It was a Big Monday game for the Kansas Jayhawks in many ways on February 11, 2013. Kansas needed to beat Kansas State to stay in the lead pack for the Big 12 Conference title. Kansas was trying to avoid hitting a 4 game losing streak since 1983. KU reminded the college basketball nation that they are still a force to be reckoned with when they thumped higher ranked Kansas State 83-62 in Allen Fieldhouse in front of a frenzied 16,000 plus fans.
It was a game until the 18 minute mark in the first half. The game was tied and then KU took the lead for good when Travis Releford shot in a 3 pointer at 17:35 in the first half. After that, it wasn’t a contest as Kansas drove the lead to as much as 23 points before settling for a 21 point win.
Jeff Withey swatted his record-breaking block before the first media timeout, recording his 259th career block at the 16:28 mark. The senior center finished the night with five and 263 for his career, which passed Greg Ostertag's 258 for the most blocked shots in Kansas basketball history. Withey ended his historic evening with his eighth double-double of the year, tallying 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Ben McLemore turned 20 on Monday and in the first half alone, McLemore racked up 17 points, missing only one field goal while sinking three treys and all four free throws. He totaled 30 points, his most since chalking up his career-high 33 points against Iowa State, on 9-for-13 shooting, including six three-pointers to tie his career high.
Kansas dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Wildcats by 41-23. That was key as well as Kansas setting the pace on offense. KU held KSU to 40% shooting, but when KU shot 48.3% from the floor and 86.4% from the free throw line, Kansas State couldn’t compete.
It was a win in a different way than Kansas had been winning before their losing streak. The emphasis was on rebounding and cleaning up with second chance points. KSU actually beat Kansas on the fast break points and three point shooting, but Kansas dominated the glass and the interior. They hit the gas on offense and challenged Kansas State to keep up, focusing less on grinding defense to disrupt the Wildcats’ offense. It was a win that Kansas fans were hoping for the not only break the streak, but to show everyone that this Jayhawk team is capable of playing a solid all around game. Offense, defense, free throws, rebounding, second chance scoring and converting turnovers were all there. Jayhawk Nation crosses its fingers that the team that played Monday night continues to show up for the remainder of the season.
See the final stats at this link.
Kansas will stay in Lawrence and play the Texas Longhorns at Allen Fieldhouse for ESPN College Gameday, Saturday at 8 P.M.
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