Kansas Moves On To Sweet 16 By Defeating UNLV 75-56
March 22, 2008
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<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>OMAHA, Neb – For the second straight season and the 25th time in school history, the University of Kansas men’s basketball team advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 when it defeated UNLV 75-56 Saturday night in front of 17,162 fans at Qwest Center. Kansas moved to 33-3 overall while UNLV ended its season at 27-8.
Mario Chalmers’ 17 points led a balanced Kansas attack that saw four players score in double figures and six with at least eight points. Chalmers padded his stat line with four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Russell Robinson added 13 points, Brandon Rush contributed 12 points and six boards, and Sherron Collins pumped in 10 points.
Wink Adams scored a game-high 25 points to lead UNLV, which also got 12 points from Terry Curtis.
UNLV looked to play at a fast pace early and took the first lead on a three from Terry. With a harassing style of defense, the Rebels held KU scoreless the first three minutes of the game until Kansas finally got on the scoreboard when Darnell Jackson hit a 15-foot jumper at the 16:40 mark. After a defensive stop, Jackson gave Kansas a 4-3 lead on the next trip down the floor on another jumper.
A fastbreak dunk by Chalmers, a free throw from Jackson and a fastbreak dunk from Darrell Arthur gave the Jayhawks a 9-3 lead at the 14:34 mark.
Just as the Jayhawks looked to be taking control, UNLV clawed back to tie the score at 15 when Adams stole the ball and drove the length of the floor with 9:11 on the clock.
In all, the lead changed three times and there were four ties until Robinson converted a traditional three-point play with 6:13 left in the period to give the Jayhawks a 22-21 advantage. The lead held until the break when KU took a 34-29 advantage to the locker room.
All five Jayhawk starters tallied at least three first-half points paced by Chalmers with nine. Although KU shot a cool 1-of-6 from three-point land, the Jayhawks shot a strong 56.0 percent from the field overall. Terry scored nine in the first half to lead the Rebels, who shot just 29.6 percent from the field.
Kansas quickly asserted itself to open the second half, scoring on its first three possessions to extend its advantage to a game-high 10 points with the score 42-32 with 16:55 to go. The KU lead hovered in the single digits over the next few minutes.
With 13:54 left Robinson and Collins started to take over. From that point, the duo combined for the next 16 Kansas points while UNLV was held to no field goals and only seven free throws over the next six-plus minutes. With 7:46 left, the KU lead had ballooned to 16 with score 60-44. Kansas’ largest lead ended up being the difference of the final score, 75-56.
The Jayhawks shot even better in the second half (60 percent) to finish the game at a 58.0 percent clip. The three-point shooting also improved with KU canning 4-of-7 in the second period. Kansas won the battle on the glass 36-26.
The win sends Kansas to its sixth Sweet 16 in the last eight seasons where the Jayhawks will face the winner of No. 12 Villanova/No. 13 Sienna on Friday, March 28 at Detroit’s Ford Field. Also participating at the Midwest Regional will be No. 3 Wisconsin and the winner of No. 2 Georgetown/No. 10 Davidson. Game times on CBS will be determined Sunday night.