LAWRENCE, Kan. -- It looked nothing like a heavyweight fight on paper but turned out to be one down the stretch, with Kansas center Jeff Withey and San Jose State senior James Kinney throwing the biggest blows.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, Kinney's 30-point night was not enough to topple the triple-double from the Jayhawks' 7-footer, and No. 10 Kansas held off San Jose State 70-57 Monday night at historic Allen Fieldhouse.
"Give a lot of credit to Kansas' defense," SJSU coach George Nessman said. "They were just phenomenal around the rim. On the sideline, I thought all those shots were about to go in and then, bang, they're going the other way. Some of those blocks were like outlet passes for their fast break."
Withey secured his triple-double -- 16 points, 12 rebounds, school-record 12 blocks -- with a block of Xavier Jones with 7:45 to play. At the time, San Jose State trailed by 14 and was trying to recover from an 18-0 run by the Jayhawks (5-1) that turned a 40-34 lead into a 58-34 runaway. But after the Spartans (2-3) fell behind by 24, Kinney caught fire.
"James can do that," Nessman said of the senior guard's second-half tear. "He sometimes comes out of system and is able to make a lot of things up, but our system wasn't getting it done, so we needed somebody to make some plays. At some point you have to let your main guy go. You have to give him a little freedom to attack."
With KU leading 60-36 with 11:42 to play,
"I never doubt my abilities," Kinney said. "Give Kansas credit. They're a great team. They got size, athletes, everything. I wasn't gonna give up. I'm not gonna get embarrassed out here."
Added Nessman: "I just don't think we have any fold in us. It's just not who we are."
With Kinney's 11-of-26 shooting performance (including 4 of 12 from 3-point range) sparking the offense, the SJSU defense joined in, holding Kansas scoreless for 6:52 and without a field goal for 10:26 in the latter stages of the second half.
Kinney's fourth 3-pointer cut Kansas' lead to 64-57 with 2:47 remaining, but San Jose State didn't score again. Still, the Spartans walked away pleased with how they competed.
"This is as hard a place as there is to play in the country," Nessman said. "And I think we acquitted ourselves OK."
No other SJSU player joined Kinney in scoring in double figures, but Chris Cunningham chipped in 11 rebounds, and D.J. Brown added seven points.
San Jose State (2-3) at Montana State (1-3), 6 p.m.