KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After withstanding a handful of runs by the Oregon State Beavers, the 10th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks escaped Sprint Center with an 84-78 victory on Friday night.
Redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore had his own highlight reel by halftime, and the Jayhawks took a game-high 14-point lead with 6:47 to play in the first half. Shortly thereafter, the Beavers went on a 13-0 run to tie the game at 37-37 with 2:18 left in the half.
McLemore’s steal and subsequent dunk at the 8:22 mark helped capitalize an impressive first half performance. McLemore scored 15 points in the first half despite just 13 minutes of playing time. Foul trouble kept him on the bench for an extended period of time in both halves.
Kansas (6-1, 3-0 home) shot 62% in the first half, but also committed 11 turnovers. The Jayhawks led 42-39 at the break.
Oregon State (4-2, 0-0 away) didn’t go away in the second half. The Hawks took a 63-50 lead with 12:33 to play, but the Beavers answered with an 11-1 run to pull within three points at the 9:01 mark. KU responded with a 12-4 run to take a 76-65 lead with 4:12 remaining.
The Beavers returned the favor with a 12-4 run of their own, and pulled within three points with :17 seconds to play. A pair of free throws by McLemore and senior guard Elijah Johnson put the game on ice for the Hawks.
Kansas finished the game with 17 turnovers to Oregon State’s 12, while outrebounding the Beavers 35-28. KU shot 60% from the field.
McLemore led the Hawks with 21 points. Senior guard Travis Releford finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Junior guard Ahmad Starks led the Beavers with 25 points.
Kansas will host the 19th-ranked Colorado Buffaloes next Saturday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.