Saturday , Mar , 10 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

No. 2 Kansas tops KSU to reach Big 12 title game

Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) – Mario Chalmers scored 16 points and
Julian Wright added 12 with eight rebounds, as second-ranked Kansas advanced
to the Big 12 Tournament final with a 67-61 victory over Kansas State at the
Ford Center.

The top-seeded Jayhawks (29-4) won their 10th straight game, despite a subpar
shooting effort from star guard Brandon Rush, and will face either Texas or
Oklahoma State in Sunday’s championship game.

Rush, who leads Kansas in scoring and had 16 points in Friday’s quarterfinal
victory over Oklahoma, made only 3-of-10 shots and finished with eight points.
He did, however, come up with a key steal late in the contest.

Cartier Martin scored 17 points and Lance Harris chipped in 16 for Kansas
State (22-11), which beat Texas Tech in Friday’s quarterfinals and will hope
for at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

Kansas built a 35-28 lead at the intermission and the lead reached 14, 47-33,
early in the second half on a three-pointer by Rush — his only trey of the
game.

The Wildcats still trailed by 12 with 7 1/2 minutes to play, but ran off eight
straight points and pulled within 56-52 on a three-pointer by Martin with just
over four minutes remaining.

It was a six-point margin with 90 seconds left when Rush came up with a steal.
Wright converted the turnover with a jumper to give the Jayhawks a 62-54
advantage.

Kansas then hit enough free throws down the stretch to seal it.

The Wildcats opened a 16-9 lead six minutes into the game, but the Jayhawks
responded with a 19-6 run. Harris had the only two buckets for K-State during
the burst, which Wright capped with a layup for a 28-22 Kansas lead with just
over six minutes to play in the first half.

Game Notes

Kansas beat Texas for last year’s conference tournament title and will try for
its fifth Big 12 championship. The Jayhawks also won the first three editions
of the tournament in 1997, ’98 and ’99…Akeem Wright had 12 points and 10
rebounds for Kansas State…Sherron Collins scored 10 points and dished out
six assists for Kansas, which also won both regular-season meetings and has
beaten its state rival in 35 of the last 36 matchups.

KANSAS KANSASST