KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Perry Ellis scored a career-high 23 points as No. 7 Kansas set itself up to claim another conference tournament title with a 88-73 victory over Iowa State in front of a Big 12 Championship-record crowd of 19,116 at Sprint Center on Friday.
The Jayhawks will face the winner of the second semifinal between No. 14 Oklahoma State and No. 11 Kansas State on Saturday.
If they win, the Jayhawks will win their ninth title in the 17-year history of the Big 12 Tournament.
Ellis was efficient for the Jayhawks, scoring his 23 points on 10 of 12 from the field and 3 of 3 from the line. He was joined in double figures by Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson with 14 points apiece and Ben McLemore with 10.
Iowa State (22-11) was led by Georges Niang with 19 points. Melvin Ejim had 17 and Tyrus McGee had 12.
Kansas (28-5) scored nine of the first 11 points of the second half to pull away from Iowa State. Johnson scored the first seven, then Withey and Ellis took turns extending Kansas' lead. When Withey converted a traditional three-point play, the lead was 53-39 and Kansas was on cruise control.
The first half was much more even than the 35-31 score suggests. The teams traded baskets throughout the half with the exception of two spurts -- one by each team. With the score tied 4-4, Iowa State ripped off an 8-0 run, keyed by 3-pointers by Chris Babb and Ejim. Kansas answered with a 9-0 run to get the lead back.
Ellis came up big for Kansas in the first half. The freshman from Wichita, Kansas, came off the bench to lead the Jayhawks with eight points. He's scored in double figures only five times this season, including just twice in league play. Travis Releford hit a 3-pointer for Kansas right before the buzzer to earn his seventh point.
Iowa State was led by Babb with eight points, along with Tyrus McGee and Ejim with seven each.
NOTES: Iowa State's comeback win Thursday against Oklahoma snapped an eight-game losing streak in the Big 12 Championship, dating back to a 77-57 victory over Baylor in 2005. ... Iowa State is on pace to establish a Big 12 Conference record for 3-pointers per game with 9.9 (316 total). The records are 9.3 by Nebraska in 2002 and 327 by Oklahoma State in 2007. ... Friday was Kansas' 15th appearance in the tournament semifinals in the 17-year history of the Conference. Kansas is 9-5 in the semifinals coming in.