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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Jeff Withey saves KU against Temple

Kansas center Jeff Withey looks to block a shot from Temple guard Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson during the second half on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey looks to block a shot from Temple guard Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson during the second half on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after Temple win

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 69-62 victory over Temple on Jan. 6, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Temple coach Fran Dunphy

Temple coach Fran Dunphy talks to reporters following his team's 69-62 loss to Kansas on Jan. 6, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Kevin Young, Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson

Kansas players Kevin Young, Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 69-62 victory over Temple on Jan. 6, 2013.

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Box score

KU-Temple

A Temple University basketball team that already had an upset victory against Syracuse to its name avoided all the common causes to visiting teams getting eaten alive in Allen Fieldhouse.

The Owls fell behind by double digits and didn’t feed the beast with careless passes and wild shots. They turned it over just four times, 10 fewer than the home team. They didn’t let themselves get rattled and still when all the baskets were counted up they lost, 69-62, joining the last 62 nonconference visitors.

It wasn’t difficult to determine the difference in the game. Kansas had a nimble 7-footer blocking shots from start to finish and Temple didn’t.

Even when Kansas plays with a lack of wire-to-wire fire, as was the case Sunday, it doesn’t get burned with a loss because there is no answer for a great shot-blocker who never gets into foul trouble and has the maturity not to let a subpar offensive day taint his overall game.

On a day Withey made just 3 of 10 field goals and scored just eight points, he more than compensated with nine blocked shots and 11 rebounds.

“What it doesn’t tell you is how many alters he had,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “He changed so many of our shots because of his presence. He’s a really terrific player.”

Asked about plays that had nothing to do with Withey, Dunphy always seemed to circle back to the impact the senior from San Diego had on the game.

Asked about Ben McLemore’s pivotal steal late in the game, Dunphy quickly changed the subject, saying, “Overall, we were at the rim a couple of times late and Withey would just not let us finish.”

When talking about his leading scorer, Khalif Wyatt, a senior guard who brings so much savvy to the game, Dunphy praised his passing skills as much as the impact of his 26 points. In so doing, again Dunphy couldn’t help but return to his recurring postgame theme.

“He made a couple of great passes as well,” Dunphy said of Wyatt while looking at the box score. “I only see one assist for him. I don’t know how.”

It didn’t take the coach long to figure out how that statistic could be accurate.

“It seemed like he made opportunities for his teammates. Maybe we didn’t finish. It looked like we were going to and Withey said no.”

Withey says no a lot, which keeps the crowd from saying, “Oh, no, not again,” when Kansas defenders get beaten on a play.

“I told our guys at halftime he bailed us out of everything,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Even when he’s not blocking shots, he’s altering.”

From his coach’s point of view, Withey’s reach forgives the sins of teammates, but that doesn’t mean the coach forgives them.

“We’re so overrated defensively,” Self said. “Our field-goal percentage defense is off the charts. We may be No. 1 in the country now, I don’t know. But we make so many mistakes. It is pretty remarkable to have a guy back there making up for so many mistakes because we’re making too many of them.”

Kansas had just one steal Sunday, proof Self cited to support his argument that the mistakes defenders in front of Withey make can’t be traced to defenders emboldened by the knowledge Withey will prevent them from paying for gambling.

“They rely too much on him,” Self said. “We had one steal. We didn’t turn Richmond over. We didn’t turn Ohio State over much. We didn’t turn American over much. So to me, if you’re making mistakes out of aggressiveness, that would translate to some screwups, but also some benefits. We’re not seeing much of the benefits from a pressure standpoint at all. I think there’s a lot of soundness that needs to be corrected.”

A more sound defense in front of Withey would result in an even tougher riddle for opposing coaches and players. As it was, Temple had tough enough challenge.

Withey ended the Owls’ first possession by blocking Anthony Lee’s shot. On the second time down the court, Wyatt drove into the lane and shifted to Plan B when Withey’s long reach came into view. Plan B resulted in an errant pass to the corner for a turnover.

Withey finished in much the way he started.

Scootie Randall tried to pad the lead, was rejected by Withey and Kevin Young grabbed the rebound. With 1:05 left, Temple’s Rhalir Hollis-Jefferson drove to the hoop looking to cut the deficit to two points. Withey blocked his shot and grabbed the rebound. With 27 seconds left, Withey blocked Will Cummings’ shot out of bounds.

No wonder Dunphy had trouble talking about anyone else. Shot-blockers have a way of staying in people’s heads like that.

Comments

John Randall 1 year, 7 months ago

Well reported, Tom.

Can you manage to work in some opinion to go along with all the facts?

Keep the truth and candor coming!

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Boouk 1 year, 7 months ago

One steal the whole game and the opponent in the bonus with more than 10:30 left in the second half isn't what we're used to seeing defensively.

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LLH 1 year, 7 months ago

I would add that Young also kinda saved the day too. For a 56 % FT shooter to toe the line late in a game and go what was it 6-6? Make no mistake, Jeff was huge and deserves tons of credit as stated in the article. This game was a weird one for me. I knew coming in that Temple is talented and dangerous. There were a few things in the game that left me scratching my head a bit. Not to complain about the officiating, but I felt it a bit inconsistent. Seemed to be KU was getting the business under the boards with few fouls called on these particular plays, but were called for several touch fouls on their defensive end. There were two calls against Travis that just dumbfounded me. One was when he closed out to the corner, under control and simply put his arms up inside the shooters arms, on the ball. He didn't jump, and didn't appear to make contact with the shooter's (Wyatt I believe) arms. Yet, he was called for a foul and somehow, it was a shooting foul though Wyatt wasn't really in the act of shooting, or no moreso than Young was when he got his shot goaltended. The second one was when, once again, Wyatt, drove him baseline and there was a slight contact, not a bump, more a brush, and tweet, foul. Jeff appeared to be hammered on a number of shot attempts, but shot 2 FTS. Temple has always been excellent at slowing the game down. They defended well and KU had several lazy passes into the passing lanes that led to steal and subsequent layups or fouls leading to FTs and free points for Temple. Sorry, kind of all over the map here. The point I'm making is that Wyatt really seemed to get it going when TRele got into foul trouble. Officiating may not necessarily determine final outcomes in games, but I do believe that it shapes the identity of the game. KU held Temple without a FG for a LONG stretch, yet Temple was able to take the lead and mostly from the FT line. Wyatt, good player as he may be, seemed to benefit from a few friendly calls. I also saw him carry the ball at least 3 times, and flat out travel two more, four of these he either scored on or went to the line. Putting BMAC on him was a great move by HCBS. Great win, great way to head into conference play. Thanks for the first half thrills Hawks.

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actorman 1 year, 7 months ago

I didn't think the officiating was great, but I thought it was balanced. For example, KU got the benefit of the "kicked ball" call when Temple clearly didn't kick it. There was also the time when Travis (I think) fouled the guy on the three-pointer and it wasn't called. The announcers said it was a good no-call but I disagreed, as it looked like he had fouled him.

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Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

Actually, Travis' 4th foul was on a Wyatt 3 in the corner when Wyatt jumped into him/initiated the contact. It was Withey who had the non-call in the 1st half when Wyatt did the same thing - jumped into Withey/initiated contact. Both players ahad landed to the side of Wyatt.

Ref's will never be perfect, but I thought the officiating was really pretty good.

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Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

16-18 FT's for the team is pretty crazy good. The '07-'08 team increased their FT% by 10% from non-con to Big12, and then 10% more in the the tourney. People talk about Memphis losing because of FT's, but 15-16 from the stripe is what won the NC, and it sure seemed to start during semester break. Could this be the start of another run?

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yates33333 1 year, 7 months ago

The refereeing wasn't very good. I hope they weren't Big 12 refs. Withey and Young were pushed all over the place. They need to play with their elbows more. An elbow in the chest or upper gut can work wonders on those who like to shove. Young did play an excellent game. He and Withey deserve the game balls.

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1939hawk 1 year, 7 months ago

The officials were a SEC crew.

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

Jeff is good, maybe the best, at B&A.

We also have two perimeter starters with limited defensive ability. EJ tweaked his knee again and is apparently never going to defend at the awesome levels he did before the knee injury last year. Ben is a freshmen-- good but inconsistent on defense.

So Self has chosen to rely on Jeff and Kevin to deny an inside game, while using his L&A perimeter to deny the trey. Hold down the fouls and KU's defense stifles. Strips aren't worth the fouls. The backups can't stop the treys.

Self's complaints are real, but they are a product of limitations and compensating strategic choices, not something that can get better. If it could get better, a week and a half of 2-a-days would have made it so.

Self said from the beginning the team's weakness was scoring. So he has strung a defensive bow that needs few strips.

It would be nice though, if Ben an EJ and Naadir could stay in front of guys a bit more.

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

Perry is the missing link.

He seems ready to play, but right now none of the starters seem to understand how to fit him in.

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Mark Lindrud 1 year, 7 months ago

Perry didn't look good today, but most of the guys didn't. Temple is tough defensively and has a good perimeter game, they will be a tough out in the tourney. I like the fact we've got a game twice a week now because we need to start executing and getting a rhythm again. I'm sure the extra practice has helped, but now the next season begins. We can't rely on just Withey and Ben. Next Man Up.

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Kent Richardson 1 year, 7 months ago

You are correct. The missing link will transition the mythical Jayhawk from the primitive hope that we are hitting threes and the Brontosaurus Jeff. How about Jamari as Fred Flintstone.

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

Willlllllllllllllmaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!

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Gerry Butler 1 year, 7 months ago

i have to agree with LLH agree 100% ya jeff was huge, but i think kevin was even bigger i am going 16 pts, 10 rebounds, and hitting 6 HUGE, I MEAN HUGE free throws when he is shooting 56 % for the year you can't ask for much more just a very very solid player for us he adds energy to the team just injects energy

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

Erratum: zameant for zabudda

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actorman 1 year, 7 months ago

Yeah, good call on Kevin's FT's, and his play in general. It's great to see how consistently he brings the energy game after game.

As the game was winding down, I was thinking that this was exactly the type of game KU needed, to see how they would respond to the challenge. It's encouraging that they were able to pull away a little at the end, given how mediocre a game they played overall.

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LLH 1 year, 7 months ago

JB, your point about limited defensive ability is spot on regarding EJ and Naadir. As you eluded to, EJ's may be mostly health related. I'm still hopeful for Naa and Ben due to limited exposure to this level of competition thus far. I think as the season goes on, we will see Ben become more defensively sound and maybe even a lock down type defender by Madness time. Naadir is intriguing, he is very fast in a straight line and with the ball, yet laterally, not very quick to this point. I still believe that both of their ceilings could be fairly high defensively, however, the EJ knee prob is disheartening because he was a flat out stud defender last year coupled with TT.

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

Yes, it is sad. EJ is net getting better, but boy is it tough sledding for him. Those knee quilts just keep showing back up again. Two-a-days probably set him back two weeks again. But it is a testament to what a great defensive player he is that he can guard at all on one good knee. Amazing.

Naadir is doing better, too.

But in neither case are we talking Chalmers and RR, or Brady and Tyrel.

But EJ is showing incredible courage on the order of Kaun his last two seasons, when he couldn't clear the floor for unoperated on knee injuries.

I think Naadir will keep learning to compensate. He is starting to look very comfortable on offense.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 7 months ago

Clark Kellog [grudgingly I admit] made a great point about Jeff's volleyball talents teaching him to go straight vertical with arm extension only, in order to avoid net contact, thus helping him block shots without fouling.

Gee, I think there was another tall Jayhawk center who was one heck of a volleyball player...what was his name??...Milt??...Will??...?? Anyway, maybe every college big man in America should take up this game in the offseason.

That was a very good Temple team that overall was playing well while we were not. To pull that game out will provide valuable experience and confidence for this team later down the line.

PSST..would someone please tell Perry it's alright to go up strong and play with abandon!!

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741hawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Personally, I'm getting tired of the volleyball comments. He hasn't played since he was a high school junior. His development can be traced to Self, Hudy and the KU coaching staff.

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SaltLakeHawk 1 year, 7 months ago

"Jeff Withey was a volleyball player!"

This was a once interesting, but now tired fact. For some reason, commentators love stating these types of facts ad nauseum during broadcasts. My theory: they do it to create the appearance of having done research. The overly-repeated Withey/Volleyball narrative reminds me of another one (Chiefs fans will remember this)...

"Tony Gonzalez was a basketball player!"

Broadcast after broadcast, season after season, they'd roll out that fact like they'd just discovered a unified theory of physics.

Dear Color Commentators,

You're saying the same stuff every single broadcast. We're Kansas fans. We've seen every damn game this year. That means we've now heard you talk about Withey's volleyball background 15 times (plus the countless times we heard it last year). It's like groundhog's day. To us, that piece of information is beyond stale--it's growing mold. Tell us something new. What's Bill Self's favorite beer? What's Elijah Johnson's fastest course time in Mario Kart on Koopa Troopa? If BMac had to fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck, which would he choose?

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actorman 1 year, 7 months ago

In all fairness to broadcasters, there are always at least some people that don't watch KU games regularly and might not be aware of that fact. On the other hand, I can certainly understand your irritation with hearing the same thing all the time.

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FL_Jhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

While most KU fans know that JW was a volleyball player, there are new KU fans each year who might not know this tidbit, and there are non-KU fans watching who don't know this. Further, there are new basketball fans each year, and the announcers have to keep them in mind and try to educate them. We can't expect that everyone watching a game in which KU plays to know everything about us, our players and the game.

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Mark Lindrud 1 year, 7 months ago

To me the versatility of his playing volleyball previously just was a help to quickness and shot blocking skills, but his improvement was due to being here. I wished he got significantly bigger while here, but he has become strong enough for us, and I'm sure when he goes pro more size will be put on him. Either way he is a leader and doing a great job this year.

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JoeHawk91 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree completely, it's completely over-used. It's almost drinking game worthy now: "Oh, there's the volleyball comment, drink a shot!". If Withey's shot blocking skills were primarily due to playing volleyball, then he would have been a premier shot blocker the day he walked in the door 3 years ago. How about some credit to Danny and other coaches for teaching him the techniques and foot work to get into position? How about the maturity that comes with 3+ of Selfball to stay disciplined and out of foul trouble? How about huge credit to Hudy for getting him in the kind of shape that allows him play 28 minutes a game and yet run the floor and play hard like a 6'1" point guard?

If a color commentator ever wanted to really show they did their research, they could try just asking Jeff where he gets his shot-blocking skills. In all the commentary, I don't think I've ever heard someone say "I talked to Jeff about this and he said....". I bet you $100 the first words out of his mouth do not include 'Volleyball'.

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741hawk 1 year, 7 months ago

RE: Perry Ellis I have a perception that virtually every time he gets the ball in the paint he feels obligated to shoot it, and they are usually well-guarded shots. It seems like he seldom passes out from inside. I'm guessing that comes from his four-year successful high school career when dominating inside was easy for him. Was his high school career so easy that it is holding back his development now?

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jjarmstrong 1 year, 7 months ago

I think that the team expects him to attack the basket.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 7 months ago

I think that Bill Self tells him to look for his shot every time he gets the ball. Otherwise, he's conscientious enough that I think he's probably stop shooting the ball. That's what Coach Self doesn't want, because we need him to get rolling in the offense. Unfortunately, having him take and miss so many stiffly defended shots may be hurting his confidence. He's really an enigma right now. I think that he should probably wait for an open look more often though. He's proven that he can step out to 17 feet and knock down the jumper, but out offense is also designed to get the bigs in scoring position on the blocks for uncontested layups. We should be able to get him rolling that way.

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LLH 1 year, 7 months ago

The nice thing about Perry is that his post movements are fluid. You can tell he knows how to work himself open in the post and has a number of polished moves/countermoves for a young fella. I still believe that he will be a factor for us moving forward and with his IQ, think he will improve immensely with each conference test. Whereas many are concerned about Perry's performance, I kind of look at him as glass half full. The talent is there. He just gets a little ahead of himself, too sped up, thinks too much. In High School, I'm sure he didn't really have to think much as he was so dominant (741 touched on this) and scored with ease over smaller, weaker players. Not a knock on Perry, just think this all factors in. I see him being a 3-4 year guy and will walk away from KU as one of the many memorable players before his time is done. Once he gets stronger, and more seasoned, he will be a beast.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

Did anyone else hear Greg Anthony, when Temple was down 7 and had gotten fouled with under 30 seconds to play, suggest that they should think about missing the second free-throw? I think I yelled "HAVE YOU EVER PLAYED BASKETBALL?!?" at the television.

CBS' crews always seem to be pretty bad for regular-season games, but today they felt like they were just talking to hear the sound of their own voices. Between Gumbel feeling the need to chime in that he "LOVES that show!" (about Vegas), all the rambling on and on about "tempo" (I think they may have said the word 100+ times), and the obligatory praising of Coach X because he calls timeouts when his team has just allowed 8 straight points (no, that doesn't make you a great coach, that makes you a non-comatose coach) they offer very little analysis of value. But Anthony's comment about an intentional free throw miss was the crown jewel of stupid analysis today. Why anyone who played basketball would believe that one of the most low-probability plays in basketball should be used in any situation except a last-resort, we-have-no-choice, there-is-almost-no-time-left situation is baffling to me. Of course, he also defended the refs terrible "on the floor" call of Kevin Young's goaltended shot late in the game, saying there was no "continuation" in college basketball. Funny, mainly because I figured when you are fouled after leaving your feet (as Young CLEARLY was) doesn't have anything to do with continuation. Releasing the ball AFTER you've jumped isn't "continuation".

Maybe his producers should let him know that sometimes silence on the air is better than sheer idiocy. Sorry. I really don't care for CBS college basketball crews. At least not during the regular season.

All in all, I'm happy we pulled out a win on a day when the team seemed to be making lazy passes like they were contagious. I was actually quite impressed by Tharpe's play for most of the day. Obviously Withey and Young too, but Tharpe really seems to have rounded into a solid care-taking ball handler. He played a lot more under control than EJ did, at least today, even if he did pass up a couple of threes that I thought he should have taken. Every game I get less and less worried about the future of our starting PG next year. I also wanted to note that I think people are being too hard on Ellis for this game. He had a pretty bad offensive day, but he also ripped down 5 rebounds in 10 minutes, including a monster offensive rebound (1 of 2) in traffic surrounded by 4 Temple players. I think he's starting to get it.

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swunruh 1 year, 7 months ago

Agree with you March. I also don't thing 3 announcers are necessary. The one Anthony comment I appreciated was when he mentioned how nice people in Lawrence were.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

True. I did forget about that comment, so I'm glad you reminded me.

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bville_hawk 1 year, 7 months ago

marchphog, you say "in any situation except a last-resort, we-have-no-choice, there-is-almost-no-time-left situation"

Wouldn't you agree that being down 7 with under 30 seconds to play is a last-resort, we-have-no-choice, there-is-almost-no-time-left situation???

I was at the game so didn't hear his comment, but my thought as the player stepped to the line for the first free throw was that I hoped the 2nd free throw didn't come off long or get tipped around and end up in the hands of a 3-point shooter. Seven point lead can go to 3 very quickly... Just saying...

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

"Wouldn't you agree that being down 7 with under 30 seconds to play is a last-resort, we-have-no-choice, there-is-almost-no-time-left situation???"

No, I wouldn't. I mean, yeah, it's a desparate, long-shot situation, but look at this another way:

Kansas has fouled you, giving you the opportunity to make up some of the deficit without a single tick of the game clock. Make both free throws and suddenly you're down only 5 with 30 seconds(ish) to play. That is close enough that a steal and bucket can cut the lead to 2 or 3 with still a decent amount of time left. Or a quick foul and a missed KU free throw or two in almost the same position.

The intentional free throw miss is such a low probability play with such a high cost of failure, that it only makes sense when there is literally no other option. With that much time on the clock, there are multiple options, even with a 7-point deficit. Plus, consider the reward of an intentional free throw miss that is executed successfully: you come out of the play down 4 instead of 5. Still two possessions. You would STILL need to steal the ball or foul and hope KU misses free throws.

I can understand the concern you had--hoping that the second free throw didn't come off long to a 3-point shooter--while at the game. But there is a stark difference between being concerned about a random (but not completely uncommon) bounce and Temple using a random bounce as their planned strategy.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 7 months ago

No, not down by 7. And Temple wasn't getting the offensive rebounds like they did against Syracuse. What they needed to do was make the free throw and try to get a steal on the in bounds or foul, but KU did a nice job at the line. Temple didn't have any good options except to hope they could get a steal after the made free throw.

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vd 1 year, 7 months ago

Young was given 2 free throws, so the refs called it a shooting foul. The announcers had their head up their b=========s.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

Are you sure he was given two, and didn't just make the front end of a 1-and-1?

Because KU got into the bonus on that foul, so a call on the floor would have also netted 2 shots (since Young made the first one).

And if they did call it in the act of shooting, then the fact that they missed the goaltending call when Young's defender pulled the ball off the rim is insane.

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Page Butler 1 year, 7 months ago

I watched the game again last night and noticed the same thing. Why they gave him two shots and didn't call the goal tend was unbelievable. Yes they called it a two shot foul because if you watch the tape you will see that no one is boxing out on the first shot. The players are all relaxed on the first shot. It was just a blown call by the refs and I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed.

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Dr. Robert s. Mosser 1 year, 7 months ago

March_, you may not remember when Greg Anthony was an All-American guard on a UNLV team that lost to Roy's team early in Roy's tenure but did win a NC. He also was a very good student in school. I think he does pretty well. I'm still waiting for an unbiased comment in these observations. I've watched KU basketball since the fall of 1939. Ups and downs. It is fun to watch this team. I get the biggest kick out of Jeff blocking/altering shots. Hoping he might have a NBA career ahead.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

I do remember Anthony playing for that UNLV team. I also remember Anthony because I really liked the Knicks when they had Patrick Ewing, Anthony Mason, Charles Oakley, Greg Anthony, John Starks, etc...

And when I've heard him call for NBA games, he's been alright, but he was just off in so many ways yesterday it's unbelievable.

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FlashyThundercat 1 year, 7 months ago

Tom Keegan is the worst writer ever. That opening sentence gave me such a headache. He desperately needs an editor.

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mojayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Perry will continue to get better all season. He looks more comfortable with the ball inside, but when he goes up for a shot, it's as if he's surprised when it's not blocked, so he overshoots, missing lots of bunnies. (Sorry, English majors, for all of the commas, the long thought just seemed to, need them).

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mattiesdad 1 year, 7 months ago

A couple more 9 block games and the record is gonna fall. Go Jeff!

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Little Help !

Does anyone know if Jeff Withey has ever played volleyball ??

1

Tony Bandle 1 year, 7 months ago

I think he played dodge ball!!

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

If you can block a wrench, you can block a ball.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 7 months ago

if you can block traffic, you can play Center in college basketball.

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KGphoto 1 year, 7 months ago

Perry definitely looked more confident. Just watching him getting after it on the rebounds was enough for me to see it. He'll begin a steady climb through conference play. A slow climb perhaps, but he is getting used to banging and fighting with the college-sized kids now.

I wondered yesterday what it must have been like for Perry coming to college, after being the best for four years, against the same level of competition in high school. You know the saying, "If you aren't getting better, you are getting worse"? Well how is he supposed to get better? You can work on skills, sure, but you can only practice them on the same kids you've already beaten.

When I think of it like this, it's no wonder he has been stagnant. He's an extremely smart, driven and goal oriented kid, but nobody has pushed back at him for 3-4 years. What worthy goal was still out there in H.S.? Just the same one, over and over. State Championship. Next. State Championship. Next...

It's like he needed to be shaken out of a dream or something. Bill woke him up but he's just now getting his bearings. I think now that he's awake he'll focus, once again, on becoming the best. It's a new goal after all. Be the best in college. What could be more exciting for a kid like Perry?

Anyway that's how I choose to see it.

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741hawk 1 year, 7 months ago

When Perry came to Lawrence, I thought he would probably be an All-American. I still think that is possible. Just trying to figure out why we are surprised that his progress is slow and steady.

This is an interesting team to follow. Thanks to all who posted an opinion re Perry. Rock Chalk.

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J.T. Even 1 year, 7 months ago

It wasn't Danny Manning, Self, Hudy, or all of the above, that made Jeff such an incredible shot blocker. Its on record that players and coaches considered Jeff to be the best shot blocker on the team when he was playing behind Cole and the Morris twins some three years ago. He already had the skills when he came here. And he is also on record as saying that playing volleyball helped hone his skills as a defender. Do you think Bill Self and the broadcasters just arbitrarily attributed this skill to his experience playing volleyball? By the way, the broadcasters aren't just talking to us Jayhawk faithful that already know such details. Believe it or not, but there are KU fans that don't get to read every article or watch every game (yes they do exist), as well as fans from opposing teams.

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Kansas1241 1 year, 7 months ago

Here's the entire play of McLemore's alley-oop dunk in the second half in HD!!

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Eric Baker 1 year, 7 months ago

The KUSports twitter accounted tweeted a link to this article with the statement "Jeff Withey: This year's Anthony Davis?"

I would argue Jeff Withey is not only this year's Anthony Davis, he was LAST year's Anthony Davis, too. He had pretty comparable stats to Davis, against similar or better competition, and with fewer all stars around him to draw away the other team's attention. Just saying...

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Alex Peekeaton 1 year, 7 months ago

If you couldn't tell who the best player was in New Orleans back in April and obviously confirmed so far in the NBA, then you might want to stop drinking the kool-aid.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

That's right. Best players lay a goose egg in the most important game of the year while allowing the player they are guarding to go for 17 and 12. Okay.

Sorry, but MKG was the best player on the floor that night.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

Only because it infuriates me and posting stuff like this makes me feel a tad better, I just thought I should point out that Anthony Davis' block percentage last year was 13.75.

Jeff Withey's block percentage last year was 15.27 (#1 in the country)

Jeff Withey's block percentage THIS year (so far): 19.73 (also #1 in the country)

If Withey finishes this season with that level of block percentage, it will be second only to one other person since the 2005 season: Mickell Gladness of Alabama A&M, who had a rate of 20.48 in 2007.

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 7 months ago

Those percentages are ridiculous. The guy's a wall.

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Alex Peekeaton 1 year, 7 months ago

With all due respect, the only comparison you can make between Withey and Davis are blocks "in the paint" and free throw percentage. Davis took the 5th most shots on his team last year - he could have easily averaged over 20 points a game if he had taken more than 8.5 shots per game. When Larry Brown starts talking about Withey as being in the same class as Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as he did with Anthony Davis and Rick Pitino comparing him to Bill Russell, then the comparisons can begin.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

With all due respect...

1) No one said anything about scoring in comparing Withey and Davis. So just stop with the Kentucky Fan Talking Point (if Davis took more shots...).

2) You cite the anecdotal comments of coaches like Larry Brown and Rick Pitino. Not only is that the classic "argument to authority" fallacy, but it's not even a good objective measure. If you remember, Davis was also anecdotally the best shot-blocker in the country last year, yet the facts demonstrate quite clearly that he was not. That's about how worthwhile anecdotes are in measuring a player's given skill.

3) Davis is taking 11 shots a game in the NBA and averaging fewer points, so the idea that he was automatic and being held back by his shot quantity is specious at best. More likely, Calipari wanted to limit Davis' offensive opportunities to high-percentage shots in and around the basket, because it would have been silly to rely on a very raw freshman for substantial offensive output, especially with such a talent-filled roster. Davis benefited quite a bit from his teammates getting him the ball for weak side dunks and open layups. Did you forget Davis' oh-fer in the national title game? I don't think any player capable of averaging 20 points a game is going to put up a goose egg in the biggest game of the year.

4) The POY award is about far more than NBA potential. Using an objective aggregation of individual stats (for example, Ken Pomeroy's advanced player metrics), there were three players who had seasons that were far better than Davis': #1 Draymond Green, #2 Thomas Robinson and #3 Jared Sullinger. All three of those players had index ratings above .510 while Davis' was .479

5) I do have to laugh about you getting on your high horse about comparing Anthony Davis to Jeff Withey while simultaneously finding nothing wrong with comparing Davis to some all-time, HOF greats like Chamberlain, Robertson and Russell. Jeff Withey is a hell of a lot closer to Davis than Davis was to any of those three.

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 7 months ago

Hey....Did you guys know that Jeff Withey played volleyball?

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Micky Baker 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't know if Jeff Withey saved this game by himself, but he had an impact. Down the stretch in crunch time Tharpe, EJ, Releford and Ben all made plays. Kevin Young was active as well and drew and OTB and made his free throws. It is one of the things about Bill Self coached teams, it is a true TEAM. Nobody is selfish on this team.

Traylor and Ellis also made some plays during this game, and with those two improving significantly the next two months, this team is going to be as hard to defend as any team in the country, and they're already playing good D and that'll get better.

Lot's not forget about AWIII and Rio, but especially AWIII. If he can come in and light it up from his spot up. This team can potentially rise above everyone else this year.

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FlashyThundercat 1 year, 7 months ago

Do not say anything critical of the writers for the LJW or your comment will be removed.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 7 months ago

Yeah, not so much. They get criticized often, but in ways that don't violate the site's TOS. Just grow up a little.

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