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.
And etched his name in the school’s record books, too.
The 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.
“He 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 tonight."
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.
“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. It’s what I do."
Kansas (5-1) certainly needed every last one of them after taking a 60-36 lead with just over 11 minutes left, and then watching the Spartans (2-3) go on an 18-2 run of their own.
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.
“We didn’t back down," San Jose State coach George Nessman said. “We kept bucking up and sticking our chest out there, and that was important for us."