NCAA Final Four Kansas Ohio St Basketball

Jeff Withey and Deshaun Thomas cause Jared Sullinger’s off-night

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Kansas didn’t have just one hero as they came back from 13 points down to knock off Ohio State 64-62 and earn a trip to Monday’s national title game.

Travis Releford, Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson all made play after play down the stretch to help seal up the win. Thomas Robinson was sensational in the second half. Deshaun Thomas probably deserves some of the credit as well, as his offensive woes and foul trouble were a catalyst for the Jayhawks in the second half.

That said, there was no one more valuable to Kansas than Jeff Withey.

The 7-foot center was sensational on Saturday night. You know that 5-for-19 line that Jared Sullinger posted? The majority of those misses can be attributed to the long arms of Withey. He finished with seven blocks and eight boards in 34 minutes, and he made have had an even greater affect on Sullinger than those numbers indicate.

“He really, really compliments what they have out there,” Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said of Withey. “He seems to really know his role and take great pride in it.”

It isn’t a secret that Sullinger struggles when he is guarded by players that are bigger than him. The key for Withey was that he was able to hold his own on the block and not get bullied by the stronger Sullinger.

“He’s a big guy and a great offensive player,” Withey said when asked what he did to contain Sullinger. “It was definitely tough. I think my length kind of bothered him. I’ve guarded big guys before, and as long as my base was fine, my [arms] are a lot longer.”

That wasn’t the only reason that Sullinger struggled, however. Deshaun Thomas found himself in foul trouble for much of the second half. Without Thomas on the floor, Kansas was able to double-team Sullinger hard. So in addition to having to figure out a way to score over the much taller Withey, Sullinger had to deal with Thomas Robinson collapsing on him for much of the second half.

“I wasn’t expecting Kansas to double,” Sullinger said. “A couple times it caught me off guard.”

With Sullinger struggling and Thomas riding the pine, Ohio State simply did not have enough offensive weapons to hold off the Jayhawks, and as a result, they are heading home.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady improving after being hospitalized

James Woodard, Anton Grady, Ron Baker
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Wichita State senior forward Anton Grady received some positive news on Saturday as a neurosurgeon reviewed MRI results, which are negative for spinal cord trauma.

According to a release from Wichita State, doctors believed Grady suffered a spinal cord concussion during a collision on Friday after he was taken off the floor in a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. CT and MRI scans on Friday both turned up negative, but the news of Saturday’s results are an even more encouraging sign for Grady.

The injury for Grady occurred during a Friday loss to Alabama during the AdvoCare Invitational as the senior’s condition has improved since the collision. Grady will receive physical therapy over the next few days and doctors will check his progress before he is released from the hospital.

Grady has been alert and responsive to questions and had feeling in his extremities on Friday, but the use of his arms and legs was limited. By Saturday morning, Grady had improved the use of his extremities.

The 6-foot-8 Grady has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game this season in his first season with the Shockers. The Cleveland State transfer is shooting 39 percent from the field.

Colorado’s Tory Miller reprimanded by Pac-12 after biting opponent

Dusan Ristic, Tory Miller
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Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.

During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.

In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

Miller also released his apology in the same release.

“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.

For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?