Despite Bill Self’s absence, Kansas ready for Iowa St. in Big 12 semis

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With coach Bill Self recuperating from a medical procedure, No. 3 Kansas looks to keep its good fortune going on the court during a Big 12 tournament semifinal game against Iowa State on Friday in Kansas City, Mo.

Under the direction of assistant Norm Roberts, the top-seeded Jayhawks (26-6) posted their eighth win in nine games, beating eighth-seeded West Virginia 78-61 on Thursday.

Kansas played that game one day after Self was taken to the emergency room at the University of Kansas Health System for what doctors called “a standard procedure,” the school announced. The university did not divulge Self’s ailment in its statement, although it did deny reports of a heart attack.

“I am very grateful for the overwhelming number of well wishes my family and I have received,” Self said. “I’m excited to get back with my team in the very near future.”

Big 12 Conference Player of the Year Jalen Wilson recorded 22 points and 11 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season. Wilson has scored at least 20 points in each of the past three games, and he erupted for 26 in the Jayhawks’ 68-53 setback to the Cyclones on Feb. 4.

His offensive numbers notwithstanding, Harris was more interested in focusing on his team’s defense. Harris contends that playing stingy defense will be the best way for Kansas to repeat as national champion.

“If we start guarding like how we did today, then we’re going to be a problem because the offense is there for us and we’re really good in transition, too,” Harris said, per the Kansas City Star. “So, if we just keep working on getting better on defense, we would be pretty good.”

Kansas’ Gradey Dick made four 3-pointers to highlight his 18-point performance on Thursday. He scored a team-high 21 points in the Jayhawks’ 62-60 win over Iowa State on Jan. 14.

Gabe Kalscheur, who scored 23 points in the first encounter vs. Kansas, went one point higher in fifth-seeded Iowa State’s 78-72 victory over fourth-seeded Baylor on Thursday. Kalscheur highlighted his performance by sinking six 3-pointers to help the Cyclones defeat the Bears for the third time this season.

“Opportunities were there and I took advantage of it,” Kalscheur said. “I’ve been telling myself to live in the moment. There’s really no pressure. I can’t say there’s pressure because I’ve worked for this.”

Tamin Lipsey certainly worked hard on Thursday, collecting 13 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and five steals to give Iowa State a boost.

“I just wanted to come up with energy and trying to do whatever I can to help our team win,” Lipsey said.

The Cyclones dominated the battle on the boards (44-17), including 21-5 at the offensive end.

“The things we really focused on, our guys did a great job,” Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger said.

–Field Level Media

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