Withey finished with seven blocks and four fouls. If one of those blocks goes a different way, the outcome of this one could have been very different. Just a great game by Withey.

Up next: The victory moved the top-seeded Jayhawks advanced to the third round of this year's NCAA Tournament and they will face No. 8 seed North Carolina on Sunday at Sprint Center. Game time will be 4:15 p.m. CT on CBS.

Box score

Join the post game discussion

Live coverage (Ended March 22, 2013 at 11:34 p.m.)

Jaycon11 in reply to Wissoxfan83

i'd love to see ku play michigan if only for the in-game strategy. michigan is a great team most nights.

Lawkan

do we have a game time for Sunday yet?

Bwag in reply to Kennethst

Just afraid that we'll have to if we can't handle pressure at the guard spot.

Jaybate in reply to Wissoxfan83

I hope to heck we get to play Michigan down the road. Self knows how to beat the Princeton in his sleep. The guy I worry about is Ratso Izzo. Is he still alive tonight?

Kent Wells in reply to Jayhawkinatl

I hate and love this time of year. I won't sleep for hours.

Mark Hopkins

I'm glad UCLA is loosing. I don't know why but I am!

Jaybate

Wow, such long faces about winning a 30th game. I am feeling on top of the world. This couldn't have gone better, unless WKU would have just missed everything it shot.

Wissoxfan83 in reply to George Powell

Yeah, but odds are Michigan wins that game tomorrow.

Jayhawkinatl

Well, at least we got 30 wins.

Kennethst in reply to Timothy Todd

Always is if KU does not win by 30

George Powell

vcu can beat michigan

Bwag in reply to Lawkan

Dorian Green, yeah!

Timothy Todd

Lots of negativity here tonight. Rock chalk! We advance.

Jaybate in reply to Aircapjay

Yes, I am Cindy Self. What of it? Do you like winning 30 games a year, or not? :-)

Jayhawkinatl in reply to Kent Wells

LOL

Mark Hopkins

I'm gonna go throw up now!

Jaycon11

what did coach self say in the presser the other day? no team that won it all played great for 6 games. this squad probably isn't final four material, but the team is better than they looked tonight. by far.

Ny05ks08

Roy may get revenge this time

Jayhawkinatl

This team is ridiculous...can play with anyone and lose to anyone.

Kennethst in reply to Kupark

Find another team if you think KU is so bad

Wissoxfan83 in reply to Rolland Remmert

Ya'll are crazy. Michigan has been a top 10 team all season. They were top ranked at one point. They get a four seed after being ranked 6th in the country? You don't want to face Michigan

Kent Wells

Now, does anyone have some heroin?

George Powell

they still mentioned the killer b's

fansincewilt

I don't think Carolina presses.

Jayhawk2181 in reply to Riverdrifter

You know it

Kupark in reply to Jjjjjhok

lol...

Mark Hopkins

At least we won't make NCAA history this year. WHEW!

Fljhk

Ugly. But next on the menu is UNC. That can make us suddenly hungry and healthy.

Tyson Ailshie

That should NOT have been that close! I'm like a tornado of anger spinning about!

Kent Wells

Survive and advance.

Micky Baker

Don't expect Kansas to play this poorly against UNC. Western Kentucky gave Kentucky some issues a year ago too.

Riverdrifter

I'll say this: no other coach in the country could send a team out there and have them suck like this in a pressure situation and still win. Bill Self.

Rolland Remmert

GO MICHIGAN

MDL/kuae99

Pangloss was right: it's the best of all possible worlds. A different foe in a different building and we might've been more prepared.

Melrank

The only thing good about that is we are still getting to play on Sunday. See ya then!

Kupark

defense wasn't good late in the game which is very surprising to me

Z00land3r

we are lucky but survive and advance

Sawman3333

At least we're not in the same boat as G-town or K-State

Jaycon11

wow. releford with 11 points?

FINAL
W. Kentucky 57
Kansas 64

Jesse Newell

KU closes out the win and will play North Carolina on Sunday.

Armen Kurdian

Oy.

Aircapjay in reply to Jaybate

What? Are you Bill's wife?

Jjjjjhok

Looking sharp. Bring on Carolina!

Appleaday

And, still, a 16 seed hasn't defeated a #1 seed!

Jayhawk2181

EXHALE

Kupark in reply to Jayhawkansas

yes, if we were a lower seed and play away from KC we might have lost this game

Kennethst in reply to Kirkwood

Of course it is......a win is a win

Phog88

Phew!

Jaybate

FWIW, Self doesn't like playing it this way. He loves to see his teams get out their and cut loose. But this is the way its done.

Kirkwood

This game is not worty of the CHANT.

Jayhawkansas

thank goodness we had a one seed tonight...

Mark Hopkins

Just hope we can get through this weekend and work on some things!

MDL/kuae99 in reply to Jaycon11

Coaching makes a huge difference in March.

Chinese Laoshi in reply to Windmillgiant

Yes, ice in his veins

Tyson Ailshie

Didn't we have a week to prepare? Goodness!

Jayhawkinatl

They don't deserve the Rock Chalk chant!

Jesse Newell

Good thing about a potential matchup with VCU is KU would have a week to prepare. Self did fine in 2004 against Mike Anderson/UAB.

Sawman3333

It's over. Remember folks, we beat Ohio St. on the road this year. We are a good team that had a bad day.

Jaycon11 in reply to Chuck Stones

parity.

MDL/kuae99

Same team it's been all year. Just a gut check to watch - and not the fun way like last year.

Micky Baker

The refs pretty much let both teams play other than that.

Ia4jayhawk

Making our free throws has been big. Kudos to the boys for that.

Windmillgiant

Tharpe takes some bad shots, but it seems he's the only guy that never shies from the moment.

Chuck Stones

This didn't look like the 16 seeds of yesteryear

Z00land3r in reply to fansincewilt

we cant handle any press

Mom_of_three

thank good ness for free throws.

Lawkan

Big 12 2-3 Big East 3-5, Big 10 6-1? SEC 2-1 Pac 12 3-2

Micky Baker

Earlier in the game there should have been an intentional foul called on Western Kentucky when the guy pulled Ellis down by the shoulder. Not even close to a play on the ball.

Phogtimeku2010

game.

Kennethst

This type of game may have been the best thing for them.

Kirkwood

Our guys aren't even enjoyable to watch.

fansincewilt

Could we handle a Louisville press? I'm glad to be playing Carolina.

Melrank

SURVIVE AND ADVANCE

Jaybate in reply to Aircapjay

I know its frustrating to suboptimize, but KU got all the way to the Finals doing it last year with a bunch of injured guys. It works much of the time.

And you're going to be very grateful against UNC. Roy will try to run, and Bill will say, okay, let's run.

Mom_of_three

i can't take this....

Sawman3333 in reply to MDL/kuae99

A-10 is 5-0 I think

Ia4jayhawk

Woo hoo.

Mark Hopkins

Wow! this was not pretty.

Tyson Ailshie

Still getting to the boards quicker. Unbelievable!

Jesse Newell

That should do it.

Sawman3333 in reply to Chinese Laoshi

Those are the words we need: SURVIVE AND ADVANCE

fansincewilt

NICE

Melrank

MR CONFIDENCE

MDL/kuae99

It'll be interesting to see the records by conference after tonight.

00:22 left in Second Half
W. Kentucky 55
Kansas 61

Jesse Newell

Tharpe makes both.

Mom_of_three

Do I even want to watch on sunday??

Tyson Ailshie

After this game we should feel like we can beat anyone! LOL!

Chinese Laoshi

No need to look good. Just survive and advance.

Ia4jayhawk

I think the blueprint to beat us is pretty simple. Come out and hit is us in the mouth with pressure and we wet our pants.

Jaybate

Out goes Kevin. In goes Dir.

Shoot more FTs.

Lawkan in reply to 741hawk

EJ lol

Mark Hopkins in reply to Aircapjay

+1

Aircapjay in reply to Jaybate

That's because they are already asleep.

Z00land3r

finish this already!!!

Mom_of_three in reply to Jaybate

i wish they were or looked a little tired...

Ia4jayhawk in reply to Jaybate

Yeah because they've been moving slow as balls on the court all night

741hawk in reply to Kirkwood

Bden watching him all year. Who did Bill sign instead?

Jjjjjhok

Rio may have had a point!

Wissoxfan83

If I drank, I'd be drunk right now, and if I cussed, I'd be spewing a blue streak, but instead I'm just calmly typing on the computer.

Jaybate

One really neat thing to notice is that none of our guys are bent over. They don't even look a little tired.

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