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Kansas defeats Oklahoma, 67-54

  • 3 p.m., Jan. 26, 2013
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Originally published January 26, 2013 at 09:26p.m., updated January 26, 2013 at 09:47p.m.

Life of the party: Jeff Withey’s blocks highlight KU’s win over OU

Kansas center Jeff Withey stretches to defend against a shot from Oklahoma guard Buddy Heild during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey stretches to defend against a shot from Oklahoma guard Buddy Heild during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over Oklahoma

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 67-54 win over Oklahoma on Jan. 26, 2013.

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Box score

KU-OU

“Withey Block Party” made its debut on the Allen Fieldhouse scoreboard Saturday afternoon, to the delight of 16,300 fans, including Mark Randall.

Randall, a former Kansas University power forward and first-round NBA Draft pick who works in community relations for the Denver Nuggets, peered at the big board during a second-half timeout as Jeff Withey was shown not only blocking four of Oklahoma’s shots in a 67-54 Jayhawk men’s basketball victory, but also dancing in disco attire.

“It’s been great watching him grow over the time he’s been here,” the 6-foot-9 Randall said of 7-footer Withey, whose productive first half (four blocks, seven rebounds, nine points) helped set the tone as KU led, 29-21, at the break.

“One thing about Oklahoma that surprised me is, they were unbelievably athletic, and their big guys were extremely athletic. The guards were doing a good job of getting inside, but guess what? Jeff’s back there cleaning everything up,” Randall added of Withey, who finished with 13 points and nine rebounds to go with the four rejections.

“I’m not in personnel any more, but if you are tall and have the kind of skill level he’s got, he’s going to find a niche in the NBA. He’s a shot-blocker. He’s developing his game in the low post. The biggest thing he has to do is learn to use his butt more, so he can hold his position down there. It comes with time. He has a series of moves he’s obviously learned. He’s working on it.”

Withey — who was coming off his only game of the season in which he failed to block a shot, Tuesday at Kansas State — will have to look for “Withey Block Party” on Youtube.com. He was too busy listening to coach Bill Self during a second-half stoppage to catch the video that had the fans’ full attention.

“Some people told me about it (video). I mean, I block shots. If that’s what they remember me as, that’s fine with me.” Withey said after moving into sole possession of third place on KU’s all-time block list (247). He’s six blocks away from tying Cole Aldrich for second and 11 from tying Greg Ostertag as top shot-blocker in school history.

“ I thought I did pretty well. They didn’t come inside too often. I think I affected him a little bit,” he added of OU’s Romero Osby, who scored 12 points off 4-of-16 shooting. “I think he was a little hesitant to shoot the ball. I might have blocked him in the first half pretty early, so that might have gotten in his head. I’m not sure. He’s a good player, and he is definitely physical. He tried taking it right at me.”

Withey’s performance helped the Jayhawks improve to 18-1 overall and 6-0 in the Big 12. Oklahoma fell to 13-5, 4-2.

“Jeff played great. He made some plays that I think would rival some of the better plays that he’s made this entire year,” Self said.

“Defensively, we make some mistakes, and he covers up the floor behind us and rebounded the ball pretty well. Osby ... that’s a tough matchup,” Self added. “Their bigs play well away from the basket. I thought he did some good things, but we didn’t play with a lot of energy. We didn’t pressure. We didn’t play the way I feel like the way we needed to play to be our best.”

Withey had one assist. He stole the ball, showed dribbling skills, then passed ahead to Travis Releford (10 points, five assists, five rebounds), who scored to give KU a 46-35 lead with 9:52 left.

“I can think of better options than him leading the break, but the way we played today, he may have been as good as our guards out there leading the break,” Self said. “He has done that several times. He made a bad pass to Ben (McLemore, 18 points, 5-for-10 shooting) the first half. He bounced it, and we got nothing out of it. The second half he made an air pass, but led Travis too much. Travis made an unbelievable play with one hand. Jeff is doing really well.”

Withey joked about his point-guard skills.

“I don’t want to dribble too much usually,” he said. “After that, coach kind of told me because I never do it. He said, ‘Never give a bounce pass in transition if you are leading the break.’ I don’t know. I kind of liked it. It might happen more often.”

Perhaps his dribbling will be featured on the next Withey Block Party scoreboard show.

“That was a big game for him tonight,” Randall assessed. “It’s been fun to watch him develop over the years and become the inside presence for this team.”

KU will meet West Virginia at 8 p.m. Monday in Morgantown, W.Va.

Comments

HawkKlaw 1 year, 2 months ago

Jeff Withey is doing as much or more than Anthony Davis did last year (the national player of the year). Yet, he's not showing up on anyone's NPOY lists. Am I missing something?

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Sam Constance 1 year, 2 months ago

Even Kaun wasn't very much of a true 5 on the 2008 team. His being 6'11" gives him the look of a traditional center, but when he was in, he played more like a second PF next to either Arthur or Jackson.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 2 months ago

This crappy bunch at Kentucky has no one who is a true OAD so it's going to get awfully crowded with the next "Number One Class" coming in. Also, the Harrison twins like to share the ball...with just each other!!!

Julius needs to realize thaty Kansas losing an entire starting line up offers him the best option by far to showcase his talents. Wait till he gets to Lawrence in three weeks...he'll see some VIP treatment then!!

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RJ King 1 year, 2 months ago

Off subject, but was kind of hoping for a UNC win over NC State with Julius Randle in the house. Sounds like he's getting the VIP treatment this weekend.

http://zagsblog.com/articles/randle-watches-n-c-state-put-on-a-show/

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Michael Pannacciulli 1 year, 2 months ago

Made it from NJ to Lawrence this weekend for the first time in ages. First time catching a game in the field house since '96. And of course it was well worth the trip. Field house looked amazing...best fans and traditions anywhere...the shrine to KU as you enter...great time. And randomly I bumped into Coach Self in the lobby of the Oread the night before and shook his hand. Couldn't have asked for more.

Can't wait to see Jeff take over the blocks record. He sure can elevate quickly, and as the pic shows he can twist that long frame like a pretzel - which makes him so lethal even when being doubled up. Cool hearing Randall's assessment - needing to use the butt more. He still has so much more upside.

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KULA 1 year, 2 months ago

Jeff's foot quickness has gotten much better. He used to always bend at the waist and gather himself when he caught the ball. Now he's got some really quick ups.

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Notice those guard penetrations the second half, and a quick assist to an already moving in without the ball Withey for the easy dunk? That was a designed play. Sometimes I wonder about those read and react offenses, and wonder about "set" plays, but Bill Self always erases any philosophical-challenge type questions I might be thinking with a sledgehammer effective set-play. The beauty of it is: How does the opposing defense "lose" a 7footer? Most basketball instincts defensively are on-ball, or denying post-entry passes. But when mobile bigs start taking angles to the basket in timed-fashion, of course set free from their defender by a screen (all this away from the ball), the level of complexity for opposing defenses not used to seeing a whole plethora of plays like this is simply overwhelming. We practice this stuff every day. It is exactly why frosh look very limited in their ability, because mentally-speaking, they are just on a steep learning/timing curve. (Perry Ellis is a great example of this). We stay a perennial power because Self keeps plugging in prepared players. Last year little depth, and no bigman injuries, we were lucky. And a little less playbook, as often Tyshawn just had to "drive it". This year back to more balanced SelfBall. Oh, look: top10 again, headed for a 1- or 2-seed. Again. And again. And again...

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mejayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Did anyone else catch Jeff's "power squat" after that monster dunk? I think it was in the second half? I watched it three times. Love this kid! We are so fortunate to have a coach like BS who sees the potential in players like JW & KY and then coaches them to their strengths. Imagine last year's team and this year's team without those two transfers.

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eastcoasthawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Enjoyed the game yesterday. Was hoping we would finally break it open but OU hung around. Will be tough in Lloyd Noble on the 9th.

OT - Looking forward to our next game and saw this on ESPN.
franfraschilla Fran Fraschilla Bob Huggins has 25K incentive in new contract for regular season wins over KU. Something to watch for on Big Monday from Morgantown.

Is this what our league is coming to? Incentives to beat a team in conference play? I understand incentives to win the conference and advance in March Madness but is this going too far?

Hoping this will make some headlines before the game.

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Jim Roth 1 year, 2 months ago

Use your butt, Jeff! Hudy helped you grow it; now you have to use it. Randall is spot on. Make room, push people around. They don't call butt-fouls, so use it to your advantage.

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jayhawkeratheart 1 year, 2 months ago

Hey mom, dad, I went to college and learned a new word, it's "Discombobulated" Has something to do with basketball,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,love it.

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Lifelong_Jayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Withey played a solid game, and he is one of the reasons we won this game, what with everyone else except McLemore looking discombobulated on offense.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 2 months ago

If I recall in the photo above, the OU kid made that shot in one of the greatest moves I have ever seen....that's what kind of effort it is taking players to score on Jeff.

He just dominates the air around the key...like a giant condor!!!!

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studio 1 year, 2 months ago

Great photo Nick. Obsessive denial, Jeff "Lid" Withey.

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stm62 1 year, 2 months ago

Randall was a very good player for KU. I remember reading Roys book and learning about the big confidence problem Mark had early in Coach Williams tenure. Roy recognized this obstacle and instructed his assistants to praise Mark everytime they saw him so that they could raise his confidence.
It just shows how a coach can make or break a player and thank God this one was not broken. The unsure collegian became a long time NBAer.

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burnmu 1 year, 2 months ago

the main picture of Withey with his arm stretched out, should be crossed over with the likeness of Curry's John Brown. That pic, with Brown's beard and eyes on Withey would be amazing

Great poster above

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KJD 1 year, 2 months ago

Kansas Jayhawk Defense over the last five conference games has held their opponents to an average of 51.6 points per game.

ESPN did a great job photographing campus for todays game. Thanks for the memories.

Genius Sign at the game today!

The Block-it Factory

The Block-it Factory by KJD

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chezlog 1 year, 2 months ago

Mark Randall was one of my favorite players. When he played for the Nuggets he made one of the greatest shots ever and it didn't even count. He flew out of bounds to save the ball, throwing it over his shoulder. The ball went over the back board and through the net. Play stopped and the Nuggets lost possession but it made ESPN's high-lights. Fun memories of Randall.

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William Blake 1 year, 2 months ago

That photo of Jeff.... I can hear Spandau Ballet in the background.

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Boouk 1 year, 2 months ago

Zeller and Plumlee get all the hype, but Withey's every bit as good as they are. If Elijah gets back to the level he was at in last years NCAA tournament this is the best team in the country.

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Cameron Cederlind 1 year, 2 months ago

Made this little gem from the game tonight after Elijah made a 3:

http://i.minus.com/i85mySMKMx9wQ.gif

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