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W. Kentucky at Kansas coverage

Kansas defeats Western Kentucky, 64-57

  • 8:50 p.m., March 22, 2013
  • T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, MO

FINAL: KU slugs out 64-57 win over Western Kentucky

By Matt Tait.

In many ways Friday night's 64-57 victory by top-seeded Kansas University over Western Kentucky was an extension of the NCAA Tournament games the Jayhawks won last season.

Grind, grind, grind and hang on.

That's what the Jayhawks did on Friday, after trailing by a point at the half, to advance to Sunday's third round.

Led by senior center Jeff Withey's 17 points, six rebounds and seven blocks, the Jayhawks (30-5) took WKU's best shot and still managed to come out on top. The game was anything but comfortable for the de facto home team much of the way.

The Jayhawks struggled on offense throughout much of the first half and looked vulnerable on the boards and on defense. When Withey wasn't scoring at the rim or the free throw line, senior Kevin Young did his best to bring the sluggish Jayhawks energy.

Young finished with five points and eight rebounds.

It was far from pretty, but at this time of the year, it doesn't have to be. KU moves on and avoids the awful distinction of being the first No. 1 to lose to a 16 seed. It was never really close to coming to that, but the way KU played, it certainly could have.

The Jayhawks were 0-for-6 from three, marking the first time they failed to hit a three since a Feb. 9, 2008 home win against Baylor (100-90).

Here’s a quick look back at some of Friday night's action:

The game turned when: Western Kentucky began shooting in the second half. After shooting 48.1 percent in the first half (13-of-27), the Hilltoppers opened the second half just 4-of-29, a clip that slowly allowed the Jayhawks to gain control. WKU finished the game 21-of-67 shooting, good for 31 percent.

Offensive highlight: With the Jayhawks trailing early in the second half and still struggling on offense, Kevin Young rebounded his missed jumper from the free throw line and found himself wide open under the rim. Rather than laying it up and taking the two points, Young elected to go with the reverse slam, a move that put KU up 32-31 at the 17:55 mark and ignited the Sprint Center crowd. On the next possession, KU got a lob in transition from Ben McLemore to Travis Releford and the Jayhawks opened up their largest lead of the game to that point while Western Kentucky called a timeout.

Defensive highlight: This one's a bit odd, but it may have been one of the biggest plays of the game. At 18:19 in the second half, with WKU still leading, the Jayhawks defense stiffened and forced a shot-clock violation. That alone gave the fans something to cheer about and 15 minutes later, KU added to it by opening up a 10-point lead.

Key stat: Jeff Withey finished with seven blocks and four fouls. If one of those blocks goes a different way, the outcome of this one could have been very different. Just a great game by Withey.

Up next: The victory moved the top-seeded Jayhawks advanced to the third round of this year's NCAA Tournament and they will face No. 8 seed North Carolina on Sunday at Sprint Center. Game time will be 4:15 p.m. CT on CBS.

Box score

Join the post game discussion

Jayhawkinatl

Again...DO NOT let BMac touch the ball in the backcourt!

Mom_of_three

just take care of that round leather thing, boys...

Tyson Ailshie

WKU not giving up

Ny05ks08

Should we ask Tom Izzo to coach our guards next season?

Lawkan in reply to Tyson Ailshie

wont have any left for shootaround when they lose them all.

Cshjhawk

Marvelous Marv! Yes!

00:25 left in Second Half
W. Kentucky 55
Kansas 59

Jesse Newell

WKU takes its final timeout.

Micky Baker in reply to Darin Bradley

He did wedge himself in there. Easy foul call.

Kirkwood

Can you imagine Dorian Green as our point?!

Floridajayhawks

EJ not a good leader, UNC will beat us by 30

Jjjjjhok

In the words of the imortal Rafiki, "Yeah, it hurts but you can either run from it, or learn from it. Jayhawks beter learn from this one.

Tyson Ailshie in reply to Jayhawk2181

Somebody make this team all carry around a basketball tomorrow. Sheesh!

Mark Hopkins

If we play like this Sunday, we will get Tobacco Rolled. UNC can shoot it! But it's March. I'll take it. Survive and advance baby!

Jaybate

Good. Our best FT shooter is on the line.

Jayhawkinatl

We got lucky with a bunch of no calls on BMac for traveling.

741hawk

Survive and Advance!

Colreader in reply to Melrank

2nd round

Jaycon11 in reply to Sawman3333

he has binoculars.

fansincewilt

Those are as pretty free throws you will see.

Jayhawk2181

OK, somebody lock Ben in the arena tonight

00:33 left in Second Half
W. Kentucky 52
Kansas 59

Jesse Newell

McLemore makes both.

Rcaltrider in reply to Jayhawkinatl

Nobody on this team should bring the ball up.

Melrank

Just joking

Kirkwood in reply to Lawkan

+1000000

Mom_of_three in reply to Lawkan

did he not have an amazing game.... and that team can rebound...

Sawman3333

Jesse just see things better than everyone else. He's like Radar O'reilly

Melrank

LATE FIRST ROUND

Darin Bradley

Have to give him space to land. STFU Kerr

Greatjake

Hope we don't have to play NC at 11:00 am on Sunday morn

Jaybate

Maybe the dumbest foul Travis ever committed.

But it happens.

Jayhawk2181

not in Texas he's not

Lawkan

wish we had Dorian Green.

Jayhawkinatl

BMac should never bring the ball up!!!

Chuck Stones

Jesse you're at least 5 secs ahead of the TV

fansincewilt

OK, guys. We do not need to foul them.

Matt Lacey

I don't want BMac making passes, but I think he's a good person to bring it up the court.

Jaybate

Ice the free throws and the gambler wins another.

Ya gotta know when to hold'em,

Know when to fold 'em,

Know when to walk away,

Know when to run....

Rock Chalk in reply to Bwag

Glad I didn't pay big bucks to be at the Sprint Center tonight.

Sawman3333 in reply to Jhawksandiego

And he could score 30 against UNC

Rolland Remmert

Marv is about to break into tears as it becomes more obvious KU will take it

00:41 left in Second Half
W. Kentucky 52
Kansas 57

Jesse Newell

Price makes both.

Lawkan

anyone in uniform should be on the floor besides EJ.

Jhawksandiego

boy, we'll never know what's in ej's head.

Rcaltrider

Absolutely no way a team with guards this bad can win 6 in a row in this tournament.

Bryan Mille

If Steve Kerr says shaky one more time...

Bwag in reply to Melrank

;akifjd;ifjiewjfkanvkanv;oienn!

Kent Wells in reply to Jesse Newell

Freaking harder on my liver.

Matt Lacey

OFFENSIVE FOUL

00:45 left in Second Half
W. Kentucky 50
Kansas 57

Jesse Newell

Tharpe makes both.

2xhawk

EJ with the spinning' off-balance desperation fadeaway...What could go wrong?

Melrank

Don't even know what to type . . . .

Tyson Ailshie

Not a great start to the tourney

Sawman3333

I feel like I"m having a gall bladder operation done on me...

Rock Chalk

TarHeels are not concerned to play the Jayhawks.

Jaycon11 in reply to Bwag

i hope so. it means they a re loking past michigan.

Riverdrifter

KU playing not to lose. They look like KSU earlier today.

Jayhawkinatl

No Rock Chalk chant...absolutely do NOT deserve it!!!

Lindhawk

Lets hope unc is gaining false confidence.

fansincewilt

Please guards, get that ball inside.

Matt Lacey

ESPN only gives EJ 3, but I thought he's had 3 more since I saw him with 2

Melrank

Even when we don't turn it over we are dumb.

Jerry Becker

squeak

Tyson Ailshie

My god

Kupark

how many turnovers we have?

Jesse Newell

This has become harder than it had to be.

fansincewilt

INSIDE

Mark Hopkins

Practice!

Jesse Newell

WKU with just two turnovers in the second half. Only nine for the game.

Wissoxfan83 in reply to Bwag

Or Michigan

Chuck Stones in reply to Bryan Mille

We'd better. Did you see VCU play?

Kupark in reply to Jace FitzGibbon

lol

Mark Hopkins

We better breaking the press tomorrow!

Greatjake

Take gun, load, point at head, pull trigger; repeat on Sunday if guards don't come to play

Colreader

put ellis in

Jaybate

See what I mean.

Shizz happens to a gambler the same as it does to a non gambler.

Wissoxfan83 in reply to Darin Bradley

We can't even get the ball past half court right now.

Kirkwood

How many of our 17 TO's belong to EJ?

Jayhawkinaustin in reply to Darin Bradley

You have to get the ball across half court to pound it inside...

Phogtimeku2010

NO flow! These refs need to stop whistling when they are not calling a foul.

Bwag

VCU is salivating.

Mom_of_three

ay carumba

Kupark in reply to Colreader

amazing...can't hold a decent lead against a 16th seed late in the game! just amazing

Kent Wells

We need guys on the court that value the ball.

Lindhawk

What are we going to do. The season is almost over guards still not good. I guess you ride those who brought you here

Jace FitzGibbon

good thing WKU isnt playing as well as TCU

Jaybate

WKU is only down 7. They could easily get hot here and win it.

But the probability is, with a good defense, they are not likely to.

Bryan Mille

I don't think we ever work on breaking the press during practice.

Jjjjjhok

AYFKM!!!!

Darin Bradley

Pound it inside. Settle down.

Kent Wells in reply to Ia4jayhawk

Shhhhh.

Sawman3333

HELP

Kent Wells

I can't take this.

Ia4jayhawk

Can we play any worse?

Chuck Stones

We cannot handle a press.

fansincewilt

Guard play making other teams salivate.

Jace FitzGibbon

WTF!!!!!!!!! put in tyler self!!!

Matt Lacey

It's not shocking Mr Miller if you've watched KU all year. This is who we are unfortunately.

Ia4jayhawk

Holy balls

Bwag

Oh my...

Kirkwood

PLEASE BENCH EJ NOW!!!!

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