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LJWorld.com weblogs The KUsports.com Ratings

Jeff Withey's defensive rebounding, passing stand out in win over Texas

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1. Jeff Withey: Was efficient offensively and a big reason Texas posted a season-low offensive rebounding percentage (18 percent). The KU center also played a big part in getting KU easy buckets, blocking or altering shots before throwing the ball ahead to start KU's effective fast breaks. Withey posted 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting with nine rebounds (seven defensive) to go with four assists, three blocks, a steal and two turnovers in 32 minutes.

2. Ben McLemore: His defense was shaky at times, but the freshman came through with crucial baskets at important moments. McLemore finished with a team-high 16 points, knocking down six of 10 shots and two of three three-pointers (KU only had three treys as a team). McLemore also had six rebounds, two steals, an assist and block to go with four turnovers. After the first few minutes, he didn't appear to be hampered by his sprained right ankle in the least.

3. Travis Releford: The senior always seems to pick up his defensive pressure in the second half, and that happened against Saturday. Releford also hit four crucial free throws in the final minutes, including two with 7 seconds left that sealed the game. He finished with 12 points on 4-for-8 shooting with four rebounds, two assists, two steals and two turnovers.

4. Naadir Tharpe: The game changed late when KU coach Bill Self elected to go small, which moved Tharpe to the point-guard spot. KU's defense picked up the intensity after that, and KU allowed just 10 points in the game's final 10 minutes. Tharpe had five points — including a touch-all-of-the-rim-before-spinning-in three — on 2-for-6 shooting with an assist, steal and turnover in 17 minutes.

5. Kevin Young: Self said afterwards it was the worst game Young had played in a long time, and partly because of that, the senior was not in during the game's final minutes. The senior's stat line still looked good, though: six points, 2-for-3 shooting, three rebounds, two steals, one block and two turnovers in 22 minutes.

6. Perry Ellis: Gave KU some great minutes early in the second half scrapping for loose balls while muscling up against bigger players. Ellis had four points on 1-for-4 shooting but also grabbed six rebounds in just 12 minutes.

7. Andrew White III: Missed a three and grabbed two rebounds in four minutes.

8. Elijah Johnson: His wild shots in the first half almost single-handedly put KU in a hole, and the senior never came out of the funk, finishing 1-for-11 from the floor with six points. He did make four important free throws, but against a team that doesn't force many turnovers, the senior had more giveaways (three) than assists (two). KU's point-guard issue has certainly not resolved itself in the month of January.

9. Jamari Traylor: Missed both field-goal attempts, made one of two free throws and had two rebounds in eight minutes.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (125 points)
2. Ben McLemore (123 points)
3. Travis Releford (118 points)
4. Elijah Johnson (99 points)
5. Kevin Young (91 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (81 points)
7. Perry Ellis (68 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (56 points)
9. Andrew White III (30 points)
10. Rio Adams (16 points)
11. Justin Wesley (9 points)

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