"EPIC" FIRST HALF PROPELS KU PAST OHIO ST. AND TO ELITE EIGHT DATE WITH KENTUCKY
HighEliteMajor last edited by
Houston – It didn’t take long for the Kansas Jayhawks to get going in Houston Friday night. And they kept going until final buzzer. In a stunningly dominating performance, the #1 seed in the South region completely dominated the #5 Ohio St. Buckeyes, winning 87-60. This was KU’s first meeting with Ohio St. since the 2012 Final Four match-up, also won by Kansas.
The win by Kansas sets up a match-up Sunday against Kentucky (5:09 pm/CBS) in the Elite Eight. The Wildcats defeated Louisville in the first game of the night, 70-61, in Houston. UK Coach John Calipari mentioned after the game that Louisville was the team he was “most concerned with” in the region, perhaps giving Kansas some bulletin-board material heading into Sunday. Calipari later clarified, stating that he was referring to the “intrastate nature” of the game.
Either way, it was Kansas that was clearly the most impressive team of the night. The number one team in the nation overpowered the Big 10 tournament champs in every phase of the game.
Self felt the first half Friday was perhaps Kansas’ best half of the season, all without senior big man Udoka Azubuike, who missed the game with an injured left wrist. Azubuike suffered no struggle damage it was reported earlier in the day from a practice mishap on Monday. His status is doubtful for Sunday.
“Did we miss Doke? Sure. He’s the best player in the country in my opinion. But our guys really stepped up, especially Dot,” Self said. “To be honest, I’m not sure we played a better half of basketball this season on both ends of the floor. That was an epic half of basketball. The second half we kind of cruised.”
Epic indeed. Kansas scored 52 first half points, just four less than their entire output against LSU last Sunday. KU turned the ball over only twice in the first 20 minutes and held Ohio St. to 32% shooting from the field while drilling 72% of their own opening half shots.
Ohio St. scored the first basket of the game, then watched Kansas rattle off 13 unanswered points on five consecutive possessions. Sophomore Devon Dotson drilled a three point basket for KU’s first score. After a block of Ohio St. forward Andre Wesson by Kansas sophomore Ochai Agbaji, Dotson fed Marcus Garrett for a fast break bucket. Garrett then stole the inbounds pass and returned favor, feeding Dotson for an easy layup.
After a Buckeye miss, Agbaji scored again, this time from three point range, making it a 10-2 game. Ohio St. sophomore Duane Washington, Jr., then fumbled a Wesson pass, which was scooped by Dotson for another bucket. Dotson was fouled on the play by Washington, and converted the free throw. OSU coach Chris Holtman was forced to call a timeout at the 17:58 mark, down 13-2.
Ohio St. never saw the margin fall to less than double-digits as Kansas stretched the lead to 19-3 following the timeout. Buckeyes C.J. Walker was fouled by KU guard Christian Braun on dunk attempt. After Walker converted one of two free throws, Kansas drilled two consecutive three pointers – one by Braun and another by Dotson, and the lead was 16.
“They sure came out fast. We were obviously not ready to play,” said Holtman, “That is completely on me. We laid an egg. It’s very disappointing.”
The Buckeyes trailed 52-29 at the half and Kansas cruised to the win. KU even scored the last seven points of the game, after getting a reminder from their coach about their late game slide against LSU in the previous round.
“He was yelling ‘finish the game’ over and over,” said Dotson, ”He sounded like (Patrick) Mahomes.”
Kansas forced 21 turnovers by the Buckeyes. Garrett had 6 steals, Dotson 4. The Jayhawks were led in scoring by Dotson, who had 26. Agbaji was next with 17 on five of seven shooting from behind the arc. Sophomore David McCormack, starting for Azubuike, led KU with 9 rebounds. Junior Silvio DeSousa added 8 points off the bench for KU. Walker led Ohio St. with 14 points.
The #1 Kansas/#2 Kentucky winner will face the winner of the West. #4 Oregon, who pulled the upset of #1 Gonzaga earlier in the evening, 79-75, will play #2 Villanova in Los Angeles for a Final Four berth (2:14 pm/TBS). The Wildcats dispatched #11 Indiana, 69-59.
Thursday’s games set the other half of the bracket. #1 Baylor fell to #4 Michigan St. Thursday in New York, 66-63. The Spartans will play #2 San Diego St. at 5:12 pm Saturday on TBS. The Aztecs won in double-overtime over #6 Michigan, 90-89 in a thrilling back and forth battle Thursday that some have said was the game of the tournament to date.
In the Midwest, #1 Dayton pummeled #3 Duke, 78-63, and will face the defending champions, #6 Virginia at 7:49 pm Saturday on CBS. The Cavaliers trailed the entire game against #10 St. Mary’s, but finished on an 8-0 run to stop the Gaels, 53-50, for back-to-back Elite Eight appearances. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski apologized earlier Friday for his late game ejection against Dayton calling it “a momentary lapse in judgment.”
wissox last edited by
CBSSportschannel has Kentucky games and Duke games all weekend long. They do have our elite 8 game with Duke on sometime tomorrow I think i saw.
Michigan St. was really rounding into form before the virus hit. They were my most feared opponent.
mayjay last edited by mayjay
Crimsonorblue22 last edited by
@wissox there are several games times, but the first one is tmrw, Sunday, at 12pm on cbssn. One of my favorite games. I say that a lot.
wissox last edited by
@Crimsonorblue22 It’s funny, that too is one of my favorites, beating Duke at a time like that. But the next game makes me cringe and it takes some of the luster off of the Duke win. Of course, we’ll probably get it taken from us so it might be moot.
approxinfinity last edited by
@HighEliteMajor sorry I haven’t taken the time to properly respond. I’m just relieved we came to play!
ajvan last edited by
This is reminiscent of previous tourney games where we come out hot and blow a team away…then lay an egg in the next one. I’ll save myself the emotional pain of getting into specifics. Here’s hoping Udoka returns to help us kick Kentucky to the curb.