• Key play: KU’s Naadir Tharpe cut into the lane and found Ben McLemore for an open three-pointer that gave the Jayhawks a 28-13 lead with 8:11 left in the first half.
• Key stat: Tharpe finished with six assists in the first half.
• Key play: Midway through the second half, KU center Jeff Withey punctuated a hard slam and foul with a “Superman” pose.
• Key stat: KU won the rebounding battle for the game, 41-23.
Withey sets the record
Kansas center Jeff Withey knew it was coming, but he made it official on Monday night, becoming Kansas’ all-time leading shot-blocker with five blocks against Kansas State.
Withey, who entered the night tied with former KU center Greg Ostertag with 258 career blocks, now has 263 blocks for his career. He’s also just one block short of tying former Texas center Chris Mihm for the Big 12 record.
• K-State’s loss at Kansas weakened its hold on the top spot of the Big 12 standings, but the Wildcats, 8-3 in the Big 12, are still in first place. They are tied with Kansas, and a half game ahead of Oklahoma State, which can make it a three-way tie on Wednesday. The Wildcats still like the position they are in.
“We are still in first place,” coach Bruce Weber said. “I told them, ‘If we win the rest of our games we win the league.’ That’s going to be tough, but at the same time that’s how we have to approach it. We can’t let one loss become two.”
Up next for K-State is a home game against Baylor on Saturday, followed by another Big Monday tilt against West Virginia at Bramlage Coliseum.
“Are we going to come into practice on Wednesday ready to compete, or are we going to feel sorry for ourselves?” senior Rodney McGruder said. “That’s the main thing, but I know my teammates. We are going to come in on Wednesday ready to fight.”
• The Wildcats debuted new Nike hooded warmups before the game. But the purple-and-white jackets weren’t a hit with players. After falling behind by 18 in the first half all but two players ditched them and returned to the court wearing their traditional black warmups.
• After a loss to Oklahoma State last Saturday, KU avoided its first two-game losing streak at Allen Fieldhouse since it lost four straight during the 1988-89 season.
• Despite the loss, McGruder kept his hot-scoring streak going by finishing with 20 points. He was at his best in the second half, scoring 17 points.
• Despite playing in foul trouble, senior Travis Releford responded with 10 points in 22 minutes after a quiet week during KU’s three-game slide.
| Rustin Dodd, email@example.com, and Kellis Robinett, firstname.lastname@example.org