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Kansas defeats American, 89-57

  • 7 p.m., Dec. 29, 2012
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Paying heed: Travis Releford hot from three in KU’s 89-57 rout over American

Kansas guard Travis Releford celebrates a three by teammate Ben McLemore during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford celebrates a three by teammate Ben McLemore during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over American

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 89-57 victory over American on Dec. 29, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Naadir Tharpe, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey

Kansas players Naadir Tharpe, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 89-57 victory over American.

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Box score

KU-American

Kansas University defensive stopper Travis Releford has been known to pass up a wide-open shot or two on the offensive end during the course of a basketball game.

“I don’t think about it. Afterward they (teammates) all come up to me and say, 'Trav, I need that assist. You are a good shooter, just shoot it,'" the 6-foot-6 senior guard said after hitting a career-best five three pointers in six attempts in the Jayhawks’ 89-57 rout of American University on Saturday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

“This week in practice, coach (Bill Self) came up to me and said I need to look for my shot more,” added Releford, who went 7-for-8 overall and finished with a game-high 19 points. “My teammates told me to look for it more. They looked for me out there. They got me open. I stepped up and made shots.”

Releford wasn’t the only Jayhawk on fire from three-point land. Elijah Johnson (12 points) hit four of five and Naadir Tharpe (nine points, 12 assists) three of four on a night KU cashed 15 of 24 threes. The 15 makes were one off the school record of 16 set against Baylor on Jan. 25, 2005 in Waco, Texas. It marked the most threes by the Jayhawks since hitting 15 versus Texas in the Big 12 championship game on March 16, 2008.

“I think we fed off each other’s energy. One guy made a shot, the crowd got into it, another guy made a shot,” Releford said. “I felt like whoever shot it next, it seemed like it was going to go in. I think it was based off energy the crowd brought for us,” added Releford, who a week ago was credited for his stellar defensive work against preseason All-American Deshaun Thomas in KU’s victory over Ohio State in Columbus.

“Not at all,” senior center Jeff Withey said, asked if Releford’s offensive production surprised him Saturday. “We know he can shoot. He does it in practice. He has the hot hand. He showed it today,” added Withey, who scored 11 points with four blocks and four rebounds.

The 6-foot-6 Releford is now averaging 13.3 points a game (third on the team) off team-leading 61.7-percent shooting.

He has made nine of his last 11 threes over four games and for the season has cashed 16 of 36 threes for 44.4 percent. He’s also made 28 of 32 free throws for 87.5 percent.

“Travis was on fire,” Self said. “What was he, five of six from three? That’s hard to do. He has shot it well. He was looking for it (shot) tonight.

“We shot the ball unbelievably,” Self added after a game in which KU (11-1) hit 63 percent of its shots to American’s 35 percent. “The one that needed to make some shots was Elijah. He’s been kind of cold from behind the arc. He came out and made shots. They played kind of contain defense. We made them pay (for) doing that and made a lot of shots.”

KU’s final three was an air-ball by walk-on Tyler Self, the son of coach Self. “We are going to call an attorney and see about a name change,” Bill Self joked. “His mother said she still loved him, so I guess that will probably pass.”

Freshman Perry Ellis had 11 points and 10 rebounds to become KU’s first freshman to record a double-double since Thomas Robinson (15 points, 10 rebounds) against Alcorn State in 2009. Frosh Ben McLemore, who was in early foul trouble, had nine points and three boards in 20 minutes.

KU used a 16-2 run (Johnson hit two threes, Releford one) to bust a 7-7 tie and give the Jayhawks a 23-9 lead early. The Jayhawks hit eight threes the first half and held a 53-26 halftime advantage, the outcome never in jeopardy against (4-9) American.

“We played pretty well. Our defensive pressure was actually pretty good even though we didn’t turn them over a lot,” Self said. “We shared the ball and it was good to see a lot of guys get a lot of minutes. Certainly some of our bench guys made the most of it.”

KU will next meet Temple a week from Sunday in Allen Fieldhouse. Game time will be either 12:30 or 3:30 p.m., with CBS to announce the time in coming days depending on its NFL playoff schedule.

Comments

theboehr 1 year, 3 months ago

Look at the photo gallery from this game. Are you KIDDING me?!?!?! American U's fans freaking PACKED the place!!! I am jaw-to-the-floor flabbergasted, loss for words right now...

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Kontum1972 1 year, 3 months ago

BLAH..BLAH ...BLAH.....same old song year after year....we all know how this will end....they will clutch again this year....they will shoot their load too soon....and it will be a silent ride home...again...

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Mel Clare 1 year, 3 months ago

That is not bad at 44% considering he started the year at 0 for 12!!!!

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jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

"Kudos to Fran Dunphy, But Please Don't Let Him Upset Us"

There are many things for a basketball fan to like about Fran Dunphy. Before KU's last encounter with the current quintessence of Phillie Ball, I noted some and am adding a bit more now.

Fran Dunphy played high school ball for Dan Dougherty, the Malvern Prep school boy coaching legend in Pennsylvannia west of Phillie. Phillie Ball.

Fran played for Lefty Ervin at La Salle. Phillie Ball.

Fran assisted Dan Dougherty at Army. Dougherty coached Army briefly between Knight and Consonants. Phillie ball.

Fran assisted Lefty Ervin at La Salle. Phillie Ball.

Fran assisted Gary Williams at American before Williams went on to fame at Maryland. Bud Millikan-Gary Williams ball.

Fran assisted Speedy Morris at La Salle again. Phillie Ball.

Fran assisted Penn's Tom Schneider. Phillie Ball.

Fran's HCed Penn to 310 wins putting Fran second behind Peter Carril's time at Princeton. Phillie Ball.

Fran took over for John Chaney at Temple in 2006, where Fran has 134-65 overall and 69-27 in the Atlantic Ten. Phillie Ball.

Fran can coach.

But there is something more to like about Fran Dunphy.

Fran is the anti-Jay Wright.

Fran is a basketball coach, not a basketball jerk.

Fran apparently schedules KU and so into Temple's Phillie recruiting backyard, because Fran has a pair, because Fran cares about getting two of the great traditions of the college game together in pre conference, and because, apparently, Fran likes to stick it in the eye of Jay Wright, Fran's cross town rival--aka Jay Wrong.

From a midwesterner's perspective, Fran Dunphy is all that is great and good about the great eastern basketball tradition and Jay Wrong is all that is wrong with it.

One day, when the Big 12 expands into the eastern time zone to create an eastern time zone division, I would dearly love it if Fran and Temple were included in, and Jay and Nova were included out.

And I will feel this way even if Fran and his boys put it to us in a week, which they could do, if KU doesn't bring its A-game.

Hats and stocking caps off to Fran Dunphy for continuing to let these two great traditions face off in pre-conference. Both benefit. And kudos for doing it without being a jerk.

Rock Chalk, Fran Dunphy.

Oh, basketball god, please don't let him upset us. :-)

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jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

Has it occurred to anyone else that Self told Perry, Jam Tray, and Andrew to go out and foul like hell?

My hunch is this: Self gave these three guys a pep talk before the game. He told them that he didn't care if they all fouled out, so long as they guarded as hard as they could and played as hard as they could. So they all went out and did exactly that. That is why the picture of Self with Jamari walking off after fouling out is a smile, rather than a taunt, or fury. Self knew Jamari went out and got his explosive mojo back, and the fouls didn't matter. Self also didn't go off on Perry about his inconsistent post defense. He praised him for hitting some buckets, going hard on defense, and really polishing the glass! Andrew baking pop tarts? Self let the ride too. He was just happy to see Andrew getting out their and breaking out of himself from time to time.

At Temple, these guys will be back on a short leash, but this kind of therapy at this time of the season was almost certainly the smartest move a coach could make.

Go, Bill, go!!!!

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robertson4ku 1 year, 3 months ago

Very well put!! We definatly have all the pieces! Very Dangerous team especially come March! Can't wait until March Madness I don't think the Big 12 season will offer us much of a challenge so I can't wait to get to the NCAA tourney. I got the fever BIG TIME!!!!!

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Jack Wilson 1 year, 3 months ago

National title contender?

-Four senior starters, three being 5th year senior starters.

-The best freshman in the country. POY candidate.

-Final Four and significant tournament experience.

-A team built around defense.

-A game changing shot blocker.

-A team that can win on the road.

-A team that has multiple weapons on offense.

-A backup point guard with real point guard skills.

-A McDonald's all-american off the bench that can score.

-A break glass in case of emergency three point shooter off the bench.

-An athletic in your face defender off the bench, when needed.

-A bench post player that can give fouls and not kill us for stretches.

-The best coach in the country who has already won a national title.

There's your title contender.

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LeadFarmer 1 year, 3 months ago

Sounds like tampons are flying off the shelves on this board.

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KansasComet 1 year, 3 months ago

Really looking forward to next week's game against Temple. Hopefully, we won't be too overconfident and just play our game. The performance I was most pleased with was Ben McLemore's. He scored 9 points and played 20 minutes and it did not seem to bother him one bit. He appears to be the perfect teammate, and that is what we need. Kansas Basketball is team basketball, it is not about one individual. McLemore gets it and I really appreciate it. This game was good for our team because there will come a time when key players will be in foul trouble, and it is good to see how well we respond. I said in the preseason that I thought this team could be better than last year's team. I think this team is more talented, and if they crash the boards and play with the confidence they have demonstrated to date, then there is no telling how far this time can go. They are a pleasure to watch! I am enjoying watching 1st and 2nd year player continue to improve. I am so glad we have a Basketball Program and not a One and Done Factory.

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leonard 1 year, 3 months ago

LeadFarmers foot hurts and his solution is to put a bandage on his arse.

Here's a tip...you should be, at least, a tiny bit informed about your outrage before shooting off your mouth.

2

mattiesdad 1 year, 3 months ago

Funniest Bill Self quote ever re: Tyler's air ball. Still laughing 10 min later.

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jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

Trav = defensive master craftsman goes thermite from three

EJ = getting it together but questions about his hops persist

Ben = star out of sync

Kevin = opposing 4s just don't like playing him, because irritates them to death

Jeff = left his timing at the beach

Naa = what happens when neural nets grow together

Perry = what happens when neural nets are growing together

Jamari = what happens when neural nets are growing together

AW3 = plateaus happen

Rio = focus too narrow for 3 seconds, focus just right for 3 seconds, focus too broad for 3 seconds, repeat...like Tyshawn early, but much more aggressive on defense...Rio equals rotation next year.

The Rest = minutes from a blowout but no break through

Next.

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William Blake 1 year, 3 months ago

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Great game, Travis, and the entire team!

Very fun game to watch and it looked fun to play. This is what the game is really about... having fun!

We have an idea of how much work these guys put in, and what pressure is on them... when they go out and turn on the gas with a smile on their faces, you know they realize it is all worth it.

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Scott MacWilliams 1 year, 3 months ago

Sounds like Le(a)d farmer has lead poisoning of the brain.

Tell me Led, you like the smell of glue, too??

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jayhawkinnc 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm not certain about this, but I think because Self and Roberts are employees of the school, their kids get free tuitions to KU. So, there's no need to give Tyler and Niko scholarships. The kids may not get room and board from the school, but their dads are allowed to pay for that because those are their children.

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TheGiftedOne 1 year, 3 months ago

Just an idiotic post..... obviously they aren't on scholarships and anyone who decently follows the team knows this. Do they really need anyone else to help them win? They have one loss all year.

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LeadFarmer 1 year, 3 months ago

Does anyone know if the coaches' kids are on scholarship? I'm not particularly fond of my ticket and apparel (and tuition) purchases funding nepotism if it doesn't bring in someone who will help win. And don't get started on the whole "scout team helps the starters get better". Yes I know this, but that's what walk-ons are for.

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Joel Thomas 1 year, 3 months ago

Releford dunking with style. Withey dunking with authority. Tharpe in the zone. Elijah regaining confidence. Ellis developing confidence. Young bouncing. Tyler Self getting lost in the moment. The crowd too. Garrett scheming for his first points.

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