No.3 Kansas downs 11th-ranked Kansas State
Manhattan, KS (Sports Network) - Travis Releford led the Jayhawks with 12 points and No.3 Kansas grinded out a 59-55 victory over 11th-ranked Kansas State on Tuesday.
Jeff Withey scored 11 points to go with 10 rebounds and despite foul trouble in the first half, Ben McLemore finished with 11 points to help the Jayhawks (17-1, 5-0 Big 12) to their 16th straight victory.
"Whenever you can get a win on the road, it is good," said Withey. "It is still early still. They are still going to win games. They are going to come to Allen Fieldhouse so they have a chance to win at our place."
Kansas State (15-3, 4-1) experienced its first conference loss of the season and saw its eight-game winning streak come to an end. Shane Southwell scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the defeat.
"If you see a game in the 50's, you may think you can find a chance at victory," said Kansas State Bruce Weber. "To Kansas' credit, they made three's. They do not get rattled. They find ways to win."
Angel Rodriguez followed with 12 points and eight assists, but was held scoreless in the second half as the Wildcats fell to the Jayhawks for the 45th time in their last 48 meetings.
Despite shooting just 34.5 percent in the first half, the Wildcats trailed by just four points at the break, but their streaky shooting would soon catch up with them.
Rodney McGruder reduced their deficit to 31-30 with a 3-pointer early in the second half, but the Wildcats missed their next four shots, in which time the Jayhawks used an 8-0 run to build a 39-30 advantage.
McGruder converted two more triples to help keep Kansas State in the game, his second bringing the Wildcats within 45-41 with 12:02 to go.
However, McLemore helped create double-digit separation for Kansas after scoring seven straight points, giving the Jayhawks a 53-43 lead with 6:53 remaining.
Southwell buried a pair of 3-pointers around a Withey free throw to pull Kansas State within 53-49. He then drove the length of the court to finish a layup with under a minute remaining to cut the Wildcats' deficit to three, but they never came any closer.
Naadir Tharpe hit two clutch free throws to build a 58-53 advantage for Kansas with just 23 seconds to go and the Wildcats' hopes were crushed when McGruder and Southwell each missed 3-pointers down the stretch.
Kansas holds a 193-91 lead in the all-time series between the schools ... Southwell shot 5-of-11 from 3-point-range ... Kansas State had its 12-game home winning streak dating back to last season come to an end ... The Jayhawks outshot the Wildcats 45.7 percent to 35.1 percent for the game.
01/23 00:33:27 ET