No. 6 KU Cruises Passed West Virginia 87-63 in All 12 Major Quarters | Sports News
By DAVE SKRETTA, AP Basketball Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Ochai Agbaji led Kansas to sixth with 18 points, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins had two technical fouls and was ejected 10 minutes into the game, and the Jayhawks edged the Mountaineers 87-63 on Thursday in the Big 12 tournament.
The Jayhawks (26-6), who also beat the Mountaineers twice in the regular season, will face fifth seed TCU on Friday night for a spot in the title game. The Horned Frogs rallied from 20 to beat No. 22 Texas earlier in the day.
Christian Braun added 11 points and 15 rebounds for Kansas, which took a 41-19 halftime lead and was never seriously threatened down the stretch. Jalen Wilson had 15 points and Mitch Lightfoot finished with 10.
Malik Curry led West Virginia (16-17) with 19 points. Taz Sherman had 10 points but was only 3 of 14 from the field.
Most of the excitement of the second Big 12 tournament quarter-final came in the first 10 minutes.
The Jayhawks took a 19-4 lead through Agbaji and Lightfoot, whose alley-oop bucket sent a T-Mobile Center full of fans dressed in red and blue into a frenzy.
On the other end, Sherman missed a bucket — the 16th miss of the Mountaineers’ first 17 shots — and complained to umpire Doug Sirmons about the lack of appeal. Sirmons immediately gave him a technical foul, and when Huggins roared off the bench to defend his player, the Mountaineers Hall of Fame runner-up got two technical fouls himself.
Huggins’ longtime associate head coach Larry Harrison took over as he headed to the locker room.
Wilson took the free throws for the Jayhawks, making five of six of three technical fouls, and it gave the Big 12 regular-season co-champions a 24-4 lead.
The lead grew to 41-19 as the Mountaineers went 5-31 from the field in the first half.
And unlike Thursday’s opening quarterfinal, when the Horned Frogs pulled out an 18-point halftime hole to beat the fifth-seeded Longhorns, the Jayhawks provided an answer whenever the West Virginia attempted to mount a race.
West Virginia again got a great performance from Curry, who came off the bench to score 17 goals in a first-round win over Kansas State. But the rest of the Mountaineers backcourt continued to struggle, a problem compounded by their lack of a reliable post presence. They were passed 48-27 and outscored 48-22 in the paint.
Kansas shot better than 50 percent from the field each half, often reaching the bucket for easy baskets down low. But it seems to be a lot tougher against Eddie Lampkin and the Horned Frogs.
The Jayhawks meet the Horned Frogs, who have never played for a Big 12 title, in Friday night’s semifinals.
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