Kansas senior makes history as Jayhawks win

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Kansas senior makes history as Jayhawks win

From Comcast SportsNetLAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Nobody else was doing much scoring for No. 10 Kansas on Monday night. Nobody else was rebounding or playing much defense, either.Jeff Withey stepped up and did all three.And etched his name in the school's record books, too.The senior center had 16 points, 12 rebounds and a school-record 12 blocks for only the second official triple-double in Kansas history, and the Jayhawks held off a furious comeback by San Jose State for a 70-57 victory."He was the only guy who played worth a flip," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "He did a good job covering up for a lot of mistakes, because we made a ton of them tonight."Withey scored 10 points during a 20-2 run early in the second half, and achieved the Jayhawks' first triple-double since Cole Aldrich in an NCAA tournament game against Dayton in 2010 when the 7-footer blocked Xavier Jones' shot with 7:43 left in the game."I've been wanting that for a while now, and it's only me and Cole that have it, so it's pretty special to me," Withey said. "They kept on driving in and, you know, I just kept on blocking it. It's what I do."Kansas (5-1) certainly needed every last one of them after taking a 60-36 lead with just over 11 minutes left, and then watching the Spartans (2-3) go on an 18-2 run of their own.The Jayhawks finally put it away when Elijah Johnson hit a floater with just over a minute left for a 66-57 lead, and when Withey's rejection of J.D. Brown turned into a run-out that Ben McLemore finished off with a windmill dunk with about 30 seconds remaining."We didn't back down," San Jose State coach George Nessman said. "We kept bucking up and sticking our chest out there, and that was important for us."James Kinney stuck his chest out the farthest, scoring 19 of his 30 points in the second half for the Spartans. At one point, the senior guard scored nine in a span of about 90 seconds as San Jose State was mounting its big second-half charge."I wasn't going to give up. I'm not going to get embarrassed out here," Kinney said. "Once everyone saw I was going to keep fighting, they just tagged along."McLemore finished with 13 points despite missing all seven of his 3-point tries, and Travis Releford also had 13 points for the Jayhawks. Kevin Young added eight rebounds.Playing its first game since romping to victory in the CBE Classic last week, the Jayhawks looked fresh and smooth in building a double-digit lead late in the first half.San Jose State answered with nine straight points spanning halftime to get back into it.That's when Kansas went on its big run.It began with a 3-pointer by Johnson, and the momentum really started to build when Young followed up Withey's miss with an easy basket down low.Withey scored six of the Jayhawks' next eight points as the lead slowly grew, and the crowd at Allen Fieldhouse began to realize that he was making history. He surpassed the 10-rebound mark midway through the second half before getting his 10th block to mark the triple-double."Most of the time -- I'm guilty of it, too -- we get caught standing around watching Jeff, like a fan or something, and that's when we need to snap back to it," Johnson said. "Jeff saved us a lot of times. There were times I caught myself looking instead of playing."Unofficially, it was Withey's second time reaching the milestone.The senior had 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks against Pittsburg State in an exhibition game last season, when All-America forward Thomas Robinson missed the game due to injury.It also comes with an asterisk in the Kansas record books.The school didn't keep records for blocked shots during the 1950s, when Wilt Chamberlain was plying his trade on the hardwood. He undoubtedly had his share of triple-doubles while playing for the Jayhawks -- but officially, only Aldrich and Withey have done it."On the sideline, I kept thinking some of the shots were going in, and then bang, they were going the other way," Nessman said. "We try to tell our guys to jump into shot-blockers, but he's so good at staying down, it's hard to get him off his feet."Kinney did the best job of getting shots up, over and around him.In doing so, he nearly stole Withey's thunder.The spunky guard hit consecutive jumpers to end the Jayhawks' big second-half run, and then added a fall-away 3-pointer with just over 10 minutes remaining to close the gap.He added another 3-pointer with 6:44 left to trim the Spartans' deficit to 60-51, and then hit his fourth 3 as the shot clock was winding down to make it 64-57 with 2:39 to go.That's when Kansas finally put the game away."I just don't think we have any fold in us. That's not who we are. We have a great group of kids," Nessman said. "We came here to play for a full 40 minutes."

Celtics move into No. 1 spot in East as Cavs get crushed by Spurs

Celtics move into No. 1 spot in East as Cavs get crushed by Spurs

SAN ANTONIO -- The Cavaliers acknowledged having heavy legs, yet there is something far weightier on the minds of the defending NBA champions.

Cleveland is in the midst of one of its worst stretches this season and there is little time to fix it.

Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cavs 103-74 on Monday night in a much-anticipated showdown that turned into a major letdown for Cleveland.

"The way we've been struggling, (the Spurs are) the last team that you want to play," said LeBron James, who was fine after taking an elbow to the neck. "A well-oiled machine like this, they exploit everything that you're not doing well at that point in time of the season and right now we're not playing good basketball."

James, who finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 29 minutes, said he will play Thursday at Chicago.

Cleveland (47-26) dropped its second in a row, set a season low for points and fell a half-game behind Boston (48-26) for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Cavaliers have nine games remaining, all against teams in the East, including a visit to Boston on April 5.

James said the standings "always matter," but playing more consistently is far more important and he refused to blame injuries or an arduous schedule for the team's troubles.

"It matters more that we're playing better basketball than where we're at," he said. "If that results in us having the No. 1 seed, the No. 2 seed, 3 or whatever the hell it is, we need to play better basketball. That's what it comes down to."

What Cleveland is seeking, the Spurs have already found.

San Antonio (57-16) is two games behind Golden State (59-14) for the league's best record entering a home game against the Warriors on Wednesday.

The Spurs have won five straight and 8 of 10 after sweeping the season series with the Cavaliers.

"It was a big game, but in the end, it's just one game, and one win," San Antonio guard Tony Parker said. "We're trying to be consistent. We're trying to play the same way every game. It was definitely surprising. Coming off a loss, I thought they would play with a lot more energy, but it can happen. It's a long season. It's just one game and I'm sure they're going to bounce back and use this game as motivation."

LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol added 14 points apiece for the Spurs.

San Antonio led by as many as 33 to the delight of the sold-out crowd, and the Spurs' bench outscored the Cavaliers' reserves 49-24.

"We did a good job coming out early and then keeping our foot on the pedal," Leonard said.

Cleveland, which was already without injured Iman Shumpert, received more bad news Monday morning when it was announced that Kyle Korver will miss at least two more games with a sore left foot.

"You lose Korver and Shumpert off your bench and things tend to change," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "With those two guys out, we tried some different things and it didn't work. It was not on the bench. It was on me."

Cleveland opted to play its stars rather than rest them, but the trio of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat out the fourth quarter of the Cav's second lopsided loss in the past two weeks.

Lue said he has considered resting his stars over the team's final nine games, which James is not in favor of.

"Coach is going to have his logic of things, but we need to play," he said.

James exited with 25 seconds remaining in the third after taking an elbow to his neck from David Lee on a rebound. James continually rubbed the area before collapsing after he crossed midcourt. He remained on the floor for about a minute before walking unassisted to the bench.

James left for the locker room early in the fourth quarter during a timeout, but said afterward he is fine.

EXTRA SHOOTING

Irving returned to the court for about 15 minutes following the loss to work on his jump shot. The star guard had eight points and two assists in 26 minutes. He finished 4 for 13 from the field and missed his two 3-point attempts.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Cleveland completed its schedule against the West, finishing 16-14. In addition to losing to the Spurs by 29 points, the Cavaliers lost by 35 to Golden State and 30 to the Los Angeles Clippers . . . James needs 24 points to pass Shaquille O'Neal for seventh overall in career scoring. O'Neal has 28,596 career points . . . The Cavaliers averaged 116.3 points in their previous four games.

Spurs: San Antonio is holding opponents under 100 points per game for the 22nd straight season . . . Danny Green tied his season high with four blocked shots . . . Leonard has scored in double figures in 100 straight games.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: At the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

Spurs: Host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.

Bertrand: Raptors a 'scary team' in the Eastern Conference

Bertrand: Raptors a 'scary team' in the Eastern Conference

Mike Felger and Marc Bertrand talk about the Celtics clinching the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference and other potential threats for the C's.