Ellis Powers No. 7/6 Kansas into Big 12 Title Game

March 15, 2013

Final Stats | Notes |

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Through the first 20 minutes, the semifinal matchup between No. 7/6-ranked Kansas and Iowa State appeared to have the makings of a classic heavyweight boxing trilogy with the first two memorable meetings in the books, but Perry Ellis and the Jayhawks dominated the waning rounds and earned an 88-73 decision Friday night to earn a spot in the championship game of the 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Sprint Center.

With the victory, Kansas (28-5) will advance to the Big 12 Championship title game for 10th time in the 17-year history over event. The Jayhawks will face the winner of the second semifinal game between Kansas State and Oklahoma State. The title game is scheduled for 5 p.m., Saturday and will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Kansas jumped out on the Cyclones (22-11) early with a 9-2 run to open the final frame, thanks to five points from Elijah Johnson, for a 44-33 lead. The four-point deficit proved to be the closet Iowa State would be to the Jayhawks the rest of the way. KU blew the game open with a 16-point margin, 55-39, following a 7-0 run that included three points by Jeff Withey. ISU cut the Kansas lead down to nine points three different times, by the Jayhawks answered each time to regain a double-digit advantage.

Ellis poured in a career-best and game-high 23 points, on 10-for-12 shooting, to lead four Jayhawks in double figures. Withey and Johnson each finished with 14 points apiece and Ben McLemore chipped in 10.

The two teams traded the first four baskets of the game and with the contest tied, 4-4, Iowa State went on the first run with an 8-0 spurt to take a 12-4 edge at the 14:29 mark. The lead was short-lived, as Kansas rattled off nine-straight points of its own, with four coming from Kevin Young, to take its first lead, 13-12, with 11:08 left.

KU didn’t relinquish its lead until the 7:47 mark. Following a pair of KU technicals, one on McLemore and another nearly two minutes later on head coach Bill Self, Iowa State took advantage and sank all four of the charity shots and used an 8-4 run to hold a slim, 21-20, lead.

With McLemore on the bench with two personal fouls, fellow freshman Ellis picked up the offense and scored six-straight Kansas points. Ellis’ fourth made field goal gave KU a 28-26 lead with 3:47 left in the half. That shot was part of an 8-0 Kansas run that eventually pushed the Jayhawk lead to 32-26. Iowa State followed with five-straight points, but Travis Releford buried a three-point field goal with six seconds on the clock for the 35-31 halftime lead.

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