Four Thoughts as Kansas Survives Against Iowa State In OvertimePosted by KoryCarpenter on January 9th, 2013
A Melvin Ejim jumper that put Iowa State up 77-73 with 25 seconds left looked like it might end Kansas‘ 30-game home court winning streak, but the Jayhawks were able to force overtime thanks to some late-game heroics that included a banked three-pointer by Ben McLemore. Once they were able to force overtime, the Jayhawks cruised to a 97-89 victory. It was the second nail-biting home win in a row for Kansas after beating Temple on Sunday, 69-62. Here are four thoughts about what we learned about Kansas after Wednesday’s close call:
- Ben McLemore Is As Good As Advertised. He might be the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. The redshirt freshman guard had 33 points on 10-of-12 shooting and was a perfect 6-of-6 from beyond the arc. We heard all the glowing praise for McLemore last season while he sat out due to academic issues, but it was hard to fully believe a teammate’s or coach’s compliments until you saw him in live action. And through 14 games, McLemore has surpassed even those lofty expectations. He is averaging 15.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG and has scored over 20 points five times now. While his game still needs a little work (see his disappearing act against Temple), CBSSports.com has McLemore at #4 on its latest NBA Mock Draft while NBADraft.net updated their mock to put him #1 overall this week.
- Naadir Tharpe Need Not Shoot 11 Times in a Game. He was 2-of-11 from the field and finished with eight points. It was the second time this season he has taken 10 or more shots, the other coming against Southeast Missouri State on opening night, when he went 4-of-11 including 1-of-6 from three-point range. Tharpe took more shots Wednesday night than every Jayhawk not named Ben McLemore, and that isn’t a winning recipe for Kansas this season. Tharpe can be a good backup to spell starting point guard Elijah Johnson when he needs to rest or is in foul trouble. He is beginning to get more acclimated to Bill Self’s system and can become a capable floor leader, someone to move the ball and keep the offense flowing. He is not, however, a guy who should ever take 11 shots a night.
- The Jayhawks Need a Second Dependable Post Scorer Behind Jeff Withey. Backups Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis combined for seven points and starting forward Kevin Young added 10 points, but at 6’8″ (probably closer to 6’7″), Young isn’t a traditional back-to-the-basket big man. Traylor better fits that mold, but he is only a freshman and is averaging just 2.6 PPG in 12.7 minutes per game. Ellis, another freshman, is slightly more productive with 5.8 PPG in 14.6 minutes per game. Neither freshman has needed to do too much this year, but at least one of the two will be needed for a deep run in March.
- In Case You Were Unaware, No Lead is Safe in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas was down 19 points last year to Missouri before storming back to win in overtime. Temple held a four-point lead on Sunday late in the second half before eventually losing by seven, and the Cyclones were ahead by four with under 21 seconds left Wednesday night before getting overwhelmed in overtime. Part of this is obviously based upon how good the Jayhawks are, but it would be hard not to attribute some of it to the pressure of playing in Allen Fieldhouse.