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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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Podcast episode

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

Doug Merrill 1 year, 8 months ago

He's also no John Glenn or George Washington and you are no Albert Einstein. Congratulations on the Non-sequitur of the Year Award. They don't/didnt play the same position and their team make up was completely different, so their roles were/are not comparable in any form.

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TexasRockChalk 1 year, 8 months ago

Excellent use of the word non-sequitur :) Nice to see some scholars on this site!

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Kit Duncan 1 year, 8 months ago

You read more into my comment than I intended and, if you had read the article above and tha article I referenced, you might (but likely wouldn't) realize I meant Jeff's ability to play the guard position. Very few seven footer's ( I know... Danny was only 6' 11") have the ability to dribble/drive the length of the court without either having their pocket picked or losing control of the ball.

When I saw Jeff start the breakaway it reminded me of Danny's ability to do that consistently. I meant no disrespect to Jeff, only that he does not have the same skill-set that Danny Manning did. I was pleased to see Jeff pass the ball, as I really didn't believe he was going to be able to drive to the basket without being stripped of the ball or turning it over.

My comment only involved the individual abilities of both and had nothing to do with their position or teammates.

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mejayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Thanks so much for the link. Really enjoyed this read.

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Cameron Cederlind 1 year, 8 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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Cameron Cederlind 1 year, 8 months ago

If he's got the skill and embarrassment of Tyshawn and his Twitter page, I'll keep him.

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Joseph Kuebel 1 year, 8 months ago

Gotta love Rio. Love seein the reaction to that too.

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akgjenkintown 1 year, 8 months ago

You gotta love Rio. It is important to have great team chemistry to get through a long season and he seems to be the one who brings a bit of levity on and off the court. Keep it up. Also his play was key yesterday when both Elijah and Naadir struggled. Way to go Rio!!

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Boouk 1 year, 8 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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Chris Shaw 1 year, 8 months ago

EJ may not get to the level he was last year because he mostly played SG last year. EJ is not a "Focal Point" type player. TT took enormous pressure off of EJ last year. EJ is essentially in a catch 22 this year because of the roster makeup this year.

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Woody Cragg 1 year, 8 months ago

IMO correct. Have seen somewhat of the same comfort level for EJ when Tharpe is on the floor at the same time. He moves much more relaxed & comes off screens great. As Nadir's exp increases I already believe we are the same type of matchup problem going forward as this team has so many interchangeable pieces. Self is a master at utilizing his players' talents. Was also glad to see Adams getting valuable minutes yesterday along with Perry. Is Adams a natural 1G or 2?

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RJ King 1 year, 8 months ago

throwing lob dunks to Aaron Craft." That visual made me LOL.

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TexasRockChalk 1 year, 8 months ago

Jeff is not only "every bit as good", but he's better! ;) I'm not sure they keep stats on how many blocks are (intentionally) kept in play and lead to quick run-outs, but I'm certain J-W is leading the planet!

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TexasRockChalk 1 year, 8 months ago

Only on this site can we get a Spandau Ballet reference ;) Bravo!

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chezlog 1 year, 8 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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KJD 1 year, 8 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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burnmu 1 year, 8 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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stm62 1 year, 8 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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studio 1 year, 8 months ago

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

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 8 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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dylans 1 year, 8 months ago

Yeah, he made a nice circus shot.

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jayhawkeratheart 1 year, 8 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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Jim Roth 1 year, 8 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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eastcoasthawk 1 year, 8 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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RJ King 1 year, 8 months ago

a more intense version certainly made headlines for the Saints.

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mejayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

What's the point of such a snarky little reply to a genuine question?

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68hawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Is it not competition? Did my post hurt your feelings? Don't worry about answering those questions. East coast is more than able to stick up for himself.

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mejayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

East coast is also more than able to realize that, "It's called competition." My question, which you've yet to answer, is what was the point of your painfully obvious post?

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eastcoasthawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Competition is what he is hired for in the first place. What makes the KU games worth an additional 25K over any other conference game? What if KU is having a bad year and is not even ranked? Is it still worth it? It would make more sense if it was to beat any top 10 team. I mean either way the school would get a national headline for a day. Is that worth 25K though? And how will a student athlete feel if he sees his coach acting differently when playing KU? Too many issues with this one.

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mejayhawk 1 year, 8 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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RJ King 1 year, 8 months ago

Imagine Louisville with Jeff this year. (I believe he originally gave them a verbal.) I bet they wouldn't have lost 3 in a row. Oh wait, I forgot - they don't have a Hudy.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 8 months ago

I believe that many of Self's "set plays" are also "read-and-react" option plays. I know that you've seen the diagrams of the multiple options in Self's go-to 3pt Chop play. I think that many of Self's sets probably have at least 2 or 3 options depending on how they are defended. It's makes it all-the-more complex for the defenses, but also much more difficult for KU's freshman. Hence, why Ben McLemore's extra semester of practice was so beneficial to him, he was able to get a semester of real-time learning as well as an entire off-season of studying the plays. He still clearly doesn't know them as well as Travis and EJ, but he knows them MUCH better than Rio and White.

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KULA 1 year, 8 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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Michael Pannacciulli 1 year, 8 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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Jack Wilson 1 year, 8 months ago

Maybe we stick a 25 point a** whippin' on them when they come to town?

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Sam Constance 1 year, 8 months ago

Southwell is too dense to even understand why his comment is so stupid.

He's averaging a point more per game and 3 fewer rebounds per game than Young in 22 mpg compared to Young's 21 mpg.

To talk trash on him is just ignorant, and doing it after a loss to Young's team makes him look like a bitter, nasty loser.

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jbal32 1 year, 8 months ago

I for one thought he was an idiot for talking trash in the game to KY when his team was still LOSING!! But then again this is what I expect from a team whose crowd chanted F*** KU while they were still losing. Just dumb.

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RJ King 1 year, 8 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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Tony Bandle 1 year, 8 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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Ethan Berger 1 year, 8 months ago

UK won't get Randle and Wiggins, they probably won't get either. While all these guys can go play with each other. Without leadership, they are doomed. I bet Wiggins looks at UNC state of affairs and goes their to help get them back up. Which leaves Randle. Problem with Randle is he would be a very small 5. Perry Ellis will start, and I'm think AW3 will be our 3. So does Randle choose one and done at UK, or does he choose KU where if he played 2 years, he would be not only and NBA player but an NBA ready player.

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Jack Wilson 1 year, 8 months ago

Randle can play at KU and be one and one. No problem. Starting spot right there for him. We don't have to start a "5." See 2008.

Ellis and Randle starting would be much like Jackson and Arthur. Both 4s. Unless Embiid comes ready to play, we won't have a high level 5 anyway. Best case would be we snag Randle and Embiid is ready to play, coming off the bench.

Randle's best spot, ready made to be the go-to guy, to be the showcase guy, is KU. Self loves playing through the post. Feed the monster.

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Ethan Berger 1 year, 8 months ago

If I'm not mistaken Kaun is 6'11 while Randle is 6'9 (more like 6'8). Kaun was more of a tweener at the 4/5 while Randle and Ellis are more 4/3. Now he is a freak athlete, but our post D won't have a true big guy. Now Randle will start, it would just be interesting to see how the size of our starting 5 works out.

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Jack Wilson 1 year, 8 months ago

Right, Kaun was 6'11" ... but he did not start. Jackson and Arthur started. Both 4s. And our defense was fine. No big shot blocker of course.

Randle is listed at 6'9"/240 pounds. Not a three (though all 4s want to be 3s). He's a big dude. Jackson was appx. 250 as senior. Arthur was 225. An Ellis/Randle combo would be very similar.

Kaun came off the bench, which is why I compared that to maybe Embiid. Or perhaps Lucas.

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Ethan Berger 1 year, 8 months ago

Okay memory lapse with a Combo of miss reading what you said. Apologies, and great example.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 8 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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HawkKlaw 1 year, 8 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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