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Travis Releford gives complete effort in win over Kansas State

1. Travis Releford: Kansas coach Bill Self said afterwards that Releford had one of his best games as a Jayhawk. The senior darted through numerous screens to chase down Kansas State leading scorer Rodney McGruder, holding him to 13 points on 4-for-12 shooting. Releford also was his normal efficient self on the offensive end, making five of six shots (and two of three three-pointers) to lead KU with 12 points to go with three assists, one steal and no turnovers.

2. Jeff Withey: Playing with the flu, Withey hit what Self called the game's biggest shot, putting in a jump-hook over the top of Kansas State's Jordan Henriquez to push KU's advantage late in the second half. Withey also was the biggest reason KSU had one of its worst games on the offensive glass, pulling down seven defensive rebounds. Withey posted a double-double with 11 points on 3-for-6 shooting with 10 rebounds.

3. Ben McLemore: Though he sat out most of the first half with two fouls, McLemore took over a stretch in the second half, lifting KU with a three-pointer an a long two off scramble plays. McLemore finished with 11 points, five rebounds, two blocks and a steal to go with three turnovers.

4. Perry Ellis: Ellis helped save KU in the first half when Withey picked up two fouls. The freshman was aggressive in scrums and efficient with his shot, going 3-for-4 from the floor for eight points with four rebounds in 18 minutes. The only negative for him was the free throw line, where he made just two of six shots.

5. Naadir Tharpe: Hit the game's two biggest free throws, making both ends of a one-and-one with 22 seconds left to extend the Jayhawks' lead to five points. Though Tharpe made just two of seven field goals and missed all four of his three-point tries, he posted two assists against just one turnover with a steal in 18 minutes.

6. Kevin Young: Though his line was ugly, Young made two important plays. One was an offensive rebound around Shane Southwell, which led to a McLemore three, and the other was a stickback before the first-half buzzer that pushed KU's lead to four. Young missed too many bunnies, making just one of six field goals to end with three points, six rebounds, two assists and one turnover in 30 minutes.

7. Elijah Johnson: Though Johnson hit the game-clinching free throw with 3 seconds left, his struggles continue. The senior point guard had five of his team's 13 turnovers, which makes 25 turnovers in his last six games; in three of his last six games, he's had five turnovers or more. Johnson's shooting didn't help his line either, as he attempted a team-high 10 field goals while making just three (which included 1-for-3 accuracy from three-point range). Johnson added four rebounds, four assists and two steals in 35 minutes.

8. Rio Adams: Won the Gary Bedore coin flip to take eighth place. Played two minutes with no other stats.

9. Jamari Traylor: Lost the Gary Bedore coin flip to take ninth place. Played two minutes with no other stats.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (134 points)
2. Ben McLemore (131 points)
3. Travis Releford (128 points)
4. Elijah Johnson (103 points)
5. Kevin Young (96 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (87 points)
7. Perry Ellis (75 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (58 points)
9. Andrew White III (30 points)
10. Rio Adams (19 points)
11. Justin Wesley (9 points)

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Comments

William Blake 1 year, 2 months ago

Travis was outstanding, and the team, as one, deserves plenty of praise for that victory.

That game was so loud I could smell kitty breath in my living room.

Travis has plenty of big games left in him. In a couple more games, he's going to realize how few games remain for him in a Jayhawk uniform. That's what makes seniors most-dangerous at the end of their senior year. Travis realized it was the last time he'd play in the purple farmer building and he brought it all to the party. I can't wait to see him in March. He's not going to want to go home early... you can put that in the bank. And he's already been runner-up in March. Only one thing left for Travis...

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Luke Kading 1 year, 2 months ago

I wish Jeff Withey would go to that jump hook more often instead of that sweeping runner-hook he always tries. You are 7 feet tall and don't have that quick of footwork on offense. When he does that, he brings the ball down to his waist where guards can strip it, and even when he gets it off, it doesn't really seem to go in most of the time. Last night's jump hook over Henriquez looked so much better, and if you can get that shot off over a good shot blocker like Henriquez, you can probably get it off against pretty much anybody else in the country.

My two cents

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 2 months ago

Is my crystal ball fogging up or do I see an increase in floor time for Perry at Kevin's expense, even to the point of eventually Kevin being the first guy off the bench like last year and Perry starting??!!

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justanotherfan 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm still wondering about EJ's health. Last night was the first time I've seen him attack the rim with an explosive move as opposed to a change of pace move (when he missed the dunk down the stretch). That's a sign that he's getting his bounce back, but he's not quite there yet, otherwise he would have finished the slam.

Missing that explosiveness is hindering his jumpshot and his ability to drive and penetrate, which are holding down his shooting percentage and contributing to the higher turnovers.

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Jason Wilson 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't really have any problem with EJ's performance. This team is much better with him on the floor. He's made a lot of great drives and blown by some people in the last few games... that's great. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to finish. That'll happen, I'm not worried about it.

He just needs to keep on doing what he's doing.

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Joel Thomas 1 year, 2 months ago

So everyone is down on Elijah, but let's not forget everyone else's slumps on this team. Let's also not forget that scoring has been down in several recent games, and that is not all on Johnson. Just remember when Tyshawn was turning over the ball essentially every other possession last year (or maybe I'm just remembering the Duke game). It's true Johnson is more of a combo guard, but there's no way you sit him. Even if you think he should sit, it's not going to happen.

Back to the down scoring. These Big 10 scores are a bit of an eye sore, but in at least two of those games, UT and KSU, I'd say the scores are attributable to the other team's focus on defense (UT) and a slower tempo (KSU).

Back to not forgetting. This team has lost just once and despite flirting with some losses, they haven't looked particularly bad in those games.

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Scut Farkus 1 year, 2 months ago

Travis has been a welcome surprise and is probably the main reason KU is doing so well. Some NBA team is going to find a real gem who will add a lot to anyone's roster. I don't see him in the top 50-75 on any draft boards but I think he's going to up there before the season is over. His shooting and ability to penetrate is going to make him an ideal 2 guard.

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Robin Smith 1 year, 2 months ago

I have no concerns regarding Elijah.

Despite the poor shooting and some turnovers, he is strong and calm, a great leader; he has been doing what needs to be done for KU to win and to improve.

17-1, that's it.

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Scott Smetana 1 year, 2 months ago

Nice evening for the Relefords over the Wildcats! Trevor led the way over Calisleazy!

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dannyxo 1 year, 2 months ago

Any theories on why Rio got a couple of minutes instead of AW3?

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KGphoto 1 year, 2 months ago

The Prophet will make plays when it counts. His time is near.

When everything is on the line, and the pressure has guys locking up, he will shine.

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Suzi Marshall 1 year, 2 months ago

I've always been an EJ fan but these turnovers and poor shooting is wearing thin. AWIii should be ready when the bell rings.

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Jay Dogger 1 year, 2 months ago

It certainly looks like a three-way contest between Jeff, Ben and Travis.

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Chandler James 1 year, 2 months ago

Hey Jesse, I remember in years past that the rankings would keep a conference season only part of overall rankings. Is there are reason its not happening this year?

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