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Kansas shows offensive efficiency in routing Texas Tech

The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Seventh-ranked Kansas showed what it's capable of doing when things start clicking, as the Jayhawks pulled away from Texas Tech in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday at Sprint Center.

"We were pretty efficient offensively when we didn't turn the ball over," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "Ben (McLemore) got us off to a good start. We puttered around, but then played a pretty good second half."

The most efficient may have been seldom-used Rio Adams, who scored 11 points in five minutes, but the leader clearly was McLemore. The freshman star led the Jayhawks in scoring with 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

"We played as a team," McLemore said deflecting attention like an opponent's pass into the paint. "We moved the ball around, and made the extra pass. We got each other involved."

Kansas (27-5, 15-4) had eight players score at least six points as the Jayhawks had plenty of opportunities to rest their starters. Kansas had a 39-25 edge in bench points.

The top-seeded Jayhawks will face Iowa State in the semifinals Friday evening. Iowa State defeated Oklahoma, 73-66, in the first game of the day.

"We're pretty excited that we get to play them again," senior Jeff Withey said. "(The last game) had some controversy, but we'll be ready."

His coach echoed those thoughts. The Jayhawks defeated Iowa State twice in overtime during the regular season. The second game in Ames, Iowa, was marked by a no-call late in regulation that allowed Kansas to tie the score.

"I think it will be a terrific basketball game," Self said. "They're good. They can stretch it from all five spots. It's a hard match-up for us because it draws Jeff away from the basket.

"We've had two classic games. They may be the two most exciting games played in our league this year. There have been some good games in the league, but these were both classics. We were fortunate in both of them."

Kansas opened the second half on a 14-4 run to erase any thoughts of a comeback by Texas Tech (11-20, 4-16). That was added to a 7-0 run to close the half for the Jayhawks.

"We came out (in the second half) with more energy," Withey said of the spurt.

"We started the game great and ended the first half really well," Self added. "In the second half we came out and played really well. Ben got us off to a great start again."

Tech was led by Dejan Kravic with 20 points. Dusty Hannahs added 15 points and Jordan Tolbert had 13.

"They're probably a No. 1 seed and will make another run at a Final Four spot," Tech coach Chris Walker said. "I thought we battled them in the first half. A couple of plays here or there could have made a difference.

"That's why they are what they are."

Kravic said he and his teammates had trouble adjusting to the play in the second half. "Kansas started off making shots in the second half," he said. "We were slow to come back in transition. And we were not able to knock down shots."

Kansas dominated inside throughout the game. The Jayhawks had a 34-22 edge in points in the paint. The Jayhawks' inside advantage was largely because of a difference in field goal percentage. The Jayhawks shot 66 percent, compared to just below 40 percent for the Red Raiders.

Kansas started quickly, outscoring the Red Raiders 8-0 and 15-2 before Tech got moving. McLemore had 12 of the Jayhawks' points at the start. But Kravic kept Texas Tech in the game with 11 points in the first half, including nine straight Red Raiders' points at one point.

The Red Raiders got as close as two points at 27-25 before Kansas scored the last seven points of the half.

NOTES: Texas Tech is 13-17 all-time in the Big 12 tournament. The Red Raiders have advanced past the quarterfinals only four times. No team from Texas has ever won the conference tournament in the first 16 years of the Big 12. ... Kansas improved to 16-1 in its first game in the Big 12 tournament. The Jayhawks' only loss was to Baylor in 2009. ... Kansas is the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament for the 10th time in 17 years. The Jayhawks have won the tournament eight of the first 16 years. ... Kansas is one of the most experienced teams in the country, starting four seniors -- including three fifth-year seniors -- and one freshman (McLemore).
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