Jalen Wilson had 20 factors and 7 rebounds for No. 1 seed and defending nationwide champion Kansas, which allowed absent and recovering coach Bill Self to relaxation throughout a straightforward 96-68 victory over Howard on Thursday in a West Region first spherical sport.
Self continues to be recovering from a current coronary heart process.
Gradey Dick had 19 factors and 11 rebounds within the freshman’s first NCAA Tournament sport. Ok.J. Adams Jr. scored 13 factors and Dajuan Harris Jr. added 11 factors for the Jayhawks (28-7), who will play the winner of the Arkansas towards Illinois sport within the second spherical on Saturday.
Kansas, which has received 16 consecutive first spherical video games, is attempting to grow to be the primary repeat NCAA winner in 16 years.
Shy Odom had 15 factors and eight rebounds for the Bison (22-13), who have been making this system’s first event look since 1992.
The Jayhawks began their NCAA-record thirty third consecutive event look with assistant coach Norm Roberts working the present — a wierd sight with out Self shouting orders from the bench. The 60-year-old Self, who’s in his twentieth season at Kansas, underwent an ordinary coronary heart process to deal with blocked arteries in his coronary heart final week that prevented him from teaching within the Big 12 Tournament.
The Jayhawks misplaced within the Big 12 title sport to Texas, however their 15-6 report in Quad 1 video games that the NCAA categorizes for choice standards was unmatched within the nation by a new-look crew that misplaced most of its finest gamers from final 12 months’s championships squad.
Kansas will not be that deep, however the Jayhawks transfer and share the ball at a dizzying tempo that was finally an excessive amount of for the Bison to maintain up with.
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Howard took the lead 5 instances within the second half, however Kansas at all times snapped again — usually with a well-placed hand in a passing lane for a steal and a fast-break end. Then there have been the alley-oops, with Harris and Kevin McCullar Jr. every delivering a textbook lob off the drive to Ernest Udeh Jr. for a rim-jarring dunk within the first half. Harris discovered Adams for one, too.
Howard’s uncommon look on the massive stage got here precisely 5 years after UMBC’s takedown of Virginia, the one time a No. 16 seed has ever crushed a No. 1. The Bison have been the 149th crew to strive.
Wearing their Black History Month jerseys with inexperienced trim and a purple script “The Mecca” on the entrance — in reference to Howard’s nickname because the nation’s most outstanding traditionally Black college — the Bison took the courtroom with loads of confidence.
Elijah Hawkins hit an early 3-pointer and pointed a finger to his forearm to sign ice in his veins. Kobe Dickson flexed his proper arm after muscling in a layup.
Coach Kenneth Blakeney, whose crew went 4-29 in his first season in 2019-20, subbed hockey model within the first half with five-man items to maintain his crew recent. The Bison’s sport towards Kentucky in November — a 95-63 loss — gave them a style of this degree of competitors, however the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions weren’t capable of match the pace and athleticism the Jayhawks boast.
The Jayhawks received the common season title in a stacked convention, a testomony to Self’s acumen and the flexibility of this crew led by the Big 12 Player of the Year in Wilson, a rising star in Dick, the Texas Tech switch McCullar and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year within the level guard Harris.
Dick went 7 for 13 from the ground and three for five from 3-point vary to set the Kansas freshman report for made 3-pointers in a season, besting Jeff Boschee.
Blakeney raved at his information convention on Wednesday in regards to the wealthy and interesting historical past at Howard, reeling off an inventory of well-known alumni that features Vice President Kamala Harris, class of 1986. She watched the sport along with her husband from a collection at Wells Fargo Arena. When she was proven on the video board, the boos — Kansas is a Republican-leaning state, in spite of everything — drowned out the applause.
Dick was startled by a sudden roar from the group a split-second after he swished a free throw late within the first half. What was the massive deal? The finish of the Furman-Virginia sport was on the video board above the courtroom, and J.P. Pegues had simply hit a 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left to offer the underdog Paladins the lead. Another outcry got here when No. 13 seed Furman sealed the victory, a less-disruptive response as a result of it was throughout timeout.
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