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March 2, 2013

McLemore powers Jayhawks over WVU

West Virginia (13-16, 6-10) dropped its fourth consecutive game Saturday afternoon when Kansas (25-4, 13-3) and freshman guard Ben McLemore proved to be just too much for the Mountaineers handing Bob Huggins squad a 91 to 65 loss inside historic Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks were extraordinarily efficient on offense with 29 assists on their 34 baskets. Kansas got a career high 36 points from McLemore, who did it all scoring from spots all over the floor hitting 12 of his 15 shot attempts. Kansas also nearly got a triple double from senior Jeff Withey with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 9 blocks.

The Mountaineers got a double-double from Dominique Rutledge with 17 points and 12 rebounds and solid production from the two freshmen with Terry Henderson netting 20 points and Eron Harris adding 11 but West Virginia was overmatched on the road.

Kilicli opened the scoring putting West Virginia ahead 2-0 in the early going on a hook shot from inside the post, but Elijah Johnson quickly answered with a three-pointer to put the Jayhawks out front.

Matt Humphrey, earning the start, then gave the Mountaineers the lead back at 5-3 on a three-pointer from the top of the key.

The two teams then traded baskets with McLemore and Juwan Staten hitting for each team. The Mountaineers pushed their lead to 13-7, after a pair of three-pointers from Henderson. The Mountaineers started the game hitting five of their first eight shots and three of four from behind the arc forcing the Jayhawks to extend their defense.

Kilicli was in the right spot at the right time for a put back on a miss through contact and then he hit the free throw to give West Virginia their largest lead of the game at 16-9 at the 12:31 mark. On a run out, Jabarie Hinds shot was blocked as he went it for a layup, leading to a flurry of activity and eventually a layup for the Jayhawks on the other end of the floor.

On the ensuing possession the Mountaineers turned the ball over again to give the Kansas team and crowd some life after a sluggish start and cutting the West Virginia lead down to 16-13.

The Jayhawks whittled the lead down to 18-17 on a mid-range jumper from McLemore, but Harris responded with a fall-away jumper to give them some early breathing room. But the Jayhawks would storm back and take the lead back on a Withey layup and the two teams would then trade baskets with Harris and Withey scoring to make it 23-22 with around eight minutes left in the half.

McLemore would reach double figures for the half with 11 points by drilling a three-pointer to give the Jayhawks their biggest lead of the half at 26-22. And he wasn't done as another three by the freshman put Kansas on a 20-6 run and gave them a 29-22 lead.

Henderson would respond with his third three of the half from almost the exact same spot to cut the advantage to 30-25, but an offensive rebound would give the Jayhawks an open look from three and then a basket in transition put the lead at 35-25.

The Jayhawks continued to rely on McLemore and his 19 first-half points to go ahead 42-29 with under a minute left in the first half and was able to extend that to 45-31 entering the break.

Kansas struck first in the second half with a McLemore layup and Henderson responded with his fourth three-pointer of the game to cut the lead down to 47-34. The freshman continued his hot shooting with his fifth three of the game from the right baseline to keep the Mountaineers within striking distance at 51-39 four-minutes into the second half.

The Jayhawks took their largest lead of the game at 60-41 after scoring a quick nine points, with five of those coming from McLemore, and putting the Mountaineers on the ropes in the second half. And it didn't get any better as Johnson would hit a three and Withey would record his eighth block of the game on the other end.

And the freshman standout for Kansas would not be done as he would connect again from behind the arc to put the score at 70-43, and he actually outpaced the entire West Virginia team over a span of 21-minutes. And from that point it was academic, as the Jayhawks would cruise to another victory.

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