Kansas defeats Ohio State, 74-66

  • 3 p.m., Dec. 22, 2012
  • Columbus, Ohio,

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wrapped up: Travis Releford’s D on Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas keys road win

Kansas guard Travis Releford extends to defend against a shot by Ohio State forward Deshaun Thomas during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 at Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Kansas guard Travis Releford extends to defend against a shot by Ohio State forward Deshaun Thomas during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 at Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after Ohio State win

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 74-66 victory over Ohio State on Dec. 22, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jeff Withey, Ben McLemore

Kansas players Jeff Withey and Ben McLemore talk after the Jayhawks' 74-66 victory over Ohio State on Dec. 22, 2012.

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Box score

KU-Ohio State

— Kansas University senior Travis Releford stuck to preseason All-American Deshaun Thomas like wrapping paper on a Christmas present Saturday afternoon in Value City Arena.

He held the 6-foot-7, 215-pound junior sensation to 16 points off miserable 4-of-11 shooting in the No. 9-ranked Jayhawks’ 74-66 victory over the No. 7-rated Buckeyes.

The 6-foot-6, 210-pound Releford’s inspired defense seemed to break the spirit of the Buckeyes of the Big Ten, who hit just 25 percent of their shots the final half, going just two-of-18 from three.

“Of course,” Releford said, asked if he could tell Thomas was frustrated by his sticky defense, applied in a 38-minute stint. Thomas also played 38 minutes.

“Not just him, but the team, the coaches, everybody on the bench. You could see once they were not getting what they wanted on offense. Everything broke apart for them,” added Releford, who chipped in 11 points on a day Ben McLemore exploded for 22 points and Jeff Withey 14 points with 10 rebounds.

Releford’s points, off 4-of-5 shooting, came in handy on a day his defense proved downright inspirational to the Jayhawks, who improved to 10-1. Ohio State fell to 9-2.

“I think his defense was a big part of what we did tonight. He stepped up to the plate and did what he needed to do to get us going,” said KU point guard Elijah Johnson, who scored 13 points. “He didn’t give them any confidence. He was there on every pass. He was there on every shot. It turned us up offensively and defensively.”

Releford’s strategy was simple: to stick to Thomas like a beard on a fake department store Santa.

“Just be there on the catch. You’ve got to play physical. You can’t let him get what he wants,” Releford said. “It was a team effort. We had it where if he caught it in the post, we’d trap him. He couldn’t post up. He knew we had a trap coming. The rest of the game he was trying to shoot threes. We were going to live with that.”

Thomas hit three of seven threes and committed three turnovers. Fans groaned — a lot of them booed — following his air-ball on a three from the corner down the stretch.

“I wasn’t worried about him taking me inside,” Releford said, “because I’m kind of strong myself and I had Jeff behind me to help out and eliminate him posting me up. I was more focused on making him take tough shots and get him outside of his game.”

Thomas, who scored 19 in a loss to KU in Allen Fieldhouse and nine in another loss to KU in the Final Four a year ago, said: “Last year they probably didn’t really know anything about me and I came in and had a big first half against them at their place. The 7-foot guy (Withey) and they (were) double-teaming me catching in the post. It’s hard to see over ‘em.”

KU coach Bill Self, who said, “today is probably the best we’ve played against Ohio State in the three games (last year and Saturday),” explained the defensive game plan on Thomas.

“He’s a hard matchup and he was a hard matchup for us last year when we had Thomas Robinson on him. We play two traditional bigs and he’s not traditional, so it probably was a good matchup for us being able to put a guard on him and the doubling him on the post,” Self said.

Thomas did score five points in a 14-0 run that gave Ohio State a 31-23 lead with 6:30 left in the first half. KU answered with a 9-0 burst, however, to regain the advantage, 32-31, at 2:21.

The Jayhawks led, 37-35, at halftime. Up 56-52, KU went on an 8-0 roll (Johnson and McLemore had four points apiece) to stretch the lead to 64-52 at 4:36.

“In the first half, I don’t know if they ran off of misses. I think they ran off of turnovers,” Self said. KU had 11 turnovers the first half; eight the second. “We did a miserable job taking care of the basketball. That’s one of the things we have to get a lot better at, handling the ball under pressure.”

However, overall .... “I thought we were really good except for a three-minute stretch the first half when they went on the 10-0 run or something like that,” Self said.

KU had some trouble finishing off the Buckeyes, the lead dipping to 69-63 with :20 left. However, Withey cashed four free throws down the stretch, preventing the game from getting mighty interesting.

“Coach Self is all about defense and we showed that today. We shut down their best scorer,” Withey said. “When they went on their run, we have a good group of vets that have been in this situation before that could talk to the young guys and tell them to calm down and focus on defense. It all starts on defense.”

Defense played by a veteran named Releford.

“Beating them to go to the championship last year was one of the great games. We were down 12. But to come here and beat them at their place, this is going to go down, too, as one of the great games,” Releford said.

KU will next meet American University at 7 p.m., Dec. 29, in Allen Fieldhouse.


FearlessJayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

I have to disagree with you that Travis R stuck with Thomas. There were numerous time that Thomas as well as Craft got off wide-open shots but just failed to make them. KU was lucky that they went stone cold. Had they hit even three more shots, the outcome could have been different.


Derek Bowman 1 year, 3 months ago

I thought Tharpe gave the team a real lift by putting in some very good minutes. A real difference-maker in the game.....conversely, I thought Perry Ellis played small and weak. He looked like a turnover or a bad shot every time he touched the ball. He's gonna be a good one, but I get the feeling he'll be developing slower than most of us probably thought. He just still has that "deer in the headlights" look, huh?


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Y'all see we have replaced TRob+Tyshawn scoring and energy in different ways: KYo+Ellis+Jamari= a double digit ppg, 8-10rpg, 15-foul machine/committee. BMac has replaced Tyshawn's ppg.


JayHok 1 year, 3 months ago

From a book about Wilt. He said the college game wasn't fun after the rules were changed. He had 4 guys hanging on him kneeing him in his shins. He had to wear knee pads on his shins. His words. He went to the globetrotters as a way to play pro ball a year early because he couldn't go to the NBA as a senior. In reflection he wrote he never would have left KU for the globetrotters if he would have known he couldn't be an Olympian. He wanted to be on the track team especially. Just relaying what he wrote.


HawkKlaw 1 year, 3 months ago

Such a great game! This team is starting to gel and play some really great basketball. I don't think anybody wants to play Kansas right now.

I was highly impressed with all of the starters in this game. Withey was outstanding, Releford's defense was probably the key to the game, BMac was on fire and Elijah really stepped up when the team needed him. The worst stat is the 19 turnovers (usually makes for a loss on the road), but it's good to see the team fight through it and get the win.

This team still needs to figure out how to close out games better, but this was a great win against a Top 10 team on their home court. I see good things in this KU team's future!


KULA 1 year, 3 months ago

On a side note, have to comment on how pleasurable it was to see Jim Boe-Whine denied his 901st victory, if only for one day. Obviously a short list, but I think we can safely say, "Never before has any other coach accomplished so little in 900 victories."


Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

Interesting timing on the reinstatement of Texas point guard Mitch Kabongo...let's about just a couple days before the ESPN Big Saturday game of Texas at Kansas .

If any of you don't think ESPN put in a call to the NCAA and said, " We are are paying the freight, so we would like to suggest that Mitch be available for the KU game", then I have some prime swampland in the Florida Everglades available for sale with the Brooklyn Bridge crossing over it as part of the deal!!!

Hey, Mr.Randle..see, Kansas knows how to treat one and dones, so come on down, you'll get all the PT you could want!!!


mejayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Being a Jayhawk basketball fan just keeps getting better and better every year. Seing Releford out on the break is so fun and satisfying, since he's earned every second he's on the court. KY plays with as much joy as anyone I've ever seen. BMac will contest for freshie of the year, if he doesn't suffer too many concussions hitting the rim with his head. Withey knows what his stengths and weaknesses are and plays to his strengths. EJ, not a natural point, may get to transition back to the two guard, due to the emergence of Tharp. Traylor's begining to learn what he can do to help the team. Perry showed flashes of growing confidence yesterday. Rio's body language on the bench is more positive and I'll bet he'll play meaningful minutes this season. I'm sure I'm forgetting someone...oh yeah, WhiteIII, maybe the best pure shooter at KU for years--he'll play meaningful minutes. I think we can beat American University.<(this is a joke) And remember: all this, just a year after one of the craziest runs to the NatChamp game ever. RCJH!!!


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Phone call to Thad Matta (official transcript): "Hey Coach Matta! I got your number from BILL SELF."


Glen Darge 1 year, 3 months ago

I fully agree withGBJAYHAWK. Great playing, during a great game to watch. Jayhawks--enjoy a well earned holiday break and keep up the hi-class playing.


HAWKTOPIA 1 year, 3 months ago

Great team Defense, and Kevin Young fills a lot of gap. His energy and activity are great compliments a tenacious perimeter style. He was tied for defensive rebounds, and i think steals and assists too??? Kevin can cover stronger players, and i weak player will have trouble with him. I hasten to say Rodmanesque, but he is a complimentary frenetic competitor. Cheers to Kevin Young !!!!


cragarhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Did not see White III even in the box score. Does anyone have any info? Did I miss something? I was getting excited to see his minutes expanding and now nothing? Just curious


akgjenkintown 1 year, 3 months ago

KU fans should be in debt to Dreu Jennings for hiring the best college basketball coach in the country. Self and his staff have the uncanny ability to build teams with mixtures of players possessing varying degrees of talent and unique personalities. His philosophy that team defense comes first is hard for young players, who were stars at their respective high schools to adopted, but once they understand, his teams can play with anyone in the country. Last year's team was the best example of Self's approach to basketball, play defense for 40 minutes and win ugly. This year's team has experience and heart. It has been amazing to watch their progress from the first 7 games to their last 4. Finally, the players and staff should be commended for their conditioning. OSU was exhausted and that contributed to their poor shooting the second half. I guess the boot camp at the beginning of the year pays off in games like this where the KU players were physically and mentally tougher than their opponents. Rock Chalk and Happy Holidays.


Steve Corder 1 year, 3 months ago

Self is an elite coach. Very few in that category which are feared on the bench (see Doug Gottleb's remarks about Boeheim). Self has the intangible of a "winner". His teams are aggressive and confident, a "dangerous combination".


Beate Williams 1 year, 3 months ago

I think some of you need to go back and watch and listen. Kellogg was all over Ohio State being this and that and not saying much about KU until Greg started really talking about KU and to try and look as if he was balanced, he, Kellogg started talking about KU's positives. Kellogg has never been a big KU fan, he is a B1G fan and sometimes his objectivity is really lacking.

Craft is not an offensive threat, he can be streaky and cause a team problems but his forte is defense and anyone who believes he is not a defensive positive has not played or watched much basketball, he had a couple of steals that were classic but we learned to avoid his strengths for the most part. He is a flopper but he does take charges, much like KY does.

I hope people really are not trying to compare BMac to Wilt, there has not been a college or pro player that one can truly compare to Wilt. But, one interesting thing about Withey, he too is thin like Wilt was but anyone who ever faced Wilt will tell you he was one of the strongest players they ever faced, I'm just saying...Hudy does know what she is doing and there are people who just do not appear to be strong but are stronger than can be imagined.


wrwlumpy 1 year, 3 months ago

This glowing review of Self and the Jayhawks sums up this victory for me and probably for most of us and our Sunday morning musings. Not only have we found our team, we have found solid seniors who have welcomed the natural to to their company. All of those who were on the floor yesterday for KU, including Rio, who put on a tremendous 5 sec show, knew they were as tough as the the biggest Big Ten team. Withey might never gain any more weight, but as yet, no one this year has been stronger on the block. He is a big man who is playing big.Conference play is coming soon and the newbies will be thrown into the fire.


Mike Barnhart 1 year, 3 months ago

At this point in the season, this might be the best team we've had since 1997! The 2008 team was full of NBA players but this team might have two legit future NBA starters! In addition, our role players are perfect compliments to the stars.

BTW, I said SINCE 1997 ... that team was L O A D E D!!!!


leonard 1 year, 3 months ago

Thinking about BMac's wonderful first year...a little trip down memory lane for Wilt's two years at Kansas. From the Crimson and Blue:

1956-57...Wilt the Stilt (who preferred the nickname Big Dipper) caused a big stir at KU before he ever suited up for the varsity. Jayhawk fans couldn’t wait to see their 7-foot center in action. He did not disappoint. In Chamberlain’s first varsity game, and 87-69 drubbing of Northwestern in Lawrence, he scored 52 points and grabbed 31 rebounds – both new school records – in front of 15,000 fans.

After closing out the conference season with four more victories to finish 11-1 and clinch the Big Seven title, KU headed to the NCAA regional in Dallas. The Jayhawks’ first-round opponent was Southern Methodist, the host school. SMU had won 35 straight games at home and played tough against the Jayhawks, but KU won 73-65 in overtime. The Jayhawks met Oklahoma City in the regional final and rolled to an 81-61 victory. At the Final Four in Kansas City, KU made quick work of San Francisco, winning 80-56 to set up the championship game against No. 1-ranked North Carolina.

1957-58...Chamberlain did return for his junior season at KU. But his veteran supporting cast of Elstun, King, Johnson and Parker had graduated. Even with Wilt’s average of 30.1 points a game (still a KU record for single-season average), KU finished 18-5 overall and 8-4 for a second place tie in the conference and failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

And in the final game of the season, KU met K-State, the conference champion and No. 1-ranked team in the nation. Chamberlain, in his final game as a Jayhawk, scored 24 points as the Jayhawks controlled the game throughout, beating the Wildcats 61-44 in Manhattan.

Wilt's two year line at KU was 30ppg and 18rpg.


John Epperson 1 year, 3 months ago

I was in the arena and thought a key during the big 2nd half run was OSU put Craft on BMac for most of that stretch. Gave breathing room to our points, and made it easier to work inside out.

Very solid performance.


kufaninmo 1 year, 3 months ago

Wow what a fun game to watch! I'm really starting to enjoy watching ku vs Ohio State for some reason lately...


Scott MacWilliams 1 year, 3 months ago

What a GREAT game by the Jayhawks!!! Kudos all around!

Mr. Tharpe has arrived, and just in time! His hard work and our patience has paid off very well.

OSU gave it their best shot, trying to pull El Jefe out to the perimeter, everything they could think of to mess up the Jayhawks, but to nada!!

Have a great holiday break, guys, we are all so incredibly proud of you!!

Rock Chalk!!!!


Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

Gameday observations on Christmas Eve Eve.

1] Bill Self continues to "Tom Izzo" Thad Matta...amazing!!

2] I think we found an unexpected Xmas present under the tree...we've got a legit back-up poimt guard in Nadiir. I wish I could say I told you so. :)

3] You knew OSU wasn't going to shoot 60% from three point range in the second half...who knew, however, that they wouldn't shoot anything!!!!

4] I agree with all you previous posters...Craft is over-rated and a summa cum laude graduate of the Duke Summer Camp of Flopping.

5] This nationally televised game just did a whole bunch of good things for KU's program regarding OADs thanks to BenMac.

6] Damn, boys and girls...I think we may just have one of a hell of a team this season!!

7] I just about fainted during the broadcast..OSU Grad, Kelloge, had some nice things to say about Kansas!!!


s6u6r6f 1 year, 3 months ago

Gary Bedore: just one comparative away from the holiday trope trifecta. Were only the word "Christmas" used before "spirit" in paragraph three we could all have thrown our figural Santa hats into the comment section ring. Great game; great start to the holiday season. Rock chalk.


Robert Murphy 1 year, 3 months ago

I was a freshman at KU in 1954 and had an accounting class with Chamberlain. Remember, like Wilt, BMac is not a true freshman either since he also practiced for a year with the varsity. Chamberlain was a super athelete and would easily high jumped seven feet if he had known about our modern techniques. The track team was full of great athletes and it was really something to See Wes Santee running across the campus. Great memories but the new ones just keep coming.


Jayhawk470 1 year, 3 months ago

Thanks for the early Christmas present, Jayhawks!


DCLawHawk 1 year, 3 months ago

I thought Tharpe's ball handling looked better than Johnson's and Releford's for stretches today, which surprised me.


Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

Kevin needs to learn a lesson from the '07-'08 NC team. Many people were complaining about their FT% early in the season. DJax was even down a whole bunch from the previous season when he had to sit out the 1st 10 (?) and could only shoot FT's. The FT% of the '07-'08 NC team went up 10-20% from pre-conf to MM. That doesn't happen by chance, as DJax knew. My guess is those guys spent a LOT of time over break at the FT line. It's easy to go play a pick-up game, but the discipline to work on FT shooting could pay off with a Mass St parade. We were 14-15 from the line against Memphis, which was far more a factor in winning than a couple misses at the end.

Come on Kevin (and Jeff and ...), let's go shoot some FT's and win a few championships.


Robert Murphy 1 year, 3 months ago

Kevin Young's free throw shooting is a disgrace. If he doesn't pick it up he shouldn't be in at the end of games. BMac is the best college freshman, outside of Wilt, that I have ever seen at Kansas. Definitely huge advantage to have such an abundance of great athletes. Very few teams can stay with this depth. Ohio State was out of gas. Very encouraging.


Brianna Zaleski 1 year, 3 months ago

Great game to watch. I thought our team was pretty efficient throughout, offensively and defensively.

Craft is the biggest overhyped pu$$. Why do ppl think he is So good? He can't hit the broad side of a barn and he's a constant complainer. In the first five or so mins when I saw him bitchin to the refs and nog getting any love from them, I knew we might have a chance


Woody Cragg 1 year, 3 months ago

HCBS seems to be getting what he wished for in senior leadership-and lockdown defense. BMac is everything as advertised & more. If you look at Mac & Jeff's numbers together, they gave the production or close to it, as TRob & Jeff last year.Will re-watch the game later for better scrutiny as we had a large private dinner with friends at a restaurant & didn't get to watch much more than the last 7-8 min. This will be a great win for seeding guys, the March is on!


Shawn Mansfield 1 year, 3 months ago

This was a good game to watch live, even if the place lacked any energy.


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