Jeff Withey, Travis Releford the top 'Hawks against Spartans


1. Jeff Withey: KU coach Bill Self said that Withey nearly single-handedly won the game for KU, and that's probably not far off. The senior notched his first triple-double in a regular-season game, posting 16 points to go with 12 rebounds and 12 blocks. The center did a great job offensively of taking his time, diagnosing whether a double-team was coming, then scoring when it didn't. Think about this: When SJSU put up one of its 44 two-point attempts Monday night, that shot had just as good of a chance of being blocked by Withey (12 instances) as it did of going in the basket (12 instances).

2. Travis Releford: Efficient night for the senior, who scored 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting. He showed nice range on a pullup jumper, nice confidence on a stepback three and excellent glide in transition on a leaning two. It was easy to tell when he wasn't guarding SJSU's James Kinney, as the tiny Spartans guard seemed to be scoring on everyone except Releford. The senior added four assists and three blocks to go with a turnover in 37 minutes.

3. Elijah Johnson: Self admitted that Johnson has been playing with a banged-up knee after the game and also said that injury has been hampering the senior's explosiveness. Despite some bad turnovers late, Johnson still contributed 13 points on 4-for-9 shooting while making 3 of 6 threes. He had five assists to go with four turnovers but is struggling on the ball defensively.

4. Kevin Young: Consistently brings energy, which is valuable on this year's team. Though many of Young's patented follow-tips didn't fall, he still posted six points and eight rebounds with an assist, two steals and no turnovers in 20 minutes. He also hit four clutch free throws during KU's second-half field-goal drought.

5. Ben McLemore: Bookended the game with highlight dunks but had a very poor shooting game in between. The freshman made just 5 of 16 shots, which included an 0-for-7 performance from three-point range. He added six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block to go with three turnovers.

6. Perry Ellis: Had a few good offensive plays but always seems to get yanked for a lack of aggressiveness. The freshman had four points and four rebounds to go with two assists and a turnover in 14 minutes.

7. Naadir Tharpe: His shot selection was questionable at times, and his defense left a lot to be desired, as SJSU's Kinney got quite a few open looks over the KU sophomore. Tharpe finished with two points on 1-for-5 shooting with an assist, steal and two turnovers in 12 minutes.

8. Jamari Traylor: Two points, two boards, two fouls in seven minutes.

9. Andrew White III: Showed good anticipation in grabbing a steal that led to an SJSU intentional foul. Later, though, White didn't communicate well with Tharpe defensively, which led to Kinney being left open for a three. White finished with a point and a foul in four minutes.

10. Justin Wesley: Posted one rebound and two fouls in four minutes. Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (44 points)
2. Ben McLemore (40 points)
3. Travis Releford (37 points)
4. Elijah Johnson (34 points)
5. Perry Ellis (28 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (25 points)
7. Jamari Traylor (24 points)
8. Kevin Young (21 points)
T9. Rio Adams (7 points)
T9. Justin Wesley (7 points)
T9. Andrew White III (7 points)

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


Alohahawk 8 years, 11 months ago

As good as Releford has been lately, this was a no-brainer on who deserved the top player award for this game. A triple-double trumps all in just about any game. And although it took him till his senior year to achieve it (during the regular season), it proves it was only a matter of time till it came. Question now is: Will he achieve another (or more) by season's end? And, will this be enough for him to be given the 'Big 12 Player of the Week' award this week, thus giving KU the award two weeks running?

Something to note: Withey only had one foul for the game, or about 1 to 12, fouls per block. If you review the national stats for top blockers, on ESPN's web page, the other players ranked at the top all have higher foul-to-block ratios. Withey fouls once to about 6+ blocks, while the others are all closer to once to about 2 blocks, or worse. Withey is far and away the best at staying on the court. To be sure, some credit must be given to his teammates for him to do so. The Jayhawks are playing very good 'Self Defense', which definitely helps Jeff stay out of foul trouble. Afterall, BB is a team sport.

REHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Good research stuff, the foul-to-block ratios. I notice how our experienced players have come to defend with chests rather than flailing arms and hands. Even KY has made marked improvement in that aspect of his defense. Now if Justin can adjust his athleticism to that mode!

REHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

We can bet our bottom dollars that NBA scouts are recognizing Jeff's foul-to-block ratio.

johnsont1 8 years, 11 months ago

Are there ratings for the volleyball team or women's basketball team?

Alex Thiessen 8 years, 11 months ago

This is where a thumbs down button would come in handy.

REHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

There are even ratings for rats...bouncing off the walls of the labyrinth.

Michael Luby 8 years, 11 months ago

Way to go Withey!! I recant my earlier statement when I said a freshmen will lead us in scoring this year. Although it could still happen.

PS. Very sorry to hear that Big P is leaving the team. I know how hard it is to deal with a torn rotator cuff, and to add concussions on top of that. I dont blame him for wanting to go. I sincerely hope he can come back though.

Andrew Moore 8 years, 11 months ago

for us to be a top 5 team, a freshman must lead us in scoring. This is nice, but without McLemore or Ellis scoring the ball, we are in trouble over the course the season

Robert Brock 8 years, 11 months ago

McLemore went oh-fer seven from three. Maybe one of the seniors should have whispered something to him at the oh-fer four mark: "Stop shooting and drive!"

Sebastian Sanchez 8 years, 11 months ago

What's up with the ratings? Is it me or they are taking points instead of adding them?

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