Kansas runs winning streak to 17
Lawrence, KS (Sports Network) - Ben McLemore tallied a game-high 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Jeff Withey added 13 points, nine boards and four blocks, as No. 3 Kansas outlasted Oklahoma, 67-54, Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.
Travis Releford netted 10 points with five rebounds and five assists for the Jayhawks (18-1, 6-0 Big 12), who extended their nation-leading winning streak to 17 games. Elijah Johnson and Naadir Tharpe contributed eight points apiece in the victory.
Romero Osby and Amath M'Baye each totaled 12 points for the Sooners (13-5, 4-2), who have dropped 12 straight at Allen Fieldhouse and the last 10 in the series. Steven Pledger donated 10 points in the loss.
Both teams struggled shooting after the first 20 minutes of play, as Oklahoma shot 28.6 percent from the floor compared to 38.7 percent for Kansas. The Jayhawks led, 29-21.
The Sooners also went just 2-of-7 from 3-point range, with Kansas going 1-of-6 from beyond the arc.
The poor shooting translated over into the start of the second half, in which Jayhawks opened up the stanza on just a 13-10 run. Johnson's 3-pointer with 11:42 remaining made the score 42-31.
"It was a ballgame where we were trying to hang in there most of the way and just couldn't quite ever get to a point where we threatened seriously down the stretch," Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. "Kansas is awfully good. I thought they were great defensively. They've got a lot of guys on the perimeter who guard the ball very, very well."
Minutes later, back-to-back 3-pointers by Tharpe and McLemore changed the trend, giving KU a 49-35 advantage. It also began a 13-6 Jayhawks' run, which ended when Withey caught a wide-open pass from Johnson underneath the hoop for an easy dunk and 56-41 lead with under five minutes remaining.
OU stayed around, however, with Osby and M'Baye providing some offense late, but clutch 3-pointers by Johnson and McLemore widened the gap to 62-48 with 1 1/2 minutes to go, giving Kansas enough of a cushion to hold on and remain unbeaten in conference play.
"Offensively we were stale again," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "We didn't have good guard play at all today. But we hung in there and won, and made some shots in the second half. It was good to see the ball go in the basket in the second half."
KU opened the contest up on 18-10 run capped by Jamari Traylor's lay-in midway through the first half, but started to really open things up with Kevin Young's steal and slam with 7:23 left in the period, giving the home team a 20-12 edge.
Withey's fourth block of the first half shortly afterward led to an easy Releford dunk, and Kansas extended its lead to 29-18 with 1:25 left before the break. Pledger concluded the stanza with his second trey of the game, however, to bring the Sooners within striking distance.
Kansas has now won 33 straight home contests, good for No. 2 in the nation among active streaks ... The Sooners' last win at Allen Fieldhouse came in 1993 ... Oklahoma shot 35.6 percent, including just 3-of-12 from 3-point range ... KU outscored the Sooners 28-16 on points in the paint .. Oklahoma came into the contest having won six of its last seven games ... The game was the 800th played at Allen Fieldhouse.
01/26 19:18:13 ET