Saturday’s box score
Kansas 74, Ohio St. 66
Percentages: FG .510, FT .633. 3-Point Goals: 5-11, .455 (McLemore 3-6, Tharpe 1-1, Releford 1-2, Johnson 0-2). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 3 (Withey, Traylor, McLemore). Turnovers: 19 (Johnson 4, McLemore 4, Young 3, Releford 3, Withey 3, Ellis, Traylor). Steals: 2 (McLemore, Young). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .308, FT .692. 3-Point Goals: 8-31, .258 (Thomas 3-7, Thompson 2-5, Craft 2-6, Scott 1-3, Ross 0-3, Smith, Jr. 0-7). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 3 (Williams 2, Ravenel). Turnovers: 13 (Craft 4, Thomas 3, Ross 2, Smith, Jr., Williams, Thompson, Ravenel). Steals: 8 (Thompson 3, Scott 2, Smith, Jr., Craft, Thomas). Technical Fouls: None.
Att.–19,049. Officials–John Higgins, Mike Sanzere, Terry Oglesby.
Kansas coach Bill Self devised a pretty simple plan for defending Ohio State leading scorer Deshaun Thomas. Step one: Put senior guard Travis Releford, a lockdown defender, on Thomas, a powerful 6-7 forward with touch from the outside. Step two: Send center Jeff Withey over to trap if Thomas came down into the post.
The plan was mostly successful as KU took down Ohio State 74-66. Thomas finished with just 16 points – four under his season average – and made 4 of his 11 shots.
“I wasn’t really worried about him taking me inside, because I’m kind of strong myself,” Releford said. “And then I had Jeff behind me to help out and eliminate him posting me up. So coming into the game, I wasn’t too worried about that. I was just more focused on making him take tough shots and making him force a lot of shots.”
Releford said he could sense Thomas getting frustrated as the game wore on.
“You could see it,” Releford said. “Not just in him, you could see it in the team; their coaches; throughout the bench.
“Once they wasn’t getting what they wanted on the offensive end, everything like broke apart for them.”
Kansas improved to 44-24 against ranked teams under Self.… The Jayhawks will return to the floor against American on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse. They will then wrap up their non-conference schedule against Temple on Jan. 6 in Lawrence.
— Rustin Dodd