Courtesy of Kansas Athletics
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Top-seeded Kansas led wire-to-wire as the Jayhawks cruised to an 87-63 victory over West Virginia on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship at the T-Mobile Center.
The Jayhawks dominated the first half, shooting 48.4% from the floor and leading by double figures for the final 12:31 of the half. Kansas used a 20-2 run that spanned more than six minutes of game time and built a 24-4 lead after Jalen Wilson hit 5-of-6 free throws that were awarded following three technical fouls against West Virginia, including two assessed to head coach Bob Huggins. Ochai Agbaji led the Jayhawks with 11 points and Wilson had 10 as KU led 41-19 at the break.
Kansas continued to pour it on in the second half, holding a lead of at least 14 points for the entire half. The Jayhawks used a 10-0 run to take a 71-45 lead with 5:55 to play and KU led by as many as 28 at 84-56 with 2:08 to play. The Jayhawks scored 46 points in the second half, but outscored WVU by just two after the Mountaineers shot better than 50 percent from the field after halftime.
Four Jayhawks scored in double figures, with Big 12 Player of the Year Ochai Agbaji leading the way with 18 points. Jalen Wilson added 15 points and Mitch Lightfoot chipped in 10 off the bench while Christian Braun recorded a double-double with 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Dajuan Harris led the Jayhawks with seven assists while Lightfoot had five of Kansas’ seven blocked shots in the game.
Kansas shot 52.4 percent from the field for the game and hit six three pointers. The Jayhawks dominated in the paint, outrebounding WVU 48-to-27 and outscoring the Mountaineers 48-to-22 on points in the paint. KU had 17 assists on 33 made baskets and scored 10 points off 11 West Virginia turnovers.
The win gave Kansas a 3-0 record against West Virginia this season with an average margin of victory of 21.
Kansas advances to the semifinals of the Phillips 66 Men’s Basketball Championship and the Jayhawks will face No. 5-seed TCU at 6 p.m. CT on Friday, March 11 on ESPN2, with a berth in the Championship Game on the line. The game will mark the 21st appearance in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals for the Jayhawks, who will enter 14-6 all-time in semifinal action.