No. 9/8 Kansas Routs Richmond, 87-59

Dec. 18, 2012

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LAWRENCE, Kan.–Senior center Jeff Witheycollected career double-double No. 10 and moved into fifth all-time on the coveted career blocks list to lead the No. 9/8 Kansas men’s basketball team past the Richmond Spiders, 87-59, Tuesday evening inside Allen Fieldhouse.

In their first meeting since their 2011 Sweet Sixteen encounter, Kansas (9-1) shot out to a 20-point first-half lead and ran with it to snap a five-game win streak for Richmond (9-3). The win extended the Jayhawks’ home court win streak to 28-straight, matching the team’s longest since the 1969-71 season. A constant for the Kansas defense, Withey moved into fifth all-time on KU’s career blocked shots list with four on Tuesday, bringing his career total to 219 and passing former Jayhawk Scot Pollard (218). By halftime, the senior center was well on his way to the double-double with 11 points and eight rebounds. In the final frame, he grabbed his 10th rebound with nearly 14 minutes on the clock en route to 17 points and season-high 13 rebounds on the night to lead the Jayhawks’ dominating performance on the boards, 46-26. Redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore finished behind him with 14 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe chalked up a career-high 11 points. As a unit, KU chalked up a season-high 36 field goals on 61 attempts, for a 59 percent effort from the floor. Though Richmond came in on a five-game winning streak and its best start since the 1988 season, the Jayhawks held the Spiders to 18 points in the first half and a 32.8 percent shooting percentage for the game – both season-lows. Junior forward Derrick Williams led Richmond with 14 points as four Spiders registered in double-figures despite the low shooting efficiency. In what’s becoming a trend, McLemore got the Jayhawks on the scoreboard in their first possession as the rookie connected on an early three. Moments later, on a near perfect drive and assist from senior guard Elijah Johnson, McLemore took the short pass for a dunk and Kansas shot ahead, 9-3. A pair of threes from junior guard Cedrick Lindsay was all the KU defense would allow through the first seven minutes, building a 13-6 lead until the Spiders connected on a third trey to close the gap, 13-9. Coming in second in the Atlantic-10 three-point percentage, Richmond’s only points came from behind the arc until the 11:31 minute mark, when sophomore guard Anthony Kendall broke away for a fastbreak layup. Kendall’s steal-turned-layup only fueled Kansas the fire. Another three from McLemore and a short jumper from freshman forward Perry Ellis handed the home team its first double-digit lead of the evening, 22-11. Not more than a minute later, a put-back dunk by redshirt freshman forward Jamari Traylor off a missed free throw highlighted the 18-0 run that propelled Kansas past the 20-point lead barrier. With five minutes still remaining in the first half, both teams had taken 21 shots – Kansas made 14 of them, while the Spiders made only four. The lopsided scoring advantage provided the obvious answer to the KU’s 33-11 lead, but the Jayhawks also held a firm 20-6 lead on the boards, as well. By the end of the half, KU out-rebounded the visiting Spiders, 24-10. Following an eight-minute scoring drought, Richmond connected on seven-straight points to gain a little momentum as halftime approached. Withey and Young answered with consecutive baskets, however, to take a 39-18 lead into the break. Kansas kicked off the second half knocking down all four of its first four attempts to maintain the sizable lead, 47-27, with fifteen minutes to play. Richmond would dip under the 20-point deficit just once more, but with Kansas shooting at a 73 percent clip midway through the half, the Spiders fell into a slump they couldn’t shake. A 5-0 scoring burst from Tharpe prompted a Richmond timeout, while back-to-back dunk from Young powered KU’s advantage past 30 points, 64-33. Tharpe busted loose for another 6-0 spurt to tally his new career-high and put the game out of reach. Freshman guard Evan Manning collected his first points as a Jayhawk and sophomore guard Niko Roberts chipped in his first bucket of the year as Kansas went on to win, 87-59. UP NEXT No. 9/8 Kansas will travel to Columbus, Ohio to play No. 7 Ohio State on Saturday, Dec. 22, on CBS before returning home to host American University on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. to close out the 2012 calendar year. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.