Archive for Saturday, March 23, 2013

Whew! Kansas survives big, red scare

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson tries to pump up the crowd after a defensive stop by the Jayhawks against Western Kentucky during the second half on Friday, March 22, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson tries to pump up the crowd after a defensive stop by the Jayhawks against Western Kentucky during the second half on Friday, March 22, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

March 23, 2013


Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford talk after win over WKU

Kansas coach Bill Self and guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford talk after the Jayhawks' 64-57 win over WKU on March 23, 2013.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

WKU coach Ray Harper

WKU coach Ray Harper talks after his team's 64-57 loss to Kansas on March 22, 2013.

Box score


— Kansas University did not become the first No. 1-seeded team in NCAA Tournament history to lose to a 16 on Friday night in Sprint Center.

The Jayhawks, however, did trail by a point at halftime before managing to do just enough to edge Western Kentucky of the Sun Belt Conference, 64-57, in a second-round clash that scared the heck out of 18,488 fans — almost all wearing Crimson and Blue, except for one section of loud, red-clad Hilltoppers.

“We came out uptight, nervous,” said KU center Jeff Withey, who scored 17 points with seven blocks and six rebounds. “They surprised us with how good they were. We definitely took them lightly. I talked earlier that we can’t let that happen, but we did.

“At least we got it out of the way, and we’ll be ready Sunday,” added Withey, referring to a 4:15 p.m. third-round game against North Carolina to be shown on CBS.

The Jayhawks, who never led by more than six points until 5:10 remained and even saw a somewhat comfy, game-high lead of 11 points with 3:08 left dip to just five at 1:43, committed 17 turnovers, many against the Hilltoppers’ press.

The Jayhawks also went 0-for-6 from three. It marked the first time in 201 games KU had gone without a made three. Last game without a three was a 100-90 victory over Baylor in 2008.

“I knew we’d pull it out,” Withey said. “We’ve been in this situation too many times.

“Coach got on us a little (after the game),” Withey added of Bill Self’s message. “At the same time, we won. He said we can’t come out like that Sunday or we’ll get beat by 20.”

Self said that though the Jayhawks were loose in the locker room all week, the mood changed a bit Friday. KU’s effort brought to mind No. 1 seed Gonzaga’s narrow 64-58 win over No. 16 seed Southern on Thursday. All of the top seeds in this tourney advanced, increasing the all-time record of No. 1s over 16s to 116-0.

Though this one was definitely scary for the 1.

“I don’t know if we’ve been much looser all season than this week,” Self said after his team ran its record to 30-5 overall. Self improved his personal record at KU to 299-58 entering the Carolina game, which has a chance to be his win No. 300 as a Jayhawk.

“But I did sense a little bit different feel in the locker room. We were a little tight. We got tighter as we went. The second half we did guard better,” he added.

KU held WKU to 3-of-20 three-point shooting. The Hilltoppers (20-16) hit 31.8 percent of their shots.

Still, KU, which became the first team to win a tourney game without a three since Arizona in 2001, made oh-so-many mistakes in this one.

Ben McLemore had four turnovers to go with his 11 points. Kevin Young had four turnovers to go with his eight boards and five points. Withey and Elijah Johnson each had three turnovers, Johnson five points off 1-for-6 shooting.

“I wasn’t nervous,” said McLemore, who did hit seven of eight free throws on a night KU hit 24 of 30. “I just tried to get my head in the game, and I tried to be focused. I didn’t want to mess up.”

KU hit 7.7 percent of its shots outside the paint, as in just one field goal outside the paint.

“We didn’t play our best by any stretch,” Self said. “But give Western credit. I thought they were the most aggressive team (WKU outrebounded KU, 41-35). I thought they controlled the game for the most part until the second half when we got the ball inside some. We’re happy to advance but not pleased how we played. We’ll have to play a lot better on Sunday.”

KU went 0-for-5 from three and was outrebounded, 18-13, by a smaller Western Kentucky team as the Jayhawks trailed, 31-30, at halftime.

The Hilltoppers made just one of six threes but did convert 13 of 27 shots the initial half for 48.1 percent to KU’s 12 of 25 for 48 percent.

Withey scored eight points off 4-of-5 shooting, while Perry Ellis had seven points and Travis Releford six the first half.

Western Kentucky was led by forwards Aleksejs Rostov and George Fant, who scored nine and eight points respectively.


Kent Richardson 5 years, 1 month ago

Poor block out execution. 17 turnovers and don't blame the WKU press. Could have been blown out except for Jeff. Hope that's out of our system. I'll let the super stat posters break it down better and we survived but NC will beat us by 30 if it happens again. Roy got his 700 and it would be sweet for Coach to get his 300th at Kansas Sunday.

newmedia 5 years, 1 month ago

A win is a win. Go out tomorrow and play good solid KU basketball and have some fun! The only folks looking back are those that lost the last two days.

Best of luck, Rock Chalk.....

3up3down 5 years, 1 month ago

This team has no SWAG! They do not have an attitude for taking it all the way to the final game.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

KU was tight, as this story says, but WKU has to be one of the most under-seeded 16 seeds in the history of the tournament. Their W-L record was mostly due to lots of injuries, and this healthy version of the team was probably more like an 8 seed than a 16.

bwag 5 years, 1 month ago

Not even. If they'd hit shots as a better team, they'd have smoked us playing like we did.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

Both teams were miserable from 3 point, so the hypothetical that they could have won with better shooting could have been counteracted by the hypothetical of KU shooting better from 3, as well.

I'm not saying that they have better talent than KU does-- they don't. But talent-wise, they're much better than the typical 16 seed, even though KU should still have won by 15 or more.

cabmando 5 years, 1 month ago

come on Hawks relax and enjoy the moment, it's only a FUN sport. Float like butterflies, sting like bees look out UNC

drillsgt 5 years, 1 month ago

We got lucky that all those 3's they put up didn't hit..we are afraid to take it to the basket last nite...Tharpe was lost all nite..he is not a highlite reel..but free throws win we better play top notch on Sunday or it could be over....but .a ugly win last nite...maybe our eyes got opened ...let's hope

Armen Kurdian 5 years, 1 month ago

WK was not a 16-seed...I knew that going into the game. Agree with bus_bozo. That was a frenetic pace...a bunch of thrown away balls didn't help either.

lvlndhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

Whoever had only 3 turnovers recorded for Elijah didn't watch the same game as I did.

Kent Noble 5 years, 1 month ago

Are gaurd play was terrible. That won't work Sunday. We are so careless with the ball. Roy's guards don't and won't play like we did last night. I will be very surprised if we get by NC. Why the sports casters and media are so hip on Ben McLamore is beyond me. He doesn't move with out the ball or follow up on someone else's shot. If he is not hitting the 3 ball he's really nowhere to be found. NBA, he needs to stick around like Brandon Rush did and learn how to drive to the basket.

In_God_we_trust 5 years, 1 month ago

KU can learn from this game. If KU takes the attitude of the "underdog" each game, they will strive to make everything they do count in the upcoming games. If KU takes the attitude of "coast and just do enough to get by", it will be a quick trip home. In the tournament, you have to play to win, and top effort is required to win every game. There are no bad teams, all have talent; but who will be the best? The team that puts forth the maximum effort each game will find themselves in the championship. Go for the win Hawks!

colreader 5 years, 1 month ago

This team is like my breakfast.


colreader 5 years, 1 month ago

Can't believe KU is favored by 6 pts tomorrow. Did I read that correctly?

Calvin Mabry 5 years, 1 month ago

We are very lucky WKU wasn't hitting their shots like the team that killed K-state yesterday. I hope this wasn't a bad sign of things to come. But after TCU and Baylor I can't ever feel really comfortable with this team. I think we will have to bring our A game to beat Roy a third time in the tournament. Tharpe has got to quit running down the court and throwing up wild threes with thirty seconds left on the shot clock. They almost never go in,

Jaded_one 5 years, 1 month ago

Just like any other sport if you play well you have a chance to win. If you play badly then there is a good chance you will lose. We are 30-5 and earned a #1 seed. I am proud of our guys and the coaching staff. Only one team will leave this thing happy and we have as good of chance as any team. Rock Chalk !!

Kent Richardson 5 years, 1 month ago

Appears that the high seeds with a home type advantage are rolling today. It can continue tomorrow. MI ans MI St had home, Louisville has home and KU is home. Monster game maybe best of the tourney so far?

Kontum1972 5 years, 1 month ago

well u know Roy is not he can get glad in the same jock strap he gets mad in....he actually did not want to leave KU....the Mrs. made him do it.....all his buddies live here....but he had to go back to Mayberry we know who the real coach is....his x secretary lives 3 doors from me...she told me its not over till the fat basketball sings...

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