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Ben McLemore, seniors take top five spots in rankings

1. Ben McLemore: KU coach Bill Self asked him to be more aggressive offensively, and the freshman showed more flashes of his potential while shouldering the scoring load for KU on Thursday night. McLemore finished with 25 points, which included a pair of dunks that sent the Fieldhouse crowd into a frenzy and shifted the momentum. He also added eight rebounds, three assists and a steal with a single turnover. Self also revealed afterwards that McLemore continued playing in the second half after having his dislocated finger popped back into place twice.

2. Elijah Johnson: After a dreadful first half, Johnson torched Chattanooga's sagging defense in the second half. Here's the senior's second-half line: 13 points, 5-for-5 shooting, 3-for-3 shooting from three, four assists, one steal, one turnover, 19 minutes. His final total included 18 points, four assists and four turnovers.

3. Jeff Withey: The slow starts are becoming troublesome for Self, but Withey — like Johnson — had a stellar second half. Here's his second-half line: nine points, seven rebounds and five blocks in 19 minutes. His final total was 11 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in 28 minutes.

4. Travis Releford: KU might not win the game without his tenacious second-half, on-ball defense on Farad Cobb, but Releford's poor offensive performance keeps him from being any higher on this list. The senior finished with two points on 1-for-6 shooting (0-for-5 shooting from three) with six assists, three turnovers, two steals and a block. He's now 0-for-11 this season from three-point range.

5. Kevin Young: Showed great energy in the first half when few other players did. The senior tied for the team lead with four offensive rebounds in his 19 minutes. His final stats included five points (2-for-4 shooting) and seven rebounds.

6. Naadir Tharpe: Hit one of the biggest shots of the game, pulling up for a quick three that pushed KU's lead to 49-43 in the second half. He made just 1 of 6 shots (1 of 5 from three) but did contribute five assists with no turnovers. Still has a long ways to go defensively, as he was guarding UTC's Farad Cobb quite a bit during the freshman's 18-point first half.

7. Rio Adams: Made the most of his four minutes, driving into the lane for an impressive scoop-shot layup. He also had a couple of nice passes, though only one was rewarded with an assist. He finished with two points and a turnover.

8. Perry Ellis: Second straight rough game for Ellis, who still appears to be adjusting to the physicality of Div. I basketball. He had two points and four rebounds to go with a block, steal and turnover in 20 minutes.

9. Jamari Traylor: He started but played only four minutes in the second half. Had an impressive first-half block, but ended with just one point and three rebounds to go with two turnovers in 13 minutes.

10. Andrew White III: Missed his only shot — a three-point attempt — in two minutes.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Ben McLemore (27 points)
2. Jeff Withey (25 points)
3. Elijah Johnson (21 points)
T4. Travis Releford (18 points)
T4. Jamari Traylor (18 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (17 points)
7. Perry Ellis (15 points)
8. Kevin Young (8 points)
9. Rio Adams (7 points)
10. Justin Wesley (5 points)
11. Andrew White III (3 points)

— Compiled by Jesse Newell and Tom Keegan. Written by Jesse Newell.

Comments

PSM 2 years ago

Jamari Traylor now has had a highlight on ESPN's Top Ten plays from 2 of his 3 games as a Jayhawk. Can't wait to see him play more minutes.

PSM 2 years ago

Wow, doesn't get much better than Elijah's second half stat line. They all played great in the second half and I hope they can come out like that to start games from now on.

Ashwin Rao 2 years ago

I really like Rio Adams. Hope he gets more playing time as season progresses. Ben McLemore is my favorite Jayhawk this year.. Love his energy & attitude!

Stan Unruh 2 years ago

Yes indeed Rio Adams is going to be a good one. He's fun to watch and brings a lot of energy on defense.

ku1otaku 2 years ago

I was actually thinking the same thing. I'd love to see him get some more minutes.

Robert Brock 2 years ago

When will Perry Ellis get comfortable with the "physicality of Div. I basketball?"

oldalum 2 years ago

I'm afraid it may take him a little while. It seems contrary to his nature, and he has gotten by all these years playing finesse basketball. I'm sure it's really hard to change over, but he has too much talent and ability to waste him on the bench. They'll keep after him.

clevelandjayhawker 2 years ago

I still feel like we havent seen half of what BMac can do. I really enjoy watching him play and already know I will be happy and sad at the same time come April when he declares for the NBA (hopefully he has NCAA Champion on his resume)

To the above posters- Rio and Traylor looked great and continue to show flashes of brilliance. When Rio made that layup my jaw dropped, that was Tyshawn-esk. I hope he gets some more mins.

Releford's offense or lack thereof is a little concerning to me, but it is still early in the season so im hopefully he can turn on the light switch.

REHawk 2 years ago

C'mon, Coach, play Rio Adams at least 10-12 minutes in games like this. Light a fire under your first half sleepers.

KGphoto 2 years ago

Relly's 6 assists are nothing to sneeze at offensively. I'd have to go back and see how he got them because I don't think I remember even one. (Of course I missed most of the first half. Stupid First Row!) Does the steal/toss to Mac on the breakaway dunk count? Anyway, it means that even though he isn't scoring, he's impacting the offense. 6 assists = 12 points minimum, in a 14 point win. Heck, his defense alone got the offense kick started.

Hey, somebody check my math on that because my brain is failing me lately. ; )

REHawk 2 years ago

I like that word...and your thoughts here, lots.

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