Kansas tops So. Illinois to reach Elite Eight
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Brandon Rush scored 12 points on a perfect 6- of-6 from the field, pulled down five rebounds and dished out five assists as Kansas edged Southern Illinois, 61-58, to advance to the Elite Eight.
Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers and Russell Robinson each posted nine points for the Big 12 champion Jayhawks (33-4), who have won 14 straight games and will collide with either UCLA or Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Kansas shot an incredible 60 percent (25-of-42) from the floor.
Jamaal Tatum poured in 19 points -- 17 of which came in the second half -- for the fourth-seeded Salukis (29-7), who have never reached the Elite Eight. Tony Young chipped in 14 points and Randal Falker added 11 with nine boards in defeat.
Kansas opened the contest on a strong note, taking a 10-2 lead at the 15:16 mark. Later in the frame, however, Southern Illinois went on an 11-2 run -- capped by Tatum's jumper -- for a 24-21 edge with 4:11 left in the first half.
Darnell Jackson then hit back-to-back dunks and Rodrick Stewart drained a jump shot as the Jayhawks led 27-24 at the break.
The Salukis opened the second half with a 9-0 spurt -- ended by Young's three-pointer -- to go up by six, but Kansas responded with seven straight points for a 34-33 lead.
Things were nip-and-tuck for the next few minutes with Southern Illinois leading by as many as four before the Jayhawks went on top 58-53 with 1:23 to play. Tatum then drilled his first trey of the game after missing his first six attempts to cut the Salukis' deficit to two with 1:08 to play.
After Chalmers made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, Tatum buried a jumper on the ensuing possession as Southern Illinois trailed 59-58 with 47 seconds remaining.
Rush, though, drained a layup with 25 seconds left to ice the game, while Young's desperation 40-foot triple as time expired banked off the glass.
The Salukis finished 37 percent shooting in the contest.
The game marked the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the hardwood...Jackson ended with eight points and five rebounds...Matt Shaw posted nine points and grabbed six boards for the Salukis...SIU scored 26 points off 19 Kansas turnovers...The Jayhawks advanced to the Elite Eight for the 19th time in school history.KANSAS SILLINOIS