It appears the Kansas Jayhawk Men’s Basketball has shrugged off a bad performance at Baylor to turn in two strong performances in the Big 12 Tournament. They knocked off Texas Tech Thursday and took it to Iowa State by 88-73 on Friday, March 15, 2013, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Their loss to Baylor was worrisome to the Kansas faithful as they lost by more than 20 and allowed the Bears to ride roughshod on the way to a lopsided victory over the Jayhawks. KU has now beaten Texas Tech by 20+ and took a win from a very good Iowa State team by 15.
Kansas has shown that they can bounce back quickly to play at a top level when the games are crucial. Playing for the Big 12 Tournament Championship Saturday, March 16, 2013, will go a long way to at least secure a number 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. If they had gone out early to Iowa State and not even reached the title game, they could have been looking at a 3 seed or worse.
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 Kansas State at 5 P.M., Saturday and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
A Kansas victory was not a foregone conclusion as Iowa State took the early lead and Kansas had to make a run to take it back. The lead changed hands in the first half until Kansas took the lead for good into the locker room at halftime with a 4 point lead on a Releford 3 point make. Kansas took control with an early 9-2 run to open the second half to set the tone for the win. Iowa State would come within 4 points and 9 points on three occasions, but Kansas answered each run by the Cyclones to extend the lead back to double digits.
Perry Ellis come in place of an injured Kevin Young and scored a career-best and game-high 23 points, on 10-for-12 shooting, to lead four Jayhawks in double figures. From KUathletics.com, Withey and Johnson each finished with 14 points apiece and Ben McLemore chipped in 10.
The game followed the high emotional output of the first two regular season meetings that KU won, each in overtime. Ben McLemore received a technical foul for taunting the ISU bench after a made 3 and Bill Self notched another one nearly two minutes later. Needless to say, the energy was high and Kansas was riding a fine line.
With McLemore on the bench with two personal fouls and Young down with an injury, freshman Ellis picked up the offense and scored six-straight Kansas points. Ellis showed he can be an offensive force to be reckoned with when called upon, This should be encouraging for fans worried about lack of offense at times with this KU team. Hopefully the Ellis spark will keep the scoring coming if McLemore and company have issues finding the rim.
Kansas has beaten Kansas State in the two regular season meetings in the 2012-2013 season. KU will need to come with as much emotional energy an attitude as they did with Iowa State. Fans can rest assured that Kansas State felt entitled to their share of the Big 12 regular season championship and it was no fluke. Look for the Wildcats to come out aggressive and try to put to rest who the outright winner should have been. The Jayhawk will need to come with even more attitude to pull of a 3 game sweep of the Wildcats this season.
Check out the final stats here.
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