🏀 Jayhawks Top Mountaineers in Quarterfinals of Big 12 Tournament
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Playing without coach Bill Self on the sideline, third-ranked Kansas turned to big offensive performances from Jalen Wilson and Dajuan Harris Jr. along with some stingy defense to pull away from West Virginia 78-61 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament.
Wilson had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Harris had 13 points with eight assists, as the top-seeded Jayhawks (26-6) began the defense of their tournament crown by knocking off the Mountaineers for the third time this season.
They will play fifth-seeded Iowa State, which beat Baylor earlier in the day, in Friday night’s semifinals.
Erik Stevenson had 13 points to lead the No. 8 seed Mountaineers (19-14), who likely secured an NCAA bid with an opening win over Texas Tech. Tre Mitchell and Joe Toussaint added 11 points apiece and Emmitt Matthews Jr. had 10.
Gradey Dick had 18 points for the Jayhawks. KJ Adams finished with 13.
Self missed the game and Kansas officials released the following statement from The University of Kansas Health System: “KU Men’s Basketball Coach Bill Self is a patient at The University of Kansas Health System. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steve Stites wants to clarify that Coach Self did not suffer a heart attack as reported by some media. He arrived at the emergency department last night and underwent a standard procedure that went well. He is expected to make a full recovery. There will be no further medical details released for now.”
Self also released a statement through the school: “I am very grateful for the overwhelming number of well wishes my family and I have received. I’m excited to get back with my team in the very near future.”
Self’s longtime assistant, Norm Roberts, led the team against the Mountaineers.
The Jayhawks trailed midway through the half Thursday, but the Mountaineers got sloppy on offense, turning it over 11 times over the first 20 minutes. That allowed the Jayhawks to reel off an 18-2 run and take a 31-23 lead into the locker room.
West Virginia got within 35-30 early in the second half, but it struggled to make stops. The Jayhawks scored on seven consecutive trips down floor at one point. And after a tough bucket by Adams made it 60-48 with eight minutes to go, the springy forward slammed down Harris’ ally-oop pass from just inside the midcourt line to punctuate the run.
Harris hit big man Ernest Udeh Jr. for another alley-oop jam a few minutes later as the Jayhawks cruised to the win.
The Jayhawks will play the Cyclones on Friday night for a spot in the championship game.
The Mountaineers head home to await their NCAA Tournament seed.