16 seed Western Kentucky traveled to Kansas City to take on the #1 seed Kansas Jayhawks who pretty much had all the fans. Western didn’t let that phase them one bit as they came out, and went toe to toe with the Jayhawks.
With 7:12 left in the 1st half the Western Kentucky was on top of Kansas 20-16. Jeff Withey was having his way with the Western Kentucky defense, but couldn’t pull away. Kentucky native George Fant led Western with 8 points.
Western Kentucky head coach Ray Harper always has his kids playing the best ball in March, and they aren’t backing down from the heavy favorite Jayhawks tonight. WKU led 24-23 with 3 minutes left in the 1st half.
The Kansas faithful in the crowd was starting to get a little nervous at the end of the 1st half as Western went into halftime with the led at 31-30. I would have never saw this coming, but WKU took it to Kansas.
Western was led in scoring by Freshman big man Aleksejs Rostov with 9 points, and 2 rebounds. Jeff Withey was the high man for Kansas as he went into halftime with 8 points.
I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall in that Kansas locker room during halftime I am sure it wasn’t very pleasant, and Kansas came out with some fire. Kansas stepped on the defensive end of the floor as WKU started the second half 0-4, and fell behind 34-31.
Ray Harper did a great job of mixing up his defenses, and it didn’t allow Kansas to get in a rhythm until mid second half. As a result WKU has shut down Kansas star Ben Mclemore as he only has two points with 12 minutes left in the game.
Kansas started to pound the ball inside to senior Jeff Withey, and extended the lead to 47-41 with 7:07 left in the game. WKU still hanging very tough though. Kansas started pulling away with 5 minutes left in the game as they extended the lead to 50-42 after a couple buckets by Ben Mclemore.
Western got some open looks late in the game, but couldn’t hit anything, their best player George Fant fouled out with 4 minutes left in the game. Without Fant WKU has no inside game, and must hope to score from the outside.
WKU put a press on Kansas to try and speed them up, and it worked. Kansas threw the ball away twice, and WKU hit their 2nd three of the night to cut the lead to 55-50 with 1:15 left in the game.
Kansas hangs on to beat WKU 64-57 behind 17 points from Jeff Withey. Kansas will take on North Carolina on Sunday afternoon.