Ben McLemore gives Pierce-ian performance against Iowa State


1. Ben McLemore: Was it the best individual performance in Allen Fieldhouse since Paul Pierce scored 31 against Oklahoma? The freshman hit the game's biggest shot — a banked-in three with 1.3 seconds left in regulation to tie it — and ended with 33 points on just 12 field-goal attempts, making six of six threes and seven of seven free throws. That was the most posts by a KU freshman since Danny Manning had 35 on March 2, 1985.

2. Jeff Withey: Made the most of a tough matchup and played a big role in keeping Iowa State below its season average percentage-wise in offensive rebounds. Withey posted 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting with 12 rebounds and three blocks in 38 minutes. The senior also had a crucial steal in the second half that helped end a long KU field-goal drought.

3. Kevin Young: Like Withey, he battled hard on the boards, grabbing 12 rebounds in 30 minutes. He also had 10 points on 5-for-10 shooting to go with an assist, steal and two turnovers.

4. Travis Releford: His biggest play was setting a solid screen in the final seconds of regulation to free up McLemore, who knocked in the game-tying three. The senior wasn't great defensively — posting no steals against a team that was careless coming in — but he did have 12 points on 3-for-6 shooting with 6-for-8 accuracy from the free throw line.

5. Elijah Johnson: Made great decisions to keep KU in it late, driving hard to the rim to get fouled with 21 seconds left then putting in a short shot with 14 seconds left to cut the deficit to one. It's time to start getting concerned about his turnover numbers, though. Johnson had six of KU's 14 giveaways against ISU, which makes 11 in his last two games and 16 in his last four. For a guy that doesn't have the ball in his hands as much as someone like Tyshawn Taylor, that number needs to come down. The senior added 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting (2-for-6 from three) with 10 assists and three steals.

6. Jamari Traylor: Provided crucial scoring in his nine minutes, contributing five points on 1-for-1 shooting with 3-for-4 accuracy from the free throw line. He also had two rebounds to go with an illegal screen foul.

7. Naadir Tharpe: The sophomore took one very ill-advised three that stands out, but I thought many of his field goal tries in the lane were aggressive plays where he didn't make the shot. The final line still looks pretty ugly: eight points, 2-for-11 shooting, 0-for-5 shooting from three with one turnover and one steal in 23 minutes.

8. Perry Ellis: Missed both field goals but made both free throws in his eight minutes. Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (100 points)
2. Ben McLemore (97 points)
3. Travis Releford (93 points)
4. Elijah Johnson (82 points)
5. Kevin Young (69 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (65 points)
7. Perry Ellis (55 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (46 points)
9. Andrew White III (23 points)
10. Rio Adams (16 points)
11. Justin Wesley (7 points)


Daniel Cuellar 9 years, 4 months ago

My buddies and I were trying to think of a nickname for Ben McLemore, and the best we could come up with is McLamazing. Anyone else on board?

Phil Leister 9 years, 4 months ago

Excellent assessment of Tharpe, Jesse. He can get to the rim in a hurry, and I have no problem with him taking those shots in the paint. Unfortunately for his stat line, he missed quite a few of them tonight. He jacked up so ill-advised long balls, but he's a good shooter, and you have to like the confidence. Ugly stat line, but I liked the things he did for the most part.

On a side note, did Pierce foul out of that game mentioned?

Jesse Newell 9 years, 4 months ago

Yep. If you click on the link above, it goes to the box score. Pierce was 14-for-17 that game.

VancouverHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

And no free throws - and only 3 3-pointers (attempted 3 and made 3).

Dustin Engelken 9 years, 4 months ago

Disagree. I believe Coach Self himself has said many times that an agressive, smart drive ending in a missed layup can be just as good as a drive and kickout. I don't know how to get the stats here, but my guess is that a lot of Tharpe's misses in the lane led directly to second-chance opportunities. For the record, it was this very quality that kept TT in many games, even when was having TO issues.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 9 years, 4 months ago

I love that KY is posting double-doubles in league play and big games! I did not see that potential earlier.

However, I thought EJ would be having a better season at point.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 4 months ago

EJ's TO's are a lot, but so are the A, especially on a night when no one else has more than 2.

Clarence Haynes 9 years, 4 months ago

EJ has to be a little less careless with his passes.

Steve Kubler 9 years, 4 months ago

That was a quiet 15 pt night for Withey, I did not realize he made double figures scoring, did notice he was doing ok on the boards.

Naadir's stats are not in agreement with the feeling I had that he had a solid game. He seemed to play under control for the most part, his TO was an overly aggressive pass underneath. He also seemed decent on defense, but I will admit to focusing on how Withey was doing as I expect to see a lot of teams trying to pull him out of the middle.

Nice write up Jesse, Thanks.

Scott Smetana 9 years, 4 months ago

BMac's game reminds me more of Kobe's game. Except with lots more class.

Philip Nguyen 9 years, 4 months ago

His jumper reminds me of another Lakers, #4 Bryon Scott. The way he goes straight up and release it at the highest point. It's a thing of beauty.

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 4 months ago

Nadadir's "bad game" is the kind you like to see from a guy playing agressive winning ball. Hope he keeps it up because when he lines out at that level, he will be sensational. As for BMac, with his skills, I'd love to see him shooting 25 a game. Same goes for Releford...eithere the number of shots go up or the shooting percentage comes down.

Matt Lacey 9 years, 4 months ago

1) You've got to put up Collison's 20-20 Vitale standing-o game higher than this. Definitely the best offensive performance, but not both ends. I was thinking more of the NBA (Finals?) game where Jordan shrugged because of all the shots he was making.

7) As our offense looked anemic in the second half and the Clones came back and took the lead, I was wondering if it was because Naadir was at the point instead of EJ. But we got the W.

Jesse Newell 9 years, 4 months ago

Somebody pointed out the Collison game to me on Twitter, and you're right, I did space on that one. It's hard to compare the two games (especially because the two guys play different positions), but that one definitely deserves to be in the discussion for top individual performances in recent history at the Fieldhouse. I guess this one reminded me more of Pierce because it was a wing-type player that wasn't missing any shots.

kansasm20 9 years, 4 months ago

you should talk to Gary -

I would have to give the edge to Nick between the two given that 20 rebounds happens far less than 33 points (at any position) and the competition was stiffer. Texas had a great team that went to the Final Four (ranked #3 at the time) and had big men like Justin Thomas playing. He even hit a three pointer :)

kansasm20 9 years, 4 months ago

Having said that - We love you Ben, never leave us!

Michael Luby 9 years, 4 months ago

Yeah man, this kid is something special. Really hope he sticks around another year. It would be awesome to see him go to the League as the #1 pick too though.

KUFan90 9 years, 4 months ago

I hope Self has the team practice nothing but boxing out for the next week or so. Ridiculous how many box outs we missed. Releford had the best seat in the house watching his man blow by him for offensive rebounds. Withey missed several. For something I have my kids 2nd grade basketball team practice, not sure how such a basic skill was so lacking tonight.

We sure dont need overtime if we had been more fundamental and aggressive on the offensive glass tonight.

hawk_of_ages 9 years, 4 months ago

In fairness, this is par for the course when the opposing team has five players on the floor heaving up bunches of 3s. Just as Jesse predicted in his scouting report before the game, ISU made Withey guard all over the floor, making it very difficult to get back in the paint and rebound, which is difficult anyway when you have so many 3-point shots coming off the rim long and at odd angles.

That's not to say we didn't make mistakes on box-outs, but I don't think it was the main reason we almost lost -- the 8-minute scoring drought was the biggest culprit, in my opinion, especially against a team that isn't exactly dominant on defense. That was the real head-scratcher to me.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 4 months ago

As on the other article...I have but one thing to say.

"Put ya shoes on!" -Elijah Johnson

Jim Roth 9 years, 4 months ago

3 double-doubles in one game is pretty cool - Withey, Young & Elijah. I wonder how often that has happened in KU history?

REHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Great observation. A rare occurrence, for certain.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 4 months ago

I thought the problem was ISU's 3 point shooting, not our offense, scoring 75+ in regulation should be enough to win any game we play.

Eric Sorrentino 9 years, 4 months ago

Going to be an interesting race in these ratings between Withey and McLemore all year.

Jesse, I love the question of best performance in recent fieldhouse memory. McLemore and Collison have to be up there as probably the top two. Are we strictly talking about KU performances? I don't think I've ever seen anything like Kevin Durant at AFH in 2007 (at least for one half). KU fans even applauded when he returned to the court from injury after the first half. That game was so memorable when KU came back and won.

Being there last night to witness Ben's performance in person was pretty special. Not a top 10 Rivals guy like Henry or Selby, but I'm convinced Ben is already better than both of those two dudes in the NBA right now. Haha.

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