Top-ranked Kansas holds off Villanova, 74-71

Guard Lagerald Vick scored 29 points and forward Dedric Lawson had 28 and 12 rebounds on Saturday, as the top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks held off defending NCAA champion Villanova, 74-71.

An announced crowd of 16,300 at Allen Fieldhouse watched as freshman guard Devon Dotson scored six points in the final 2:25 for the Jayhawks.

For 17th-ranked Villanova, Phil Booth scored 29 and Eric Paschall produced 17.

The game was a rematch of sorts of the 2018 NCAA semifinals, in which the Wildcats routed the Jayhakws 95-79 at the Alamodome on the way to their second national title in three years.

Records

Kansas 9-0
Villanova 8-4

Notable

Kansas has notched victories this season against four teams in this week’s AP Top 25, including No. 3 Tennessee, (9) Michigan State, (17) Villanova and (21) Marquette.

Dedric Lawson, a transfer from Memphis, is on fire. He has posted six straight games of 20 or more points. Also, he has produced six games this season of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Rock Chalk: Jayhawks move up to No. 1 in AP poll

Kansas moved up to No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 Monday after escaping an upset bid a few days ago against the New Mexico State Aggies.

Trailing by seven points several times in the second half, the Jayhawks rallied behind Dedric Lawson to topple the Aggies, 63-60, Saturday in Kansas City.

Later Saturday night, Tennessee upset top-ranked Gonzaga, opening the door for Kansas to take the top spot in the poll for the first time since the preseason.

The Jayhawks are expected to be without injured center Udoka Azubuike as they prepare to play 17th-ranked and defending national champion Villanova at home on Saturday.

Azubuike injured his ankle on Nov. 22 against Wofford and did not play against New Mexico State.

Last March, Villanova knocked Kansas out of the NCAA Tournament at the Final Four in San Antonio, recording a 95-79 victory in the semifinals at the Alamodome.

AP Top 25

1. Kansas 8-0 Big 12
2. Duke 9-1 ACC
3. Tennessee 7-1 SEC
4. Gonzaga 9-1 West Coast
5. Michigan 10-0 Big Ten
6. Virginia 9-0 ACC
7. Nevada 10-0 Mountain West
8. Auburn 8-1 SEC
9. Michigan State 8-2 Big Ten
10. Florida State 8-1 ACC
11. Texas Tech 8-0 Big 12
12. North Carolina 7-2 ACC
13. Virginia Tech 8-1 ACC
14. Buffalo 9-0 Mid-American
15. Ohio State 8-1 Big Ten
16. Wisconsin 8-2 Big Ten
17. Villanova 8-2 Big East
18. Mississippi State 8-1 SEC
19. Kentucky 7-2 SEC
20. Arizona State 7-1 Pac-12
21. Marquette 8-2 Big East
22. Iowa 7-2 Big Ten
23. Furman 10-0 Southern
24. Houston 8-0 American
25. Indiana 8-2 Big Ten
25. Syracuse 7-2 ACC
25. Kansas State 6-2 Big 12

Kansas is No. 1 in AP preseason basketball poll

AP Preseason All-American team

The Associated Press 2018-19 preseason All-America team, with school, height, year and votes from a 65-member national media panel (key 2017-18 statistics in parentheses):

Carsen Edwards, Purdue, 6-1, 200, sophomore, 63 votes (18.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, 40.6 3pt fg pct, 1.1 steals)

Luke Maye, North Carolina, 6-8, 240, senior, 52 (16.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.4 apg, 43.1 3pt fg pct, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks)

R.J. Barrett, Duke, 6-7, 202, freshman, 50 (high school: 28.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 4.5 apg)

Dedric Lawson, Kansas, 6-9, 235, junior, 30 (Memphis 2016-17: 19.2 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.1 blocks, 1.3 steals)

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin, 6-10, 237, senior, 23 (17.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.7 apg, 52.8 fg pct, 1.5 steals)

Caleb Martin, Nevada, 6-7, 205, senior, 23 (18.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 40.3 3pt fg pct, 1.3 steals)

Other receiving votes: Grant Williams, Tennessee, 18; Tyus Battle, Syracuse, 11; Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga, 10; Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s, 10; Kyle Guy, Virginia, 8; Mike Daum, South Dakota State, 6; Markus Howard, Marquette, 5; Reid Travis, Kentucky, 5; Zion Williamson, Duke, 3; Tremont Waters, LSU, 2; Cassius Winston, Michigan State, 2; Sagaba Konate, West Virginia, 1; Romeo Langford, Indiana, 1; Eric Paschall, Villanova, 1; Jontay Porter, Missouri, 1.

Kansas holds off top-ranked Texas 3-2 at Big 12 tournament

Jackson Goddard pitched into the seventh inning Wednesday to lead eighth-seeded Kansas past No. 1 Texas 3-2 on opening day at the Big 12 baseball tournament at Oklahoma City. Kansas piching held the regular-season champion Longhorns to only four hits.

Records

Kansas 27-28
Texas 37-20

Baylor blanks Oklahoma

Earlier in the day, Cody Bradford struck out 11 batters in 7 and 2/3 innings as fifth-seeded Baylor shut out No. 4 Oklahoma, 4-0. It was Baylor’s first victory at the Big 12 tournament under third-year coach Steve Rodriguez. Baylor hadn’t won at the tournament since 2015.

Records

Baylor 33-29
Oklahhoma 34-20

Big 12 baseball tournament

Wednesday’s scores

Kansas 3, Texas 2
Baylor 4, Oklahoma 0
Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia
Texas Tech vs. TCU

Thursday’s games

Texas vs. Oklahoma, 9 a.m.
TBA, 12:30 p.m.
Kansas vs. Baylor, 4 p.m.
TBA, 7:30 p.m.

Villanova hits a record 18 threes to sink Kansas

The record-setting Villanova Wildcats buried six three-pointers in the first seven minutes Saturday night at the Alamodome en route to an easy 95-79 victory over Kansas in the NCAA Final Four semifinals.

With the win, the Wildcats set the stage for a Monday night showdown against the Michigan Wolverines for the national title.

Michigan advanced earlier in the evening by rallying in the second half to down Loyola-Chicago, 69-57.

In the blowout over Kansas, Villanova set a Final Four record for three-pointers in a game with 18.

Villanova also established an NCAA single season record for threes in a season with 454.

Remarkably, the Big 12-champion Jayhawks led only once in the game at 2-0 before the Wildcats started to rain threes on them.

Eric Paschall, Mikal Bridges and Omari Spellman hit three straight from long distance to make it 9-2.

Spellman, Donte DiVincenzo and Collin Gillespie added three more to cap a 22-2 run.

Suddenly, the Jayahwks were down by 18 and struggling.

The struggle lasted for the duration of the half as the Wildcats maintained a double-digit lead though intermission.

Trailing by 47-32 entering the second half, the Jayhawks hit a couple of free throws to cut the lead to 13.

Not to be outdone, Paschall nailed another three to start a 7-0 run for the Wildcats, boosting the lead to 20.

Kansas never got closer than 14 the rest of the way.

Statistics

Attendance in the dome was announced at 68,257.

Villanova continued to bury tournament opponents with its prolific shooting from beyond the arc, hitting 18 of 40 threes against Kansas, increasing its totals to 66 of 156 in five NCAA games.

Paschall, who sat out Villanova’s 2016 NCAA championship run while sitting out under transfer rules, led the Wildcats with 24 points on 10 of 11 shooting from the field and 4 of 5 from three.

Guard Jalen Brunson produced 18 points, including 13 in the first half, to go with a team-best six assists.

The recently-named Player of the Year in college basketball by the Associated Press and the U.S. Basketball Writers also nailed 3 of 8 from deep.

Spellman, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound redshirt freshman, contributed a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Stepping outside, he showed off great touch, hitting 3 of 9.

DeVincenzo was 3 of 5 from deep to go along with his usual energetic play off the bench. He had 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists.

Quotable

“Well, that was just one of those nights, man,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “Man, we made every shot to start the game. And when you do that, you get up 22-4, if you’re a decent free-throw shooting team, it’s tough to come back on that.”

Notable

Kansas guard DeVonte’ Graham finished with 23 points and three assist in 39 minutes, and came off the floor with tears in his eyes, having played his last game for the Jayhawks.

Malik Newman, who had 32 points in an Elite Eight victory over Duke, scored 21. But he had only 7 points on 3 of 8 shooting when Kansas was getting blown out before intermission.

Quotable

Graham said coach Bill Self told the players to keep their heads up.

“We had an unbelievable season,” Graham said. “You know, it’s not the way you want it to end. But even if you lost by one point it will still hurt. And we all just need to keep our heads up. It’s going to hurt now but we’ll be all right.”

Self disagreed gently with a question that suggested the season had a “sour ending” with the blowout loss.

“I don’t know if I totally agree with that,” he said. “To me it would be a sour ending if you lost on the last possession. Do you feel better, you know, losing the way we did today or losing on the last possession?

“You always want to perform in a way to put yourself in position to win. But when it’s the last game, certainly it stings and hurts no matter what. I’m really proud of our guys.

“We did not have the perfect roster in many ways to probably win 31 games and win the league in a great league and conference tournament ad get to the Final Four, in a lot of ways.

“And, today, it felt like today it just kind of caught up with us.”

Final Four glance: Loyola, Michigan, Villanova, Kansas

Welcome to the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio, from The JB Replay.

The NCAA Final Four is set to tip off Saturday at the Alamodome, with Loyola-Chicago playing Michigan at 5:09 p.m. Villanova takes on Kansas in the second of two national semifinals at 7:49. Here’s a quick glance at each team:

Loyola-Chicago Ramblers

Coach: Porter Moser
Conference: Missouri Valley
Record: 32-5
Streak: Won 14 in a row and 21 of 22

NCAA road to San Antonio: Beat Miami, 64-62; beat Tennessee, 63-62; beat Nevada, 69-68; beat Kansas State, 78-62.

Reasons to believe: With a 98-year-old nun known as Sister Jean cheering them on, the Ramblers called on different players to hit game-deciding shots in the last 10 seconds of their first three tournament games. Loyola then won going away against Kansas State.

Michigan Wolverines

Coach: John Beilein
Conference: Big Ten
Record: 32-7
Streak: Won 13 in a row and 15 of 16

NCAA road to San Antonio: Beat Montana, 61-47; beat Houston, 64-63; beat Texas A&M, 99-72; beat Florida State, 58-54.

Reasons to believe: Wolverines play tough defense, yielding only 63 points per game. Most of their games are of the grind-it-out style, but they can play fast, as evidenced by a 99-point explosion against Texas A&M in the Sweet 16.

Villanova Wildcats

Coach: Jay Wright
Conference: Big East
Record: 34-4
Streak: Won 9 in a row and 11 of 12

NCAA road to San Antonio: Beat Radford, 87-61; beat Alabama, 81-58; beat West Virginia, 90-78; beat Texas Tech, 71-59.

Reasons to believe: The Wildcats always seem to have the answers in big moments, most notably point guard Jalon Brunson. Both Brunson and Phil Booth played major roles in ‘Nova’s 2016 national championship.

Kansas Jayhawks

Coach: Bill Self
Conference: Big 12
Record: 31-7
Streak: Won 7 in a row and 12 of 13

NCAA road to San Antonio: Beat Penn, 76-60; beat Seton Hall, 83-79; beat Clemson, 80-76; beat Duke, 85-81, overtime.

Reasons to believe: Jayhawks point guard Devonte’ Graham is playing with supreme confidence. Guards Malik Newman, Lagerald Vick and Svi Mykhailiuk all hit big shots against Duke. Bill Self has the mojo. He won here in 2008.

Rock chalk: Kansas beats Duke in overtime for Final Four trip

Sophomore Malik Newman scored a career-high 32 points Sunday as the Kansas Jayhawks outlasted Duke 85-81 in overtime to win the NCAA Midwest Regional title.

Newman, named as the region’s Most Outstanding Player, scored all 13 points for the Jayhawks in overtime, leading Kansas to its 15th Final Four.

The champions of the Big 12 Conference will take on Villanova in the national semifinals on Saturday in San Antonio at the Alamodome.

The win was sweet for a Kansas team that had been knocked out in the regional finals in each of the past two seasons.

It is Kansas’ first trip to a Final Four since 2012, in New Orleans. That year, the Jayhawks lost to Kentucky in the finals.

Kansas won its last championship in 2008 in San Antonio with an overtime victory over Memphis.

NCAA Final Four

Semifinals/Saturday

Loyola-Chicago (32-5) vs. Michigan (32-7), 5:09 p.m., TBS
Villanova (34-4) vs. Kansas (31-7), 7:49 p.m., TBS

Championship game/Monday, April 2

Semifinals winners, 8:20 p.m., TBS

Top-seeded Kansas holds off Clemson in NCAA round of 16

The Big 12 champion Kansas Jayhawks scored a Round of 16 victory in the NCAA Tournament Friday with an 80-76 decision over the Clemson Tigers.

Kansas, with a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, held off a furious second-half charge by the fifth-seeded Tigers in the game at Omaha, Nebraska.

Leading by 20 early in the second half, the Jayhawks had to make free throws at the end, and they did, knocking down 5 of 6 in the final minute.

Guard Devonte’ Graham was 4 for 4 in that stretch, including two with 13 seconds left for a six-point lead that put the game away.

As the No. 1 seed in the East Region, the Villanova Wildcats have made a living all season with offensive bursts that leave opponents searching for answers.

Villanova slapped an 11-0 run on fifth-seeded West Virginia in the second half en route to a 90-78 victory in the Round of 16 at Boston.

Mikal Bridges and Omari Spellman capped the run with plays that brought Wildcats fans to their feet.

First, Bridges sank a three from the corner. Next, Spellman blocked a West Virginia shot.

On the other end, Spellman trailed the play and followed a miss by Phil Booth for a monster dunk.

Just like that, a six-point deficit for Villanova turned into a 65-60 lead with nine minutes left.

Kansas beats West Virginia 81-70 for Big 12 title


(Kansas senior Devonte’ Graham, the Big 12 Player of the Year, finished with 18 points and 13 assists.)

The Big 12 champion Kansas Jayhawks will move into Selection Sunday with hopes for a No. 1 regional seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Kansas beat West Virginia 81-70 Saturday afternoon for the Big 12 tournament title.

The Jayhawks (27-7) also won the regular season.

Kansas entered the tournament coming off a double-digit road loss to Oklahoma State.

But the Jayhawks turned it on in the tournament, winning by double figures against Oklahoma State, Kansas State and West Virginia.

Despite a No. 9 ranking in the last Associated Press poll, coach Bill Self’s team was projected as late as Saturday afternoon as a No. 1 seed by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm of cbssports.com.

In the latest ratings percentage index, which factors in strength of schedule and victories over highly-ranked teams, they were sixth.

The NCAA will unveil the tournament bracket Sunday at 5 p.m. on TBS.

Saturday’s scores

(Tournament finals)

Big East — Villanova 76, Providence 66, OT

Big 12 — Kansas 81, West Virginia 70

Mountain West — San Diego State 82, New Mexico 75

MAC — Buffalo 76, Toledo 66

America East – Maryland-Baltimore County 65, Vermont 62

MEAC — North Carolina Central 71,, Hampton 63

SWAC — Texas Southern 84, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 69


(San Diego State players celebrate their 82-75 victory over New Mexico in the Mountain West title game)

Conference / NCAA automatic qualifier

Ohio Valley — Murray State (26-5)

Missouri Valley – Loyola-Chicago (28-5)

Big Ten — Michigan (28-7)

Big South — Radford (22-12)

Atlantic Sun — Lipscomb (23-9)

Southern — UNC Greensboro (27-7)

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference — Iona (20-13)

West Coast Conference — Gonzaga (30-4)

Horizon — Wright State (25-9)

Northeast — LIU Brooklyn (18-16)

Colonial Athletic Association — Charleston (26-7)

Summit — South Dakota State (28-6)

Patriot League — Bucknell (25-9)

America East — Maryland-Baltimore County (24-10)

MEAC — North Carolina Central (19-15)

SWAC — Texas Southern (15-19)

Big 12 — Kansas (27-7)

Mountain West — San Diego State (22-10)

Big East — Villanova (30-4)

MAC — Buffalo (26-8)

Azubuike leads Kansas past Bamba-less Texas, 80-70

The sixth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks clinched the Big 12 basketball title outright Monday night, downing the short-handed Texas Longhorns, 80-70, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Two days ago, Kansas won on the road at Texas Tech to secure at least a tie for the crown.

By beating Texas, the Jayhawks (24-6, 13-4) won their fifth game in a row and ensured that they would finish in first place all alone for their Division I record 14th straight championship.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike scored 20 points to lead Kansas. Guard Svi Mykhailiuk added 17.

Not to be outdone, Jayhawks point guard Devonte Graham added 10 points, 11 assists and four rebounds, fueling speculation that he could challenge Oklahoma’s Trae Young for Big 12 Player of the Year honors.

“I knew I was going to cry,” said Graham, a senior playing his last game at home. “I wasn’t trying to play it off like a tough guy. We got to bring all the trophies out, watch the videos and really soak it all in. It’s special.”

For the Longhorns (17-13, 7-10), the loss left them in uncertainty as to how their record will stand up to scrutiny by the NCAA tournament committee.

Texas might need to win in its regular-season finale against West Virginia, and then win at least a couple of games in the Big 12 tournament, to get an NCAA invitation on March 11.

In their favor, the Longhorns battled hard against the Jayhawks, even without injured freshman center Mo Bamba.

Trailing by 13 at the half, the Longhorns put on a surge to cut the lead to six with 15 minutes remaining.

In response, Marcus Garrett hit a layup and Malik Newman buried a three for Kansas, expanding the lead to 56-45.

Later, Texas charged again, with guard Jacob Young making a steal and a layup to pull the Longhorns within 77-70.

But Kansas, aided by a Texas turnover, scored the final three points in the last 80 seconds to put the game away.

Kerwin Roach produced 18 points, eight assists and four rebounds for the Longhorns.