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Kevin Young edges out Travis Releford for top honors

Kansas forward Kevin Young soars in for a reverse jam before Texas Tech guard Ty Nurse during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas forward Kevin Young soars in for a reverse jam before Texas Tech guard Ty Nurse during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas. by Nick Krug

1. Kevin Young: The senior was Kansas' spark plug in the second half, lifting the team's energy with his hustle and also his up-and-under, fast-break dunk with 14:15 left. Young led KU with 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting, adding four rebounds, two steals and no turnovers in 24 minutes. He also showed increased range on his jump shot, as Tech was the second team in a row to sag off him defensively.

2. Travis Releford: After not posting a steal in four straight games, Releford led KU with three steals against Tech. Not only that, he allowed only one three-pointer to Tech's Dusty Hannahs, who entered as the Red Raiders' only real three-point threat. Releford was great in transition, scoring 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting while also making all four of his free throws. He also had three rebounds, an assist and no turnovers.

3. Jeff Withey: The big man rebounded much better in the second half, grabbing five of his seven caroms after the break. His aggressiveness also was rewarded on the offensive end, as he earned 10 free throw attempts (making eight) while attempting just three field goals. Withey's final line was 12 points, seven rebounds and one block with two turnovers in 31 minutes.

4. Ben McLemore: McLemore once again struggled to free himself for shots while also settling for some out-of-rhythm jumpers. He scored well in transition, though, and made it to the line eight times. The freshman posted 10 points on 2-for-7 field-goal shooting (0-for-4 from three) with four rebounds, two assists, two blocks, a steal and turnover.

5. Naadir Tharpe: He made two difficult threes for his only six points, but both were crucial shots that helped KU keep a comfortable lead. In the first half, KU looked better offensively with him at the point, and after playing 19 minutes Saturday, he now has played between 15 and 20 minutes in each of KU's last eight contests. Tharpe finished 2-for-5 from the floor with an assist and a steal to go with two turnovers. He also appeared to work hard this game to pressure his man defensively.

6. Elijah Johnson: Another high turnover game for Johnson, who continued his recent stretch of rough games. With his four-turnover performance Saturday, the senior now has 15 turnovers in his last three games. Johnson played better in the second half, ending with five points on 2-for-6 shooting (1-for-3 from three) with four assists to go with his four giveaways in 35 minutes.

7. Jamari Traylor: The freshman has a knack for getting steals from the forward spot, and that continued Saturday, as he grabbed two steals in his 10 minutes. He missed both of his field goals but added three rebounds without turning it over.

8. Perry Ellis: He has to lead KU in layups that go around the rim before spinning out. Ellis went 0-for-3 from the floor and 1-for-2 from the free throw line to finish with one point. He also had two rebounds and a steal in 13 minutes.

9. Justin Wesley: In his first action since breaking his finger last month, Wesley played two minutes in garbage time.

10. Andrew White III: Missed a three in two minutes.

11. Rio Adams: Had a foul in two minutes.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (108 points)
2. Ben McLemore (104 points)
3. Travis Releford (102 points)
4. Elijah Johnson (87 points)
5. Kevin Young (79 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (71 points)
7. Perry Ellis (58 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (50 points)
9. Andrew White III (24 points)
10. Rio Adams (16 points)
11. Justin Wesley (9 points)

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Comments

Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

PerryEllisLimitedPortolio is very land-locked offensively. Not showin' no hops, bebe...(yet). He gets up there to attempt blocks and rebounds which reflect the reaction required...but with the ball offensively still thinking too much. BEST analogy is to a frosh Marcus Morris. Best thing for Perry, just like Marcus, is that he is getting playing time against real foes. He has the size to be effective. He has the skills. He has the smarts, too, but hasnt got it figured just yet enough to show us the required double-digit-legit scoring (that we know he will do at some point). Keep workin', Mr. Ellis!

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ccarp 1 year, 3 months ago

I'd like an animated gif of KY's double pump reverse dunk! :-)

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ccarp 1 year, 3 months ago

The lid will soon come off the basket for Perry Ellis. Keep working and going strong!

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William Blake 1 year, 3 months ago

Nailed it this time. NITRO was in form, and he put his stats together in only 24 minutes of floor time.

In my books, Kevin is in the running for season standings champ because of how he impacts the team with his energy.

How many times today did the announcers say the words "Kevin Young?"

Twice he got his own rebound and scored... one was off the charity stripe. And that dunk?!

Rock chalk, NITRO!

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Jack Wilson 1 year, 3 months ago

Jesse .. good work as always. It's appreciated.

I might point out that Dusty Hannahs was also guarding Releford. At some point we have to expect more out of Releford offensively. We're struggling on the offensive end and Releford just disappears in the first half. Puzzling.

Not sure anyone really played well except KY.

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tathagata 1 year, 3 months ago

Michigan certainly could lose to their big rival, and then texashawk is right. #6-syracuse 7-gonzaga 8-florida.

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tathagata 1 year, 3 months ago

And yes we will continue to drop in kenpom and sagarin. Those rating schemes are cruel on you if you don't play well, and KU hasn't played well since Ohio St. There is some problem.

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tathagata 1 year, 3 months ago

1-michigan 2-louisville 3-indiana 4-duke 5-kansas

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Daniel Kennamore 1 year, 3 months ago

What is up with the offense the past few games? Even though we are winning (this one more convincingly than the last two) we are dropping like a stone in Kenpom's ratings.

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jhawkrulz 1 year, 3 months ago

I like the rankings, but something tells me that Ben will be the Big XII player of the week or at least the Big XII rookie of the week.

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