Ben McLemore tops ratings against Cowboys
1. Ben McLemore: Took over the game for stretches offensively to help KU erase a 14-point, first-half deficit. His three-pointer with 15:16 left in the second half gave KU a 46-45 lead and was the first of seven straight points for the freshman. McLemore finished with 23 points on 9-for-17 shooting with 3-for-6 accuracy from three-point range. He also added five rebounds while tying a season-high with four turnovers in 33 minutes.
2. Kevin Young: As he often does, Young provided KU with a surge of energy in the first half, slamming in a poorly thrown lob by Naadir Tharpe to get the crowd going and force an OSU timeout. Young tied a career-high with four steals while also posting an efficient line: 12 points, 3-for-5 shooting, 6-for-8 free throw shooting with seven rebounds and just one turnover in 24 minutes.
3. Travis Releford: His second-half defense was part of the reason OSU's Markel Brown didn't score 50 points instead of 28. Releford had three steals and three assists with no turnovers. His eight points came on 2-for-5 shooting, though he did make both of his three-point attempts. It was the first time in 17 games that Releford failed to score in double figures.
4. Jeff Withey: It wasn't a typical Jeff Withey performance, especially with as much as KU has relied on him defensively this year. The senior posted 11 points (4-for-8 shooting) and made all three of his free throws, but he didn't seem to have as much defensive impact against an athletic OSU team. The senior added eight rebounds, one assist and three blocks to go with four turnovers in 30 minutes.
5. Andrew White III: White III played only one minute, but man he did a lot in that time. He hit a deep three, picked up a steal, was fouled twice and hit three of four free throws to finish with six points. KU coach Bill Self hinted after the game that he should be playing the freshman more, but unfortunately for Self, White isn't a ball-handler, which is what his team needs most right now.
6. Naadir Tharpe: The sophomore made some shots to bail out KU when it was running poor offense in the second half. Tharpe scored eight points on 3-for-7 shooting (2-for-4 from three) with four assists and one turnover. Self wasn't happy with any of his guards' defense, though, and that's an area where Tharpe still needs improvement.
7. Jamari Traylor: Performed well during limited playing time. The freshman missed his only field goal, but in eight minutes, he grabbed five rebounds (three offensive) with a block and a steal. He didn't appear to be overmatched athletically against OSU's talented players.
8. Perry Ellis: Played a better first half than second half. With Self giving Withey one final breather around the seven-minute mark, the freshman had a horrible stretch, failing to grab two defensive rebounds while also picking up a foul. Self was forced to go back to Withey probably a minute quicker than he wanted to. Ellis missed all three of his field goals but still contributed four points (4-for-6 free throw shooting) to go with six rebounds in 13 minutes.
9. Elijah Johnson: After the game, Self said this about Johnson: "We were definitely a better team with him over there sitting down next to us and putting somebody else in the game." Just last week, Self defended Johnson, saying he was doing a good job based on KU's record. Self has reversed course now, as the above quote appears to be a pretty clear challenge to the senior. Johnson posted eight points on 3-for-14 shooting, making one of seven threes. He also had six assists to go with four turnovers and was beaten badly on the boards by OSU's Marcus Smart (eight offensive rebounds).
KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (160 points)
2. Ben McLemore (158 points)
3. Travis Releford (154 points)
T4. Elijah Johnson (116 points)
T4. Kevin Young (116 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (101 points)
7. Perry Ellis (89 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (66 points)
9. Andrew White III (38 points)
10. Rio Adams (23 points)
11. Justin Wesley (9 points)
Big 12 Standings
T1. Jeff Withey (69 points)
T1. Ben McLemore (69 points)
3. Travis Releford (68 points)
4. Kevin Young (57 points)
T5. Elijah Johnson (40 points)
T5. Naadir Tharpe (40 points)
7. Perry Ellis (37 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (25 points)
9. Andrew White III (15 points)
10. Rio Adams (8 points)
11. Justin Wesley (2 points)