Kansas gets the better of Kansas State in Big 12 showdown
Lawrence, KS (Sports Network) - Ben McLemore netted a game-high 30 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor -- including 6-of-10 from 3-point range -- as 14th-ranked Kansas stopped a three-game skid to crush No. 10 Kansas State, 83-62 in the Sunflower Showdown.
Jeff Withey registered a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds to go along with five blocks for the Jayhawks (20-4, 8-3 Big 12), who were in danger of equaling their longest losing streak in 24 years.
"The crowd was unbelievable," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "Our guys really manned up. We have been so bad for about a week, but the guys showed up. They fought tonight. I was so proud of them. The stats are the same, except we got them on the glass. We were so aggressive early on ... I don't know if I have seen us play with that much intensity and awareness than we did the first 20 minutes."
Rodney McGruder had 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals for the Wildcats (19-5, 8-3), who saw their four-game winning streak come to an end.
KSU's struggles continued versus their rival, as it has won just three of the last 49 matchups in the series. Angel Rodriguez added 17 points, six assists and three 3-pointers in defeat.
Rodriguez brought the visitors within 14-10 on fast break layup following a KU turnover, but the Jayhawks exploded on a 21-6 flurry. Kevin Young emphatically kicked off the swing with a slam, before McLemore stole the ball from Will Spradling for an easy layup with 5:39 before the break, giving KU a 35-16 lead.
"I thought we battled for the first seven or eight minutes and then they went on a spurt," Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber said. "The only disappointing thing was our defense, our toughness, and our discipline were not there today."
McLemore and Young then helped turn a 42-26 edge with 1 1/2 remaining into a 47-29 halftime lead with a 3-pointer and layup, respectively, although Southwell nailed a triple slightly helping the wounded Wildcats.
McLemore had 17 points and three 3-pointers in the first half and missed just one of his six field goal attempts.
"He is a big time guy," Self said about the play of McLemore. "These are just kids and they are facing different pressures than what they have ever faced in their life. I think that Ben, the last week or two weeks, hasn't had that same smile, that same youthful exuberance that you would expect him to have. Tonight he just played. He is such a talented kid that when he just goes out and plays and has that bounce, he is hard to guard."
The Jayhawks kept up their intensity in the second half, as Withey brought the home crowd to its feet with a posterizing slam dunk over Jordan Henriquez, good for a three-point play to make it 61-43 just over 7 1/2 minutes in.
McGruder, who only had three first half points, provided most of the offense for the Wildcats in the second, as they trailed by double-digits the entire half.
McLemore's 3-pointer with 8:43 to play increased the margin to 75-50 before the home team cruised to the victory for the remainder of the contest.
Kansas' three-game skid was its longest since Feb. 14-19 of 2005 ... The Jayhawks lead the all-time series, 185-91 ... KU picked up a 59-55 victory at KSU on Jan. 22 ... The Wildcats have lost 18 of 19 in Allen Fieldhouse dating back to 1995 ... The victory gave KU 20 wins for the 24th consecutive season ... The Jayhawks are 3-1 this season versus ranked foes ... Kansas shot 48.3 percent, compared to 40 percent from KSU ... It was McLemore's 20th birthday.
02/12 00:29:59 ET