Withey leads No. 13 Kansas to ugly exhibition win

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 01, 2011
Jeff Withey had 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks, and No. 13 Kansas slogged its way to an 84-55 exhibition win over Pittsburg State on Tuesday night without three of its best players due to injury and suspension. Connor Teahan added five 3-pointers and finished with 21 points for Kansas, which is picked to win the Big 12 for the eighth straight season despite losing twins Marcus and Markieff Morris, Josh Selby and a host of other contributors from a team that finished 35-3 a year ago. Kansas' leading returning scorer, Tyshawn Taylor, and best outside shooter, Elijah Johnson, were suspended for Tuesday night's game for violating unspecified team rules during the offseason. They'll also sit out the Jayhawks' exhibition finale next week against Fort Hays State, but are expected back for the regular-season opener Nov. 11 against Towson. Junior forward Thomas Robinson, who received votes Tuesday for the AP preseason All-America team, missed the game with a hyperextended left knee. It's unclear when he'll return. The Jayhawks were already short on depth before the suspensions and Robinson's injury. Their trademark stellar recruiting class has been thinned considerably by the NCAA, which ruled that five-star guard Ben McLemore and athletic swingman Jamari Traylor were partial qualifiers. The two freshmen are not allowed to play this season, but they're expected to begin practicing with the team following the fall semester. The Jayhawks could have used them against their pesky opponent from southeast Kansas. Teahan hit three straight 3s to open the game, but Kansas failed to push its lead to double figures until well into the second half. The Jayhawks wound up committing 23 turnovers, shooting 51 percent (19 of 37) from the foul line and barely came out ahead in rebounding margin. All this against a Division II program that finished 13-13 a year ago. Kansas turned the ball over 15 times in a sloppy first half - Naadir Tharpe was responsible for seven of them. The Jayhawks were 3 of 8 from the foul line, managed only six assists and won the rebounding battle by just one over a team whose tallest player stands 6-foot-6. Travis Releford finished with 14 points, and Tharpe had 12 while committing nine turnovers in place of Taylor, who several times sat next to him on the bench and offered instructions. Drake Green and Marky Nolan scored nine points apiece for Pittsburg State.
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