Withey's double-double, McLemore's big night lift No. 9 Kansas past Richmond
- Article by: KATHLEEN GIER
- Associated Press
- December 19, 2012 - 12:23 AM
LAWRENCE, Kan. - The last time Richmond visited Allen Fieldhouse, the Spiders handed Kansas one of seven home losses in the Bill Self era.
The ninth-ranked Jayhawks weren't about to allow a repeat.
Richmond struggled against the stifling Kansas defense and shot just 32.8 percent for the game, settling for outside shots that simply wouldn't fall in an 87-59 loss Tuesday night.
The Spiders (9-3) scored a season-low 18 points in the first half and were unable to score over an 8-minute period, during which the Jayhawks went on a decisive 18-0 run.
"We shot so poorly to start the game that it really gave us a very difficult time defending them in transition and finding other ways to score," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said.
Kansas' Jeff Withey was an imposing force inside, finishing with 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. He moved to fifth place in program history with 219 career blocks.
"We needed to do a better job of penetrating," said Derrick Williams, who led the Spiders with 14 points. "I feel like guys were hesitating because he's a great shot blocker."
Four other Spiders finished in double-figures scoring, including a career-best performance from Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, who had 11 points and nine rebounds. All his points came in the second half, when he was 3 for 3 from the field and banked in a 3-pointer.
Travis Releford and Naadir Tharpe each added 11 points, and Elijah Johnson had seven assists for the Jayhawks (9-1), who will ride an eight-game win streak into a Saturday showdown at No. 7 Ohio State — a rematch of last year's national semifinal won by Kansas.
"We've done a good job of holding serve at home and playing with energy," Self said. "Now we'll find out how good we are. Let's be serious. The season starts Saturday."
It sure didn't start Tuesday night.
Richmond appeared stunned by the boisterous crowd of 16,300, allowing the Jayhawks to get out to a quick lead. The Spiders' 3-point shooting allowed them to crawl within 15-11 with 11 1/2 minutes left before everything suddenly went cold.
Johnson started the Jayhawks' big scoring binge with a third-chance basket, McLemore buried his second 3 of the half and fellow freshman Perry Ellis scored inside. On the next possession, McLemore scored and went to the foul line, missed the free throw and watched as Ellis put it back for a four-point trip and a 26-11 lead with 8:20 remaining on the clock.
Withey got into the act with a bucket and then a three-point play, and Johnson finished off the 18-0 run with a couple of free throws that made it 33-11 with 4:26 to go.
Williams, a burly junior forward, provided the basket that ended the Spiders' 8-minute-plus drought, and two more baskets by Richmond trimmed the lead to 15 points.
It was the closest the Spiders would get the rest of the way.
Kansas answered with another four-point trip — Withey scored and missed his foul shot, and Kevin Young was there for the follow. And then with 1.5 seconds left, Releford went to the foul line and made good on both of his free throws, getting a second chance after missing the second when Williams was called for a lane violation.
It all amounted to a 39-18 lead at halftime, with the Jayhawks shooting 57 percent from the field and holding a 24-10 edge on the glass.
The Jayhawks were merely in it for style points in the second half, at one point putting together another 18-2 run that made it 73-35 with 5:21 left. Kansas went through the motions down the stretch as it started to turn its attention toward the Buckeyes.
Kansas beat Ohio State at Allen Fieldhouse early last season before beating the Buckeyes again in the Final Four. The Jayhawks lost to Kentucky in the national title game.
"The next couple of days are going to be real important," Johnson said. "We are actually going to Ohio State, and I definitely think right now we are not as prepared as we can be. Starting tomorrow, when we wake up, it's a different mindset. I feel like what we haven't done yet is go to someone else's house and try to bring the pain."
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