Updated at: 11/26/2012 10:35 PM
By DAVE SKRETTA
(AP) LAWRENCE, Kan. - Jeff Withey had 16 points, 12 rebounds and a school-record 12 blocks for only the second official triple-double in Kansas history, and the 10th-ranked Jayhawks held off a furious comeback by San Jose State for a 70-57 victory Monday night.
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.
Kansas (5-1) used its big run to take a 60-36 lead with just over 11 minutes remaining, but the Spartans (2-3) answered with an 18-2 run to climb back in the game.
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.
James Kinney scored 19 of his 30 points in the second half for the Spartans. At one point, the senior guard scored nine points in a span of about 90 seconds as San Jose State was mounting its big second-half charge.
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.
Unofficially, it was the senior’s second time reaching the milestone.
Withey logged 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks against Pittsburg State in an exhibition game last season, when All-America 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.
Kinney nearly stole Withey’s thunder late in the game.
The spunky guard hit consecutive jumpers to end the Jayhawks’ big run, and then added a fall-away 3-pointer with just over 10 minutes remaining to start closing the gap.
He added another 3-pointer with 6:44 left to trim the lead to 60-51, and then hit his fourth 3 of the game as the shot clock was winding down to make it 64-57 with 2:39 to go.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)