McLemore And Withey Shine In Kansas' 91-65 Victory Over West Virginia
March 2, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore exploded for a career-best 36 points and senior center Jeff Withey narrowly missed a triple-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks in leading the fifth-ranked Jayhawks to a 91-65 win over West Virginia Saturday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse.
With the win the Jayhawks improved their record to 25-4 on the season and 13-3 in conference action, while the loss dropped the Mountaineers to 13-16 on the season and 6-10 in Big 12 play.
McLemore was on fire, knocking down 12-of-15 field goals, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc on his way to surpassing his previous personal best mark of 33 points scored in an overtime win over Iowa State on Jan. 9. His 36 points marked the top scoring performance by a freshman in KU history as 28 years to the day (March 2, 1985) Danny Manning poured in 35 points in an 88-79 win over Oklahoma State. The 36-point effort also makes him the first Jayhawk freshman to have three or more 30-point scoring games in their inaugural season.
McLemore ignited a 21-6 run midway through the first half to turn an early seven point KU deficit into a 30-22 lead over the visiting Mountaineers. WVU’s Terry Henderson hit a three-pointer to stop the run and trim the KU lead back to five points at 30-25 with 4:20 remaining in the opening period, but that was as close as the Big 12 newcomers would get. KU would finish the half on a 15-6 run to take a 45-31 lead into the break and never look back.
While McLemore was scoring in bunches, Withey was all over the court for Kansas. The San Diego, Calif., native made 7-of-8 shots from the field on his way his 24th double figure scoring game of the year. Withey was especially effective on the defensive end of the floor pulling down nine of his 10 caroms on the defensive glass to go along with his nine rejections.
Fresh off his career-best 39-point performance in KU’s 108-96 overtime win at Iowa State five days ago, senior guard Elijah Johnson was again impressive turning in his third-career double-double with 12 points and 10 dimes. Johnson made three of his four shot attempts from long range and also pulled down five boards.
Naadir Tharpe was efficient for Kansas off the bench. Tharpe contributed eight points off of 3-of-5 shooting from the floor, including knocking down both of his attempts from three. He also dished six assists and collected two steals in his 19 minutes of play.
Kansas had a strong shooting performance in the win, making 34-of-60 shots from the field, good for 56.7 percent. KU had its second best performance on the season from beyond the arc, making 11-of-18 threes, good for 61.1 percent.
The Jayhawks held WVU to just 32.8 percent shooting from the field, including a 33.3 effort from beyond the arc. Henderson led the way for the Mountaineers with 20 points, making 6-of-9 shots from three-point range, while Dominique Rutledge posted a double-double in the loss with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Kansas will return to Allen Fieldhouse for `Senior Night’ on Monday, March 6, when it plays host to Texas Tech at 6 p.m., in a game televised on ESPNU. KU will honor its four-member senior class as it’s the 2012-13 home finale for the Jayhawks.