CHICAGO — The veteran Kansas squad rushed into the eighth round on Friday with a 66-61 victory over Providence in the Midwest Regional semifinals, becoming the only top seed to advance in a week when turmoil was the norm.
The Jayhawks dominated the game early on, blocking six shots from Providence in the first 12 minutes and controlling the first half of the rebounding game. But Providence, which debuted as Sweet 16 in a quarter-century, has jumped back and kept the game close at hand.
After trailing by as much as 13, Noah Horchler sunk two three-pointers in quick succession to pull the brothers one point distance in the second inning. Minutes later, head to the basket to give Providence a quick taste of the lead.
But she proved inadequate against the experienced Kansas team and was effective, even if at times sloppy.
Near the end of the first half, Jayhawk forward Jayhawk’s Jalen Wilson missed a layup twice, but had a rebound each time and was able to force the ball through the hoop. Ochai Agbaji, National Player of the Year, scored only 2 out of 8 field goals. But with KS straining, and the brothers becoming more aggressive, Agbaji re-emerged late in the second half when Christian Brown worked an alley from behind the three-point line. Agbaji blasted the house, reviving Jayhawk fans at the United Center in Chicago who had been quiet all night.
Kansas, whose youngest early season player was a sophomore in a red jersey, was also able to count on Remy Martin, a very senior and transfers player at Arizona State, who led Jayhawks in scoring with 23 points. Braun, a junior, and Wilson, a sophomore Redshirt, both hit double digits in rebounds.
The Jayhawks will enter Sunday as a strong contender against either Iowa State or Miami, who were about to play later on Friday. Iowa is ranked 11th in the Midwest, and Miami is 10th.
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