KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Saint Louis Billikens were able to hang around for awhile, but the 12th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks held on to win the Edward Jones CBE Hall of Fame Classic Championship at Sprint Center on Tuesday night.
The Jayhawks (4-1, 2-0 home) opened up the game with an alley-oop to freshman guard Ben McLemore, and a 14-4 run. Saint Louis answered with a 6-0 run to narrow the gap to 14-10 at the 11:21 mark.
Leading the charge early on for Kansas was senior guard Travis Releford, who scored 21 points in the first half. The Jayhawks led 39-25 at the break.
The Billilkens (2-2, 0-0 away) started the second half with a 14-11 run, and trailed 50-39 with 13:30 to play. KU jumped back out to an 18-point lead on a three-pointer by senior guard Elijah Johnson with 10:51 left.
Saint Louis responded with a 17-8 run, and cut the deficit to 65-56 on a three-pointer by senior forward Cody Ellis with 3:52 left to play. That’s as close they would get.
KU senior center Jeff Withey was too strong for the Billikens down the stretch, as he tied a career high with 25 points. He also had seven blocks. Releford finished the game with 23 points and four three-pointers.
KU shot 53.8% from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks narrowly outrebounded the Billikens 36-32.
Kansas takes on the San Jose State Spartans on Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse.