Kansas defeats Kansas State, 70-54

  • 5 p.m., March 16, 2013
  • Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bragging rights’: KU takes Big 12 tourney title with 70-54 win over Kansas State

Kansas guard Ben McLemore dances on stage to the Jayhawk fans following the Jayhawks' 70-54 win over Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament championship on Saturday, March 16 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore dances on stage to the Jayhawk fans following the Jayhawks' 70-54 win over Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament championship on Saturday, March 16 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over Kansas State

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 70-54 win over Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament championship on March 16, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, Kevin Young

Kansas seniors Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, Kevin Young talk to reporters after the Jayhawks' 70-54 victory over Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament championship game on March 16, 2013.

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Box score


— Wearing their Big 12 tournament championship T-shirts and hats, with confetti falling from the rafters, Kansas University’s basketball players danced on a podium in front of their fans on Saturday night in Sprint Center.

It was time to party — the Jayhawks electing to gyrate to "The McLemore" — which appeared on YouTube after various KU victories during the 2012-13 regular season — following a 70-54 title win over rival Kansas State.

“To get that last win in the Big 12 means a lot to us. It’s something the seniors can look back on and brag about,” KU senior center Jeff Withey said after scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds and being named Most Outstanding Player of the event.

Withey and his teammates mentioned “bragging rights” more than once, following a game billed as one that would determine the true Big 12 champion.

Both teams tied at 14-4 and were deemed co-champions during the regular season, though the Jayhawks did sweep the home-and-home series, 2-0.

“It means a lot to our fans who support us,” Withey said. “They can go to work and not have to hear K-State fans saying they were co-champs. I think we won it outright today.”

Senior guard Travis Releford, who popped out his jersey to the fans before throwing his wristbands into the stands after the final horn, acknowledged, “Now our fans can brag about who is the best team in the conference.

“We went into this saying, ‘Whoever won it, it’s winner take all.’ If they would have won, I don’t think we would have gone around saying we were the better team because they would have proved it. Now we can go out and say we’re the best team in the conference. Our fans have bragging rights. It means a lot to them, too,” Releford added.

“This game had to be played to be decided,” stated senior point guard Elijah Johnson, who scored nine points with six turnovers against three assists.

KU coach Bill Self — he proudly noted that his Jayhawks have “had 18 opportunities to win a championship the last nine years and we’ve got 15” — credited a suffocating KU defense for the victory.

“We defended them. They didn’t get many easy baskets. Our defense was terrific the first half,” said Self, whose squad held (27-7) KSU to 16 points off 22.2-percent shooting the first half in grabbing a 24-16 lead. “I think it was our best game (of the three wins) against them. Our defense was exceptional.”

Releford did his usual stellar job on Rodney McGruder, who scored 18 points off 7-of-15 shooting, but scored just four points off 2-of-9 shooting out of the gate.

“The key was help from my teammates, them being aware, letting me know when screens were coming,” Releford said. “Because he ran off a lot of screens. I knew I had to make him uncomfortable and be there on the catch and not let him get easy looks, and I think that was a key in the first half.”

The Jayhawks clicked offensively in scoring 46 the final half.

Naadir Tharpe (12 points, four threes) scored six points and dished a perfect pass to Releford for an assist on a dunk in a 12-3 run that upped a 33-28 lead to 45-31 at 11:59. Perry Ellis, who was named to the five-player all-tournament team, had eight points in a 12-5 surge that upped a 50-41 lead to 62-46.

“It feels good. It’s very humbling,” Ellis said of receiving all-tourney honors with Withey, McGruder, Angel Rodriguez (10 points, 3-12 shooting) and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart.

“I came in here and had no thoughts I would do that. I just come in and try to win. Before the game, coach stressed defense and rebounding, that it’d be a battle. I think we did a good job there.”

KU held KSU to 35-percent shooting overall. The Cats hit six of 24 threes. KU hit 49.1 percent of its shots, including seven of 14 threes.

The Jayhawks won on a day freshman McLemore hit for just five points off 2-of-7 shooting.

“It was a great game for us,” McLemore said. “I didn’t play my best. I’m proud of my teammates. Being out there, celebrating for the first time with my teammates, a lot of seniors, felt great. It’s a blessing to be here with these seniors. Now that we’ve won it all (in conference), we’ve got to keep going, keep playing and try to win the national championship.”

The Jayhawks at 5 p.m. Sunday (CBS Selection Show) will likely learn they’ve been awarded opening-round NCAA Tournament game(s) in Sprint Center next Friday and Sunday, as either a No. 1 or 2 seed. The reward of playing close to home will go to the team that will enter the postseason with a 29-5 record.

“We don’t control that. We’re in a good position to get a No. 1 seed depending on how teams ahead of us played,” Releford said. “I don’t know how it works, but if it goes off how a team is playing, I think we should have a 1 seed.”


Mike Bratisax 1 year, 1 month ago

ESPN is showing Jimmy V's 1983 NCAA Basketball Tournament run tonight on their '30 for 30' Films tonight at 9 PM EST in case anyone is interested.


Brodieman1982 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm a little disappointed. K-State actually had the lead for 5 minutes. I guess I'll have to settle for KU either having the lead or a tie for 114 of the 120 minutes they played K-State this year.


BlazinHawk 1 year, 1 month ago

I am tired of the officiating comments as well.... Fran did hit on it way to much. Overall he and Brent do a good job. Brent gave tons of praise to KU. Still miss Bobby K.


Born_And_Raised_A_KU_Fan 1 year, 1 month ago

Everyone needs to write to CBS Sports and ask for a replay of a TV special that just aired on the CBS Sports Network on the 1988 team!


upinsmoke 1 year, 1 month ago

What I get concerned about are the lazy passes. All of them have them. The best clip I saw this morning was McGruder saying he will leave the Big 12 like he came in, losing to Kansas. And Thomas Gibson whining how TCU can beat Kansas but we kan't. I misspelled that word because that was the way he would spell it. When you read this you must put your bottom lip out about an inch from your mouth to get the full effect of the interview.


TexasRockChalk 1 year, 1 month ago

I love how in the postgame comments our players remain classy and stand-up through and through. They didn't duck the loss to TCU, the 3 game losing streak or the 20 point blowout loss to Baylor. Well....look who's standing now? Family Over Everything--a tattoo a lot of our players have. Keep believing fellas and see you in North Texas (hopefully)!



oldalum 1 year, 1 month ago

It always looks to me like he is thinking ahead and loses track of the moment. That's when he gets careless. When he's concentrating he seems to be able to do just about anything.


Steve Corder 1 year, 1 month ago

Is anyone concerned about Johnson's turnovers(6)? Sometimes I wonder if he slips into some kind of a mental fog for stretches at a time. He's a gifted player that drives the middle better than anyone on the team, but man can he be "out-to-lunch" at times.


mejayhawk 1 year, 1 month ago

Mizz fans trolling on a KU site is kinda like stalking your ex-wife.


Ron Franklin 1 year, 1 month ago

Bill Self T equals intravenous ampage for those that believe in conditioned stimuli.


William Blake 1 year, 1 month ago

Why Jayhawk fans should smile going into March Madness:

  1. With any luck, we'll take a #1 seed away from Duke!

  2. Perry Ellis gives us another solid scoring option.

  3. Our offense runs fine even when BMac isn't scoring.

  4. CS has solved our struggle to drive the lane by perfecting our interior passing.

  5. Kevin Young has become a scoring threat in the post.

  6. Jeff Withey is more aggressive scoring in the post.

  7. Team rebounding is starting to dominate.

  8. Naadir Tharpe can nail the 3.

  9. When the team plays flat, CS explodes on the refs.

  10. Fran Fraschilla was told to lighten up on KU and basically apologize.


Kevin Jenkins 1 year, 1 month ago

Bragging rights!!!!! Yes, but I knew we had them already. Next stop is in the DANCE. Let's just keep playing great D and let the freshmen help along the way. Our seniors will battle and show their funk. Self has shown you the green light, so show us how high you can fly. Doubters and all those negative commentators, watch the KU show. I even look for Releford to get some recognition for his Big D performances. Rock Chalk!


ParisHawk 1 year, 1 month ago

Déjà vu 2007?

I remember in 2007 UCLA and KU were very close as last #1 and first #2, so the Committee split the difference: make KU #1 but put them in the West Regional with #2 UCLA. One team got the easier draw, the other played the second week closer to home.

I say this because I can imagine the same thing today: make Duke #1 and KU #2 in the South, giving Duke the easier first weekend and KU the geographical advantage.

Basically, that would give Duke the edge in the Sweet 16 playing against #4, but KU would get a relative "home field" advantage in the Elite 8.

What I can't see is KU #1 and Duke #2 in the South.


FL_Jhawk 1 year, 1 month ago

“It means a lot to our fans who support us,” Withey said. “They can go to work and not have to hear K-State fans saying they were co-champs. I think we won it outright today.”

I love this statement! Nice to know the players are thinking about the fans. Thanks, Jeff!


Mel Clare 1 year, 1 month ago

Seniors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gotta love'em! A team with experience is going to be a tough out in this years version of the NCAA. I like our chances.

Next years team will be loaded with talent........but short on experience. Wesley be our only senior next year? Tharpe, our only Junior? Ellis, Traylor, White and Rio our sophmores? Lucas a redshirt Freshman? Gonna have to be patient next season..................but alot of talent coming in also. I like the Selden kid, Frankamp is a shooter. Embid to replace our ball swatter and Greene is a solid wing with size.........if they add Randle or Wiggins late............WOW!!!!!!!!!! Loads of talent. I would say more than on this years team.


tis4tim 1 year, 1 month ago

What a great 48 hours!

Beat ISU for the third time. Beat KSU for the third time. Win outright Big 12 Championship. Witness Perry Ellis become a man. Earn a number one seed. Knock Duke from the #1 perch.

It's great to be a Jayhawk!


GreatJake 1 year, 1 month ago

Thanks for the great tournament Jayhawks...Congratulations


jjinks 1 year, 1 month ago

I thought for sure that at least one of you that had negative comments about this team after their three game losing streak would apologize. Come on man up and say you were wrong I would but then I never gave up on them and never will give up on a Bill Self coached team.

Congratulations to a well deserved championship. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK and they say you can't beat a team three times in one season this team did it two days in a row. YEAH BABY


April13 1 year, 1 month ago

Love those numbers coach Self: 15 of the last 18 Big 12 championships (Regular season and Tourney). Gosh almighty...that is impressive.


Doug Merrill 1 year, 1 month ago

The CBS bracket would work very well for us, I think!


ParisHawk 1 year, 1 month ago

One of the earliest bracketologists to wake up this morning has KU #1 in the South.

By the way, I did post yesterday that KU had no chance to get a 1 seed. Hope nobody saw that...

And another bracket with KU #1 in the South, vs. Duke at #2.


ParisHawk 1 year, 1 month ago

Off topic, here's one site's "official prediction" that Randle will come to KU:

Basically, they say it's between UK and KU, but KU is closer to home and is more likely to provide good minutes while still competing for the NC.


yates33333 1 year, 1 month ago

I wonder if anyone knows of another reserve named to the Big 12 tournament all-star team? Perhaps Ellis is the first and only.

If KU isn't a number 1 seed then the bias of the NCAA selection committee toward the ACC, Big East, and Big 10 is exposed to all who know anything about BB. The political dominance of the eastern schools of the NCAA is obvious but usually a bit controlled. After all it's the NCAA and not ESPN, a truly unfair organization. I hope Fox Sports can challenge ESPN big time when Fox Sports gets rolling.


ParisHawk 1 year, 1 month ago

How can you guys diss Missouri? They had a better season than the defending National Champions ;)


nostradavid 1 year, 1 month ago

Living in Lawrence and going to KU will give you bragging rights for life.

and the Spradling Straddle video will never get old...


kayjku 1 year, 1 month ago

Someone from the site staff removed the troll's comment, I'm sure. They've been pretty vigilant about that lately.


arch007bak 1 year, 1 month ago

Someone please explain to do you guys keep seeing comments I can't see such as whatever Mizzery fan you're all responding to


Danny Hernandez 1 year, 1 month ago

Ben has been a great teammate.....I hope he never forgets the guys because he will be a damn good NBA player.....I know his mom was more in love with misery and I hope she now see's how great KU is....Ben, you stuck with us and would have been the difference if you could have played against Kentucky


kay_you 1 year, 1 month ago

"Oh, there’s no doubt,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said when asked about the importance of beating KU. “It’s a big rivalry, but it’s not a rivalry until we make it a rivalry. And that means beat them somewhere."


upinsmoke 1 year, 1 month ago

They were counting on a lot of Kansas money to build that Sprint Center because Missery grads don't make that much at McDonald's or Wal Mart.


johninkc1 1 year, 1 month ago

Jaybate, you could have added that Missery has no BCS appearances, not to mention victories but I am sure they hate to hear about more sore subjects. The five downs by CU, the kicked ball by NU, the last second shot by Tyus Edney and on and on. It must really be sad to have to come on our boards to try to feel better about yourself. Well, I'd say mission failed. We are quite happy in the Big 12, sure wish Missery were here so we could have given them some more beatdowns.


Tony Bandle 1 year, 1 month ago

Let's do a quick summary now, shall we.

1] Regular Season Champion.

2] Tourney Champion.

3] Very likey another 30 win season.

4] Two more Jayhawks to the NBA.

5] Longest NCAA appearance streak.

6] More victories or Top 50 opponents than anybody in America.

No matter how many times I type, write or chant this list in my head....It never gets boring!!

Congrats it's time to do a whole lot more damage!!!!


ffletch 1 year, 1 month ago

Mizzou is like gum on your shoe. You step in it. It's a pain in the butt for a while. But in the end it chips off and dissolves into nothing.

Lots of empty seats for MU in the sec tourney.

Sprint center is 3 minutes into Missouri and much closer to Lawrence, basketball's Mecca.

Being gone, mizzou fans can't even throw a good sucker punch.

I will always say good riddance. All the less tire slashing and car keying in Lawrence.


kerbyd 1 year, 1 month ago

faith in haith, good luck if you play Norfolk State again.


Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 1 month ago

Anyone have any news about Randle? anything?


tathagata 1 year, 1 month ago

Eat sht faith-in-haith sht head scum bag.


Kye Clark 1 year, 1 month ago

"The beautiful state of missouri"

Thanks for the laughs!


Born_And_Raised_A_KU_Fan 1 year, 1 month ago

Perry Ellis played a great game today, but let's not forget the contribution of Naadir Tharpe. He was 4/5 on three-pointers. That's 12 points right there, and we won by 16.


DevilHawk 1 year, 1 month ago

Went home with the win. Now it's time for the games that count the most.


LLH 1 year, 1 month ago

Says the guy whose team will be a double digit seed come tomorrow. Norfolk State anyone. Yeah, you left for greener pastures there in the weak SEC buddy. BTW, how did Mizzpoo do in the SEC this year?


KUFan90 1 year, 1 month ago scary. An MU fan coming to a KU hoops article to talk smack. Now that is funny!

You must have nothing better to do since your team crapped their pants in their own tourney eh? Will you be hanging a participation banner at The Paige soon?

My favorite stat is that the Big 12 pays out more revenue per school than any other conference.

Sorry you are quickly realizing what a stupid decision your school made. Reality hurts doesn't it?


Faith_In_Haith 1 year, 1 month ago

I just wanted to say thank you for bringing revenue to the beautiful state of Missouri for your crappy little conference tournament. Too bad you don't have a decent arena in your own territory to do so. Here in our new league, we've got the lion's share of arenas to choose from. Anyway, enjoy your Texas 10 tournament title. It's the last thing of any significance you'll win all season. Looking forward to the day when you man up and come and visit us again.


stm62 1 year, 1 month ago

Their "Big 12 Coach of the Year" is 0-3 against HCBS. Something is rotten in Denmark.


Jeremy Paul 1 year, 1 month ago

Once again, Musburger had me this close to jamming screwdrivers in my ears. And I used to like Fraschilla but not since the Iowa State game. Seriously, the on-and-on about the fouls was painful. They kept talking about what KState should do about the fouls, and about how Weber should go ballistic. Hey, I've got an idea--how about you stop fouling? I hate when announcers (or coaches or fans) compare the number of fouls each team has, as if the officials are biased unless they are evenly distributed between both teams. Guess what--if one team fouls the other team 10 times and the other team fouls them 0 times, then I certainly hope the referees call 10 fouls on team a and 0 fouls on team b. Sorry to go on such a stupid rant my friends, but I think you all understand how much we get hosed on horrible calls every game, and it's sickening when idiot announcers suddenly get their underpanties all bunched up about fouls.

God, this is the best time of the year, isn't it? I feel like tomorrow is the day you go to the mall to see Santa, and then next Wednesday is Christmas eve. Rock Chalk!


Jack Jones 1 year, 1 month ago

And the icing on the cake ~ The KU Pep Band drummer defeated the K.St. counterpart in the halftime competition ~~ A clean sweep ~ AKA ~ A Beat Down.


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