No. 10 Kansas Holds Off Oregon State, 84-78, in Kansas City

Nov. 30, 2012

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Box Score KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Travis Releford, Ben McLemore and center Jeff Withey combined for 58 points while Kansas shot a blistering 60 percent from the field to help No. 10 Kansas outlast Oregon State, 84-78, in the BMO Harris Bank Kansas City Shootout inside the Sprint Center Friday night.

The Jayhawks improved to 6-1 for the sixth time in the last seven seasons and notched their third win of the year inside the friendly confines of Sprint Center. The loss moved Oregon State to 4-2 on the year.

Releford and Withey missed just two field goal attempts while scoring 20 and 17 points, respectively, and Ben McLemore poured in a team-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Kansas made 33-of-55 shots while shooting a season-best mark and topped 80 points for the first time this season.

Kansas had trouble closing out the Beavers, holding double-digit leads in each half only to see OSU cut the score to a one-possession game on numerous occasions in the waning moments. Devon Collier’s dunk with 15 seconds to go made it a three-point contest but the Jayhawks never relinquished the lead and have led throughout each of the last four games – a total of 173:51 extending into the second half of the Chattanooga game.

The game began as a sloppy affair with both teams combining for 12 turnovers in the opening 12 minutes. Despite the careless play, the Jayhawks were able to distance themselves by 11-points with just over eight minutes to go in the half.

McLemore did the majority of the heavy lifting in the opening 20 minutes, shooting 6-of-8 from the field including a 3-of-5 clip from beyond the arc to tally 15 points, before being forced to the bench near the seven minute mark after picking up his second foul. The redshirt sophomore from St. Louis provided the highlight of the night when he nabbed an OSU inbounds pass at midcourt and drove down for a thunderous one-handed slam that brought the crowd of 18,789 to their feet.

OSU remained persistent, going on a 13-0 run to keep itself in the game. After the Beavers pulled even at 37-37 with 2:18 left before the intermission, a Withey block sparked a quick 5-0 Jayhawk spurt that put the KU ahead 42-39 heading into the break.

After being challenged with the rest of the guards at the half, Releford picked up where McLemore left off, putting in eight points in the first six minutes to spark a 15-5 KU run to again put the Beavers at arm’s length and gave Kansas a 63-50 lead with a little more than 12 minutes to play.

KU couldn’t put the collar on Oregon State junior guard Ahmad Starks, who exploded for a game-high 25 points, 21 of those coming from beyond the arc. Starks’ hot shooting fought his team back in the contest, pulling the Beavers within three points with nine minutes left on the clock.

It was then Withey’s turn to pick up the Jayhawks, scoring four of KU’s 54 points in the paint to extend their lead back to double figures. Kansas used some clutch shooting from the charity stipe (8-of-11) in the final five minutes to help it stave off the late Oregon State rally, closing out the 84-78 victory.

Oregon State’s Eric Moreland led all players with 16 rebounds – half of the Beaver total – and Relford grabbed seven to pace the Jayhawks. KU’s Kevin Young joined the Jayhawk trio in double figures with 10 points and OSU’s Roberto Nelson (17) and Collier (12) each reached double digits.

The Jayhawks will return to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, Dec. 8 when they take on another Pac-12 foe in former Big 12-member Colorado. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. and the game will be carried nationally on ESPN2. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.