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Examiner
  • Wiggins helps KU survive in OT

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  • Andrew Wiggins gathered the ball along the baseline with about a minute left in regulation, turned around and put up the kind of fade-away jumper that will soon make him millions.
    When it splashed through the net, his teammates on the Kansas bench leaped to their feet.
    Energized by the clutch play of their talented freshman, the No. 10 Jayhawks held on to force overtime, then pulled away for a 77-70 victory over Oklahoma State Wednesday at the Sprint Center that earned them a spot in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament.
    "My shot was falling the whole game," said Wiggins, who finished with 30 points. "They cut off the base line, and step-back is one of my main moves, and it just fell through."
    Wayne Selden Jr. added 14 points, and Naadir Tharpe made four foul shots in the extra session to seal the win for the top-seeded Jayhawks. They advanced to face fourth-seeded Iowa State, a 91-85 winner of fifth-seeded Kansas State, on Friday night.
    "It was an unbelievable game," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "Two teams competing hard."
    Phil Forte briefly gave the Cowboys a 70-68 lead with a 3-pointer a minute into overtime, but the Jayhawks (24-8) scored the final nine points, all but two at the foul line.
    Le'Bryan Nash scored 19 points to lead the No. 8 seed Cowboys (21-12). Forte added 16 points and Marcus Smart finished with 14, though he missed all three of his shots in overtime.
    "It's always hard to beat Kansas, especially in this building," Smart said. "They have the fanbase to back them up. It's kind of hard. They have the energy and momentum from their fans and it kind of takes the opposing team out of it."
    Both teams had chances to earn the win in regulation.
    After Wiggins hit his jumper to knot the game 67-all, Cowboys coach Travis Ford decided against going 2-for-1 on possessions, and Smart missed a 3 with 32 seconds left.
    The Jayhawks got the rebound and called timeout with 16 seconds left, and set up a play for Wiggins, who missed a tightly guarded 3 with a few ticks left on the lock. Tarik Black gathered in the rebound and stuck it back, but the basket came after time had expired.
    Black got extended minutes in place of Joel Embiid, the Jayhawks' 7-foot freshman center, who has been ruled out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his back. Black finished with seven points and 12 rebounds, including a couple with the game in the balance.
    Now, the Jayhawks will try to beat Iowa State for the third time this season.
    "Kansas is a team that you've already played twice," Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We know everybody. Everybody knows us."
    Page 2 of 4 - The Cowboys, who had to play a matinee after dispatching Texas Tech on Wednesday night, didn't look as if they were weary in the first half. They actually pulled out to an early lead, silencing a heavily pro-Kansas crowd that had packed inside the Sprint Center.
    Kansas responded by taking a 32-23 lead into halftime, and then maintained its advantage early in the second half. But once Black and fellow forward Perry Ellis picked up their fourth fouls, the Cowboys started shredding the Kansas defense by driving the lane.
    Smart proved to be the most adept at it, picking up fouls when he wasn't hammered on the way to the rim. But just about everyone wearing black and orange got into the act, and Oklahoma State methodically trimmed the lead to 55-49 with about 8 minutes to go.
    That's when Ford changed things up by slapping on a full-court press. It produced two quick turnovers and helped Oklahoma State take a 60-59 lead with 4 minutes left.
    It was the Cowboys' first lead since the 12-minute mark in the first half.
    The two teams, who each won on their home floor during the regular season, traded blows down the stretch. Selden made a couple free throws for Kansas, Forte answered with two from the foul line for Oklahoma State. Black and Wiggins threw down alley-oop dunks for the Jayhawks, and Murphy hit a pair of free throws and Markel Brown hit a rainbow 3 to give the Cowboys the lead.
    It just made sense that such a nip-and-tuck game would be decided in overtime.
    "They made some big shots down the stretch," Ford said. "Wiggins made a big shot in the corner – he played a heck of a game. They're just a heck of a basketball team, but our guys played hard. We just didn't have anything left in the tank at the end."
    IOWA STATE 91, KANSAS STATE 85: Kansas State coach Bruce Weber stared at the box score printed on the sheet of paper, a black-and-white rendition of the colorful, back-and-forth game the Wildcats had just finished.
    He had a hard time trying to figure out how they had scored 85 points against Iowa State, shot better than 54 percent from the field – and still lost.
    "I guess it was an entertaining game," Weber said, finally.
    He was right about that.
    Melvin Ejim had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Dustin Hogue added 19 points and 10 boards and the No. 16 Cyclones held on for a 91-85 victory in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals.
    Georges Niang added 18 points and Naz Long finished with 14 points for the fourth-seeded Cyclones (24-7), who advanced to play the No. 10 Kansas in Friday's semifinals.
    "I mean, we were pretty efficient on offense," Weber said. "We just didn't get enough stops."
    Page 3 of 4 - Iowa State was clinging to an 87-85 lead with just over a minute left when Ejim missed a layup and the No. 5 seed Wildcats (20-12) got the rebound. They raced the other way, but Shane Southwell lost control of the ball going toward the rim and Iowa State came away with it.
    Long was fouled and made both free throws with 16.2 seconds left. Marcus Foster missed a 3 at the other end, and Long scored a layup in transition to put an exclamation mark on the win.
    "I had total tunnel vision. I'm thinking, 'Down two, get to the basket or get the foul," Southwell said of his late turnover, the biggest blemish on his otherwise solid game. "If I would have just been a little more patient, it probably would have worked out."
    Southwell finished with 19 points, while Foster scored 21 for the Wildcats, who had been holding opponents to a Big 12-best 64.9 points. Freshman guard Nigel Johnson added a career-best 17 points off the bench, and big man Thomas Gipson finished with 13 points.
    BAYLOR 78, OKLAHOMA 73: The first two times that Baylor played Oklahoma this season, the Bears struggled through the opening minutes and failed to get on track until it was a bit too late.
    This time, they delivered the opening blow.
    The Bears roared to a 21-point lead early in the second half Thursday night, and then held off a frantic rally by the Sooners for a 78-73 victory in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals.
    Isaiah Austin finished with 18 points for the seventh-seeded Bears (23-10), who became the first lower-seeded team to win in this year's tournament. Baylor will face the winner of late Texas-West Virginia game in the semifinals on Friday night.
    "They beat us the first two games, and coach always says it's hard to beat a team three times," said Cory Jefferson, who added 14 points and 11 boards for Baylor. "I'm sure they knew that. They were prepared and we were going to make sure we were prepared."
    Cameron Clark scored 19 points and Buddy Hield had 15 for the second-seeded Sooners (23-9), who spent most of the second half frantically rallying from a 52-31 deficit.
    They got within 72-68 on Hield's 3-pointer with 1:27 left, and had a chance to get even closer when Royce O'Neale turned it over for Baylor. But a 3-pointer by Jordan Woodard with about a minute left was off the mark, and O'Neal came through with a pair of free throws.
    Oklahoma had a couple of open layups on the ensuing possession, but opted to toss it out to Clark for a 3-pointer. He missed it, the Sooners had to foul again and Brady Heslip – one of the best free-throw shooters in the Big 12 – knocked down two more to help the seal the win.
    Page 4 of 4 - "Baylor from the start was more aggressive, and dictated, and I thought we were reacting most of the first half," Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. "They played with more urgency."
    O'Neal wound up with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears. Kenny Chery added 12 points and seven assists, and Heslip also finished with 12 points.
    "That's when we're at our best," Chery said, "when we're sharing the ball."
    It was the ninth win in 10 games for Baylor, which has gone from NCAA tournament bubble to knocking on the door of the Big 12 title. The Bears are in the semifinals for the fifth time after ending a four-game skid against the Sooners that included a pair of losses this season.
    It also gave Baylor coach Scott Drew his 201st win, moving him into a tie with Bill Henderson for the most in school history, though he preferred to deflect the attention to his players.
    "Any coaching honor is a direct reflection of the players," Drew said. "None of us coaches have made any buckets. It's all the players' work."
    The Sooners came into the game tied for the Big 12 scoring lead at better than 82 points per game, but they shot 38 percent in the first half and were thoroughly dominated on the glass.

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