LAWRENCE, Kan. – Nobody else was doing much scoring for No. 10 Kansas on Monday night. Nobody else was rebounding or playing much defense, either.
Jeff Withey stepped up and did all three, etching his name in the school’s record books.
The 7-foot senior center had 16 points, 12 rebounds and a school-record 12 blocks for only the second official triple-double in Kansas history, and the Jayhawks held off a furious comeback by San Jose State for a 70-57 victory.
Withey scored 10 points during a 20-2 run early in the second half, and achieved the triple-double when he blocked a shot by Xavier Jones with 7:43 remaining.
“(Withey) was the only guy who played worth a flip,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “He did a good job covering up for a lot of mistakes, because we made a ton of them.”
The only other official triple-double in school history was by Cole Aldrich in an NCAA Tournament game against Dayton in 2010.
“I’ve been wanting that for a while now, and it’s only me and Cole that have it, so it’s pretty special to me,” Withey said. “They kept on driving in and, you know, I just kept on blocking it.”
Unofficially, it was Withey’s second time reaching the milestone. He had 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks against Pittsburg State in an exhibition last season, when All-America forward 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 starred for the Jayhawks.
Kansas (5-1) surged to a 60-36 lead with just over 11 minutes left, then watched the Spartans (2-3) go on an 18-2 run of their own.
The Jayhawks finally put it away when Las Vegan Elijah Johnson hit a floater with just over a minute left for a 66-57 lead. 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.
“On the sideline, I kept thinking some of the shots were going in, and then bang, they were going the other way,” San Jose State coach George Nessman said.
Johnson finished with 13 points. James Kinney led San Jose State with 30.
In other Kansas basketball news, freshman forward Zach Peters is leaving the program after a shoulder injury and history of concussions kept him out almost the entire fall. Peters announced his decision in a statement Monday.
Self said that Peters has had four concussions since the beginning of his senior year at Prestonwood Christian Academy. Two occurred while he was at Kansas.
MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
■ Colorado State 85, Northern Colorado 69 – At Fort Collins, Colo., senior guard Dorian Green had 19 points to lead five scorers in double figures as the Rams (5-0) blew out the Bears (1-3).
Colton Iverson supplied 18 points and 13 rebounds for Colorado State, which made 21 of 23 free throws, including its first 14 attempts. Wes Eikmeier added 17 points, hitting three 3-pointers.
Tevin Svihovic had 16 points to lead Northern Colorado.