Jayhawks and Mountaineers set for Big 12 semifinal battle
Freshman guard Ochai Agbaji
|GM 33: vs. West Virginia // Big 12 Semifinals|
|8:30 p.m. (CT)|
|Sprint Center (18,972)|
|Record||24-8 (12-6)||14-19 (4-14)|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The No. 3-seeded Kansas Jayhawks (24-8) will meet the No. 10 seed West Virginia Mountaineers (14-19) in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship semifinals on Friday, March 15 at Sprint Center. KU and WVU will battle in the league tournament for the third time in the last four years, with the Jayhawks taking each of the first two meetings. Tip-off is set for approximately 8:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2, with Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Fran Fraschilla (analyst) and Holly Rowe (reporter) set to call the action.
- KU advanced to the semifinals for the 38th time in conference postseason tournament play, including the 20th time in the 23-year history of the Big 12. KU is 13-6 in Big 12 tourney semifinal contests, 21-16 all-time. (More info on KU in Big 12 Champ. on pg. 11.)
- Kansas and West Virginia are meeting for the second-straight year and third time in Big 12 Championship history with the Jayhawks owning a 2-0 record in those battles. KU defeated WVU, 81-71, in the 2016 title game and 81-70 in the 2018 title contest.
- West Virginia will be the fourth No. 10 seed Kansas will face in the Big 12 Championship with the last in 2005, an 80-67 win against Kansas State. KU defeat No. 10 Missouri in the 1997 title game, 87-60, and No. 10 Kansas State, 94-63, in the 2001 quarterfinals.
- Kansas is the No. 3 seed for the Big 12 Championship for the third time with the others being in 1999 and 2004. Kansas won the 1999 Big 12 Championship behind Most Outstanding Player Jeff Boschee. In 2004, the Jayhawks lost to Texas in the Big 12 semifinal. This year ended a 10-year run as No. 1 seed for KU.
- Kansas is defending Big 12 tournament champion and has won 15 conference postseason tourney titles and 11 in the Big 12 era, which began in 1996-97. Kansas (11), Iowa State (4), Oklahoma (3) and Oklahoma State (2) are active league members with Big 12 tourney titles.
- Since the Big 12’s inception in 1996-97, Kansas 45-11 in the league tournament. KU is 21-3 in its first games, 1-0 in opening-round games, 19-3 in the quarterfinals, 13-6 in semifinals and 11-2 in finals.
- Kansas is 1-1 against West Virginia this season with a 65-64 loss at Morgantown on Jan. 19 and a 78-53 win in Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 16.
Ranked No. 17/18 nationally, Kansas is 24-8 overall and finished 12-6 in Big 12 play. In all games, Kansas ranks in the top three in the Big 12 in scoring offense (second at 75.3), field goal percentage (third at 46.3) and field goal percentage defense (third at 40.5). KU has a +2.2 rebound margin and also averages 7.3 3-pointers made, 13.3 assists, 6.8 steals and 3.8 blocked shots per game.
Redshirt-junior F Dedric Lawson has posted four double-doubles in his last five games. He leads the Big 12 in scoring at 19.0 ppg, rebounding at 10.4 rpg and with 20 double-doubles. The Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team selection, Dedric Lawson has 15 games of 20 or more points and he is the only player in the league averaging a double-double. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week (11/12, 11/26, 12/26) and five-time league newcomer of the week (12/3, 12/17, 1/14, 1/28, 2/11), Lawson leads KU with 34 blocked shots and his 1.1 blocks per game are sixth in the conference. Lawson is 11th in the Big 12 with a 48.8 field goal percentage.
After his 17 points against Texas (3/14), freshman G Devon Dotson has led Kansas scoring four times this season. He averaged 12.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.8 apg and 1.3 spg in Big 12 play. An All-Big 12 Third Team honoree, Dotson ranks 16th in the Big 12 in scoring (11.9), seventh in assists (3.5), 13th in field goal percentage (47.9), tied for ninth in steals (1.4) and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5).
Freshman G Ochai Agbaji has seven games of 10 or more points, including three 20-point efforts. Agbaji has five games with multiple 3-pointers. Agbaji pulled his redshirt prior to the TCU game (1/9) and averages 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest.
Freshman G Quentin Grimes scored 12 points with four rebounds against Texas (3/14). He is 12-for-27 (44.4 percent) from 3-point range in his last five contests, including a 3-for-4 effort from beyond the arc against Baylor (3/9). He is second on the team with 46 3-pointers made this season, has made 15 treys in his last five games and multiple threes in six of his last 11 games. He averages 8.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest.
Sophomore G Marcus Garrett pulled down a season-high eight rebounds with five points against Texas (3/14). Garrett ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 1.6 spg. He scored 8.8 points in Big 12 play and overall averages 7.1 points and 3.7 rpg and has 51 assists.
Other KU regulars include freshman F David McCormack (3.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg), redshirt-sophomore G K.J. Lawson (3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg), redshirt-sophomore G Charlie Moore (3.0 ppg, 19 3-pointers) and junior F Mitch Lightfoot (2.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg). McCormack has started each of the last nine games and pulled down a season-high nine rebounds with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting against Texas (3/14). He has averaged 14.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in his last three contests.
The Kansas-West Virginia series started when WVU joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012-13 and KU holds an 11-5 advantage. The Jayhawks have won five of the last six meetings. The two teams split the 2018-19 series with both teams claiming home victories. KU is 7-0 against West Virginia in games played in Allen Fieldhouse, 2-5 at WVU Coliseum and 2-0 in the Big 12 Championship. KU defeated WVU, 81-71, in the 2016 Big 12 title game and 81-70 in the 2018 Big 12 title game, with both at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri
KU head coach Bill Self is 11-5 against West Virginia, with all 16 meetings as Kansas’ coach. Bob Huggins is 5-15 all-time against Kansas, 5-11 while at WVU.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 25-8 give KU 25 victories for the 14th-consecutive season, beginning in 2005-06 … Make KU 5-0 in neutral-site games this season and 15-1 over the last two seasons … Make Kansas 14-6 in Big 12 Championship semifinal games, 22-16 in all-time conference tourney semis … Advance KU to the conference tourney title for the 21st time overall, including the 14th time in Big 12 history … Improve Kansas to 76-27 in league tournament play and 46-11 at the Big 12 Championship … Make Kansas 41-9 all-time in Sprint Center, including 3-0 this season … Make the Kansas-West Virginia series 12-5 in favor of the Jayhawks, including 3-0 in Big 12 Championship history … Make Bill Self 472-104 while at Kansas, 679-209 overall, 12-5 all-time versus West Virginia (all while at KU) and 41-12 all-time in conference tournaments (32-7 while at KU) … Make Kansas 2,273-857 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
Make Kansas 24-9 … Make Kansas 21-17 all-time in conference tournament semifinals, including 13-7 in Big 12 Championship semis … Hand KU its first neutral-site loss this season and just its second neutral site loss in 16 games over the last two seasons … Drop Kansas to 75-27 in league tournament play, including 45-12 in the Big 12 Championship … Make Kansas 40-10 all-time in Sprint Center, including 2-1 this season … Make the Kansas-West Virginia series 11-6 in favor of the Jayhawks … Make Bill Self 471-105 while at Kansas, 678-210 overall, 11-6 all-time versus West Virginia (11-6 while at KU) and 40-13 all-time in conference tournaments (31-8 while at KU) … Make Kansas 2,272-858 all-time.
LAST TIME OUT
Holding the Longhorns to just three field goals over the final seven minutes of regulation, the No. 17/18 Kansas Jayhawks outlasted Texas, 65-57, in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championships Thursday night at Sprint Center. Freshman guard Devon Dotson led the Jayhawks with 17 points and was one of four KU starters to score in double figures.
The Jayhawks forced four first-half UT turnovers to go along with four blocks to keep the Texas shooters at bay. The Longhorns never led by more than four points over the first 20 minutes, but took a 29-25 edge into the final 1:40 of the half. A pair of Dotson free throws and a Marcus Garrett lay-up off a Charlie Moore steal pulled the Jayhawks level with UT prior to the intermission, 29-29.
Kansas came out of the halftime locker room and quickly regained the momentum. After a Dylan Osetkowski 3-pointer handed the Longhorns a 32-31 lead 30 seconds following the restart, KU took control. Four different Jayhawks scored during a 13-3 run that saw the No. 3 seed build a 44-35 advantage with McCormack’s putback at the 15:00 mark.
UT managed to claw its way back into the game several times over the final 10 minutes of action, but KU got some much needed free throws to keep the Longhorns at arm’s length. The Jayhawks went 9-of-10 from the charity stripe over the last 10:14 of the contest. The points from the free throw line were a welcome sight for Kansas, which hit only three of its final 14 tries from the field in the last 12:20 of the game.
UT’s Kerwin Roach II tallied his team’s last five points of the game, including a 3-pointer to cut the Jayhawk lead to 61-57 with 2:43 to play. But four free throws from Grimes and defensive stops on each of the Longhorn’s final five possessions of the contest helped the Jayhawks close out the 65-57 victory.
Dotson led the Jayhawks in scoring for the fourth time on the year, going 6-of-11 from the field to post 17 points. Lawson was close behind with 16 points, tallying his 21st double-digit effort of the season. McCormack scored in double-figures for the third-straight game after posting 13 points, nine of which came in the first half. Grimes rounded out the leading KU scorers, adding 12 points, which included a 7-of-8 clip from the free throw line.
TEXAS LEFTOVERS & NOTABLES
- The win made Kansas 24-8 give KU 24 victories for the 14th-consecutive season, beginning in 2005-06.
- Kansas improved to 4-0 in neutral-site games this season and 14-1 over the last two seasons.
- KU is now 21-3 in Big 12 Championship first games (1-0 in first round, 20-3 in quarterfinals).
- The win advanced KU to the conference tourney semifinals for the 20th time in Big 12 history and 38th time overall.
- Kansas is now 75-27 in league tournament play and 45-11 at the Big 12 Championship.
- Kansas improved to 40-9 all-time in Sprint Center, including 2-0 this season
- David McCormack (9), Dedric Lawson (9) and Devon Dotson (8) combined for 26 of KU’s 29 first half points.
- KU’s 65 points marked the fewest the Jayhawks had scored in a Big 12 Championship game since TCU held Kansas to 64 on March 12, 2015.
- Kansas outscored Texas 17-0 in fast break points. In its three meetings with Texas this season, the Jayhawks held a 38-5 advantage in this category.
- After being outrebounded in their first two meetings, the Jayhawks took a 41-32 edge over the Longhorns on the glass.
- With 57 points, Texas became the fifth KU opponent held under 60 this season. Kansas has a 5-0 edge in those match-ups and a 167-1 mark in the Self era.
- Redshirt-junior F Dedric Lawson scored in double figures for the 30th time this season with 16 points while grabbing six rebounds, one block and one assist.
- For the third-straight game freshman F David McCormack tallied 10+ points as he finished with 13 points going 6-for-7 from the field.
- McCormack’s double-digit performance marked the fifth of the season. In his last three outings, McCormack is averaging 14.3 points per game with a 20-for-27 mark from the field.
- McCormack grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and played a season-high 29 minutes.
- Freshman G Devon Dotson scored a team-high 17 points with a 6-for-11 clip from the field. Dotson added four rebounds and four assists while committing no turnovers.
- In his three meetings against Texas this season, Dotson had just one turnover in 102 minutes played.
- Dotson moved into 10th all-time in point totals by a freshman in a single season, passing J.R. Giddens who scored 374 points in 2004 and Mario Chalmers who tallied 379 in 2006. Dotson has 381 points this season.
- Dotson moved past Sherron Collins who tallied 112 assists in 2007 for eighth all-time in assists in a single season by a freshman as Dotson now has dished 113 assists on the season.
- Sophomore G Marcus Garrett grabbed a season high eight rebounds while scoring five points and adding one assist.
KANSAS AT THE PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP
- KU’s 11 Big 12 Championship titles are more than any other school in the league. Iowa State is second with four titles, while Oklahoma (3) and Oklahoma State (2) are the only other current schools to have won a Big 12 tourney. Kansas won the first three events 1997-98-99, then the 2006-07-08-10-11-13-16-18 titles. KU is 11-2 in tourney title games, having only lost the 2002 title to Oklahoma and the 2015 title to Iowa State.
- Kansas is the only team to have won at least 40 games in the Big 12 Championship. The Jayhawks are 45-11 (80.4 percent) in the event. Texas (26-23, 53.1), Oklahoma State (23-20, 53.5) and Oklahoma (22-20, 52.4 percent) are the only other schools above .500 in the event.
- With a 31-7 (81.6 percent) record, KU head coach Bill Self has the highest winning percentage in Big 12 Championship history with more than one tournament (Frank Haith went 3-0 at Missouri in 2012).
- Kansas has been the No. 1 seed 15 times (1997-98-2002-03-07-09-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18), No. 2 seed four times (2001-05-06-08), No. 3 seed three times (1999-2004-19) and was the No. 5 seed in 2000.
- Kansas has won 21 of its 23 first games in the Big 12 Championship with the 2009 loss to Baylor and 2017 loss to TCU being the only blemishes. The Jayhawks are 1-0 in opening-round games and 20-3 in quarterfinal contests. In 2000 KU was the No. 5 seed, won its first game and lost in the quarterfinals. All of KU’s other first games were in the quarterfinals.
- Including 2019, KU has reached the semifinals in 20 of the 23 Big 12 Championships. The Jayhawks did not reach the 2000, 2009 or 2017 semis.
- Kansas has won eight of its 11 Big 12 titles as the No. 1 seed – 1997, 1998, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2018. KU was the No. 3 seed in its 1999 title run and the No. 2 seed in 2006 and 2008. The lowest seed to win the event was a No. 4 seed Iowa State in 2017.
- Kansas has had 46 conference championship all-tournament selections, including 29 in the 22-year history of the Big 12 Championship. Last year, Malik Newman was Most Outstanding Player of the event.
KANSAS IN KANSAS CITY
Kansas City has been a second home for KU over the years. The Jayhawks’ first-ever game — a 16-5 loss to Kansas City YMCA on Feb. 3, 1899 — was played in Kansas City. The March 15, 2019, Big 12 Championship semifinal will mark KU’s 310th all-time game played in Kansas City, and its 50th in Sprint Center. Excluding exhibition contests, KU is 40-9 in Sprint Center including winning the 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2018 Big 12 Championships in the venue and the 2012 and 2016 CBE Hall of Fame Classics.
MORE ON THE JAYHAWKS IN KANSAS CITY
- Beginning in 1984-85, Kansas has played at least one regular-season game, be it in a tournament or a home contest, in Kansas City in 30 of the last 33 seasons. KU only missed 1987-88, 1990-91 and 1996-97 and in those seasons the Jayhawks played league tournament or NCAA Tournament postseason games in KC.
- KU is 226-83 in games played in Kansas City.
- KU played 106 games in Kemper Arena with an 81-25 record. Kansas went 26-4 in Kemper Arena from 1997 until 2006, when it played its last game in the venue. Included in that run were Big 12 Championship titles in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
- Kemper Arena was the host of the 1988 NCAA Final Four when the Jayhawks won the national championship.
- Kansas has won a mind-boggling 27 conference tournaments (13 holiday conference tourneys and 14 postseason league titles) with 25 of those in Kansas City. The lone two titles not in KC were in 2006 in Dallas and 2007 in Oklahoma City.
Kansas Conference Tournament Titles in KC
Municipal Auditorium (Conference Holiday Tournament) – 1951, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1970
Kemper Arena (*Big Eight Holiday Tournament) – *1974, *1977, *1978, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2007
Sprint Center – 2008, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018
KANSAS IN SPRINT CENTER
In the 11-plus seasons since its opening, Sprint Center has been a welcome site for Kansas basketball, with the Jayhawks holding a 40-9 record in the venue. Below is a breakdown of how KU has fared in the venue. Not included are three exhibition victories for KU, two versus Canada while prepping for the 2015 World University Games, and an October 2017 fundraising win against Missouri.
|KANSAS AT SPRINT CENTER YEAR-BY-YEAR|
|2007-08||4-0||Big 12 Champ. Title|
|2009-10||4-0||Big 12 Champ. Title|
|2010-11||4-0||Big 12 Champ. Title|
|2012-13||8-0||CBE Title, Big 12 Title, NCAA 1st/2nd|
|2014-15||3-1||Big 12 Champ. Finalist|
|2015-16||4-0||Big 12 Champ. Finalist|
|2016-17||4-2||CBE Classic Title|
|2017-18||3-1||Big 12 Champ. Title|
|Overall||40-9||81.6 winning %|
Should Kansas win it would play in its 22nd overall conference tournament championship game, including its 14th in the Big 12 era. Kansas has won 15 conference postseason tournament titles and has a 15-6 championship game record. In the Big 12, KU is 11-2 in title games with its last championship in 2018.
The Big 12 Championship final is slated for Saturday, March 16 at 5 p.m. (Central), and will be broadcast on ESPN.
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