Bench Plays Important Role in Big Victory

Dec. 30, 2011

By Matt Franzblau, Media Relations Student Assistant

123011aaa_161_5899098.jpegLAWRENCE, Kan. – Sitting at the table during KU’s post game press conference Monday night were Conner Teahan, Jordan Juenemann and Kevin Young. The trio took questions following their team’s 89-34 victory over Howard, and even though they only had one career start amongst them, the lime light was well deserved.

“It is great to get some time out there after all the reps in practice,” said senior Jordan Juenemann. “We have had some tough close games and have played on the road, so some of us walk-on’s and other guys at the end of the bench have not had a chance to get in.”

That trend changed Monday night as eight different members of Bill Self’s bench took the floor throughout the course of the game. The first was redshirt senior Conner Teahan, who lead the bench in points scored with his 13, nine of which came off of three pointers.

“I have been here four years with Conner and haven’t seen anybody shoot the ball better than him,” Juenemann said. “It is great seeing him this year, doing what he has been doing and getting this opportunity to play because he has been shooting like this since the first day of practice.”

The 6-6 guard had a stellar night from beyond the arc, going 3-5, while grabbing five rebounds. Another non-starter close to cracking double-digits in points was freshman Merv Lindsay, who finished with nine on the night in just his eight minutes on the Fieldhouse floor.

123011aaa_161_5899141.jpeg“He has shown a lot of improvement during the course of the season,” Teahan said about the first year player from California. “He had his opportunities tonight and he was able to make them count.”

Lindsay had not scored in his previous two minutes played this season, and added an additional three rebounds to his career totals.

“The bench showed a lot more than we have been showing,” said junior transfer Kevin Young. “That’s just because we came out aggressive, stayed after it and had a lot of energy.”

That energy helped Young net seven points; grab six rebounds and three steals in 18 total minutes of play.

As a unit, the bench scored 42 points, grabbed 21 rebounds and came away with six steals in 94 total minutes of play. They also shot 57 percent from the field and dished out ten assists.

“It was nice that coach (Self) gave us the opportunity tonight to go out and play and have some fun,” Juenemann said.

Happy with his decision to give them that opportunity, KU coach Bill Self talked about his bench’s production after the 55-point victory.

“That was a good game for them to get a lot of minutes,” Self said. “I thought Naadir (Tharpe) did some good things and made some really nice passes, but really I thought they all did some good things.”

123011aaa_161_5899118.jpegTharpe led KU’s non-starters in assists with five and saw 17 minutes of play, 12 of which came in the second half. It was the second longest the freshman had played all season, two minutes shy of the 19 he saw in KU’s season opener versus Towson (Nov. 11).

“Pretty much everyone on our team can play,” Teahan said. “When they are in there at the end of the game, some might expect us to fall off a bit, but they work as hard as we do every single day.”

That hard work will continue Saturday afternoon versus North Dakota at Allen Fieldhouse as those not in the starting five will be waiting for their turn to shine.