In some ways, KU did a much better job guarding Oklahoma State freshman Marcus Smart on Wednesday night than it did earlier this month at Allen Fieldhouse.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
Smart finished with 16 points, but he made just two of 14 shots from the field. He also had just one offensive rebound after finishing with eight against Kansas in Oklahoma State’s 85-80 win at Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 2.
In other ways, the Jayhawks still couldn’t find ways to slow Smart, who shot 14 free throws and hit a huge three-pointer near the end of regulation.
“He’s a man,” KU coach Bill Self said. “He’s a man. Even today, we couldn’t guard him any better than that, and he goes two for 14, but he still gets to the free-throw line and makes his free throws.”
A lift from Withey
With Kansas’ offense stagnant for most of the night, the Jayhawks got a key lift from senior center Jeff Withey, who finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds and made 11 of 14 from the free-throw line.
“We just kind of puttered around,” Self said. “And we just decided we’re gonna throw the ball inside, and Jeff would get fouled and that’s what happened.”
Watch what you tweet
Self addressed a string of tweets from freshman guard Rio Adams that created a stir on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon. Adams’ emotional outburst hinted that he was unhappy with his playing time while struggling to adjust to a new environment.
Among the tweets: “There’s no question that I would of been getting mad minutes anywhere else in America people it’s a #fact.”
“I read the tweets, and they weren’t the best in the world, but they also weren’t the worst,” Self said. “He needs to mature and grow up a little bit, and this will be a great teaching moment for him.”
KU will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its 1988 NCAA championship team, as well as the 115th year of Kansas basketball, during Saturday’s game against Texas Christian at Allen Fieldhouse.
Members of the 1988 title team are expected to be in attendance, in addition to players from the past decades of Kansas basketball.
Key play: KU freshman forward Jamari Traylor followed up a missed shot with an emphatic jam, giving KU a 22-20 lead with 3:50 left.
Key stat: KU freshman Ben McLemore was zero for eight from the field in the first half.
Key play: With the game tied at 57-57 in the final seconds, KU center Jeff Withey stepped up the floor and cut off Marcus Smart, making sure the Cowboys didn’t get a good look.
Key stat: The teams played exactly even in the first and second halves
Key play: Naadir Tharpe dropped in the game-winner with 16.5 seconds left, helping KU to a 68-67 victory.
Key stat: KU center Jeff Withey was 11 of 14 from the free-throw line.