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11/20/12, 11:53 AM
Not sure he has one. RT @deutschmarine: McLemore's ceiling?
Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops)
Kansas University senior Travis Releford slapped hands with teammate Naadir Tharpe, then with a huge smile on his face, trotted to Sprint Center’s center court to receive his glass MVP trophy late Tuesday night.
“I’m excited for it,” said Releford, a 6-foot-6 senior, after being named the CBE Hall of Fame Classic’s top performer after scoring 23 points — 21 the first half — in KU’s 73-59 victory over Saint Louis.
“My teammates supported me throughout the struggles before I got here. I think it means a lot for my family and the city.”
Releford, who grew up in KC and attended Roeland Park’s Bishop Miege High, entered the two-day event 0-for-11 from three and 6-of-23 overall in the Jayhawks’ first three games.
Saint Louis’ defense elected to play off him during the first half, even though he did hit six of seven shots (two of three from three) in KU’s 78-41 first-round victory over Washington State on Monday night.
Did he feel disrespected by the Billikens?
“Of course,” Releford said. “I’m a player. Any player who is defended that way should feel disrespected. They played off. My teammates and coaches continued to tell me to shoot it. That’s what I did.”
…Withey, who along with Ben McLemore (11 points, six rebounds) made the all tournament team, had four blocked shots and four rebounds to go with 10 first-half points. He finished with seven blocks and five rebounds.
Withey had a highlight-film block of a long three-point attempt by Mike McCall Jr. just before halftime. McCall fouled Withey as he retrieved the ball. Withey hit a pair of free throws — he made 11 of 14 on the night — with 7.9 seconds remaining in the half.
“Jeff was good on both ends,” Self said.
KU’s coach grinned when a reporter asked about Withey muscling the ball into the goal.
“That’s the first time I heard the word ‘muscle’ to speak of Jeff,” Self deadpanned. “He made some good post moves.”
Withey ran the floor hard to establish position at both ends, didn’t let anybody shove him out of the way and put his signature all over a 73-59 victory in which KU played high-quality November basketball for the second night in a row.
Withey attempted just 12 shots from the field and scored 25 points to go with seven blocked shots, two steals and five rebounds. He scored 12 of his team’s final 16 points, and the closer the game became, the more he impacted it.
Kansas had a double-digit lead from the 9:50 point of the first half until the 3:51 mark of the second half, when Cody Ellis hit a three-pointer to cut the KU lead to 65-56.
In a span of 1:34, Withey scored the next six points on a driving bank, a dunk and two free throws to put the game safely away.
His scoring total matched a career-high…
With a five-day break sandwiched around the Thanksgiving holiday, the Jayhawks can now feast on turkey and take stock of their season while the Tryptophan takes hold. It’s a season that feels a little more buoyant now, after two solid performances in the Sprint Center. Last week at this time, the Jayhawks were returning from Atlanta after a second-half collapse against Michigan State. What a difference a week makes.
“We got better over here,” Self said. “That was the big key. You gotta try to win two games, but we need to get better. And we accomplished that.”
Consider: Freshman guard Ben McLemore now looks like the efficient scorer that the Jayhawks need, with plenty of potential still untapped. Senior center Jeff Withey is averaging nearly five blocks per game after tying his career high with 25 points and seven blocks on Tuesday.
Forward Kevin Young finally looks healthy, adding a jolt on both ends of the floor. And the KU defense held Saint Louis to just 26.1 percent shooting while forcing 10 turnovers in a smothering first half.
Finally, there was Releford, who left his hometown with some hardware.
“I really think if you don’t worry about scoring, then scoring naturally comes,” Self said. “And I think that’s what happened tonight.”
The Jayhawks have five days to rest before taking on San Jose State at Allen Fieldhouse on Monday. But a week after the disappointment of Atlanta, this felt like an ideal two-night stay in Kansas City.
“We got a lot closer,” Withey said. “And losing like that early, it’s good and bad. It’s bad because you obviously lose, but it’s good because you realize you’re not as good as you think you are.”
Crews said turnovers were one of the main reasons his team struggled offensively in the first half. SLU had 10 first-half giveaways before turning it over just twice after halftime.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the Billikens played even with the Jayhawks (34-34) in the second half.
“We came out flat. I don’t know the reason for that,” said SLU forward Cody Ellis, who led his team with 19 points. “We’ve got to be ready to go from the very start.”
LJW: Withey takes top spot
Big 12/College News
An Iowa college basketball player shattered the NCAA’s single-game scoring record Tuesday night.
Jack Taylor of Grinnell College put up 138 points in a 179-104 Division III basketball win over Faith Baptist Bible College.
The sophomore guard put up an astounding 108 shots and drained 52 of them. He was also 27 for 71 from 3-point range on his way to breaking the old NCAA scoring record by 25 points. The previous record of 113 was set in 1954 by Bevo Francis.
This is the sophomore guard’s first year with Grinnell. He transferred to the school from the University of Wisconsin Lacrosse.
Up until Tuesday’s game, he was having a pretty average season. In his first two games, Taylor scored 19 and 28 points, respectively.
Video at the link
Oklahoma State has become the latest Big 12 school to partner with Fox Sports on an additional multimedia rights agreement.
The multiyear deal announced Tuesday allows Fox Sports to televise one Cowboys football game each season, plus men's basketball and Olympic sports that aren't included in the school's television agreement through the Big 12.
Rutgers University’s defection Tuesday from the Big East Conference to join the Big Ten has rekindled the University of Louisville’s interest in a new home for its athletic programs.
And Maryland’s impending departure from the Atlantic Coast Conference has created a possible landing spot.
U of L and Connecticut are logical candidates to fill the new void; now they must convince the ACC that they belong. Jonathan Blue, a member of U of L’s board of trustees, said it is “in a waiting mode,” adding that he hopes the situation will be treated with a sense of urgency.
“I do have confidence in the administration to overcome this,” Blue said. “We just need to do it now.”
On Tuesday afternoon, U of L President James Ramsey held an impromptu news conference at Louisville International Airport, saying he would welcome the chance to join the ACC. He said the university had not had direct contact with the league.
“We’ll keep working every day to position ourselves,” he said, adding later, “Things will play out, and they will play out well for the university.”
The impending race to become the ACC’s 14th team has stirred debate about the importance of market size, academic profile, geography and an athletic program’s success.
With a history-rich and No. 2-ranked basketball team, a thriving football squad and lavish facilities, U of L, on the exterior, seems to be an attractive expansion candidate. Yet the Cardinals have been passed over time and again. Last fall, the Big 12 replaced Missouri by selecting West Virginia over Louisville.
“I think the feeling there was that, in football, West Virginia had the stronger program,” Chuck Neinas, the Big 12’s former interim commissioner, said Tuesday.
Morehead State coach Sean Woods is a Kentucky basketball legend. Woods was a member of the “Unforgettables,” a Wildcats squad that endured the aftermath of a major scandal that hit the program with a postseason ban until the 1991-92 season. That year, Woods and Co. reached the Elite Eight, where they were defeated by Duke via Christian Laettner’s famous buzzer-beater.
Woods’ jersey hangs from the rafters at Rupp Arena.
So how will Kentucky fans react to his criticism of the current Wildcats squad, a team his Eagles will face Wednesday?
Woods told the Louisville Courier-Journal Monday that the Wildcats had “a sense of entitlement” when he encountered some of the squad’s players during a fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Sandy:
Morehead State University basketball coach Sean Woods said he will always be a University of Kentucky Wildcat at heart. But the former UK star was critical of the current crop of Wildcats.
Two days before Morehead will travel to Rupp Arena, Woods had some somewhat harsh words about UK’s players. He said he encountered some of the Wildcats while participating in the UK telethon at WKYT in Lexington earlier this month to raise funds to benefit the victims of Superstorm Sandy.
Woods said he didn’t like “the vibe” and sensed a feeling of entitlement.
“These kids don’t know anything,” the Indianapolis native said. “I’ll bet you any type of money that besides the kids from Kentucky that are on UK’s team, they couldn’t tell you anything about one player in the history of Kentucky basketball. When I walked in the door (as a UK freshman) I knew about every player.”
After dominating Mississippi State on Monday, the North Carolina Tar Heels got a rude wake-up call versus Butler on Tuesday. On Monday evening I wrote: “North Carolina has much more talent, but the Bulldogs are scrappy and well-coached. The Tar Heels are more of a finesse team. The physicality of Butler could give the Heels problems.” That’s exactly what happened. North Carolina was outrebounded 36-27 and Butler beat them to just about every loose ball.
After the game, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams admitted that he had the better players, but Butler and coach Brad Stevens had the better, tougher team. “They were more physical, more assertive and more aggressive,” Williams said. “They're really good. Brad's clubs are really intelligent. I like their toughness and their intelligence more than their talent, and I'm not trying to put down their talent. But I love their toughness and their intelligence.”
…Most of the NBA scouts and general managers in the audience savaged McAdoo for his performance the past two games. “He looks good in a basketball uniform,” one GM told me. “But after that, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to like. He’s a pretty good athlete, but he isn’t very skilled and he doesn’t go hard all the time. There’s not one thing he does that really stands out about his game. He certainly hasn’t played like a top-five pick.”
…The Texas debacle continued Tuesday with a 59-53 overtime loss to USC. The good news? The Longhorns didn’t get blown out this time and played with more urgency. The bad news? Offensively this team is just a mess. When (or is it if?) the Longhorns get Myck Kabongo back, they’ll be better. But I don’t think he has the talent alone to turn things around. There just isn’t a lot of talent around Kabongo. Sophomore Sheldon McClellan has struggled in Maui, going just 8-for-25 from the field and 1-for-11 from 3. Freshman big man Cameron Ridley was ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the country by ESPN, but he’s looked out of shape and overwhelmed in the early going.It could be a long year, Texas fans.
ESPN Chad Ford
Derrick Marks nearly led Boise State past Michigan State, only to leave his coach upset that foolish fouls had taken him out of the game.
Marks' 24 points, including 11-for-12 work at the foul line, weren't quite enough as he fouled out with 2:37 left and Leon Rice's Broncos lost to No. 15 Michigan State 74-70.
"We just wanted to come in and attack them," said Marks, whose team that already had beaten Texas Southern, Oakland and Louisiana in the five-team Spartan Shootout.
But his coach could only wonder what might have happened if Marks could have stayed in the game instead of letting Michigan State's Keith Appling take over the game.
A Wall Street Journal story on Friday delved into the cultural and political implications of the success of the Kansas State University football team this year, and KU made an appearance.
The story gets a little bit into the relations between K-State and KU, and the description of that will be familiar for anyone well-versed on the traditional stereotypes defining the differences between the two.
"Even by Kansas standards, the Wildcats are unheralded," it says. "Their identity is built around insults, typically cow-related, hurled from the manicured lawns of its larger and more urbane sister, the rival University of Kansas."
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