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Travis Releford comes through with crucial plays late for KU

Kansas guard Travis Releford pulls up for a bucket past Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown during the first half on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas guard Travis Releford pulls up for a bucket past Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown during the first half on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

1. Travis Releford: The senior made so many big plays it's almost hard to remember them all. Taking a charge to pick up Marcus Smart's fifth foul was huge. His defense on Markel Brown on the game's final possession was important, too. Then his hustle play to save the ball from going out of bounds to run out the final seconds secured the win. Releford also put on a layup clinic early, posting a team-high 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting with six rebounds, an assist, steal and three turnovers in 48 minutes.

2. Jeff Withey: Offensive rebounds weren't a factor for Oklahoma State in this game, and Withey was a big reason for that, as the senior notched 12 defensive rebounds while playing through foul trouble. Withey also was clutch at the free throw line, making 11 of 14 to finish with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks to go with just one turnover in 39 minutes.

3. Elijah Johnson: Some back-and-forth jawing with OSU's players seemed to fire Johnson up, and on a night when KU's offense was sluggish, the Jayhawks needed all of the points he provided. Johnson made Smart look silly on a couple of moves to the rim, finishing with 10 points on 5-for-9 shooting with a steal and two turnovers in 32 minutes. Johnson fouled out on a questionable call late in regulation after 32 minutes, and KU missed him after that.

4. Kevin Young: The senior made some poor decisions in half-court sets, but he still managed to get excellent rebounding production in limited minutes (11 rebounds, 27 minutes). The senior posted eight points on 4-for-9 shooting and had a crucial steal, but he also had four turnovers.

5. Naadir Tharpe: As the only ball-handler still eligible to play for KU, Tharpe made a floater with 18 seconds left in double-overtime that KU coach Bill Self called "the biggest play of his life." With the game-winner, Tharpe finished 2-for-11 from the floor with four points. He missed all six of his three-pointers and had three assists to go with four turnovers in 31 minutes.

6. Jamari Traylor: Gave KU some great defensive minutes while Withey was in foul trouble and was especially sound with his ball-screen defense. The freshman scored four points, made one of two field goals and both of his free throws and added four rebounds in 17 minutes.

7. Ben McLemore: When KU needed a play in the overtimes, McLemore was nowhere to be found. Self gave the dreaded, "He wasn't plugged in" quote after the game, but at some point, the freshman has to work harder to create for himself. After going 0-for-8 in the first half, McLemore finished with seven points on 3-for-12 shooting. He did add six rebounds and two steals to go with one turnover in a game-high 49 minutes.

8. Perry Ellis: Had two rebounds, a turnover, and two bad fouls in seven minutes.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (207 points)
2. Ben McLemore (199 points)
3. Travis Releford (192 points)
4. Kevin Young (151 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (138 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (133 points)
7. Perry Ellis (108 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (88 points)
9. Andrew White III (43 points)
10. Rio Adams (26 points)
11. Justin Wesley (16 points)

Big 12 Standings
1. Jeff Withey (116 points)
2. Ben McLemore (110 points)
3. Travis Releford (106 points)
4. Kevin Young (92 points)
5. Naadir Tharpe (72 points)
6. Elijah Johnson (63 points)
7. Perry Ellis (56 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (47 points)
9. Andrew White III (20 points)
10. Rio Adams (11 points)
11. Justin Wesley (9 points)

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Comments

conlawgrad 1 year, 1 month ago

Well, I said it: that Releford needed to step up and actually shoot shots. He's probably our most efficient player and yet when we lost three in a row, he was taking maybe 2 shots a game. Although EJ made some bad decisions on fouls, he drove the ball really well for a good period of the 2nd half but stopped for some reason. I don't know if that was a coaching decision or what but I was actually yelling at EJ in a good way to drive the ball since he was getting to the lane quite easily. Overall, I think EJ performed well and obviously better than past performances. Hopefully he's out of his funk and can play like he is able to play.

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milehighhawk 1 year, 1 month ago

Where is the post-game audio?

Always look forward to listening, even more so after last night.

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Robert Brock 1 year, 1 month ago

Best play of the game: Withey's hedge at the end of the first overtime - it stopped Smart in his tracks and prevented Smart from getting a good shot. Whew!

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monkeehawkSL8 1 year, 1 month ago

With the exception of the @ K-ST game, correct me if I'm wrong, this was the first real nail biter for the hawks this year on the road. Maybe Mich.St? A lose. I think Ben needed this game under his belt to adapt to a no room for mistake type game. I believe he'll be more efficient @ ISU and Baylor.

I can understand how a young man might get "tight" when the stakes are so high and so much has been said about his talent, freshman of the year, #1 draft pick etc. All that said it's games like this that show me Ben's not ready for the NBA, the NBA maybe ready for him, I agree with nuleafhawk, "potential".

To the poster who talked about the current condition of college ball, the NBA being better ball to watch, (whoops from a different story,sorry) I don't know how old you are but today's pro's compared to 30yrs ago. There is no comparison. Today's NBA is a shell of what it was. The benches were not lined with kids with potential, the teams were made up of players that had both defensive as well as offensive skills. The NBA today is a waste land. "teenage waste land,( Pete Townshend windmill on the telecaster) I know there are very talented players today. I'm an old bitter burn out, and "leaving early" is ruining both levels of basketball.

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 1 month ago

I've been watching B-Ball for a long time now and I finally understand what the NBA scouts are looking for.

"When KU needed a play in the overtimes, McLemore was nowhere to be found. Self gave the dreaded, "He wasn't plugged in" quote after the game, but at some point, the freshman has to work harder to create for himself. After going 0-for-8 in the first half, McLemore finished with seven points on 3-for-12 shooting. He did add six rebounds and two steals to go with one turnover in a game-high 49 minutes."

Potential.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 1 month ago

I think that Young is a little undervalued on this list. I would probably list him ahead of EJ. The rebounding that he brought was huge, and his scoring was very timely. The turnovers were pretty bad, but overall I thought he played a very good floor game.

It was definitely good to see EJ playing with some attidude and showing some skill and I loved watching him break some ankles out there in the second half (even if Marcus' ankle was already smarting from a first half injury).

Traylor brought some very positive minutes for KU last night too. I was very pleased with his play last night, especially his defense and rebounding, but also his made freethrows and field goal.

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Rock_Chalk_25 1 year, 1 month ago

Elijah got robbed with two bad foul calls (his 4th and 5th) and a possible missed goaltending call, or else he just might have topped this list. Smart repeatedly threw his head down and lunged at his defender while driving in desperate attempts to draw fouls. But I guess it was smart, eh, seeing as the refs kept rewarding his wild play with free-throw after free-throw. The worst call might have been Relly's foul when he went straight up and Smart just dove into Travis' chest after two unsuccessful pump-fakes. Sorry for the rant...I know we won but man I felt like the officials were making some VERY questionable calls in crucial situations.

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arch007bak 1 year, 1 month ago

Is it just me or does T Boone need to donate some clocks to OSU?

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Tophawk 1 year, 1 month ago

way to go Travis!! love your toughness and Senior leadership...keep it up!!! all you guys played a heck of a game tonight..PROUD of you guys..!!

Rockchalk !!!

(stay focused now,still some tough Big 12 games left)

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hawk_of_ages 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm a bit torn on the EJ-Tharpe ratings here. EJ had better production overall, but I was very frustrated that he picked up a useless foul early in the game on an OSU layup that he had no chance to stop; that came back to haunt us later when he fouled out. And he also was the only one of our guys who missed both free throws on a trip to the line in crunch time. Whereas Tharpe put up poor numbers overall but made the biggest play of the game, and a few other great plays as well. I could go either way on that one.

I also might want to put Withey above Releford (whose great game was marred slightly by missed free throws early on). And I wish Traylor could be ranked higher because I thought he had his best game of the season, but I don't know who I would move down to make that happen. So.... I guess my point is, I more or less approve.

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Michael Luby 1 year, 1 month ago

someone please define Eurostep for me.
Also, Way to go Naadir! Way to go Traylor! Feels good to have more production from our bench in such a huge game. Keep it up fellas!

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 1 month ago

Dang, that Releford is a smooth finisher. He's also taken that Eurostep to opponent-embarrassing levels. Releford was da Man tonight. Withey held his own, although got boxed out a couple of times. EJ had a good, controlled game. Young remains our energizer, and apparently our 'enforcer' vs. back-flippin' opposing guards. KYo=the BEST use of 180lbs I have seen, showing Smart he couldnt land the flip right a second time, eh?

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