Travis Releford impresses Bill Self, takes top honor
1. Travis Releford: Afterwards, Kansas coach Bill Self called Releford "by far our best player." The senior once again posted an efficient offensive line, tying the team lead with 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Self also complimented Releford's defense afterwards, as he held WVU's Eron Harris (11.3 ppg in Big 12 play) to two points on 0-for-5 field-goal shooting. The senior had a pair of crucial plays down the stretch too, hitting a big three from the corner to give KU some breathing room and also pulling down the final defensive rebound of the game following a Jeff Withey block. Releford added four rebounds, two assists and two steals to go with three turnovers in 38 minutes. He now has scored in double figures in 17 straight games.
2. Jeff Withey: A close second behind Releford, the big man had a great shooting night from the floor, making six of eight shots to go with seven rebounds and four blocks. He also came through on WVU's final possession, blocking a pair of shots to make sure the Mountaineers didn't make it a one-possession game. Withey's only struggles came at the free throw line, where he was just 3-for-7. Still a solid night for the senior, who posted an assist and steal to go and two turnovers while avoiding foul trouble in 31 minutes.
3. Ben McLemore: Had two bad turnovers at the end of the first half to let West Virginia back in it and also took himself out of the game early with two quick fouls. Still, you look up and the freshman scores 13 points (3-for-7 shooting, 1-for-3 from three) while also providing the Jayhawks their best free throw shooter (6-for-8). McLemore had four rebounds, one assist and one steal to go with three turnovers in 25 minutes.
4. Elijah Johnson: The senior went 2-for-4 from the floor and 1-for-2 from three to finish with five points while also notching five assists. He had a bad turnover at the end of the first half to let WVU cut the lead to 38-30, but Johnson also was more active defensively, coming away with three steals and five defensive rebounds in 34 minutes.
5. Kevin Young: Self was frustrated with Young for a play late when he tried to make a left-handed pass to the corner while falling out of bounds (the coach said Young should have just shot it), but the senior helped keep a good offensive rebounding team in WVU from getting second chances. Young had seven rebounds (five defensive) and seven points in 32 minutes, adding in an assist and steal with two turnovers.
6. Perry Ellis: Played well in limited action. The freshman scored on a spin move in the first half when KU's offense was going stale, finishing with four points in 11 minutes. Ellis now has posted no turnovers in seven of his last nine games.
7. Naadir Tharpe: Self didn't like Tharpe's defense after the game, saying at one point, the man he was guarding scored eight straight points. The sophomore also took an ill-advised three in the second half during a time when KU would have been better suited to run its offense. Still, Tharpe was robbed of a basket (and also picked up his third foul) on a bad charge call by the officials when he did a nice job of attacking the defense. The point guard finished with no points on 0-for-2 shooting with two rebounds, two assists and a turnover in 15 minutes.
8. Rio Adams: Part of the 2 trillion club: no statistics in two minutes of playing time. 9. Andrew White III: You're probably not getting good bench production if two guys fall below a player in the 2 trillion club. White's shot was off Monday night, as he airballed an open three and finished 0-for-2 from the floor and just 1-for-4 from the free throw line. He also had a turnover, but one positive was that he pulled down four rebounds in six minutes.
10. Jamari Traylor: Had three fouls, one rebound and a turnover in six minutes before getting pulled.
KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (153 points)
2. Ben McLemore (148 points)
3. Travis Releford (146 points)
4. Elijah Johnson (114 points)
5. Kevin Young (109 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (96 points)
7. Perry Ellis (86 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (62 points)
9. Andrew White III (32 points)
10. Rio Adams (23 points)
11. Justin Wesley (9 points)
Big 12 Standings
1. Jeff Withey (62 points)
2. Travis Releford (60 points)
3. Ben McLemore (59 points)
4. Kevin Young (48 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (38 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (35 points)
7. Perry Ellis (34 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (21 points)
9. Andrew White III (9 points)
10. Rio Adams (8 points)
11. Justin Wesley (2 points)