Morningstar Paces Kansas To Sweet 16 Victory Vs. Richmond

March 25, 2011

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Brady Morningstar scored 18 points and keyed a game-deciding first-half run as No. 1-seed Kansas defeated No. 12 seed Richmond 77-57 in the NCAA Tournament Friday.

Kansas advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the eight-year Bill Self era and the 20th time in school history. The Jayhawks will meet Virginia Commonwealth Sunday in a game televised on CBS at 1:20 p.m. for the right to advance to the Final Four.

The Jayhawks were making their 27th NCAA Sweet 16 appearance at the site of their 2008 National Championship victory.

Morningstar scored 18 points, one shy of his season-high and three shy of his career scoring best in leading the Jayhawks, who overcame a rare poor shooting night from their talented twins – Marcus and Markieff Morris.

Thomas Robinson added 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, while Marcus Morris chipped in 13 points. Josh Selby scored nine points in the game, his most since netting 14 vs. Texas Tech on Feb. 1. Tyshawn Taylor handed out seven assists. Marcus Morris made four of 10 shots from the field, while Markieff Morris made just two of eight for five points. Their 18 combined points were the fewest they produced this season.

Richmond was paced by Justin Harper, who scored 22 points. Kevin Anderson added 13 points for the Spiders, who finished their season 29-8.

Kansas used a balanced offensive attack and a smothering defense in the first half to lead 41-22 at the break. Seven different Jayhawks made KU’s first nine baskets of the game.

Trailing 5-4, Kansas went on a 27-4 run to lead 31-9. Morningstar drilled consecutive three-pointers and then made a layup off his own steal to key the beginning of the run.

Selby drilled back-to-back three-pointers and the Jayhawks rolled. Their defensive pressure limited Richmond to just one basket in more than nine minutes. When the Spiders scored their 11th point, that basket cut their deficit to 20 points.

Richmond made its own little run towards the end of the half, scoring eight straight points to pull within 37-22, but Kansas closed the half with four straight points to extend its lead.

KU hit 50 percent of its shots from the field, while limiting Richmond to just 29 percent in the first period. Richmond turned the ball over seven times in the opening half and KU turned those miscues into 12 points.

Morningstar finished the first half with 12 points, while Marcus Morris added eight points and six rebounds. Robinson pulled down seven rebounds at the break as the Jayhawks out-rebounded Richmond 23-15 in the first half.

Richmond came out hot to start the second half. The Spiders scored the first four points and then six straight points forced a KU timeout as Richmond pulled within 47-32. KU came out of the timeout pushing the margin to 22 points at 55-35 after an Elijah Johnson basket. KU cruised the rest of the way.

KU finished the game shooting 47 percent while holding Richmond to 33 percent. KU scored 20 points off 11 Richmond turnovers and added 22 second-chance points.

Kansas improved to 35-2 on the season, which ties for the second-most victories in school history