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Travis Releford edges out other starters for top spot

1. Travis Releford: Was challenged to attack the rim by Kansas coach Bill Self at halftime, and he delivered. The senior was efficient, scoring 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting while posting a team-high seven rebounds. The guard has a natural gift of avoiding shot-blockers when taking layups to the rim. He also added five assists and two steals to go with two turnovers.

2. Jeff Withey: Made the most of a limited number of shot attempts, as he posted 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting. He had only three blocks but still had an impact on Oregon State's shots inside, as the Beavers shot just 39 percent from two-point range (down from 52 percent season average). The senior also showed great conditioning in playing a career-high 37 minutes.

3. Ben McLemore: Had a stellar first half, which included a Jordan-like slam that we'll most likely be seeing on KU pregame videos for years to come. He was limited by foul trouble, though, and made a couple of bad decisions during possessions late in the second half before clinching the game with a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left. He had a team-high 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting, which included 3-for-4 accuracy from three.

4. Kevin Young: The senior seemed to always find the openings on the baseline when his teammates drove to the rim, which led to easy buckets. He scored 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting with four rebounds and a turnover in 23 minutes. He also missed two critical free throws late that could have helped KU seal the game earlier.

5. Elijah Johnson: Had a rough start, turning it over three times in the first four minutes. He settled down some after that but still couldn't keep up with Ahmad Starks defensively, as the OSU guard poured in 25 points, which included a school-record seven three-pointers. Johnson finished with six points, four rebounds, nine assists and four turnovers in 28 minutes.

6. Andrew White III: Self called White his best bench player after the game. The freshman contributed energy off the bench in the form of four points and six rebounds in 13 minutes. White went just 1-for-5 from the floor and had two turnovers, but he seems to be getting more comfortable working within KU's offense.

7. Perry Ellis: He spent the whole night getting chewed by Self, who yelled at him to be more aggressive and get more rebounds. Self even tried to motivate Ellis once by telling him he wasn't providing anything while on the court. Once again, Ellis' numbers look OK (four points, three rebounds, no turnovers in 15 minutes), but Self continues to demand more from the talented freshman.

8. Jamari Traylor: The freshman started the second half, perhaps because he's one of the only guys that plays with the kind of toughness that Self desires. His night wasn't filled with much production, though, as he had no points, two rebounds, a block and a turnover in five minutes.

9. Rio Adams: Heeded his coach's message to attack, going behind his back on the dribble before putting in a bank shot over a defender. He finished with two points, one assist and one turnover in four minutes.

10. Naadir Tharpe: He had a few chances to get in, but because of his defense, he received the quick hook a few times by Self. In eight minutes, Tharpe didn't attempt a shot with one assist and two turnovers.

11. Justin Wesley Played zero-plus minutes in the box score without recording an official statistic.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (53 points)
2. Ben McLemore (48 points)
3. Travis Releford (47 points)
4. Elijah Johnson (40 points)
5. Perry Ellis (32 points)
6. Kevin Young (28 points)
7. Jamari Traylor (27 points)
8. Naadir Tharpe (26 points)
9. Andrew White III (12 points)
10. Rio Adams (9 points)
11. Justin Wesley (7 points)

— Compiled by Jesse Newell and Gary Bedore. Written by Jesse Newell.

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Comments

Jim Erickson 1 year, 10 months ago

I had a feeling that Ellis would be an immediate impact guy. With his brains and the ability to score, I thought he wouldn't have the typical "Freshman Woes". His career is far from over, and we have seen this act before. Talented freshman come in, get torn apart by Self a bit, then end up being a stud. Still excited to see what he develops into!

Dirk Medema 1 year, 10 months ago

Withey was stat robbed if they say he only had 4 block.

It would appear that Naadir is now just keeping a sub-role warm until Rio and AWIII get enough of a hang of they game. Perry too will eventually get it.

Ashwin Rao 1 year, 10 months ago

I like Rio enough to think he needs to start in 1 position. Unlike TT, Elijah is not willing to go aggressive on offense & doesn't seem to be fast enough to defend faster PGs who are burning him. I am afraid (real afraid) that if Self keeps putting that amount of pressure on Ellis, he may quit... He is a good kid, and needs to be nurtured... I hope he uses Self's statements in the positive way and gets over his inhibition. We are an up-and-down team, Self's teams has always been that way. I am not worried about whether they will show up at the game or not... they just come and they have fun if they can. RCJH

Michael Luby 1 year, 10 months ago

Man, in EJ's defense. On one play, he went down very very hard. It took him a few minutes to get up. He was slow on defense to be sure but he seemed slower after the crash to the floor. Maybe he banged his knee again?

Clydecito 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm hopeful that EJ's woes are more attributable to conditioning deficiencies from his off season convalescence and down time,than long term physical issues with his knee. Time will tell, but his quickness and talent has yet to be seen this season.

jaydee909 1 year, 10 months ago

Evan Manning played the last two minutes of the first half when Coach Self was frustrated with our point guard play. Played more than Wesley but did not record any stats.

Phil Leister 1 year, 10 months ago

KUSports has an interesting position in not ranking walk-ons. Makes perfect sense.

jaydee909 1 year, 10 months ago

Didn't know that, thanks. Yes, can't say I understand the logic.

Robert Brock 1 year, 10 months ago

Ellis just needs to keep pumping iron, eating nails, and getting tougher. It will take some time.

ParisHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Can we network the rest of our home games? Travis plays remotely in the Sprint Center, everybody else plays in Allen.

Clarence Haynes 1 year, 10 months ago

A bit of irony. EJ goes to the basket and gets pummeled! Also, that affected his play for the remainder of the game.

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