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)