SPORTING ALERT – Big 12 ball clubs Kansas and Oklahoma both booked Elite Eight places in the 2016 NCAA March Madness tournament with wins in the Sweet 16 games on Thursday.
No. 1 overall seed Kansas fended the challenges of the fifth-seeded Maryland to pull away in the second half for a 79-63 victory in its South Region semifinal at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. Check out the Jayhawks’ Sweet 16 Photo Gallery
Senior Perry Ellis had 27 points on 10 of 17 shooting, to go along with his five rebounds while Wayne Selden Jr. added 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Jayhawks (33-4), who are back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2012.
Landen Lucas added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Frank Mason III ended with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals for Kansas, which shot 46.8 percent from the field and outscored Maryland 43-29 in the second half.
The Jayhawks also grabbed the advantage on the glass — outrebounding Maryland 43-28.
“I thought we played just superb,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I thought (in) the second half, we defended, we rebounded.”
Rasheed Sulaimon led the Terrapins (27-9) with 18 points while Melo Trimble ended with 17, but had another ugly night from 3-point range, after going 2 of 7 against Kansas.
Leading up to Thursday night’s Sweet 16 match-up, Trimble shot 1 of 6 against Hawaii and 0 of 4 versus South Dakota State. He ended the tournament with 3 of 17 from long-range.
Kansas moves on to take on Villanova on Saturday in the Elite Eight after the Wildcats hammered Miami (FL) 92-69 in their South Region semifinal game.
Meanwhile, in a West Region semifinal, second-seeded Oklahoma picked up a 77-63 win over third-seeded Texas A&M.
Jordan Woodard scored 22 points and made 5 of 6 of his 3-pointers, and team leader Buddy Hield recorded his 1st double-double of the season — finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the win for the Sooners (28-7), as head coach Lon Kruger became only the sixth coach to take three different programs to the Elite Eight.
After the battle, Hield took some time to have a little chat with Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant during the Duke v Oregon match-up.
Christian James had 12 points and six rebounds off the bench for the Sooners, who advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2009
Ryan Spangler ended with 10 points and eight rebounds and Khadeem Lattin finished with 10 points for Oklahoma, which will take on Oregon, which easily put away fourth-seeded and defending national champion Duke 82-68 in the other semis.
The Sooners, who finished with 23 assists on 31 made baskets, had five players scoring in double figures.
“We shared the ball really well,” Hield said. “I’m real proud of the guys for stepping up and making shots.
“We were just taking advantage of opportunities. We tried to drive-and-kick and when they doubled somebody I tried to make the right pass.”
Tyler Davis went 7 of 8 from the floor and scored 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for Texas A&M (28-9), which collected 11 points and 10 rebounds from Jalen Jones in the defeat.
The Aggies struggled from long-range on the night, going just 6 of 28 from 3-point range.
NCAA Tournament Regional Scores – Sweet 16
Thursday, March 24
No. 5 Maryland 63, No. 1 Kansas 79 – SOUTH REGION – SWEET 16
No. 4 Duke 68, No. 1 Oregon 82 – WEST REGION – SWEET 16
No. 3 Miami 69, No. 2 Villanova 92 – SOUTH REGION – SWEET 16
No. 3 Texas A&M 63, No. 2 Oklahoma 77 – WEST REGION – SWEET 16