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Travis Releford stellar on both ends against North Carolina

Kansas guard Travis Releford (24) shoots in a second-half three that help propel the Jayhawks to a 70-58 win against North Carolina Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo..

Kansas guard Travis Releford (24) shoots in a second-half three that help propel the Jayhawks to a 70-58 win against North Carolina Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.. by Mike Yoder

1. Travis Releford: Releford held North Carolina's leading scorer in conference play, Reggie Bullock, to a season-low-tying five points on 1-for-7 shooting. The senior Releford was just as good offensively, leading KU with 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting. No shot was bigger than his second-half three, which gave KU its first trey of the NCAA Tournament and seemed to loosen up the Jayhawks' shooters (KU made five of eight threes in the second half). Releford added eight rebounds and three steals to go with two turnovers in 38 minutes.

2. Jeff Withey: The senior was dominant in two areas: rebounding and changing shots defensively. As expected, UNC's James Michael McAdoo's lack of shooting range allowed Withey to camp in the lane, and the center affected shot attempts all night, finishing with five blocks (though it seemed like he had at least a couple of uncredited swats as well). Withey added 16 points (6-for-11 shooting) with a season-high 16 rebounds in 36 minutes. The one negative in his game was turnovers, as he had five giveaways, which included a few errant outlet passes.

3. Naadir Tharpe: Switching in Tharpe for Ben McLemore in the second half (and leaving him out there) was a great coaching move by Bill Self and was a big reason KU pulled away. Though Tharpe had some silly plays (lane violation, flashy behind-the-back pass on a 3-on-1 break), his good plays definitely outweighed the bad ones, as he finished with 12 points on 3-for-6 shooting, which included 3-for-4 accuracy from three-point range. The sophomore added two assists to go with three turnovers in 27 minutes.

4. Kevin Young: Had some careless passes — two at the beginning of the second half immediately come to mind — but Young still played with bounce, grabbed rebounds and did a nice job of sticking with UNC's outside shooters. The senior just missed a double-double with 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting with nine rebounds in 34 minutes. Though he had five turnovers, Young played a valuable role for KU, stepping up as the versatile player needed to help defend UNC's four-guard lineup.

5. Elijah Johnson: For a while in the first half, KU was performing better with Johnson on the bench. The senior played better in the second half, though, and had a low-turnover number (two) considering the swarming defense UNC plays. The senior still struggled from the floor, making one of six shots for five points with four assists and two turnovers in 28 minutes. Through two NCAA games, Johnson has made two of 11 field goals with six assists and five turnovers.

6. Perry Eliis: Didn't play much, contributing three points on 1-for-3 shooting with two rebounds in eight minutes.

7. Ben McLemore: Was benched for most of the second half because of ineffective play, which reminded me of the KU-Kansas State game in 2010 when Self benched Xavier Henry for most of the second half/overtime for the same reason. For the second straight game, McLemore looked completely out of it, with the best example coming at the start of the second half when the freshman fumbled away an easy lob pass for a turnover. McLemore was 0-for-9 from the floor and 0-for-6 from three-point range. His two points were a season low, while his 24 minutes tied his lowest mark this year.

8. Andrew White III: Won the tiebreaker for eighth place. Played one minute with no other stats.

9. Jamari Traylor: Lost the tiebreaker for eighth place. Played one minute with no other stats.

10. Rio Adams: Had two fouls and one turnover in a minute.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (294 points)
2. Ben McLemore (269 points)
3. Travis Releford (262 points)
4. Kevin Young (223 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (201 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (186 points)
7. Perry Ellis (174 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (117 points)
9. Andrew White III (55 points)
10. Rio Adams (39 points)
11. Justin Wesley (24 points)

Big 12/Postseason Standings
1. Jeff Withey (203 points)
2. Ben McLemore (180 points)
3. Travis Releford (177 points)
4. Kevin Young (164 points)
T5. Elijah Johnson (125 points)
T5. Naadir Tharpe (125 points)
7. Perry Ellis (122 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (76 points)
9. Andrew White III (32 points)
10. Rio Adams (24 points)
11. Justin Wesley (17 points)

NCAA Tournament Standings
T1. Jeff Withey (19 points)
T1. Travis Releford (19 points)
T3. Perry Ellis (13 points)
T3. Kevin Young (13 points)
T3. Naadir Tharpe (13 points)
6. Ben McLemore (11 points)
7. Elijah Johnson (9 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (4 points)
9. Andrew White III: (3 points)
10. Rio Adams (1 point)

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Comments

Creighton Coover 1 year ago

I can't believe Kevin Young finished 4th in these ratings. I thought it was one of the worst games he played all year long. There were several loose balls and rebounds that he had his hands on but couldn't grab for some reason and his two turnovers at the beginning of the half were probably the two worst passes I've seen all year. No idea what he was thinking on those passes. I'm just glad it didn't cost us the game.

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Ron Prichard 1 year ago

I just read some articles and comments from some Michigan papers (their equivalent to KUSports, I think). I thought it was funny how people that have absolutely no idea about an opponent (KU) feel like they can make authoritative comments and then those comments are taken as gospel. It made me wonder how often that happens on this site.

Many of the posters thought that KU wasn't "consistently" physical enough to play with Big 10 teams. They also thought OSU was a better team than KU.

  1. I'm not sure there is a more physical team left in the tournament than Kansas.
  2. KU turned OSU into the most one-dimensional team I have ever seen. OSU couldn't score inside and just gave up, resorting to jumper after jumper.

Man, I want to win this game. Rock Chalk!

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Micky Baker 1 year ago

For one, VCU spent almost the entire game win a full court press off of made buckets. Kansas won't do that. In the half court, Kansas has the advantage in size, but it will be a tough game against Michigan. Our guys just need to be patient on offense except for when the opportunity presents itself for transition baskets and make good sharp passes and take advantage when the defense tries to overplay with sharp back door cuts and alert passing. When Kansas plays like that, they will win.

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clevelandjayhawker 1 year ago

From Grantland article on 12 things from the NCAA's this past weekend:

"4. I'll never pick a team coached by any of the following coaches in an NCAA tournament toss-up game ever again: Frank Haith, Steve Alford, Bruce Weber, Frank Haith, Bo Ryan, John Thompson III, Frank Haith, Jamie Dixon, Frank Haith, Mark Few, Frank Haith, and Roy Williams if he's playing Kansas.

Oh, and Frank Haith. Don't forget about him."

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BainDread 1 year ago

Anyone else remember that at this time two years ago, many people posting here were wondering whether Jeff Withey would ever make a significant contribution to the program? Bill Self's system works, and Jeff's development is perhaps the best example we've had the pleasure of witnessing.

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Greg Lux 1 year ago

Tharpe is better right now then EJ. He has a way of getting the offense going that EJ lacks right now. If we are going to continue to advance we will need Tharpe in the game.

Rock Chalk

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jaybate 1 year ago

Each top coach KU plays against exposes a new weakness.

Roy showed that you can jump into our bigs on rebounding and cause them real problems. Jump into our bigs with bangers, instead of just the skinny Mickey D's UNC had, and it will be an even bigger problem. Self and staff will have to try to remedy this problem.

You can also slap them high and really gum up their passing.

This is one aspect of the game that is endlessly interesting.

Expose the flaw.

Fix the flaw.

Expose the flaw.

Fix the flaw.

Those that can keep fixing flaws become very tough to beat over the course of a season.

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Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 1 year ago

I like Rio's enthusiasm but he should try not to run somebody over with half a minute left. Keep trucking Rio! That dude could still play some meaningful minutes THIS YEAR (end of half foul trouble, injury, hope not because of others ineffectiveness).

Always vigilant, always ready, FOE!!!! GO HAWKS!

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Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 1 year ago

"As expected, UNC's James Michael McAdoo's lack of shooting range allowed Withey to camp in the lane"

  • Come on now - UNCs game plan was to take him out of the paint (with McAdoo's ugly jumper . . . weird strategy). However flawed the strategy was it was pretty evident until they bailed on it once we came out swinging in the second half.
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William Blake 1 year ago

Great game, Travis! ...and Jeff, and Naadir, and Kevin..

This game pretty much showed the difference in coaching philosophies (and how we "traded up" when we landed Self).

CS's first focus is on d. Roy's first focus is on fast-paced offense. We had a bad first half where nothing would drop. We turned up the d in the second half and everything fell into place.

Had we played a decent 40-min of basketball we would have won by at least 20.

UNC started 5 McD's All Americans. They have no "talent excuse."

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Robert Brock 1 year ago

Wonder what the pro scouts in attendance thought about Ben McLemore...

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Joel Thomas 1 year ago

Roy taking an early second half timeout was priceless.... Let's hope our worst games (halves) are behind us. Burke will present difficulty for whomever's guarding him. What would last year's team say? Cut the head off. (Prediction: someone on our team says that this week: Elijah 3-2; Releford 8-1; Garrett [Off].)

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clevelandjayhawker 1 year ago

When Jeff had the one handed-full extension slam from five feet away the entire sprint center should have rushed the court and the refs should have ended the game like they do on those and one videos.

He has done that 2-3 times this year, and every time I see it I’m in disbelief.

2

nuleafjhawk 1 year ago

KU has two potential NBA players next year.

Jeff Withey and Travis Releford.

Everyone else needs to go back to school or get a job.

2

Oscar_Unit 1 year ago

Can someone explain Tharpe's 5 second violation? They blew the whistle as he was lunging over the 3 point line to make space for a step-back. I guess I just don't understand the rule...it looked like he was making moves, trying to fake out the defense, and dribbling.

I expected Self to yell at the refs but he yelled at Tharpe...that call baffled me.

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Scott Smetana 1 year ago

I'm pretty sure EJ is now 16 for 51 shooting in the last 5 games with 21 turnovers. Plus I think don't think he's fast enough to guard Burke. Bring on Naa!!

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David Leathers 1 year ago

As for Releford and Withey, I hope they both come ready to play next week. Michigan completely disected VCU in all aspects. Their up-tempo transition game is superb with Burke and Hardaway Jr. Playing fast next week will be a devastating way for our seniors to go out. They'll easily lose by 10+ that way.

I don't know that I would trust EJ or Naa' to guard burke, but you can't let McLemore guard Hardaway either. It'll be interesting to see what Self has in store for next week.

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