Updated at: 03/02/2013 3:08 PM
By DOUG TUCKER
(AP) LAWRENCE, Kan. - Ben McLemore scored a Kansas freshman-record 36 points, and Jeff Withey came within one block of a triple-double as the sixth-ranked Jayhawks beat West Virginia 91-65 on Saturday.
McLemore, a 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman, went to the bench with a little more than 5 minutes left after hitting 12 of 15 shots from the field, including 5 of 6 from beyond the 3-point arc. He had seven rebounds and four assists.
Withey’s nine blocks ran his Big 12-and Kansas-career record to 281. He had 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Jayhawks (25-4, 13-3 Big 12) recovered from a ragged start to take a one-half game lead over No. 13 Kansas State in their quest for a ninth straight Big 12 title. Kansas State played later Saturday at Baylor.
While being so active on both ends of the court, Withey did not pick up his first foul until a little more than 5 minutes remained in the game.
McLemore scored 19 points in a back-and-forth first half which Naadir Tharp brought to an end with a long 3-pointer just seconds ahead of the buzzer for a 45-31 Kansas lead.
The Mountaineers (13-16, 6-10) had a hot hand early and led by as many as six points while Kansas was groping to find its shot.
As soon as they located it, the Jayhawks quickly seized control with an 18-5 run, fueled by McLemore’s two 3-pointers and three blocks by the 7-foot Withey, who had a 3-inch height advantage over West Virginia’s Deniz Kilicli.
Terry Henderson had 20 points, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range, and Dominique Rutledge had 14 of his 17 points in the second half in West Virginia’s first visit to venerable Allen Field House, where Bill Self now stands 162-8 with one home to go in his 10th season as Kansas head coach.
Keeping up the heat, Kansas outscored West Virginia 22-12 in the opening minutes of the second half.
After Withey blocked a shot early in the second half, McLemore dropped in a 3-pointter and then Kevin Young, with a nifty feed from McLemore, dunked for a 60-41 lead.
Elijah Johnson had 12 points and 10 assists for the Jayhawks.
On one West Virginia possession during the take-charge run in the first half, Withey racked up two blocks on successive shots, then swatted away Kilicli’s shot, leading to McLemore’s 3-pointer on the other end.
The Jayhawks stole the ball at midcourt a few seconds later, McLemore drew a foul, and made both free throws through the net to give Kansas a 30-22 lead as West Virginia went about 4 minutes without scoring.
After Juwan Staten made two foul shots to bring the Mountaineers within 35-29, Johnson had a 3-pointer, McLemore had a dunk and Kansas outscored the visitors 10-2 to close out the half.
Withey had a triple-double earlier this season against San Jose State with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 12 blocks.
McLemore wiped out the freshman one-game scoring record which had been set by Danny Manning exactly 32 years earlier.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)