Saturday, December 1, 2012

Notebook: Ben McLemore wows with high-flying dunk

Kansas guard Ben McLemore finishes a dunk over Oregon State guard Challe Barton during the first half on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore finishes a dunk over Oregon State guard Challe Barton during the first half on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over Oregon State

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 84-78 victory over Oregon State on Nov. 30, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Travis Releford and Ben McLemore

Kansas guards Travis Releford and Ben McLemore talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 84-78 victory over Oregon State on Nov. 30, 2012.

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Box score

KU vs. OSU

— Kansas University freshman skywalker Ben McLemore stole a pass near midcourt, dribbled through the middle of the lane and slammed the basketball through the goal.

The 6-foot-6 St. Louis native’s remarkable dunk gave the Jayhawks a 29-18 lead over Oregon State with 8:21 left in the first half of Friday’s 84-78 victory in Sprint Center.

“It looked good from where I was standing,” KU coach Bill Self said of the high-flying jam. “Ben was on a roll the first half. The second half he never really got in the flow.”

McLemore scored 21 points off 8-of-14 shooting in 27 minutes. He had 15 points off 6-of-8 shooting the first half alone.

His dunk proved to be the individual highlight of the entire game if not the season.

“We were pressuring full court. I saw an opening. I saw my man try to make a good pass to his teammate,” McLemore said. “I reacted real fast, got the steal and took it all the way.”

McLemore, who was 0-for-7 from three against San Jose State on Monday, hit six of his first seven shots, including three of four threes. He scored 15 points as KU grabbed a 33-19 lead.

Unfortunately, McLemore picked up his second foul with 6:18 left in the first half with KU up by its game-high lead of 14. OSU went on an 18-4 run with McLemore out and tied the contest at 37 with 2:18 left in the half.

KU, with a lineup of Jeff Withey, Kevin Young, Rio Adams, Travis Releford and Evan Manning on the court did outscore the Beavers, 5-2, the remainder of the half to lead 42-39 at the break.

“I thought, ‘I’ll go ahead and sit him (with two fouls),’ and then it kind of drifted away,” Self said of the lead. “I wasn’t going to put him in with two or three minutes left. That probably wasn’t very smart.

“Look at the lineups we had out there,” Self added. “Hey, we’ve never even considered practicing that way as far as, ‘Let’s work with this lineup together.’ I was just trying to find anybody to go out there and give us some positive contributions the last five minutes. To be honest with you, we didn’t find anybody. We were fortunate to be up three at half. That thing was at 14 and it dwindled fast. We didn’t have guys step up and stem the tide so to speak. We had poor play probably when we just needed to be sound that led to their comeback.”

McLemore, by the way, also hit two huge free throws with :13.9 left, upping an 80-77 lead to 82-77.

"Coach before the free throws asked me am I going to make the free throws? I said, 'I got it.' I made the two free throws," McLemore stated.

This, that: Andrew White set career highs in rebounds (six) and minutes played (13). Self said he by far was KU’s most effective bench player. ... OSU went 4:39 without a field goal in the middle of the first half. KU went on a 12-1 run over that span and took a 33-19 lead. ... KU shot 62.1 percent from the field in the first half. It was the second time this year that the Jayhawks shot over 60 percent in a half. The Jayhawks shot 64 percent in the first half versus Washington State. ... KU has not trailed in four straight games. The Jayhawks have been tied or held a lead for their last 173 minutes, 51 seconds, going back to the 13:51 mark of the second half against Chattanooga (Nov. 15) ... KU’s 60-percent shooting overall was best since a 61.4-percent mark against Texas A&M; on March 8, 2012. ... KU's 54 points in the paint were the most the Jayhawks have had since November 11, 2011 when KU scored 58 points versus Towson. ... KU’s 84 points are the most scored this year. ... The 78 points that OSU scored were the most allowed by KU since Baylor scored 81 in the 2012 Big 12 tournament ... Elijah Johnson tied a career high in assists with 9. It is the third time in his career that he has finished with nine assists. ... Travis Releford has scored 60 total points in three games at Sprint Center this year. ... Releford has 611 points in his career.

Records: KU, which improved to 6-1, has now started 6-1 or better for the sixth time in seven seasons. ... KU is 1-0 all-time versus Oregon State. ... KU has won 10 straight over Pac-12 teams. ... KU is 15-4 versus the Pac-12 in the Bill Self era. ... KU is 17-4 in games played in KC’s Sprint Center. ... KU is 202-78 all-time in games played in Kansas City... Bill Self is 275-54 while at Kansas and 482-159 overall... KU is 2,076-807 all-time.

OSU’s history in big games: The Beavers last beat a Top 10 team on the road on Jan. 17, 1976, when they stopped No. 6 Washington, 72-70. They last beat a Top 25 team on the road on Jan. 5, 1985 — a 52-45 decision at No. 15 Washington. ... OSU’s last home win over a Top 25 team was a 68-56 decision over No. 20 Washington on Feb. 3, 2011, in Corvallis. ... OSU’s last home win against a Top 10 team was 70-69 over Arizona on March 2, 2000. ...

Remembering Ralph Miller: Legendary Oregon State coach Ralph Miller attended KU where he played for Phog Allen (1937-41). Miller, who also played quarterback for KU’s football team, won 359 games in 19 years as the head coach at Oregon State before retiring in 1989.

“Now when did he finish here, the 40s?” KU coach Bill Self said correctly. “Cindy (Self, wife) and I took the kids on vacation south of L.A. We were hanging out on the street, and Ralph Miller’s wife came up and talked to us and all that stuff, which was cool. She had so many fond memories,” Self added.

Angus missing: Angus Brandt, who tore his ACL against Purdue on Nov. 16, was called the “heart and soul” of the team by coach Craig Robinson. He was averaging 11.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He started 50 of 51 games before the injury with the lone non-start against Colorado last season when he gave his starting nod to Kevin McShane on Senior Night. The Aussie finished ninth in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage last season at 53.5 percent (122-for-228) and led the Beavers in three-point percentage at 49.2 percent (29-for-59). Brandt will have to apply for a medical hardship from the Pac-12 office, which should be approved since he played in nine games or less during the first half of the season. The official word is expected in March during the Pac-12 Tournament.


actorman 5 years ago

"Having never trailed in four straight games, KU has held a lead for its last 173 minutes, 51 seconds, going back to the 13:51 mark of the second half against Chattanooga ..."

I realize this is being really picky, but "having never trailed" is not the same thing as "has held a lead ..." KU has NOT held the lead for its last 173 minutes, 51 seconds, since it was tied during the OSU game. The correct thing to say would have been "KU has not trailed for its last 173 minutes, 51 seconds, ..."

Of course it's a pretty damn impressive streak either way, especially since KU hasn't been close to playing its best.

Kevin Studer 5 years ago

I think that goes without saying, since KU has been tied at the beginning of every game...

Dirk Medema 5 years ago

"The 78 points that OSU scored were the most allowed by KU since Baylor scored 81 in the 2012 Big 12 Championship game."

KU didn't play in the 2012 Big 12 BB Championship. They did play, and lost to, Baylor in the semi's.

Stan Unruh 5 years ago

Connor Frankamp opened the season for Wichita North last night with 46 pts.

Martin Rosenblum 5 years ago

It's a shame he can't put shots down! After a year or two, he might even work into a starting position when he comes to KU if he could only learn how to score.

JakeBarnes 5 years ago

McLemore must have been two to two and a half feet above the rim on that jam. I don't think I have ever seen anyone his size jump that high. When he learns the MO of college basketball look out opponents.

Several things were proven last night. White 3 is the man to play instead of Tharp. KU's guards play dumb. Johnson took a long three point shot with 2 minutes left and a narrowing lead. Tharp doesn't appear lost but just makes mistakes. He really does try to do too much. White 3 plays slightly better than a Freshman but makes Freshman errors. I remember all the griping about TT last year. If only we could have him back. He isn't getting to play much for the Nets anyway.

Once again we were saved by Releford and Withey in the second half. Sorry I ever griped about Releford. McLemore was super in the first half. I hope nothing is happening at halftime that fouls him up in the second half. His second half performances have been subpar at least twice, maybe three times in the last five games.

I thought the referees were about as good as Piper is as a commentator. Piper was an excellent player, but his comments at times chill a person. In other words the referees could have done a lot better job.

Martin Rosenblum 5 years ago

"When he learns the MO of college basketball look out opponents"

By the time he does learn the MO, the season will be over and he will be meeting with his agent. Then, he'll need to learn the MO of the pro players.

Robert Brock 5 years ago

I think you have to offer more than sky-high leaping ability to impress NBA GMs. I look forward to Ben returning next season.

actorman 5 years ago

And let's not forget that he also apparently has impeccable character, since everyone talks about what a great guy he is. That certainly doesn't hurt his chances either.

I'll be shocked if he stays at KU more than one year.

jjarmstrong 5 years ago

If McL stays healthy, he's gone to the League. Talent rich kid.

leonard 5 years ago

-- White 3 is the man to play instead of Tharp. -- JakeBarnes

Maybe so with EJ in the game.

With EJ out of the surely aren't suggesting that AW3 run the point...or are you?

sleepy33 5 years ago

EJ's barely running point even when he's IN the game. The gaping hole left by Tyshawn is painful. Last year, iirc, EJ mostly came in the game when TT needed a rest and/or he'd just made a turnover, and EJ's role was really to calm everything down and protect the ball. What we need from him this year is 100% the opposite, and I don't think he's adjusted, particularly since he's probably been thinking/hearing that he's one of the senior leaders and needs to play 'smart' and set a good example (ie protect the ball). If EJ isn't fast/healthy enough at this point to fill the role, somebody else has to figure out how to provide that drive to the inside that was TT's main role last year. Even if they don't have the unreal ability to finish the play themselves that TT developed, that's the only way they're going to consistently feed the ball to the post or wing, even if there are a few turnovers or bumps along the way while they figure it out.

Woody Cragg 5 years ago

Would love to see him stick around, but when highlights like that abound, he is likely a very, very high pick. Could even work up to lottery status depending on how the year, the team, & his defense evolve. I replayed the dunk several times & I swear it looked like his head was even with the rim. How on Earth could he not go pro? If you have a great year & come back, it could cost millions of $$$. In that position you're a dunce listening to board rats & not to go.

dylans 5 years ago

Ben is gone after this season. If he keeps improving and stays healthy he's a top 5 pick. If he stays as is he' a top 20 pick, probably lottery. If he gets injured or regresses KU's season goes backward also, but Ben may be back. Now does anyone really want that last possibility to come true?

Kye Clark 5 years ago

You're right, on all points, and I would never wish this on any young athlete, but the scenario that works out best for KU as a program is the Brandon Rush situation: plays all year, likely going to the draft, gets injured before the draft, returns to KU for one more season to help lead us to a National Championship. Then he's a lottery pick the following year :)

JakeBarnes 5 years ago

Yikes! I hope he doesn't get hurt ever.

Steve Gantz 5 years ago

I was just as impressed with two clutch FT's with 13 seconds left.

leonard 5 years ago

The question was not about EJ's competence at point guard. The question was to JakeBarnes suggestion that AW3 should run the point in place of Naadir.

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