Kansas guard Ben McLemore (23) dunks the ball during the first half an NCAA college basketball game against Texas Tech in the Big 12 men's tournament Thursday, March 14, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Friday, March 15, 2013 4:13 am
Iowa State-Kansas, Round 3 in Big 12 tourney
By DAVE SKRETTAAP Sports Writer
Now, they'll get a chance to do it again.
Iowa State advanced to the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament with a 73-66 win over Oklahoma on Thursday, and the seventh-ranked Jayhawks joined them a few hours later with a 91-63 whipping of Texas Tech that set up Round 3 in one of the most intriguing series this season.
The Jayhawks won the first two games, but it wasn't easy - they needed a 3-pointer by Ben McLemore to force overtime at Allen Fieldhouse, and then got 39 points from Elijah Johnson and, many Iowa State fans would argue, help from the officials to win the return game in Ames, Iowa.
In that game, the officials gave a foul to the wrong Kansas player in the closing minutes, and then didn't blow the whistle on a block-charge call. Later, the league's office acknowledged that officiating mistakes were made, and the three-man crew was disciplined.
"We've had two classic games this year," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "The two games may be the most exciting two games played in our league this year, just about."
In the other Big 12 tournament semifinal, No. 11 Kansas State will play No. 14 Oklahoma State in a rematch of a game won last Saturday by the Cowboys in Stillwater, Okla.
The Wildcats advanced with a 66-49 rout of Texas, while the Cowboys needed two foul shots by Phil Forte with 2.9 seconds remaining in a 74-72 victory over Baylor.
"We know they're a good team," said the Cowboys' LaBryan Nash. "We know they're a good team, and it'll be a good battle. We have to come out stronger than we did tonight."
Iowa State, which led the country and set a school record with 309 3-pointers, missed 11 of its first 12 and fell behind by 14 points early on against the Sooners on Thursday.
But behind 23 points and 12 rebounds from Melvin Ejim, and 17 points from Will Clyburn, the Cyclones (22-10) found their range in the second half. They hit six 3-pointers down the stretch while chalking up their first conference tournament win since 2005.
"My job as a coach is to try to get those guys playing with confidence every time they're out on the floor," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. "The one thing that I did like, and that I talked to them about, is how we did attack when the shots weren't falling."
Oklahoma (20-10) was led by Romero Osby's 18 points. Cameron Clark had 17.
No. 7 KANSAS 91, TEXAS TECH 63
With the Cyclones already in the semifinals, the Jayhawks didn't toy around with Texas Tech.
McLemore scored 24 points and the Jayhawks (27-5) shot 66 percent from the field, the best mark by any team in a Big 12 tournament game, in rolling to a victory over the Red Raiders.
Anrio Adams had a career-high 11 points as the Jayhawks went 9 of 18 from beyond the arc, 20 of 23 from the foul line and put on a show for a crowd that included new Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who sat a few rows behind the Texas Tech bench.
"We were pretty efficient offensively when we didn't turn it over," Self said. "Ben got us off to a good start before we puttered around, but we played a pretty good second half."
Dejan Kravic scored 20 points, Dusty Hannahs added 15 and Jordan Tolbert had 13 for the Red Raiders, (11-20), who head into the offseason awaiting the fate of interim coach Chris Walker.
The longtime assistant took over in October, shortly after Billy Gillispie submitted a letter of resignation citing health concerns, and has been told he'll be a candidate for the job.
No. 11 KANSAS STATE 66, TEXAS 49
Kansas State, which shared the regular-season title with the Jayhawks, has been hoping to use the Big 12 tournament as a tiebreaker of sorts, and didn't falter in knocking off Texas.
Rodney McGruder scored 24 points, sparking an 11-0 run in the second half that carried the Wildcats (26-6) to the victory. He also had a team-leading seven rebounds.
"It all starts with our fans, how much they support us," McGruder said. "They push us to so hard, we know what we're doing is not only for ourselves but also the Manhattan (Kan.) community. It just feels good to do big things for our community."
Julien Lewis scored 13 points and Jonathan Holmes had 10 for Texas (16-17), which will see its string of NCAA tournament appearances come to an end at 14 in a row.
"I'm disappointed," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "When you have high expectations in anything you're going to be disappointed. I'm disappointed. I think we could have won this game today. I think we could have won this tournament. But we didn't because we made the same mistakes we made in two other games with them. We helped them out. And they don't need any help."
No. 14 OKLAHOMA STATE 74, BAYLOR 72
Oklahoma State built a 20-point lead on Baylor in the tournament's nightcap, but Pierre Jackson led the Bears on a mighty second-half comeback. He scored 24 of his game-high 31 points after the break, hitting a 3-pointer with 38.5 seconds left to get within 68-67.
After the teams traded foul shots, Gary Franklin converted a four-point play for Baylor (18-4) to tie the game with 19.1 seconds remaining. The Cowboys drove up court and got the ball in the hands of Forte, who was fouled crossing the lane and made two free throws with 2.9 seconds left.
Jackson's 3-pointer at the buzzer clanked off the rim and the Cowboys (24-7) escaped.
"I definitely thought it went in," said Jackson, who dropped face-first to the floor inside the Sprint Center as the buzzer sounded. "Those are kind of the moments you live for, being able to take that last shot and help your team out, and I wasn't able to hit it for my team."