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.