OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma — The Kansas Jayhawks took on their rivals from down the road advancing to the Big 12 finals for the sixth time. The Jayhawks defeated the Kansas State Wildcats Saturday at the Ford Center 67-61.
The Jayhawks looked tired in the first half of play as the Wildcats jumped out to an early lead. Cartier Martin was unstoppable long range along with teammate Lance Harris. The two accounted for 18 of the Wildcats 28 points in the first half. The Jayhawks appeared to regain their stamina as they slowly worked back to tie the game at 16 off a Darnell Jackson basket.
Led by Sophomore Mario Chalmers, Kansas took the lead from the Wildcats at the 8:45 mark in the first half and never looked back. Working together as a team Kansas saw all eight of their players make baskets. Kansas dominated the glass on both ends of the court and held KSU to only four two point baskets in the first.
The Wildcats made a push in the second as Martin a trey and pulled within four points. The biggest lead the Jayhawks saw was after Brandon Rush came in and buried a 3-pointer pushing their lead to 14.
KSU couldn't break through the strong defense of the 'hawks and put all their hopes in a comeback into fouls. Unfortunately for them the KU went five of seven from the line and clinched the victory.
KSU had a chance in the second as the offense of the Jayhawks was struggling.
"We didn't play very well in the second half, our offense went stale and they kicked our butts on the glass," said KU coach Bill Self.
Self and his staff knew what they were facing going into this game having played KSU twice already this year.
"They are a good team and they are good at making us look bad," said Self.
Now the Kansas coach will wait to see who his team will play tomorrow at 2 p.m. It will be either Oklahoma State or Texas. The Jayhawks staggered Oklahoma State earlier this year beating them by 30 and barely squeaked by Texas last week to win the Big 12 regular season title.
"It doesn't matter who we play — our game plan will not change much," said Self.