November 26, 2012
Nearly eight minutes still remained when Withey swatted the last remaining block he needed, cementing himself as one of two official triple-doubles in Jayhawk history. The San Diego, Calif., native ended the night with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 12 blocks – the most by a Jayhawk in a single game. He joins Cole Aldrich as the only other Jayhawk to officially record the basketball milestone. Wilt Chamberlain is believed to have recorded the feat twice and B.H. Born once, but blocked shots were not officially recorded at Kansas until the 1974-75 season.
The historical highlight helped deter the attention from the back-and forth scoring rallies that ensued between No. 10 Kansas (5-1) and San Jose State (2-3). In the teams’ first meeting, the Spartans closed the first half on a 7-0 run before Kansas opened the second half on its own 20-4 run. SJSU pushed back with a 16-0 scoring rally before the Jayhawks ultimately put the game away.
Defending Big 12 Player of the Week, senior guard Travis Releford, shot a perfect 4-for-4 from the field in the opening half, racking up a team-leading 11 points, but quieted in the second half to finish with 13 points. Redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore and senior guard Elijah Johnson chipped in 13 points, as well.
The Jayhawks wrapped up the evening shooting 43 percent on a 26-for-60 combined effort, while SJSU finished at 29 percent (19-for-65).
For the Spartans, senior guard James Kinney erased KU’s hot second-half start almost entirely on his own in the closing minutes of the game. After Kansas held SJSU without a field goal for the first eight minutes of the final frame, Kinney charged back with 19 second-half points. He ended the night with 30 points; the most KU has surrendered to an opposing player this season.
It took just 10 seconds for McLemore to score his first dunk of the night as Kansas raced out to a 10-4 start. He converted a three-point play to extend the early lead, 17-8, in the opening minutes. The Jayhawks kept their lead to a handful of points midway through the first half before a pair of Spartan free throws cut the KU lead to four.
Though Kansas’ shooting performance got out to a slow start, Withey was there to bat away the Spartans’ attempts at tying the game. As the five minute-mark neared in the first half, Withey already had five blocks to his credit. His fifth one sparked the Jayhawks on the other end of the floor as back-to-back buckets from McLemore and Releford pushed KU’s lead to double-digits for the first time on the evening, 31-21. The duo teamed up for consecutive baskets less than two minutes later and the Jayhawks appeared to pull away with halftime approaching.
SJSU responded to a late three from Releford with a 7-0 run, narrowing KU’s advantage to eight by halftime, 40-32.
The Jayhawks came out firing out of the break, jumping out to an 11-2 run before the first media timeout in the second half to return their lead to a comfortable double-figure margin, 51-34. In the same span, Withey added three more blocks to his total to land at nine with more than 16 minutes still on the clock.
Meanwhile, he and the rest of the Kansas defense held the Spartans to a 0-for-12 start from the floor, refusing to surrender a basket until the 12:04 mark. Although Kansas had shot out to a 60-36 lead by then, SJSU played with a catch-up mentality. Kinney went on a 10-2 run on his own and was joined by junior forward Louis Garrett’s three-pointer to climb back in it, 60-46.
At the 7:48 mark, Withey recorded the last block he needed to ensure his triple-double status.
The celebration was short lived, however, as Kinney drilled his second three of the half, running the Spartan scoring rally to 15-0 and forcing a Kansas timeout. After Withey’s jumper handed Kansas the lopsided 60-36 lead, Kansas wouldn’t score for almost seven minutes. When Kevin Young knocked down both free throws with 4:50 on the clock, that lopsided lead had shifted to a 62-52 edge.
Kinney struck again, putting in a layup to slice further into KU’s lead heading into the final media timeout of the game, 62-54. Two more free throws from Young again returned the lead to 10 and that’s all the Jayhawks would need. Four points from Johnson and a windmill dunk from McLemore provided the final spark needed for the 70-57 win.