Kansas Jayhawks: Jeff Withey Steps Up; Perry Ellis Dominates in Season Opener

Farzin VousoughianContributor IIINovember 9, 2012

November 09, 2012; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Jeff Withey (5) blocks the shot by Southeast Missouri State Redhawks forward Tyler Stone (33) in the first half at Allen Fieldhouse.  Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Kansas center Jeff Withey struggled in the two exhibition games against Emporia State and Washburn University. Withey made only six of his 13 shots and put up only 16 points in the two exhibition games combined. He committed five turnovers in the two preseason matches and knew he needed to make up for his sloppy performance in the season opener.

He did just that against Southeast Missouri State. Withey went 5-of-12 shooting and made 70 percent of his free throws. Withey also made an impact on the boards with 12 rebounds and prevented some scores with five blocked shots.

Withey never fouled and turned the ball over only once. He led all scorers with 17 points as Kansas went on to win, 74-55.

Kansas also received help from multiple freshmen in Friday's win. Forwards Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor and guard Ben McLemore all received significant minutes on the floor against the Redhawks.

Ellis had the most dominant performance as he made all five free throws and came up with eight rebounds and finished the night with 15 points. McLemore impressed a lot of spectators at Allen Fieldhouse after leading the team in assists with five and also co-leading the team in rebounds with Withey.

Kansas encountered a few issues against Southeast Missouri State. Kansas made 39 percent of its shots and went 2-of-21 from beyond the arc. Bill Self wants better production from his players in those areas, but he'll take the win and enjoy the 1-0 start to the season.