No. 7 Kansas Wraps Up Washington State Early, 78-41
Nov. 19, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Senior guard Travis Releford broke his previous season-high before the conclusion of the first half, powering his team to the 50-point mark by halftime and leading No. 12 Kansas to a convincing 78-41 win against Washington State in the championship semifinal round of the Edward Jones CBE Hall of Fame Classic, Monday night inside the Sprint Center.
Kansas (3-1) handed Washington State (2-1) its first loss of the season and picked up its 200th win all-time in Kansas City, Mo., as the team advanced to its second CBE Championship game in as many years. KU will take on Saint Louis in Tuesday’s title game at 8:30 p.m.
The Jayhawks broke out to a 14-4 lead before the first media timeout and never looked back, building a 50-21 lead by halftime for its first 50-point half since scoring 51 against Oklahoma State on Feb.11 of last year. By the second half, Kansas’ 44-point advantage with 5:56 left in the second half was the largest lead in a game for the Jayhawks since Kansas led Howard by 55 late in KU’s 89-34 win last season in Allen Fieldhouse (12/29/11).
Releford had much to do with it, as he finished with a season-high 17 points on a night that saw 10 different Jayhawks contribute to the scoreboard, the most this season. Releford and redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore racked up 11 points in the first half, but McLemore wouldn’t score again. Freshman forward Perry Elllis and senior guard Elijah Johnson joined the double-figure leaderboard with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
As a team, the Jayhawks finished the evening 25-for-55 from the floor, led in large part to a 15-for-25 effort in the first half. Defensively, Kansas held the Cougars to less than 30 percent (17-for-57) shooting. Senior forward Brock Motum was the only WSU player to finish in double-digits, scoring 14 points on the evening.
The Releford and McLemore combo got the offense out to a 14-4 start, thanks to six early points from the freshman guard before the first media timeout. The Jayhawks kicked off the evening hitting six of their first seven shots, capped by a three-pointer from the top of the key from senior guard Elijah Johnson to push KU ahead, 19-6, and prompting a timeout from the WSU bench. The timeout only slowed the Jayhawks’ momentum as sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe knocked down a long two to strengthen the lead, 21-6, not yet seven minutes in.
Kansas looked strong in all facets during the early goings, out-rebounding the Cougars, 8-2, midway through the first half. One of which turned a missed three from Tharpe into a made one for Johnson, helping KU to a 5-of-10 mark from three-point territory in the opening frame. The Jayhawks finished the night with a season-high eight three-pointers made.
The Jayhawk offense cooled slightly midway through the first half, but it was short lived. A Releford three and a layup from freshman forward Perry Ellis shot Kansas out to a 20-point lead, 43-21, and KU maintained a comfortable double-digit lead for the remainder of the first half.
Although Kansas started the second half hitting five of its first 15 attempts, the Jayhawks had all the momentum they needed. A jumper by Johnson propelled KU out to its first 30-point lead of the season with 15 minutes to play. The shot sparked a rapid fire of Jayhawk offense. Releford poured in six more points, freshman guard Andrew White III hit the second three-pointer of his career and KU surged ahead, 70-31, directly under the eight-minute mark.
With the game firmly in hand, head coach Bill Self used the opportunity to dole out experience to his bench players. Freshmen guards Rio Adams and White III each saw career highs in minutes with eight and nine, respectively. Fellow rookies Evan Manning and Tyler Self checked in, as well, for their first appearances as Jayhawks.
Junior forward Justin Wesley and redshirt freshman Jamari Traylor each added three points in the final minutes and KU secured the 78-41 win.
No. 12 Kansas will face St. Louis on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in the championship game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. The Jayhawks will then take a break for Thanksgiving before returning home to face San Jose State on Monday, Nov. 26, at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.
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