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Jeff Withey, Travis Releford the top 'Hawks against Spartans
1. Jeff Withey: KU coach Bill Self said that Withey nearly single-handedly won the game for KU, and that's probably not far off. The senior notched his first triple-double in a regular-season game, posting 16 points to go with 12 rebounds and 12 blocks. The center did a great job offensively of taking his time, diagnosing whether a double-team was coming, then scoring when it didn't. Think about this: When SJSU put up one of its 44 two-point attempts Monday night, that shot had just as good of a chance of being blocked by Withey (12 instances) as it did of going in the basket (12 instances).
2. Travis Releford: Efficient night for the senior, who scored 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting. He showed nice range on a pullup jumper, nice confidence on a stepback three and excellent glide in transition on a leaning two. It was easy to tell when he wasn't guarding SJSU's James Kinney, as the tiny Spartans guard seemed to be scoring on everyone except Releford. The senior added four assists and three blocks to go with a turnover in 37 minutes.
3. Elijah Johnson: Self admitted that Johnson has been playing with a banged-up knee after the game and also said that injury has been hampering the senior's explosiveness. Despite some bad turnovers late, Johnson still contributed 13 points on 4-for-9 shooting while making 3 of 6 threes. He had five assists to go with four turnovers but is struggling on the ball defensively.
4. Kevin Young: Consistently brings energy, which is valuable on this year's team. Though many of Young's patented follow-tips didn't fall, he still posted six points and eight rebounds with an assist, two steals and no turnovers in 20 minutes. He also hit four clutch free throws during KU's second-half field-goal drought.
5. Ben McLemore: Bookended the game with highlight dunks but had a very poor shooting game in between. The freshman made just 5 of 16 shots, which included an 0-for-7 performance from three-point range. He added six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block to go with three turnovers.
6. Perry Ellis: Had a few good offensive plays but always seems to get yanked for a lack of aggressiveness. The freshman had four points and four rebounds to go with two assists and a turnover in 14 minutes.
7. Naadir Tharpe: His shot selection was questionable at times, and his defense left a lot to be desired, as SJSU's Kinney got quite a few open looks over the KU sophomore. Tharpe finished with two points on 1-for-5 shooting with an assist, steal and two turnovers in 12 minutes.
8. Jamari Traylor: Two points, two boards, two fouls in seven minutes.
9. Andrew White III: Showed good anticipation in grabbing a steal that led to an SJSU intentional foul. Later, though, White didn't communicate well with Tharpe defensively, which led to Kinney being left open for a three. White finished with a point and a foul in four minutes.
10. Justin Wesley: Posted one rebound and two fouls in four minutes.
KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (44 points)
2. Ben McLemore (40 points)
3. Travis Releford (37 points)
4. Elijah Johnson (34 points)
5. Perry Ellis (28 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (25 points)
7. Jamari Traylor (24 points)
8. Kevin Young (21 points)
T9. Rio Adams (7 points)
T9. Justin Wesley (7 points)
T9. Andrew White III (7 points)
— Compiled by Jesse Newell and Tom Keegan. Written by Jesse Newell.