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Ben McLemore gives top performance in loss

1. Ben McLemore: The freshman finished with an efficient line, posting 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting (2-for-6 from three). Opponents seem to have picked up on his weaknesses, though, covering him up on the perimeter to force him to drive. McLemore added three rebounds, three assists and a steal to go with two turnovers.

2. Jeff Withey: Didn't appear to be his springy self defensively, as Withey challenged few of OU's shots at the rim. The senior still was KU's best option inside, posting 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting, and came away with three of KU's five steals. Here's a stat for you: In KU's 10 Big 12 games, Withey has more steals (12) than Elijah Johnson (11) and Ben McLemore (10) and double the steals of Naadir Tharpe (5). Withey had six rebounds but also posted a season-high five turnovers.

3. Kevin Young: Young provided the Jayhawks with energy and is a much more valuable player when he makes his layups. The senior went 4-for-5 on layups/dunks against OU and finished with eight points on 4-for-7 shooting overall. He added five rebounds and a steal with no turnovers, but he was limited to 18 minutes with foul trouble.

4. Naadir Tharpe: Tharpe gave KU hope just before the end of the first half, putting in a pair of shots to cut OU's lead from eight to four. He finished with seven points on 3-for-5 shooting (1-for-2 from three) with two assists and one turnover in 22 minutes. If KU coach Bill Self wants to make a change in the starting lineup, this is where he should start.

5. Travis Releford: Releford has gone from one of KU's most consistent players to one of its least consistent in recent games. He let OU's Steven Pledger wiggle free too often in the first half and missed crucial free throws, including one that would have tied the game at 60 with 4:13 left. Releford contributed eight points on 3-for-7 shooting (1-for-2 from three) while making just one of four free throws. Serving as a post defender in KU's Triangle-and-2 setup, Releford notched a season-high nine rebounds to go with one assist and two turnovers.

6. Elijah Johnson: What should Self do? Johnson's play is leaving the coach few other options other than to try something — anything — to get better production from the point-guard spot. This wasn't as bad as the TCU performance for Johnson, but it was another stinker in a conference season full of them. Johnson scored 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting (2-for-6 from three). He continues to struggle with layups, as he was 0-for-2 Saturday, with both of them coming in the final 1:15. Johnson added four assists to go with three turnovers.

7. Perry Ellis: He played aggressively, with his hard-charging drives drawing enough attention to allow KU to get opportunities for offensive rebounds on the weak side. He also came through with a pair of hustle plays to steal KU a pair of extra possessions. Like Johnson, though, he couldn't convert on his layups. Ellis was 0-for-4 overall, 0-for-3 on layups and ended with two points and two rebounds in eight minutes.

8. Jamari Traylor: Made one of his two shots and missed the front end of a 1-and-1 in seven minutes.

9. Justin Wesley: Had two rebounds in four minutes.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (179 points)
2. Ben McLemore (177 points)
3. Travis Releford (167 points)
4. Kevin Young (132 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (122 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (113 points)
7. Perry Ellis (97 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (75 points)
9. Andrew White III (38 points)
10. Rio Adams (26 points)
11. Justin Wesley (13 points)

Big 12 Standings
T1. Jeff Withey (88 points)
T1. Ben McLemore (88 points)
3. Travis Releford (81 points)
4. Kevin Young (73 points)
5. Naadir Tharpe (52 points)
6. Elijah Johnson (46 points)
7. Perry Ellis (45 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (34 points)
9. Andrew White III (15 points)
10. Rio Adams (11 points)
11. Justin Wesley (6 points)

Comments

Boouk 1 year, 8 months ago

Conner Frankamp and Frank Mason can't get here soon enough.

bradynsdad 1 year, 8 months ago

Maybe tomorrow they can have a trainers and managers meeting only. Sorry but quite honestly it looks like we won't win another conference game this year and maybe slide into the tournament as a 10 seed. Insane right? So is repeating the same actions on the court expecting different results. I love Selfs loyalty to his players but if Rio or AW3 played like Elijah they wouldn't see the court again this year. This Seniors play as if it doesn't matter because they know Self will never bench them and someone will just hand them the Big 12 trophy. The bench is the greatest motivator.

Geezer 1 year, 8 months ago

Withey got too much credit for his numbers. Osby owned him.

VaJay 1 year, 8 months ago

He didn't box out either - got beat on the boards for tip ins after we'd play decent defense for 30 seconds. Not sure what the deal is with him, but he seems to have lost his tenacity on defense. On a play late, Perry got beat on the drive & if Withey had taken two steps, he could've swatted the ball away, & instead it was a layup. I'd put him around #6.

Ryan Michael 1 year, 8 months ago

I gotta agree... I think Withey was probably the worst player on the court today all around. He easily cost us 20-30 points with his defense (or a lack thereof). His boxing out was probably the worst I've seen all year.

He literally got caught multiple times just standing around, not even breaking down to attempt to block out.

KUFan90 1 year, 8 months ago

Absolutely agree. I rewound and watched in slow-mo Withey's repeated failure to box out. This has been a problem for 6 weeks now! This cetainly seems like a coachable/practice opportunity to fix.

Boouk 1 year, 8 months ago

Remember back in October when Self said this would have to be more of a jumpshooting team because we only have one legitimate low-post threat? Unfortunately, our best shooters are in high school (Greene and Frankamp) and on the bench (White). If Elijah doesn't get back to the level he was at in last years Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments, we have no chance of reaching another Final 4. If he does, we might have as good a chance as anybody.

Scott Smetana 1 year, 8 months ago

Don't throw in the towel quite yet. Self is awesome and we still have a month. We have a golden opportunity on Monday to start rebuilding our confidence. I just hope he benches EJ, it may be the only thing that can save him.

martyks 1 year, 8 months ago

Johnson has to sit. I know Coach Self does not want to hurt the guy's confidence, but can it sink any lower anyway? Maybe EJ can pick up on something sitting down next to Coach Roberts and talking about what needs to get done from the point guard position. Really though, has he ever proven that he CAN play the point? No. Can he be the #2? Heck yes, he can. So put him out there as the shooting guard and let him sink or swim while competing with Rio and White for that spot.

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

I wonder if the title of this article could be changed to " Ben McLemore played the least terrible in today's loss " ? Something like that?

Steve Reigle 1 year, 8 months ago

Withey has recently been called for far more fouls than earlier in the season. His play yesterday seemed to be trying to avoid fouling and thus he didn't play well defensively.

Kent Richardson 1 year, 8 months ago

Releford is playing about 65% of what he was. Withey is playing about 85% of what he was. Ben is playing about 80% of what he was. Elijah is at about 70%. Tharpe is about 100%. Young is about 90%. Ellis is nowhere. 19-1 now relates to 15-8. We would not even be a bubble team. We get guarded on the perimeter but do not return the favor as well. Can't make a bunny consistently. Spotty from three. Lackluster perimeter passing. Not top 25 ball handlers. Soft and uninspired more than is acceptable. Maybe Jaybate is right about the flu epidemic. My fervent hope. I am depressed.

lrahardja 1 year, 8 months ago

We will be as good as Johnson takes us this year.... he struggles with his layups. As a PG, he is half way there, at times he can penetrate, but lack of confidence and touch near the basket. His PG level seems like a sophomore. Many times, he was able to penetrate (which is a step in the positive direction), but once he is in the air, he lost control of his layups, seems afraid of anyone near the basket altering his shots even though they are just watching him. He can't seem to judge that last split second what the defense is going to do to him, are they going to foul, are the defense too late to do anything (hence he doesn't have to hurry his shots). It's a learning curve where the coaches have to simulate during practice.

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