McLemore twists ankle in 61-44 victory

At first glance it did not look good.

Kansas’ star player squirming on the ground in pain struggling to deal with the sharp shock that comes from an ankle bending the wrong direction.

With 2:44 remaining in Kansas’ 61-44 victory over Baylor, Ben McLemore laid on Allen Fieldhouse holding his right ankle, but managed to walk off the floor with the help of trainers moments later.

“He twisted his ankle,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “If we were practicing tomorrow I wouldn’t let him practice.“

Self went onto say he is hoping to have McLemore back in two or three days.

This seemed to run the gambit of emotions for Jayhawks fans. After seeing McLemore sky to an alley-oop by Elijah Johnson at the 3:34 mark in the second half, people were in silence hoping McLemore would be OK.

“I just don’t feel like he deserves to be hurt right now or to be cheated out of playing,” senior guard Elijah Johnson said. “I feel like he’s been cheated out of playing long enough.”

Before McLemore left the game he put together another efficient game finishing with a team-high 17 points and eight rebounds.

Johnson himself struggled in the first part of tonight’s contest garnering two early fouls. He managed his time on offense and defense and put together 12 points in 25 minutes of play.

However, the most impressive performance of the night did not belong to one player. It was the collective effort of the defense holding Baylor to 23 percent from the field.

“I thought our defense was exceptional,” Self said. “We paid attention to scouting report. I really think their best offense was when they got it into transition, but that’s pretty good defense from start to finish for the most part. “

In part for this impressive defensive output was the play inside the arc.

Four different players had two or more blocks with a team total of 13 blocked shots. Also, the defense only gave up 13 field goals for the game.

“Our defense definitely carried us because for stretches we didn’t shoot very well, “ senior center Jeff Withey said.

For the night the Jayhawks shot 37 percent from the field, which on most nights could mean a loss. But Kansas fought through its shooting woes and managed some decent numbers.

Despite a difficult matchup with seven-foot-one freshman Isaiah Austin, Withey managed to score eight points grab six rebounds and block three shots.

Another bright spot for the Jayhawks was freshman Perry Ellis who proved to have one of his more active games in recent memory.

Dealing with taller frontcourt players from Baylor, Ellis worked hard for his six points and seven rebounds in his 21 minutes of action.

“He was at least aggressive and put himself in a position to score which I thought was very positive,” Self said.

What might have been more positive was the upbeat nature of the Jayhawks. After dragging a bit against Texas Tech in their third game in seven days, the Jayhawks seemed ready to go on their fourth game of this nine-day stretch.

“I felt like if we didn’t have the time to have a day off, we’d still be ready,” Johnson said. “I’m proud of our team for being strong enough to stand up and keep playing and not necessarily pay attention to fatigue in our bodies.”

With this victory the Jayhawks showed their ability to rise up for big games once again and eventually compete at the elite level by the end of the year.

But at the moment all of that is put on hold until Kansas sees Ben McLemore back on the floor again.

  • Updated Feb. 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm