Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, and Kevin Young will run through the hallowed Allen Fieldhouse tunnel one final time Monday. The four Kansas seniors have contributed in many different, valuable ways during their career, and will look to end their college playing days in style. Riding a six game winning streak, the Jayhawks have appeared unstoppable as of late and will prove a tough matchup for the struggling Texas Tech Red Raiders (10-17 overall; 3-13 Big 12).
Just a few notes on the seniors from KUAthletics.com:
The legacy the four senior players will leave at Kansas is quite impressive. Entering the final two regular-season games of their careers, fifth-year senior Travis Releford has a 152-25 record for an 85.9 winning percentage when wearing the Crimson and Blue. Fourth-year seniors Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey have a 125-17 (88.0 percent) record, while senior transfer Kevin Youngis at 57-11 (83.8 percent).
Releford has been a part of four Big 12 Conference regular-season titles, while Johnson and Withey three and Young one. Additionally, in the last four seasons, Kansas has won two Big 12 postseason championships (2010, 2011), advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight twice and one Final Four, including last year’s run to the NCAA championship game in New Orleans. Combined these seniors are 16-4 in postseason play.
Kansas (25-4 overall; 13-3 Big 12) rolled over hapless West Virginia 91-65 on Saturday and looked cohesive and confident. Ben McLemore broke Danny Manning’s freshman scoring record (set 28 years earlier on the same day), and Jeff Withey was officially one block away from his second triple-double of the season.
Texas Tech has struggled yet again this season, putting up only three conference wins. While junior Jaye Crockett and sophomore Jordan Tolbert are solid players, they just do not have enough talent around them for the Red Raiders to succeed. Interim coach Chris Walker has not done a poor job considering the talent he was given, and it would be surprising if his “interim” tag was not removed after the season.
Players to watch for:
All seniors: As previously mentioned, Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, and Kevin Young will all play their last game in Allen Fieldhouse Monday. Emotions will run high, and hopefully all will have games they will remember forever.
#40 Kevin Young – Young is nine points away from his 1,000th career point.
#23 Ben McLemore: It is likely that the freshman-phenom will also be playing his last game in Allen Fieldhouse. Coming off a 36 point performance, McLemore is as ready as anyone for the NBA draft and is a front runner for the #1 pick. McLemore’s 36-point performance was the 15th time in Bill Self’s era that a player scored 30 or more points in a game. It is also worth noting that the last time a Kansas team had two separate players score 30 or more points in a season was when Xavier Henry and Sherron Collins did it during the 2009-10 season.
#30 Jaye Crockett: Leading the Red Raiders in scoring, Crockett has been one of the only bright spots for Texas Tech this season. Although he only score 3 points in the teams’ first meeting, Crockett is still an offensive weapon for Texas Tech.
#32 Jordan Tolbert: Coming off a 22 point performance in a win against TCU, Tolbert has been a good player for an otherwise talent-challenged roster. If he and Crockett have off games Monday, the Red Raiders will be run out of the gym.
How I See It:
Texas Tech isn’t winning on senior night in Allen Fieldhouse. The crowd will be out in full force, and the young Red Raiders will not handle the astronomical challenge well.
Last Time They Met:
The four Kansas seniors, along with Ben McLemore win their last home game going away 98-57.