Jayhawks Take Down K-State, Will Play For Fifth Big 12 Championship Title
March 10, 2007
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The University of Kansas men’s basketball team advanced to its sixth Big 12 Championship game when it defeated Kansas State, 67-61, in the semifinal round of the Big 12 Championships, Saturday, at the Ford Center.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas improved to 29-4 overall while K-State dropped to 22-11.
Sophomore Mario Chalmers led Kansas with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go with four rebounds and an assist. Sophomore Julian Wright added 12 points and eight boards. Freshman Sherron Collins chipped in 10 points – including a pair of 3-pointers – and six assists. The Wildcats were led by Cartier Martin with 17 points.
Kansas kept the Wildcats at bay in the second half after a close first stanza that saw three lead changes. KU’s largest lead of 14 came at the 14:38 mark of the second half when sophomore Brandon Rush cashed a 3-pointer to put the Jayhawks up 47-33. K-State kept pushing, getting as close as four, when Cartier Martin buried a trey with 4:13 on the clock to cut the Kansas lead to 56-52.
But Kansas was stronger down the stretch, hitting 5-of-7 from the charity stripe and playing tough defense, to claim the victory.
KSU was on fire in the early going from beyond the arc and took a quick 16-9 lead at the 13:57 mark of the first half. Kansas answered with a trey from Sherron Collins and a driving layin from Rush off a Collins steal to draw within two. The game was knotted at 16-apiece when Darnell Jackson hit a jumper with 10:43 on the clock. K-State got another three from Lance Harris to go back ahead 19-16, but Chalmers scored the next six points — and KU led from the 8:45 mark on and took a 35-28 advantage into the locker room.
Eight Jayhawks scored in the first half with Chalmers’ pacing the attack with eight points. Kansas dominated the glass, pulling down 21 boards compared to Kansas State’s eight rebounds. While the Wildcats were hot from long range hitting 6-of-12 from beyond the arc, the Jayhawks controlled the paint outscoring KSU 20-6 in the lane in the opening period. Harris hit four 3-pointers for 12 points to lead all first half scorers.
The Jayhawks look to defend their 2006 Big 12 Championship title on Sunday when they face the Texas Longhorns at 2 p.m. in a game to be aired on ESPN.