Releford leads No. 6 Kansas past American, 89-57
- Article by: DOUG TUCKER
- Associated Press
- December 29, 2012 - 9:12 PM
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Travis Releford scored 19 points and No. 6 Kansas hit a scorching 13 of its first 18 3-point attempts, rolling to an 89-57 victory over American University on Saturday night.
Kansas (11-1) took command with a 21-4 spree in the opening minutes and wound up with six players scoring at least nine points against the outmanned Eagles (4-9). Releford was 7 for 8 from the floor, including 5 of 6 3-pointers. Elijah Johnson had 12 points and was 4 for 5 from behind the arc as the Jayhawks finished with 15-for-24 3-point shooting.
Freshman Perry Ellis had 11 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double.
American University had one little spurt, opening the second half with a modest 8-2 run, trimming a 53-26 halftime deficit to 55-34. But then Jeff Withey, with an assist from Releford, moved in for a dunk, Releford followed with his fourth 3-pointer and Ellis connected from behind the arc and the runaway was back on.
Stephen Lumpkins had 16 points and six rebounds for the Eagles, who were coming off a 65-48 beating at the hands of then-No. 15 Georgetown. John Schoof had 14 points for American and joined the Jayhawks in the 3-point fest by going 4 for 4 from behind the arc.
Kansas hit 63 percent for the game and held the Eagles to 35 percent. Kansas outrebounded the visitors 37-28.
The Jayhawks drilled five straight 3-pointers during their take-command run in the first half while stretching their home winning streak to 29, second nationally behind only No. 9 Syracuse. From there, it was just a matter of how lopsided the final score would be for the visitors from Washington, D.C.
With leading scorer Ben McLemore on the bench because of two quick fouls, the Jayhawks got the run started when his replacement, Naadir Tharpe, connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing.
Johnson hit 3-pointers on successive trips down the court, then Kevin Young — one of four senior starters on Bill Self's 10th Kansas team — stole the ball at midcourt and drove in for a thunder dunk.
Daniel Munoz dropped in a 10-footer for the Eagles, and then Releford and Tharpe hit 3-pointers. Jeff Withey dunk made it 23-9 before Andrew White rimmed out a 3-pointer, ending the long-range streak. For the half, the Jayhawks were 8 for 12 from behind the arc.
Tharpe had nine points on 3-for-4 3-point shooting. Johnson missed only one of five 3-point attempts and finished with 12 points while Withey had 11.
When McLemore canned a 3-pointer about midway through the first half for a 76-39 lead, the Jayhawks had missed only five of 18 from behind the arc. The percentage dipped a bit in the final minutes as Kansas put its reserves in the game.
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