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Hot-shooting McLemore edges out Withey, Tharpe for top spot

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Kansas guard Ben McLemore puts up a three over Kansas State guard Rodney McGruder during the first half on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore puts up a three over Kansas State guard Rodney McGruder during the first half on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. by Nick Krug

1. Ben McLemore: Kansas coach Bill Self said afterwards that McLemore was more aggressive both shooting and penetrating, and the freshman's line was impressive because of it. McLemore scored 30 points on just 13 field-goal attempts, going 9-for-13 from the floor and 6-for-10 from three. He added seven rebounds and a team-high three steals to go with three turnovers.

2. Jeff Withey: Withey's best moment came after an emphatic slam, as he yelled to the air before tugging at his jersey in a Superman-like pose. The fans went nuts, as they hadn't seen that kind of fire from Withey in his last few games. The senior posted 17 points (5-for-10 shooting) to go with 10 rebounds while adding five blocks to set a new KU career record. Withey added two steals and had no turnovers in 30 minutes.

3. Naadir Tharpe: Self called Tharpe's first half the best half of his career. Not only was the sophomore making great plays off the dribble to post seven first-half points with six assists and no turnovers, he also stuck to KSU's Rodney McGruder defensively to keep him from open shots. Tharpe's second half wasn't as good, but his final total of seven points on 3-for-9 shooting with eight assists, one turnover and one steal in 27 minutes is the best line KU has gotten from a point guard in weeks.

4. Kevin Young: Had a knack for finding the open spaces around the basket to get layups. When he did have some room off the dribble, Young also made the right decision most of the time, pulling up for short jumpers or passing back out when an opening wasn't available. The senior finished with 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting and also had a huge impact on the boards, grabbing nine rebounds (eight defensive) in his 29 minutes. Young also had two assists, a block and steal to go with a turnover.

5. Travis Releford: Looked much more comfortable in a wide-open game. His best move was an old-man drop-step on Will Spradling in transition, with the senior twirling around the KSU guard for a layup with a foul. Releford had 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting with two assists and one turnover. He was limited to 22 minutes because of first-half foul trouble.

6. Jamari Traylor: Missed all three of his field goals, but he also gave KU a couple extra possessions, pulling down three rebounds (two offensive). He had one point and one assist with no turnovers in 12 minutes.

7. Perry Ellis: One rebound, one steal and one turnover in six minutes. The freshman played just one minute in the second half.

8. Andrew White III: Won the coin toss to take eighth over Justin Wesley. Played one minute without recording a statistic.

9. Justin Wesley: Lost the coin toss. Part of the trillion club with one minute and nine other zeroes on his stat line.

10. Elijah Johnson: Once again was a negative-value player for KU. Johnson scored five points on 1-for-6 shooting (0-for-4 from three) and now has shot over 50 percent in just one of KU's 24 games this season. The senior added two rebounds and three assists to go with a team-high four turnovers. His starting spot should be in jeopardy, especially with Tharpe's strong effort Monday.

11. Rio Adams: Didn't play well in a five-minute audition for future minutes. He had a steal and played decent on-ball defense, but he also committed a foul and had two turnovers.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (188 points)
2. Ben McLemore (187 points)
3. Travis Releford (173 points)
4. Kevin Young (139 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (123 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (121 points)
7. Perry Ellis (101 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (80 points)
9. Andrew White III (41 points)
10. Rio Adams (26 points)
11. Justin Wesley (15 points)

Big 12 Standings
1. Ben McLemore (98 points)
2. Jeff Withey (97 points)
3. Travis Releford (87 points)
4. Kevin Young (80 points)
5. Naadir Tharpe (60 points)
6. Perry Ellis (49 points)
7. Elijah Johnson (47 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (39 points)
9. Andrew White III (18 points)
10. Rio Adams (11 points)
11. Justin Wesley (8 points)

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